“The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context” by Myron B. Penner

Screenshot 2022-08-06 at 09-45-53 Vector illustration of applause and greeting with hand drawn human
Worthy of addition to the Urban Dictionary if it’s not there yet and, whether it is or isn’t, to my vocabulary.


I was once accused of being foolishly clear, and yet the person kind of shrugged their shoulders, and said yet it still works. Absolutely stupid and yet effective. For me it was a badge of honor.

NT apostles not jumping out of their chairs…
Aahh. This very thing is coming in chapter 3–becoming apprentices of truth.
(Get ready for a killer read in chapter 3. The discussion or irony nearly did me in a few weeks ago. Time for studious, thorough reread for me.)


I’ve been waiting …

1 Like

Waiting or training for this…

If taking a look at Steven Cowan’s Five Views On Apologetics counts as “training”, then I’ve been training, not waiting. Unfortunately, a lotta good it’ll do me: I still hold to the non-Pennerian view that there are more than one set of Apostles and that some kinds of Apologetics are “truly meet, right, and salutary”, and that there are more than one kind of audience, … especially in a Post-Modern World"

1 Like

There is a flat earth guy where I work, and the other guys are always trying to trip him up. They get frustrated when they can’t get him to admit he is wrong. My suspicion is that it’s one big prank, kind of like that movie The Prestige. I mentioned it one time when we were all standing around talking, and he gave me a clever side ways look.

I say that Terry because part of me doesn’t believe it. When you were asking about Habermas, I thought for sure you had an angle. I’m still in disbelief that you don’t have one even now.

Please take this as a compliment.

As far as understanding the stuff on hermeneutics, I was about to comment with a suggestion that the best place to begin is with a definition of hermeneutics.

Did you want to start here, or was there something specific in the quotes that stood out for you?

  • Nope, I was just saving Merv the trouble of looking up the page numbers.
  • I’ve slowly and gently been exploring what Habermas has to say.
    • (1) I can’t find it now, but I either watched a Youtube video interview or listened to one between Gary Habermas in which he said–in so many words–that he saw his “role in apologetics” as one of sharing the best evidence for:
      • the historicity of Jesus,
      • the crucifixion of Jesus,
      • the death of Jesus,
      • the claims of post-resurrection sightings of Jesus; and
      • the claim that the earliest “creeds”. in the Bible, had “the highest Christology”; which was something that I am fairly certain N.T. Wright said in the Youtube Unbelievable interview that Merv shared with us the other day.
    • (2) And arguing with those who want to argue otherwise.
  • Gee, “with those who want to argue otherwise”? Who could that be? Everybody on the face of the earth? I think not. Muslims? Some, I’m sure. Orthodox Jews? Tovia Singer, I suppose.
    • Ergo, “the usefulness of Evidentialism” still exists today, IMO. It has not ended.
  • Do I object to Habermas’ interest in "The Shroud? Not at all. “The Shroud” is either an “icon”, a “forgery”, or the “Real Deal”. Habermas and I agree: “The jury is still out” on that matter. But so what? Does anyone really go bonkers and object, if I “like the Shroud”, even if a jury (or a Wikipedia) and two folks in this forum do not agree? Give me a break. Somebody needs another “thing” to lose sleep over; I’m just NOT that important.
  • Do I object to Habermas’ interest in Near-death Experiences. Again, not at all. Like Habermas, I don’t think much of the opinion that all NDEs are “mere medical resuscitations”. Am I going to argue at length with anybody and everybody who does not agree with me? Not a chance. I’d rather poke needles in my eyes.

So, what do you want to argue about? [P.S. Warning! Be prepared for me to graciously suggest that you “take a hike.” ]


On the road most of the day and writing other things as well. I’d like to respond to other parts of this chapter’s discussion, hopefully tomorrow.

Dillon, I think your explanation of Penner’s error (and mine),
of (modernists, particularly scientists) ever assuming Einstein authoritative makes sense. Scientists, at least, recognize that scientific knowledge is always changing, so that current geniuses will be surpassed by subsequent generations of geniuses.

Do you think there is a difference with the genius apologist, who is attempting to develop (and promote the use of) irrefutable proofs of something unchangeable, that is God? My thinking is, that while new counterarguments will continue to be proposed and with varying success be refuted by subsequent generations of genius apologists, the thing to be proven (existence of God, reasonableness of belief in God, etc.) does not change or develop (unlike scientific knowledge).

I readily admit my prejudices here against the model of apologetics as I know it (which is the modern apologetic paradigm), and my admiration for Penner’s arguments. I very likely may be stubborn.

You put it so delicately .
As with so may other “christian economic opportunities”, it has, and it is.

How often I’ve begged texts to speak transparently. “Please, a diagram, in crayon if necessary. A concrete example. Anything?” Nope. And, not so ironically, I am bracing myself to reenter the next chapter.

What a magnificent insult to keep in one’s back pocket. Many applications.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

1 Like

No problemo

If I remember right Strobel had a chapter on Habermas in The Case for Christ. What a book that was!

It was Earl Doherty’s book in response to Strobel that wrecked me good.

No argument at this time.

Best Regards

Christian skeptic here again.
Aren’t controversial and unprovable (uninterpretable) things like the shroud and NDEs a distraction from the actual thing to be supported (DDR, I think you called it, Terry.)? This feels like the layers and layers of “evidence” proposed by conspiracy theorists.

1 Like

It’s hard to imagine going on a road trip and using paper maps for navigation.

Speaking of road trips the most remarkable set of coincidences happened to me this summer while trying to make it to the water park.

Some time ago, last year I think, on a whim I presented a problem to a philosophy of science sub and noted the problem science has in determining whether the universe is beginning or expanding at the observable beginning. It was a solid discussion which confirmed my suspicion.

How does one endure the body of philosophy texts long enough to achieve any level of comprehension, much less expertise?


1 Like

Plantinga had a great talk, which I can no longer find, where he asked what happens for the seasoned philosophy professor, when a freshman student turns the pyramid on its head.

Was not able to pm you. I’ll at least hear you out. Don’t have time now for more research, though.

1 Like

I readily concede that they can be, but for me they aren’t.

  • If and only if you willing to talk or hear me talk about either, I’ll do so by invitation only, here or in a PM. My friend, @marta , is familiar with my views, so feel free to ask her opinion. If you want a referral to two people who object to my views on the Shroud or the one person–that I know–who thinks NDEs are "mere medical resuscitations, let me know and I’ll PM their names to you, if they don’t “jump out of their seats” here to volunteer their services. :grin:
  • So happens that “Jesus Mythicism” is a wild and wacky conspiracy theory, typically presented by several atheists mentioned in the Jesus and Paganism.

  • A great, IMO, site hosted by a rational and reasonable atheist, to wit: Jesus Mythicism sheds some light on the subject. Fascinating “rabbit holes”.

  • What, then, is the thing to be supported? I have my opinion: It’s the Kerygma. Each Christian must decide for her- or himself. But here, I must confess: as I shared with another, my identity as “Terry Sampson” is completely inseparable from my past as the beneficiary of a small number of people who loved me more than I deserved AND believed in the crucified and resurrected Jesus of Nazareth. That says nothing about me, but everything about Jesus and some saints who believed and trusted in his Name.


[Edit and correction] I think I had actually had the questions you posed for chapter 1 in mind. Sorry for the confusion.

What did you learn from the responses to your questionnaire?

I didn’t notice a poll. Was it mentioned in thread?

I confess I’m not interested in the details but I am curious whether you think these NDE’s and/or the shroud are sources of reassurance for believers or reasons to believe for everyone. Is that a fair question for a non to ask a non non?

1 Like

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.