BABINC Homepage Articles & Books Andy's Index

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
Andy Bustanoby
(C) March 5, 2005

     Did you ever hear this taunt when you were a kid?  If you didn't,
     you're a lot younger than I am.  Back in the thirties, this was a
     childish polemic.  Since then, many of us grew up, went to college
     and graduate school, and learned how to utter a more sophisticated
     polemic (attack) or apologetic (defense).

     This came to mind as I read Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth.  Nancy is a
     product of Francis A. Schaeffer's L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland
     where she studied.  L'Abri now offers a worldview curriculum based
     on her book.  Pearcey calls for a Christianity better equipped to
     free itself from the "cultural captivity" of the world.  It follows
     the thinking of Dutch neo-Calvinists such as Kuyper and Dooyeweerd.

     Her point is well taken.  Christianity has been reduced by the world
     to a "faith-based" system that doesn't require fact.  The
     unbelieving world maintains that factuality is the domain of
     science, not religion.  She argues that apologetics, the branch of
     theology that is concerned with the defense or proof of
     Christianity, needs to be taught to believers today if we are to
     free ourselves from the worldly view--that we are just like any
     other faith-based system that believes what has been culturally
     instilled in us, but is not based on fact.

     Though she makes a valid point in her book, I, as a retired pastor
     and active preacher and Bible teacher, have a theological bias.
     It's over where she places apologetics in a theological curriculum.
     It sounds like she makes apologetics the center and puts theology at
     the periphery.  I agree with Kuyper who argues for apologetics at
     the periphery.

     Most people have never heard a sermon from Genesis on intelligent
     design.  Most have not heard a sermon on creation and a study of the
     Hebrew words min (animals created after their kind) and mishpachah
     (the animals entered the ark one family after another).  Most people
     have not heard a sermon from Psalm 19 or Romans 1 on natural
     revelation and its importance.  Most people have never heard a
     sermon on common grace from The Book of Acts and the preaching of
     Paul.  They simply don't know that even though the unbeliever is
     blind to efficacious grace, he still is touched by natural
     revelation and common grace--and because of their rejection comes
     the condemnation of God.  This is why Paul is so hard on the
     unbeliever in Romans 1.  Natural revelation even speaks to the
     unbeliever of God's "eternal power and Godhead."

     In the homiletic process, the preacher must make it clear that these
     truths challenge unbelief.  In applying the sermon, the preacher
     needs to tell the people that there is such a thing called
     "apologetics" and how apologetics can be used.  But our apologetic
     will sound like the practiced recitation of a Jehovah's Witness
     unless we make biblical facts understandable and the center of our
     theological teaching and preaching.

     Dan R. Smedra, Webmaster of, raises a good question.
     Why, given the fact that this excellent apologetic originated with
     the Dutch, are Holland and the Scandinavian Countries still in
     "cultural captivity?"  I don't think that better apologetics will
     supplant better preaching of the truth, the total truth.  But Dan
     probably has a more balanced view of theology and apologetics.  He
     sees them as a pair of scissors.  I have to agree--in spite of my
     bias.  Let's just make sure both blades are really sharp!

                                    # # #

Click here to email andy

Return to Top