A Different Way of Looking at Apologetics Methodology

This is not an article about presuppositionalism versus evidentialism. However, if you’re familiar with that debate, this article does address something that happens often there. That debate is usually bogged down with both sides presenting their own positive case without really dealing with what the other side actually thinks.

In this article, I want to talk about something more subtle. It’s something that I hope will explain my own approach to the Hebrew Roots movement in particular. What I’m referring to is the methodology of the single complete refutation versus refutation by multiple small victories.

Single complete refutation is best suited to simple doctrines. Does someone deny salvation by grace through faith alone? Cite some passages that contradict that. There may be many arguments out here, but they will focus on a very small target.

On the other hand, if you’re addressing an entirely different theology, one that touches multiple issues, it might be more effective to chip away at it a little at a time. That’s what I’m talking about here.

Protestant apologists and theologians have attempted to address Hebrew Roots at times, with varying levels of success, but the effectiveness of their arguments is proportional to how much depth they’ve employed in those arguments. More often than not, they seem to assume it’s a simple issue of works-righteousness, and address it as such. Many have their one article or one video on the topic. Those who put more effort in seem to make more impact.

Hebrew Roots touches everything in the faith. It’s about salvation, the Trinity, eschatology, ethics, prophecy, everything. As a result, even if there are complete refutations, as I still think there are, they don’t have the same impact as when dealing with a more focused point of doctrine. If you present an argument which completely refutes a core doctrine, many are likely to reject it because it doesn’t mention some other argument they are more convinced by. Because of this, they think they are still able to hang on to false doctrine because you didn’t mention some obscure argument or point of theology that they find compelling.

Add to this the fact that every individual adherent is likely to have his own take on things and his own points of “unassailable” wisdom that you didn’t talk about, so you’re obviously completely ignorant of his beliefs.

So what’s a person to do with this? Sometimes, there is no efficient route. No highway. Maybe no dirt road, even. Sometimes you just have to go the slow way of hacking through individual vines with a machete. I think this is especially true of the Hebrew Roots movement because it is simultaneously vastly complex and new enough that others haven’t blazed trails yet into their territory.

What does this look like? It means reading and evaluating the theological points themselves, and the arguments used to support them, and taking them on, one by one. It kinda looks like this:

  • Refuting the idea that the Law of Moses is eternal, predating Moses
  • Refuting the idea that God never changes His commands
  • Demonstrating that “lawlessness” doesn’t prove Torah observance
  • Showing biblical teaching on circumcision to n incompatible with their theology
  • Showing that their attempt to escape what happened in Acts 15 is a dismal failure
  • Showing how civil law proves completely irreconcilable with their theology
  • Refuting their claim that New Testament Gentiles are really the lost tribes of Israel
  • Refuting their equating Jesus with the Torah
  • Showing how the sacrificial system refutes their theology
  • Showing their inconsistent teaching on the gospel

You may recognize these as the topics of some of my videos. And some things I haven’t released.

This may look a little disorganized. What it is is the beginning of a library of refutation. I don’t expect to find a single, magic argument to handle it all. This way takes longer, but it takes every nuance to the Scripture to test and dispose of it.

What’s especially enjoyable about this method is the fact that people who try to challenge one argument by means of bringing up some completely irrelevant argument only serve to give me my next topic.

I believe this can be done for other systems of thinking as well. It’s just unnecessary when going over well-trodden ground, whereas Hebrew Roots is so new that it is largely untested at all. I’m looking to change that.

People have already been enlightened by the Scripture through the content here, and I have no intention of slowing down. The power of God’s true words will continue to change hearts and call people out of falsehoods like this, and I count myself blessed and fortunate to have front row seats.