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How Not to Share Your Faith: The Seven Deadly Sins of Apologetics Paperback – May 1, 2002
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Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
but in your hearts reverence Christ as
Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense
to any one who calls you to account for
the hope that is in you, yet do it
with gentleness and reverence
But far too often Catholic apologists seem to have shortened this in their heads to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one" and then added silently -- implicitly, but really -- "the best defense is a good offense." The end result is not effective apologists but offensive Catholics.
Brumley provides a welcome correction that is stern without being preachy and will certainly make those who follow its advice not only more effective apostles but also better Christians.
I particularly like his section on what he calls "apologetic gluttony" which is the mistaken and misguided attempt to "prove" all of the mysteries of the faith, essentially biting off more than can be chewn. I expect that this may be a temptation that converts are particularly prone to. In telling the story of how you became convinced of the truth of the faith, it's easy to make it seem like an intellectual achievement rather than a gift of God.
One facet of the Pope's call was a revival of apologetics, the defense and explanation of Church teaching. In the third millennium, the advent of the Internet opened the door for this apologetical revolution. Writings from church fathers and Saints were introduced online. Quality explanations of Church teaching could be found by anyone accessing a search engine. And professional apologists, authors, and teachers began springing up across the world.
In light of this surging interest in apologetics, Mark Brumley, now the President of Ignatius Press, wrote a book titled "How Not to Share Your Faith". The book wasn't written to provide specific apologetical arguments but instead focuses on the dangers apologists face.
Brumley calls these dangers the Seven Deadly Sins of Apologetics:
1. Apologetical Gluttony - A failure to respect the limits of what apologetics can accomplish.
2. Reducing the Faith to Apologetics - Looking at all or most spiritual matters "apologetically".
3. Confusing the Faith with Our Arguments for It - Reducing the Faith to our own particular arguments for it
4. Contentiousness - Going out of your way to look for areas of disagreement.
5. Friendly Fire -Battling Protestants and other absolutists instead of non-Christians and relativists.
6. Trying to "Win" - Aiming to 'win' an argument, even at the expense of bringing people to truth.
7. Pride - Thinking more highly of one's apologetical abilities than one should.Read more ›
by Mark Brumley
San Diego, California: Catholic Answers, 2002
Preface by Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ
Foreword by the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Denver [2011 of Philadelphia]
Review by Reverend Brian Van Hove, SJ
Published in The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 46
This extended essay of 121 pages deserves to be read by every young person who wishes to defend the Catholic faith. Even high school students would benefit. It is written with clarity and simplicity, with grace and a positive tone. The title indicates what "not" to do, but the direction the author takes really tells us "what to do" and also "how to do it".
Mark Brumley presumes a new generation of apologists has gone to work. Perhaps some of us are less aware of them. If this is the case, his real target readership is this cadre of apologists, but anyone can still profit.
One of the strengths of this very readable work is its reliance on tradition. The wisdom of the past is presented and activated as something bright and usable today. Catholic wisdom has a flexibility and an applicability that spans time and place. There is real continuity between the pioneering work in Catholic apologetics of Frank Sheed and what Brumley recommends. Thomas Aquinas, Louis Bouyer, C. S. Lewis, and Joseph Ratzinger also figure in.
Apologetics is a branch of theology, which requires intelligence. But it likewise requires faith. Brumley is plain when he insists that, in the end, any attempt to defend the faith--better, to lead others to it--must be deeply rooted in charity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was surprised by what's included and what's not included in the list of mistakes to avoid. This is a very quick read and I look forward to going back through it in detail as I... Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Little Sister
I am very interested to read this book. Can this be made available in a Kindle edition? The description looks great!Published on January 27, 2013 by Helena Rocolcol
Well thought out book that enabled the reader to BEGIN sharing the Catholic Faith. Apologetic Evangalical sharing of the Catholic faith is a tough thing to do. Read morePublished on July 14, 2010 by Z. Byrns