“With my voice I plead for mercy to Yahweh.” (Psalm 142:1b)
GOLDSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA — Rick Mangold, Senior Pastor of Goldsboro First Baptist Church, just received the single most severe punishment in Baptist history – eternal demotion to teaching junior high Sunday school. His crime? Daring to incorporate apologetics into his Sunday sermon. During sentencing, Mangold confessed, “Yes, I did intentionally include arguments and evidence in my sermon outline. We live in a cultural milieu that is increasingly skeptical of the essential truths of Christianity. I just wanted to equip our members to engage on an intellectual level.”
The board of elders – composed mainly of graying men woefully out of touch with evangelism of any sort – lambasted Mangold for “cultural appeasement,” “advocacy of deceptive human philosophy,” “liberal contextualization,” and, worst of all, “lacking alliteration.”
Some of the congregation strongly opposed what they perceived as an excessive reaction by the board of elders. “I mean, yeah, they should probably address the fact that Pastor Mangold’s sermon was super un-Baptist,” said one junior high student, “but sending him to teach junior high forever? That’s just, like, pure evil.”
Pastor Mangold was last seen calculating the distance between the top of the steeple and the ground.
“Lord, place your apologetics-blocking hedge of protection around me.”
SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA — “Lots and lots of prayer.” This was the answer given by veteran evangelist Herb O’Connell when asked how he managed to survive 45 years as a local missionary without offering a single defense of the essential truths of Christianity even once. This remarkable achievement is made all the more impressive given O’Connell’s strict regimen of sharing the Gospel with at least 50 lost souls per week. Our faux correspondent caught up with O’Connell at his local congregation’s monthly potluck:
Faux Correspondent (FC): Mr. O’Connell, you have been sharing the Gospel for a remarkably long time in this area. Surely there must have been many people that asked for good reasons or evidence that Christianity is true.
Herb O’Connell (HC): Oh, yes. That’s correct. But, you see, the Lord generously blessed me with the gift of avoiding those particular topics. I’ve developed a whole host of ways to skirt apologetics (I call it the A-word!) altogether. Rapid topic change, rambling anecdotes, bathroom breaks, pointing and yelling “Look!” – these are just a few of the techniques in my toolbox and I have them ready as soon as I step through that door. I also pray in the car beforehand that the Lord would make my divine appointments evidence-free. I think my longevity demonstrates my method’s effectiveness.
FC: Demonstrates? As in, “serves as evidence in favor of”?
HC: Have you tried my wife’s casserole? I’ll tell you about how she came by that recipe when I get back from the men’s room. Look!
They’re all about that possible worlds semantics
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — The recent evangelization of a tribe of previously-uncontacted Amazon natives has yielded a most puzzling discovery: the ontological argument is 100% effective in converting the tribespeople to Christianity. Charles Lambert, a missionary trained in Christian apologetics, had recently finished Alvin Plantinga’s The Nature of Necessity (1974) and incorporated the argument into his gospel presentation on a whim. “You know,” remarks Lambert, “there was just something in their eyes that told me they would connect with an argument consisting of purely analytic, a priori premises.”
Anthropologist and linguistic expert Paul Townshend has investigated the unexpected success of the abstruse argument in order to understand the reason for its completely surprising results. Townshend concludes, “Apparently, notions of necessity, maximally great being, and possible worlds are all very intuitive – even simple – for these primitive people. Quite curious considering their language only possesses 47 words.”
The success has missions groups racing to dusty bookstores and weird uncles’ houses in search of Plantinga’s book.