oralApologetics.com is excited to announce a New Associate Editor: T. J. Gentry. He’ll be joining our team with the particular intent of focusing on pastoral issues related to moral apologetics. He shares a passion for the moral argument(s) and brings much to his new post. He is, in his own words, a “mere Christian with genuine fascination and awe for the breadth and depth of God’s gracious kingdom.”
He became a Christian in 1978, and began pastoral ministry in 1984. He has worked as a youth pastor, senior pastor, church planter, church-based seminary professor, and as a chaplain assistant in the Army Chaplain Corps. A southern Illinois native, T. J. is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a BA in Political Science; Liberty University with an MAR in Church Ministries, an MDiv in Chaplaincy, and a ThM in Theology; and Piedmont International University with a DMin in Pastoral Counseling. T. J. is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty, hoping to write his dissertation on some aspect of the intersection of moral apologetics and the pastorate.
He is the author of God Help Us: Encouragement for Evangelism, and Thinking of Worship: A Liturgical Miscellany, as well as the forthcoming Evangel-ogetics: Apologetics for the Sake of the Lost. T. J. has published articles on liturgics, pastoral counseling, and church-based counseling ministries. He lives in Carterville, Illinois with his wife and five children, where he pastors an independent evangelical church, directs a Christian counseling ministry, and serves as a Brigade Chaplain for the Army National Guard. T.J.’s preaching may be heard at www.sermonaudio.com/fellowshipinchrist.
Here’s a recent excerpt from his personal correspondence about moral apologetics:
First, and foundationally, a moral apologetic that is intentionally and consistently anchored in the agape of God, thereby reflecting his heart and character, is the ultimate answer to the burgeoning nihilistic tendencies within our culture. An agape based moral apologetic is able to connect even to the most existentially dour and disconnected person whose illative sense still tells them this type of love and its moral concomitants are real and essential to their wholeness as a person. At their deepest level, unbelievers want an agape based moral apologetic to be true. Moral apologetics are central to evangelism.
Second, insofar as the moral apologetics movement that the Lord is prodding makes an intentional connection to pulpit ministry and counseling, moral apologetics provides a means for pastors to address from the pulpit and in the counseling room the underlying questions they will inevitably face in congregations that are increasingly a mixture of believers and seekers. These believers and seekers need a robust theology that appreciates and draws upon the totality of God’s revelation, both natural and special. Moral apologetics rooted in the love of God is, I conclude, the pathway to recover a place at the table for natural theology within Evangelical Christianity, and a way to strengthen the particulars of special revelation regarding the character of God and nature of man. Preaching and counseling will only be enhanced by moral apologetics. In this regard, moral apologetics becomes part of the fabric of congregation-level, workaday Christianity.
I’m praying for clarity regarding my role, as I initially think it is to take the apologetic armament that you are giving me regarding the philosophical and historical foundations and argumentation, and begin to train my sights on how the moral argument relates to various worldviews and apologetics encounters. Something along the lines of the practical and pastoral application of the philosophical, theological, and historical genius of moral apologetics as articulated from an intentional agape based approach.
We’re thrilled to welcome T. J. onboard, and look forward to seeing how God intends to extend the reach of MoralApologetics.com. In addition to the new pastoral focus T. J. will bring (bolstered all the more by the recent addition of Tom Thomas as a regular contributor), here are additional new initiatives the site will be undertaking over the next year:
- A stronger focus on the history of moral apologetics
- The relevance of moral apologetics to spiritual formation
- Forging more explicit connections between moral apologetics and Christian theology in particular
- Work toward the formation of a Moral Apologetics Center, including grant moneys to facilitate lectureships, conferences, panel discussions, etc.
- Delineating more exegetical connections to the task of moral apologetics, and
- Application of moral apologetics in chaplaincy contexts
- Greater examination of the explanatory power (or lack thereof) of nonChristian religious alternative explanations of features and facets of moral phenomena
As always, submissions on any aspect of moral arguments for God’s existence are welcome and encouraged. Try to keep submissions to about 1000 words normally.