|I thought this was a very nice picture of Dr. Flew|
out of the many available for me to choose from.
(A Deist: believes there is a god, though he - whoever he, she or they may be - are far removed from humanity and largly unknowable)
I understand that is is not of any significance in his spiritual life, since his spirit is in the same state it is in as long as he refuses a relationship with Christ, though it could be a step in his own awareness of its possible state.
Anyway, the point for me posting this is my awareness of petty rivalry within the church and the Christian science world, or at least as I've seen it viewed by others, and even at times by myself. If you have ever played the two-person game of Battleship, you may understand more what I mean. Some seem to look at apologetics (defending of the faith) as the soul purpose of their being "Christian", and the exchange of words and debate as our primary war with the world, if not our primary evangelistic tool. If we can "sink the enemy's ship," proverbially, and protect our own, we do well, we think. Every Antony Flew is like getting a POW - a guy "on our side" - score!! The one who gets everybody on "their side" wins. If we can sink their ships before they sink ours the game is in our favor. Aside from this being a faulty view, it is problematic in that it is very prideful. We eradicate the work of the Holy Spirit, and nearly throw faith out the window. We are fighting the wrong battles, as well clinging to the wrong ethics and priorities. We put emphasis on ourselves, and the arguments we can conjure up, using God as a tool (though I would say many Christian apologetics writers and debaters do not have wrong motives and esteem). Some seem to forget that "if God is for us, who can be against us," (Romans 8:31,) that "our battle is not against flesh and blood", ( Ephesians 6:12,) and that the Christian's battle is ultimately already won and decided - "it is finished" (John 1:30).
I cannot say much about knowing Dr. Antony Flew, as I've only watched partial debates and heard bits and pieces here and there, so I cannot presume to tell you about him. I would like to speak a word about anyone, whether on "our side" or "his side": we ought to respect them as seekers of truth, and gently lead them to it as the Holy Spirit sees fit and guides. While watching Flew debate, everyone in the room was struck with his almost comical mannerisms and way of expression. We could look at that and say "ha! He isn't on our side, so lets laugh at him," or we could look past that and listen to what he has to say. Our point in apologetics should not be to win, but to draw other's closer to Christ.
With this said, I congradulate Flew on a step closer, and continue to pray for him, and anyone else "on his side."