Going back now to our roster of apostates, we have this explanation from one “Emodude”:
My first seeds of doubt were very easily sewn when I picked up a book at the bookstore that described Jesus' life not from an evangelical viewpoint, but simply from a historical fact one. At that point, I realized that I wasn't getting all the information there was to know about this guy from church. Which made me think - what else weren't they teaching me, or didn't they want me to know??
There’s a lot more information we’d like about this one – particularly, what that “book” was. For all we know, it may have been anything from Crossan’s latest trash to even more putrid productions from the likes of Acharya S. But that may matter little, from our perspective. Regardless of what book Emodude picked up first, the fact that he didn’t get enough information from his church is a stinging indictment of those pastors and preachers who aren’t providing it.
I’m not saying pastors need to be educated in such matters; frankly, I know few that would be capable of grasping such issues in depth (my own current pastor is an exception). What they do need to do, as I suggested in an article for CRJ at one time, is assemble some sort of listing of persons or materials that can serve as resources for those who have questions. Ideally this could be a seminary professor, or even (cough) a serious apologist – someone who makes it their business to keep up with books like these and what they say. (But no, don’t worry about not having any particular book read and analyzed – no one reasonable can expect that. Rather, be well read and be willing to read more to answer questions.)
It would also be good (yes, I’m fantasizing heavily here) for churches to have regular classes to keep them up to date on the latest challenges. And the pastor need not do a thing except say from the pulpit, “If you’ve heard about the latest book by Dr. Grunt, saying Jesus was actually a green homosexual Inuit, our resident expert Frank Frunk will be discussing that tonight in church training class.” Is that so hard for a pastor to do? From the reactions I get, you’d think I was asking some of them to hold a live weasel rather than simply asking them to promote a teaching.
I’m also not saying, of course, that Emodude knows his business; if he follows Loftus’ blog, he’s already down 50 points on the critical thinking scale. But there’s plenty of obvious blame to be set at the door of our churches for not taking their responsibilities of discipleship seriously.