“Taste and See”: How Food Informs Apologetics

In this paper, I argue that the theology and philosophy of food can help Christians engage in apologetic discussion. My thesis is that food offers an orientation (or framework) and inbuilt method for speaking intelligibly and accessibly about God to both non-Christians and Christians. I first survey the scriptural teaching on food – especially food as an analogy to God’s Word and salvation – to glean insights for articulating and defending key facets of the Christian faith and worldview, specifically, objective truth, hunger, trust, dependence, sacrifice, and community.

From these insights, I draw out ten practical applications to help Christians share and defend their faith in the public square. These include seeking God in the mundane and ordinary, warning the nonbeliever that truly knowing God requires the surrender of faith, getting rid of theological “poison” and “fast-food” that we may be ingesting, and using meals to foster theological conversation. I hope in this presentation to encourage Christians not to think of the Bible and apologetics merely as a set of cognitive arguments or as an optional additive to life, but rather as essential food that oneself and others need, thus helping to shift the nature of the conversation from pugilistic “fight” to hospitable “invite.”

My research draws from and interacts with Robert Farrar Capon’s The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (2002); Norman Wirzba’s Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating (2019); Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006); Robert J. Karris’s Eating Your Way through Luke’s Gospel (2006); Simon Chan’s Spiritual Theology: A Systematic Study of the Christian Life (1998); Warren Belasco’s Food: The Key Concepts (2008); Sara Covin Juengst’s Breaking Bread: The Spiritual Significance of Food (1992); Leon Kass’s The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature (1994); and Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements’s The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life (2017).

4 thoughts on ““Taste and See”: How Food Informs Apologetics”

  1. intriguing, but a bit broad
    Well, the paper does have a lot of interaction w/ the stated literature, but this looks more like an entire project than an ETS session paper.

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