Canada

A Quick Survey of Popular Online Christian Apologists

READ MORE

As mentioned elsewhere, I’ve spent a large portion of 2015 ingesting all kinds of sources from famous Christian apologists who have either websites/blogs and/or some sort of app that can be used to access their materials. Partway through, I’ve begun to form opinions of some of these sources. For what it’s worth, in no particular order:

  • Dr. William Lane Craig: Arguably, Dr. Craig is to apologetics as Michael Jordan is to basketball, one of the modern greats. A research professor at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and a professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University, Dr. Craig has authored several books on apologetics (available on Amazon) and has an online apologetics ministry at Reasonable Faith. He has debated many prominent atheists including the late Christopher Hitchens (which you can find on YouTube) and Lawrence Krauss. The Pros: Dr. Craig’s material in inexhaustible. There are hours upon hours of his lectures on just Christian doctrine alone available on his site and app, to say nothing of his tackling of topical subjects, debates, and so on. The Cons: Not really a drawback, but one needs to be in the right mindset to take on his material as it’s largely college-level content. I’ve been trying to get through his excellent recent book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision…I need to make sure I’ve eaten a good breakfast and a couple cups of coffee before tackling it.
  • Dr. Frank Turek: I hadn’t heard of Dr. Turek until I can across his debate with American Atheists president David Silverman online. A robust debate, but as these things often go, no real clear “winner”. Like William Lane Craig, Dr. Turek debated Christopher Hitchens before his passing, and appeared on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” show. A prolific writer, Dr. Turek recently penned Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. His website and app are called Cross-Examined, which contains his weekly articles, recordings from his weekly radio show on the AFR radio network, and an interesting “quick answers” section giving folks brief retorts to objections atheists sometimes come across, i.e. “There are no truths”. to which you’d answer, “Is that a truth?”. The pros: Unlike other apologists, whose material is wonderful but takes some work to get through, Dr. Turek’s material is easier to digest and apply. The cons: Personally, I don’t like mixing politics in Christian studies (yes, I know Dr. Turek would take umbrage with that), and Dr. Turek takes a swipe at NPR on almost every radio show, saying something to the effect of “if you’re low on the FM dial and looking for NPR, go no further…we’ll actually tell you the truth, or at least that’s our intent.” He’s also known to invoke Rush Limbaugh now and then. Dr. Turek is undoubtedly a good, Godly gent and extremely intelligent…it’s just my preference that he avoid ideology. Also, his “quick answers” are a fine idea, but I think budding apologists (like myself) can find themselves in a quandary if an adversary chose to take issue with those brief retorts and the newbie has nothing else in his quiver.
  • J. Warner Wallace: Also known as Jim Wallace, he is a now-retired “cold case” police detective from Southern California who, like me, spent most of his life away from the faith (Mr. Wallace was an atheist; I was an agnostic). At one point, he used his skills of deductive reasoning and logic to investigate Christianity and found it to be true. His book, website and apps for iPhone and Android (no iPad app…a future endeavor, I hope!) are called Cold Case Christianity. He speaks all over the US and Canada, and lectures and Biola University. The Pros: Mr. Wallace’s material is sort of “the middle”, in between Dr. Craig’s scholarly materials and Dr. Turek’s more “AM radio talk show” approach. He is folksy, well-spoken, and his material is on a level that may challenge the average listener, but not overtax them. The Cons: I find myself wishing Mr. Wallace’s website and app were better – or perhaps differently – organized. This is splitting hairs, but compared to other apps/sites, I find Mr. Wallace’s online material a little harder to navigate. The apps are prone to crashing as well. And again, an app for tablets would be swell.
  • Greg Koukl: Mr. Koukl heads the Stand to Reason apologetics ministry and has penned several excellent books including Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, and his most recent work, The Story of Reality: How The World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens In Between. Mr. Koukl is an excellent Christian case-maker who specializes in the “how” apologetics along with the “why”.. He seems to avoid classic debate formats but nonetheless has engaged with top critics of Christianity like Deepak Chopra and Michael Shermer. Pros: Like Mr. Wallace, Mr. Koukl is folksy and engaging, and his material is generally easy to consume. Cons: I can’t really think of any, to be honest. The str.org website and app are well designed and organized. If Greg is not available for his main podcast/radio show which airs Tuesdays at 4pm Pacific, he has terrific speakers in his ministry able and willing to pinch-hit for him including Brett Kunkle and Alan Shlemon. J. Warner Wallace has been known to guest host as well.

There are more materials out there, including SES’s app, the excellent Got Questions site and app, and so on. Perhaps I’ll review these at another time. Until then, God bless.