By Elysia McColley
There have been numerous men and women throughout history who have broken through the cultural mores of their times to bring people the truth of God’s Word. The early church had leaders like Tertullian and Augustine; in the Middle Ages, there was Thomas Aquinas, amongst many others. In the twentieth century, C.S. Lewis helped the most intellectually-oriented people turn their thoughts back to the Bible and the Christian message. Each of these Christian apologists spoke to particular issues that existed in his or her day.
I want to give here a list of some of the most influential Christian apologists of the opening decades of the twenty-first century. These are men and women who have been working on issues that are relevant to the cultural challenges that we face today, including postmodern thought, scientific challenges to the Bible, and the declining role of Christianity in the West.
- John LennoxJohn Lennox is a professor of mathematics at Oxford University who, during his years of study, attended lectures by C.S. Lewis. Lennox uses his skills as a mathematician, along with his profound understanding of natural sciences, to discuss questions such as the existence of God and the nature of the Trinity. He frequently engages in public debates with high-profile atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
- Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias has had an extensive career as an apologist that began during the Vietnam War, when he ministered to American soldiers and Viet Cong POWs. He is particularly prominent in evangelical circles and has an apologetic approach that seeks to build bridges of understanding between Protestants and those of differing beliefs (including Mormons, non-Protestant Christians, and people of other religions). He focuses on how Christians should approach existential questions, such as the existence of God, the meaning of life, and what happens after death.
- Holly Ordway
Holly Ordway is the chair of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. Her approach to apologetics is a bit unorthodox, yet it follows in the footsteps of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis: she views the imagination as evidence for a Creator and as the cornerstone for a Christian worldview. “Imaginative apologetics,” a field that she is at the front of, takes an approach that focuses on storytelling – coupled with a strong rational argument – to help meet people where they are, answer life’s deepest questions in a meaningful way, and redeem language and culture.
- Judy Salisbury
Throughout history, the most influential theologians and apologists have overwhelmingly been male. Judy is a counselor and apologist who promotes apologetics particularly to women, and she does so with an approach that speaks to the whole person – body, soul, and spirit. She founded Logos Presentations to help promote her unique apologetics platform, which addresses people’s intellectual and emotional needs. She has written multiple books that, while appropriate for both male and female audiences, are particularly designed to get women interested and active in the field of apologetics.
- Hugh Ross
Do you think that all Christian apologists debate atheists and an atheist worldview? If so, you need to meet Hugh Ross. He is an astrophysicist who, in 1986, founded Reasons to Believe to help bridge the gap between faith and science. Ross is an old-earth creationist, meaning that he believes that mainstream science has accurately dated both the earth and the universe. However, he has serious reservations about things like Darwinian evolution as being able to explain the origin of life. Many of his debates are against young-earth creationists, such as Ken Ham, who promote the view that the earth is less than 10,000 years old in accordance with a highly literal reading of the book of Genesis. He also debates mainstream scientists and, as a well-respected astrophysicist, speaks alongside mainstream scientists who do not share his Christian worldview.