Sunday, November 11, 2018

The next gen: going where no apologist has gone before

I follow some of the next generation Christian apologists. Nice to see new talent in the pipeline. A few general observations:

1. Because the UK is increasingly threatened by Islam (abetted by politicians who collaborate with Muslims immigrants), some Christian apologists in the UK include Islam as a major component of their apologetics.

2. Younger apologists study older apologists. Up to a point that's good. But itt carries the danger of tunnel vision, where they copy all the same menu and arguments. That unduly narrows the resources of Christian apologetics. 

3. Some Christian apologists have a particular area of expertise. However, a Christian apologist is required to cover a wide range of objections to Christianity. To some degree a Christian apologist must be an autodidact and jack-of-all-trades. If someone has a high enough IQ, they can teach themselves just about anything. 

There are different kinds of intelligence. Some people are philosophically-minded, some are scientifically-minded (with a knack for math), while others are historically-minded (with a knack for foreign languages). Apologetics is interdisciplinary, so it's useful to have apologists with different fortes. 

4. A Christian apologist ought to have a firm grasp of systematic theology with considered positions on most topics in systematic theology. He needs to know what he believes before he's in a position to defend it. The basic task of a Christian apologist is to defend the Bible and systematic theology. Don't go hiking without a weather report. Don't go hiking unless you know what to put in the backpack. Bad idea to find out what you need when it's too late to bring it with you. In the age of social media, it's easy to garner a following. But the danger is to become successful before you're ready. 

I've only sampled the apologists I'm about to comment on, so this represents my provisional impressions. 

Andy Bannister

The most seasoned of the bunch. Has a doctorate in Islamic studies. Does lots of clever YouTube shorts as well as debates. 

Cameron Bertuzzi

Bright philosophy type. Quick study. Does some good interviews. 

Cameron has lots of potential. However, he's theologically off-center. Has some bad theological role models (e.g. BioLogos, McNabb, Rauser, Swinburne, Walls). Center-left evangelical theology bleeding into progressive Christianity.

Seems like he's trying to build his boat and sail it at the same time. Needs to figure out what he's supposed to believe–as well as developing a more traditionally evangelical center of gravity. 

On Facebook as well as his own site:

Blake Giunta

Very bright philosophy type. Quick on his feet. Has a clever interactive apologetic platform:

Wesley Huff

NT scholar. I think he picked up Arabic when his parents were missionaries in the Middle East, so he also debates Muslims. Seems to have both feet on the ground theologically. On Facebook and Youtube. 

Jonathan McLatchie

Strong formal background in the life sciences. Conducts helpful webinars. Smart and wide-ranging with an ink-blot memory. 

Neil Shenvi

Ivy League scientific background. Branching out into the culture wars as well as apologetics:


  1. A few others to keep an eye on:

    1. Inspiring Philosophy:

    2. Luke Barnes. Evangelical Anglican from Australia. Physicist (PhD, Cambridge University).

    3. David Glass. N. Irish evangelical. Physicist.

    4. Aron Wall. Son of the great Larry Wall (creator of Perl). Aron Wall is a world class physicist. However, Church of the Nazarene.

    5. Jeff Durbin. An apologist out of Arizona. Gets publicity (e.g. Ben Shapiro interview). Seems like a James White clone though.

    6. Lue-Yee Tsang. Chinese-American Reformed Anglican. UC Berkeley linguistics major, University of St. Andrews for his doctoral studies. Knows multiple languages. Not really an apologist, but has addressed issues relevant to apologetics.

    7. Several up and coming British apologists at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics affiliated with Ravi Zacharias, Os Guinness, and John Lennox:

    1. I think Durbin is a step up from White and Ten Bruggencate. While almost as rigid in his presuppositionalism as Sye, I believe Durbin can be quite sharp.

  2. I would also add Keith Thompson. He has done debates with Muslims and Roman Catholics. In addition he has done documentaries on Islam, Roman Catholicism and Atheism. He has a website where you can check out his material here:

  3. Being a Spurgeon fanboy doesn't count towards my doctrinal soundness? I am deeply wounded. :-)

    1. You got a clean bill of health. It's Cameron who's 4-F.

  4. Off topic but Dave Armstrong has a rather curious defense of yesterday of how the Catholic church's teaching on the death penalty is, er, infallible, not infallible, or consistent even if it's not consistent.

    1. Striking that Fastiggi, who's a Francis apologist on the death penalty, is also executive editor of the 2009-2013 supplements to the New Catholic Encyclopedia and the co-editor of the English translation of the 43rd edition of the Denzinger-Hünermann compendium published by Ignatius Press in 2012:

      That makes him a gatekeeper for what constitutes Catholic teaching, when you consult major sources (Denzinger; the New Catholic Encyclopedia).

    2. I don't know why Armstrong claims his Lutheran debater was a "troll" and a "pompous ass." The guy was asking the perfectly reasonable question of why, given a change in the death penalty, something similar couldn't happen with other doctrines (as seems to be the case with hell). I posted a comment on the blog and it was deleted.

    3. Armstrong used to pride himself on being a free speech advocate who didn't delete comments. I guess he's become easily triggered in his dotage.

    4. It's all about the tricky questions. It must me exhausting being a contemporary Catholic apologist. All those backward somersaults and backflips. I recommend Lucozade Sport.

  5. What do ya'll think of Michael Ramsden? I've enjoyed some of his contributions lately. I appreciate what Jo Vitale has contributed, but I think he needs to develop a little more.

    This is a good conversation - I've been looking around lately myself for new apologists. I didn't take to Jeff Durbin just because his contributions seem a bit copied from others. But I'm sure God uses him!

    Has anyone surfaced over at that is new?

  6. I like what I've seen from Sean McDowell