Christian Apologetics – Who Needs It?

I am honored and deeply humbled by the privilege of being invited to give the Stob Lectures this year. Indeed, I’m a bit embarrassed by all the fuss you’ve made. There’s a temptation to try to justify one’s selection as the Stob lecturer by giving some hopefully impressive, scholarly pair of lectures. But a phone call from President Plantinga made it quite clear to me that such was consistent with neither the intended purpose nor the audience of these lectures. I had thought to speak on some key topics in Christian philosophical theology. But President Plantinga encouraged me instead to address the question of Christian apologetics, a topic apparently dear to the heart of Henry Stob but somewhat neglected in recent years. He encouraged me to draw upon my years of experience as a Christian apologist to share some very practical thoughts on this discipline. So that is what I’ve decided to do. Tonight we ask ourselves the fundamental question: Christian apologetics—who needs it? To begin with, I think we ought to distinguish between apologetics’ necessity and utility. The distinction is important. For even if apologetics should turn out not to be absolutely necessary, it doesn’t follow that it is therefore useless. For example, it’s not necessary to know how to type in order to use a computer—you can hunt

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