Top Christian Apologist

1. William Lane Craig

Dr. Craig is probably the most famous modern-day apologist in the world.  He currently runs the Reasonable Faith podcast and website.  He holds several degrees in divinity and theology and currently holds a research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.  Out of all the christian scholars in my own study, his information was the most useful, resourceful and dense.  He has debated the most atheist out of all other christian scholars and has performed extremely well in the majority of them.  Richard Dawkins has repeatedly turned down his request for a public debate.

2. Lee Strobel

Strobel is a well-respected christian author and former atheist.  He received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School, before becoming an investigative journalist for The Chicago Tribune.  He began investigating evidence for the Bible after his wife’s conversion.  He is famous for his investigative style apologetic book Case for Christ, Case for Faith, Case for the Real Jesus and Case for the Creator, where he interviews some of the worlds most famous and knowledgeable Christians in the field, many who are on this list.

3. J.P. Moreland

Professor Moreland is a well established Professor of Christian philosophy who works and teaches at Talbot School of Theology of Biola University. are little more practical and fundamental than  William Lane Craig.  His teachings are more fundamentalist in nature with more of a focus on biblical inerrancy, and militant apologetics.  He lectures all across the country at multiple speaking engagements, but he is most recognized for his apologetic books with Scaling the Secular Wall: A Defense of Christianity being his most prestigious.  And his brazen style of defending the faith which can learned about here, here, and here.

4. C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, If Craig is the most famous theologian of modern times.  Lewis is definitely the most famous of the last century.  He was a distinguished English professor at several high-profile universities and a former atheist.  He is most famous for his children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia.  However, he is recognized in the christian community by his works, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, The ScrewTape Letters and probably his most Famous Mere Christianity.  These books and Lewis’ writing mostly inspired by the suffering  he has seen by two World Wars and the global depression and as way to explain suffering and evil.  And he also famous for popularizing the Jesus Christ Trilemma.

5. Daniel Wallace

Dr. Wallace is a professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and a scholar of New Testament Textual Criticism.  He has studied at two of the most recognized theological institutions of the United States, Dallas Theological Seminary and Biola University.  He is probably the foremost knowledgeable leading critic to agnostic scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman.  Wallace has also founded the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts which is a foundation that seeks to digitize all known biblical manuscripts.

6. Bruce Metzger

Dr. Metzger was an American biblical scholar and textual critic who was a longtime professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Famed scholars Apologist Dr. William Lane Craig, Apologist Ben Witherington,  and Agnostic Dr. Bart Ehrman have all studied under him.  Widely considered one of the top and most influential scholars of the 20th Century.  A leading expert in ancient Greek, he has sat on several Bible translation committees, with the most recognizable one being for the N.R.S.V. translating both the old and new testament and the apocrypha.  Metzger has written many books in on the history of the bible, textual criticism, and bible translations.  Although he is a christian scholar, he is more of a Bible scholar than a christian apologist.  And when he died both Ben Witherington and Daniel Wallace wrote a eulogy in his honor.

7. Ravi Zacharias

Zacharias is an internationally famous christian philosopher, apologist, and author.  He is a fantastic orator who speaks with grand elegance and passion.  He is the host speaker of the radio programs Let My People Think & Just Thinking.  In addition he host his own school of apologetic with classes as a visiting professor at various organizations, where he teaches Introduction to apologetics, and philosophical apologetics.  Zacharias believes that while every major religion makes exclusive claims about truth, the Christian faith is unique in its ability to answer questions of suffering, life, purpose, and morality.  Pulling together epidemiological sources such existential experiences, academia and of course the spiritual.

8. Gary Habermas

Dr. Habermas is a distinguished apologist, scholar, lecture, historian, and debater at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.  He is a Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and the chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at the university.  He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in the area of History and Philosophy of Religion and an M.A. from the University of Detroit in Philosophical Theology.He has spoken and written on issues of doubt, near-death-experiences, and the hiddeness of God.  But out of all those things he is most celebrated for his expertise in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  He is considered a leading expert in that field.

9. NT Wright

Nicholas Thomas Wright is an Anglican Bishop who has held numerous positions at various churches and university, including the Church of England.   He is currently Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews in Scotland.  Earning his Doctor of Divinity from the University of Oxford.  He has authored numerous books & articles and delivered many lectures.  His educational scholarly expertise are in the historical resurrection of Jesus and New Testament Studies, which the latter he is more famed for.

10. John Lennox

The only scientist on this list, Dr. Lennox is a professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, and a scholar of the philosophy of science.  He even took classes as a young man, with C.S. Lewis being his professor.  He lectures extensively across the world on science and religion.  He holds degrees in mathematics, bioethics, and philosophy from top English universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Cardiff .  He is the leading counterpart to scientist professor Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.  Having debated Richard Dawkins several times successfully.

 

This is my list of the top 10 christian apologist when I was doing my own personal study on christian apologetics.  Who would you say are the top 10 christian apologist?

 

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in apologist, atheist vs christian, best apologist, character, christian, Dr. William Lane Craig, early christian history, evolution vs. creation, Intelligent Design, jesus, jp moreland, philosophy, podcast, ravi zacharias, religion, systematic theology, youtube and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Top Christian Apologist

  1. unkleE says:

    Hey Marcus, I think that’s a pretty fair list. I’d change the order a bit, but not much else. As an Australian, I’d have John Dickson on that list – historian, writer, apologist and one time rock singer, he is fair-minded, has a strong historical basis and a friendly style. I think I’d maybe also like to add Francis Collins of BioLogos and Tim Keller, but I don’t know who I’d l;eave off to make way for them.

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  3. Noel says:

    Out of the list, I am only familiar with Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis, from which I have read many books that have inspired me and helped with my doubts. I really appreciate this list of Christian apologists, I would never expect this from an atheist.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      well, one of the top searches that come to my blog, is What are the top ten Apologist?, So I thought i might as well do a blog topic about it. and really these guys were really the people I was looking up and researching during my de-conversion. Really if it was not for the like of JP moreland and william lane craig, I would have deconverted a lot sooner.

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  5. Mike says:

    No John Warwick Montgomery? I don’t know a lot about him, but I have heard a lot about him ha. I’m just chucking his name out there.

  6. Maxime says:

    Hello,

    You said that you present a list of Top Christian Apologists. Why are there only American or British evangelical apologist? I don’t see catholic or orthodox thinkers, and I thought that they were the best for natural theology.
    I think, but it’s my opinion, that Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne are the best current Christian apologists. I may add Robert Adams, Stephen Evans, Alexander Pruss, Peter Kreeft, Robin Collins, Mickael Rea and Peter van Iwagen. They all well considered by non christian thinkers, and it is an important point to be a good apologist.

    I think you can remove from this list Moreland, Zacharias and Strobel because they are not well recognized outside Christian circles. They deny evolution theory, and they have not PhD (except Moreland, but his is so fundamentalist that no educated non Christians reject him straightaway as soon as they heard him).

    Best regards,

    Maxime

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      Maxime,

      Acutally Ravi Zacharias is bi-racial being Indian, Canadian, and American. I based my list off several things, 1. National Recognition and Prestige (how much of an impact are they in the scholary and apologetic field) 2. Personal studies, (that when I did my own studies on christian apologetics who did I keep coming across, and who did the best job in answer the questions) 3. Balance, (They are not strictly apologist, but if they were also theologians, biblical studies, and field of expertise) for example several of them are experts in the Resurrection of Christ.

      You are correct I could of added Dinesh Desouza, for he has the prestige, the balance in that he is of catholic denomination, but whenever I read his information or watch his voids, I felt like one his answers never really answered any question. Half of his responses, came off as God of Gaps, Granted I would say, he is still a very good apologist, I would have put him maybe 11th on my list because he is one of the best out there.

      I highly disagree with your opinion of Lee Strobel, his Case for christ series, is one of the most influential books in modern history, written nearly 15 years, it is still a top seller on Amazon, year in and year out. The only book that is more recommended that his, mere christianity by cs lewis. I can’t think any apologetic book more popular or more influential than these two.

      also I am familar with platinga, and swinburne, I would have put plantinga maybe 12th. He was okay, but he was more of a philosopher than an apologist. and Swinburne would have never made my list. His theology was horrible, he defined perfection as sense of quanitity. Instead of using a more common defintion. He was completely unimpressive and his apologetic arguments completely lacked real substance.

      • Maxime says:

        Der M. Rodriguez

        Thanks for your quick answer!

        The differences between our points of view may be explained by the fact that we have different educational background. I have never studied apologetics in university. I was trained in philosophy. I am French also and I live in France. In French universities, all this authors are unknown. Swinburne and Plantinga are known, because they are considered as world class philosophers, even by non Christians. I think that your ten apologists are convincing only for people raised in evangelical families and already convinced by Christianity or for uneducated people ( saying that I am not despising them ). Plantinga, Swinburne, Rea, van Inwagen & cie teach in secular universities (Oxford, Notre Dame University, Yale). I feel like university such as Biola are not very well considered in the academic world, it is only well considered in evangelical subculture. But maybe I am mistaken..

        I don’t think that mediatic importance is the same that intellectual seriousness. You’re right, Strobel books are famous. But not in academic circles. I would add another criterion: intellectuel seriousness, and this criterion rest on non christian perceptions. If you are intellectual serious, non Christian academic recognize it. Zacharias, Moreland and Strobel are rejected by non christian academics. They don’t met your first criterion “national recognition and prestige”. They are recognized only in christian world, or even evangelical world, which is small.

        You said that Swinburne’s theology is horrible. Is Theology a criterion? You said that you lost your faith, but you judge swinburne theology. I am not sure to understand. What is a good theology for you?

        Best regards

      • M. Rodriguez says:

        I would add the swinbourne theology and philosophy is horrible.

        Let me give you an example….what this video below.

        In the video he says that there could not be a best possible world. And gives the example, that if God creates X amount of humans, But x+1 humans would be more perfect. I found this to completely faulty logic. In that nobody, nowhere describes perfection in a quantitative sense. Nobody. Perfection is numerical, it is a state of being whole, complete without error nor flaw. For example, If someone says the pitcher pitched a perfect game, they don’t mean, he pitched x number balls, they mean he played a flawless game.

        Here is another example: If a girl goes on a date, with a guy, and describes to her friend that he was a perfection gentleman. They don’t mean he is perfect cause he held the door for her x times, but that his actions as a gentleman were without error.

        Platinaga and zacharias however, I would describe them both as very good philosophers. However I would platinaga as slightly better philosopher. But Zacharias is by far the better apologist. And this is why zacharias is on the list and not platinaga.

        But as biola university, among theological seminaries and schools of apologetics. It has consistently ranked as top 5 school in the area of apologetics.

      • Maxime says:

        Dear M. Rodriguez,

        Thank you for your answer

        Do you judge Swinburne’s work on one video? I did’nt know this video.
        Did you read Swinburne’s books? I read only “Is there a God”? and I was fairly convinced. Swinburne work is huge. Each of his books excited interest of philosophers of religion (“Providence and Evil”, “Was Jesus God”, “The Evolution of Soul”, “The Existence of God”, “Faith and Reason”). He taught at Oxford University. Even my french philosophy professors know him.

        I feel like Zacharias is well known only in the evangelical world.
        It is impossible to do a PhD about Zacharias or Strobel works in a secular university, but it is easy to do one about Plantinga or Swinburne’works. And Zacharias denies evolution theory. How a thinker denying scientific facts could be a serious scholar?

        Ok, you’re right, Biola is ranked as top 5 school in the area of apologetics. But who do these ranking? Evangelical Christian media and bloggers. Biola is not ranked in the secular and important national ranking, contrary to Notre Dame, Oxford, Yale.

        For me, a good apologist is well regarded by non christian academics. It’s not the case for Zacharias, Strobel ou Moreland. Ok, they are bright stars in the evangelical world. But it is a very small world, and evangelical Christians are very known for their intellectual weakness (see for example “The Scandal of Evangelical Mind” by historian Mark Noll).

        I am used to struggle with my doubts. Moreland, Zacharias or Strobel didn’t help me to keep my faith. But Plantinga, Swinburne, Peter van Inwagen, Michael Rea, Timothy McGrew, Linda Zagzebski, Raymond Van Arragon, Geoges Mavrodes, Gregory Ganssle, Alexander Pruss, Robin Collins, James Belby, William Alston, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Robert Adams, John Hare, Clifford Williams, Kelly James Clark, Robert Roberts, Robert Koons, David Efird, Michael Murray, Andrew Chignell, Neil Manson, etc. helped me. To my opinion, they are the best apologists. Ok, they don’t teach in Christian and biblical colleges, and don’t run debate with bright atheists every year. But they are rigorous, intellectual solid, and credible in the non Christian world.

        Best regards, and thank you for your interesting blog

      • M. Rodriguez says:

        And I guess, this is where we are always going to see differently. I will want an apologist who is first a biblical scholar and Christianity, Then one who is purely a philosopher. And the main reason is that, that this list and post is about Christianity and the christian god, not some generic god or deist god.

        And in some schools of thought being a philosopher before a christian is relevant. However, to me that seems impractical, in that when defending Christianity, one should be defending Christianity not philosophy. Personally I have never been a big fan of abstract philosophy. I have done a little bit of studying on it and reading on it. But in my opinion the majority of philosophy after the enlightenment period is trivial and too abstract to be practical or useful. .

        And as for Swinbourne, you are correct is an elegant philosopher but a terrible apologist. another example of why I say this, is because in open forum discussion. Bart Ehrman and richard Swinbourne were having a discussion (it was not a formal debate, but the discussion was setup for eachothers ideas to be challenged.) And from listening to the discussion, whenever Ehrman got into the meat and the historicity of Christianity, Swinbourne could not hang with him.

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  8. Nickstixx says:

    Hello,
    Just stumbling across this list now, as I have been listening to Christian Apologetics for the past couple of years.
    I would put Zacharias and Lennox higher, though it seems you have done a little more research than I have. I was wondering, could you please elaborate on your reasoning for denouncing the Christian faith and saying that the Judeo-Christian god is man made? I don’t know if you have already posted a blog about this topic, as I have just found this one. I would be very curious to hear your reasoning.

    Thank you
    Nick

  9. frank keefe says:

    please dont be offended by this but a person who accepted Jesus as their Saviour CAN backslide but can NEVER lose his salvation..if you have really left Christianity and now reject Christ as your savior and His sacrifice on the cross and have become an atheist then you were NEVER truly converted.Its impossible if we are in Christs hand and He is in the Fathers hand for us to be snatched out of the Fathers hand.Many we say to me Lord Ive done this for you Ive even cast devils out in your name(Im paraphrasing here) jesus will say begone from here I NEVER KNEW YOU..they might have believed they were a child of God but Jesus said they never were.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      ….OR….. It could be that the christian god is all made up. That the bible is an archaic book written by men who did not know that the moon is not a lesser light. That the leviathian was a mythological creature, like the unicorn. Or that the idea of child sacrifice or any type of human sacrifice would be considered morally wrong by people in the 21st century.

      The idea of never being a christian never really bothers me, because it was all a lie from the beginning.

    • David says:

      That’s crap. A person can wholeheartedly believe in something and have their mind changed based on reasoning. You’re basically suggesting that if someone believes something and changes their mind, then they never truly believed.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for your list, Mr. Rodriguez. So many things we may never understand about the subject of God…but I have seen too many transformed lives that were once filled with strife and unrest, yet now are filled with joy and peace, even in the midst of deep suffering. I ask you, kindly, how your human arguments would stand up to the persecuted Christian church throughout the world today. I can only hope that you would humbly listen to their stories and think deeply about the meaning of the depth of their commitment to Christ under terrible psychological and physical torture. The love and forgiveness they have historically displayed to their enemies is astounding.
    Sometimes we can get so wise in trying to figure everything out for ourselves – we are all so susceptible to a subtle intellectual pride – that we forget that the Kingdom is for humble little “children,” like my suffering brothers and sisters throughout the world today. God hides himself from the “wise and prudent” of this world and reveals Himself to “little children.”
    Your words bring a great sadness into me…I hope you will reconsider seeking God with a spirit of humility – we are so finite, and it would be so horrible to get the short end of the stick (so to speak) at the end of the day – to find out you were wrong and God really does exist and His Word really was true. As Pascal would encourage you, examine carefully your wager – we only have one chance at this.
    Knowing and serving Jesus – in the good times and the really bad times – is the best thing in the whole world. He does not answer all my questions, but I have found enough evidence for a humble, open heart. I pray He would lead you back to Himself, where millions have found eternal rest. In Jesus’ love always… SJS

  11. Stephanie says:

    Forgive me…but I want to encourage you a little more…please take a serious look at the Persecuted Church – from Polycarp to present day. It is amazing. Recently I heard of a Chinese preacher who was placed in solitary confinement with nothing for many years. No blanket, no clothes – when released, he lost his faith? No way! He was back on the streets of his village preaching the power of the Cross and Resurrection. Jesus said He would build His church, and truly the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church. He will build it with or without us. He continues to build it against all opposition – the church has actually grown astronomically in China under tremendous government opposition. Maybe part of what happened to your faith is the fallout from living in a nation whose faith is largely insipid and superficial – churches have lost ground as America has become more secular – persecution is terrible, but it is probably what the American church needs to get back its depth and passion for Christ. I suspect that if you were Chinese and had been converted in their secret house churches, and had to pay that kind of price for your faith, you would probably still believe. Or if you were in a closed Arabic country, decidedly a Muslim, and Jesus had appeared to you (as has happened different times to Muslims), and you had embraced him, even though it meant being cut off by your wife, children, parents, etc. – you would probably still believe.
    Have you read Corrie Ten Boom’s story? Wow! If you could go through all that and not lose faith, why do we lose our faith over intellectual struggles – over apparent contradictions we do not understand? People much more studied and intelligent than you and me have come to opposite conclusions on this matter of the reliability of the Bible. If you have studied with an open mind and heart before, until you stumbled in Matthew 11, I encourage you to open your heart again and see the realities in the history of Christian martyrdom. Subscribe to the VOM if you do not receive their magazine (https://www.persecution.com/). Maybe a different angle. However, I know that if you have made up your mind to close that chapter of your life, never to be deluded again, God will not force Himself upon you.
    I am not trying to force you either – I am just asking you to look a little deeper at what Christianity has meant to others who have suffered as you and me have never imagined. You know, Mr. Rodriguez, it’s like the blind man who was questioned by the wise and knowing religious leaders (who probably had large portions of the Torah memorized) – He admitted that he did not have all the answers about Jesus’ identity – but this one thing he DID KNOW for sure: He could see. May God give us all ears to hear and eyes to see what so many precious suffering Christians have seen much clearer than scholars such as William Lane Craig or Bart Ehrman. It is reasonable faith, but it is still faith…a humble road for anyone to choose. I choose Him – knowing if I am right, I have gained it all.

  12. Rick says:

    A good list. But I’m somewhat puzzled with a few of your choices. I don’t think either Dan Wallace or Tom Wright would be comfortable with their being called apologists. They are both well published believing Bible scholars and theological thinkers, who debate on occasion. And the very shy Bruce Metzger would have been horrified with the designation, I think. I don’t believe he ever debated anybody. There are a host of better choices for evangelical and Catholic apologists, who actually teach and publish on the subject and/or debate the existence of the God on regular basis. Certainly Dinesh D’Souza, Doug Wilson, Josh McDowell, Norman Geisler, and John Warwick Montgomery are active. While C. S. Lewis may be among the most famous dead evidentialists, Cornelius Van Til may be the most famous dead presuppositionalists. When Al Plantinga (a philosopher of religion by day), my old teacher at Calvin College, walked into a room with any of these living guys, they would part ways like he was divine. WLC would actually drool when standing next to Plantinga, he so admires him as “the man.” Quite uncomfortable to witness, actually. Plantinga is among the best at taking people’s ideas apart, piece by piece, and thus critiquing any matter he disagrees with. He is kind of scary that way.

    • Peter says:

      Dan Wallace and Tom Wright are both very much apologists. (I’d tell you to read what they’ve written and you’ll see, but you have better things to do with your time, trust me!) Unlike these two, Bruce Metzger was actually involved in the critical, academic study of the New Testament. So to call Metzger an “apologist” is indeed quite insulting. He certainly held religious beliefs, and in a couple very general ways one might wonder whether he unfortunately let these beliefs effect his scholarship–but you’re right, he was no apologist. On a side note, Josh McDowell’s “writings” are horrible: You won’t get three pages into them without being aghast at the affront to your intellect; they won’t end up in the dustbin of history soon enough. And I must say, Al Plantinga is a really nice guy! 🙂

      • Rick Rogers says:

        Peter, I agree with you all down the line. Wallace and Wright do spend a good deal of time defending their faith. But they tend to do so as evangelical biblical scholars and not as public apologists, per se. But in the widest sense of the term, sure, let’s call them Apologists. As a critical biblical scholar myself, I have to read these guys even though it is a sad business most of the time.

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  14. albert says:

    You didn’t put John Warwick Montgomery, Norman Geisler and Craig S. Hawkins in the list.

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