Apologetics Resources

Dr. Gordon Carkner, The Wisdom Project

Ph.D. Philosophical Theology 

Gord Likes Os Guinness’ new book on the combination of evangelism and apologetics called Fool’s Talk: recovering the art of Christian persuasion.

and Rebecca McLaughlin’s Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion. (Crossway, 2019)

Free Will & God’s Sovereignty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq88TUahFcg Tim Keller on God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility.

The Big Question: Why Do We Suffer?

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“Apologetics: Empowering Christian Dialogue in Late Modernity”

Updated Text for the 2016 Missionsfest TalkApologetics Dialogue Workshop

Audio of SeminarZ0000006

Talks on the Christian Imagination: a Return to Enchantment: http://www.cslewis.org

Ravi Zacharias Answers to the Toughest Questions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaPVSvzOROU

Human Freedom & God’s Sovereignty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScykHWO4LY  Michael Shermer & Alister McGrath on Is God a Figment of our Imagination?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TerTgDEgUE____Rupert Murdoch on Science vs. Scientism

 Apologetics Samplers: 

Malcolm Guite, With all Your Mind  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUNBMuuUpG4

Philosopher Paul Moser, Loyola, Chicago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2xy0lSfMNM

Alister McGrath, Loving God with One’s Mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5XMRLBj7cY

1. Conversion and religious experience are the result of social conditioning. Is this true? Let’s examine.There is much truth to this statement. No one decides or acts in total isolation. We are all influenced by our parenting and our various academic and personal mentors. Many social factors influence our choices and our practice of religion, secular or nihilist belief. We are continually affected by both our past upbringing and our present environment; this is inescapable. We all need good mentors. Yet this sort of social conditioning does not preclude genuine freedom of choice in religion, philosophical stance or in anything else. We are never simply bound by influences: we live in dynamic interaction, sometimes substantial tension, with them. These things are mulled over in the mind on those long walks on the beach or drives in the countryside, or reflections on top of a mountain.

There are many people, however, who hold to their religion (or irreligion) simply because they were brought up in it, or because they have succumbed to the pressure of a peer group or the academic discipline in which they find themself. Cool is powerful! Others come to a specific faith through manipulative. “mind-bending” techniques that violate personal integrity and choice. There are bullies and propagandists out there. We sympathize with the pain that this causes and the scars it can leave. But these factors do not account for all cases of conversion or religious experience. Not at all. Some people make radical changes in their convictions after much experience, thought and deliberation

Examine Your Position: There are also authentic religious choices. People often consciously and intelligently choose to go with or against their upbringing or peer group out of courage and a growing, deep conviction, within the context of a deeper reflection on life. Many, employing a robust combination of critical faith and critical reason, are personally convinced of the truth of their own religion and have committed themselves wholeheartedly to it, because it animates their life and answers some of the big life questions. In university, it is time to examine and decide the parameters of one’s existence, especially one’s purpose and passion. What we believe and the heroes we follow matter immensely and have a huge impact on us. We should choose wisely and carefully when it comes to such a vital question or set of questions.

Genuine open-minded Christian conversion often happens during one’s university years of growing individuation, whether we have been brought up as a believer or unbeliever. It is possible to move beyond the naive faith of childhood to a more informed and reasoned faith of adulthood. One hopes this happens in the midst of a thousand discussions with peers and professors–discernment is key. It depends neither on the suddenness of the commitment nor on the intensity of accompanying emotion. Authentic faith is as distinct from the passive acceptance of tradition as it is from the eager grasping at passing fads. While it is often initially hesitant and accompanied by doubts, eventually it grows and matures into a sustained, reasoned trust in God, with positive, empowering, life-changing results. The worst thing one can do is check their mind at the door no matter who the presenter or where the presentation.  Healthy skepticism is an asset to discernment. A holistic, deep-structure worldview outlook gives meaning and parameters for a life of growth and discovery–an adventure which opens up the horizons of meaning and the vision for one’s calling and life expectations.

This last point is crucial! Without a transformed life and a new vision, faith is pointless. These are the real spiritual drivers. Religious experience without a growing change in behaviour and growth in character is simply not Christian experience. “By their fruits you shall know them.” said Jesus (Matt. 7:16). He emphasized repentance,  turning from evil to good, a full re-posturing of the self, issuing in a new life trajectory, a new identity rooted in his teaching. This involves renunciation of narcissism, rejection of a false self to embrace new truth and take the moral high road of integrity and compassion for others (Jim Wallis, The (Un)Common Good).

This is not a lazy person’s faith; it entails a stringent demand to think differently, freshly about everything that really matters. By this criterion, many who call themselves Christian would be excluded; they are asleep spiritually, living on brain candy. Socialization and conditioning are simply not enough. In fact, this complacency can produce even a dangerous religion (as we have witnessed in recent religious radicalization). Commitment to a life-giving journey is required–the way of grace, forgiveness, healing of broken relationships, hope, goals that make a difference and contribute value. It can lead to unstoppable good if properly negotiated and mentored. New research on well-being or what makes us happy affirms this.

But commitment cannot stand alone. In the final analysis, Christianity is concerned with the issue of truth. Wait, can we talk this language in late modernity? Yes I think we can (explained in a coming post). This is at bottom the test for every commitment, every conviction; it separates good faith from fantasy, superstition and violent religion. Is God there or is he not? Does he have a demand on our lives? Who is Jesus Christ? What is the significance of his death? Did he rise from the dead? Does the Christian answer to the big questions of life’s meaning really make the best sense of our experience? And there are many other important questions that invite serious investigation. Does it resonate with a robust, mature existence? Will God be there at the bedside of my dying wife or child? Does it have cash out value in the marketplace of life? Will it give me strength of character?

The challenge to each of us, then, is not to passively acquiesce in our own social conditioning, nor our academic cheer leading of one cool professor. Remember that hegemonic cultural atheism is a form of social conditioning as well, riddled with all sorts of unprovable assumptions (David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God; Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies)). We all have our doubts as well. Charles Taylor (A Secular Age) shows that atheism or other forms of scepticism are not a logical projection from science; they entail a meaningful religious stance with respect to the world.  One must take the honest journey forward and examine the evidence and the plausibility of one’s commitments. This is sometimes painful but ultimately rewarding. Some of us will change worldviews and change heroes. See Manhattan’s Tim Keller, The Reason for God and Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God for a positive, sensitive and respectful discussion that examines evidence and arguments.

~Dr. Gordon Carkner (appreciation to R. Middleton, B. Toombs and H. Gruning and the University of Guelph IVCF Chapter)

Related Book about an Oxford Grad Student Conversion Narrative:   Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber.

2. The Presence of Evil and Suffering Pushes to Deeper Thought  

Many people think that the problem of evil, with the suffering it brings, is a barrier to belief in God. Let’s face it; this is the big one that leads to much skepticism and troubled faith. Philip Yancey (Finding the Invisible God) thinks it the major apologetic challenge for God and Christian faith, although William Lane Craig claims that philosophers no longer worry about it. The New Atheists have much commentary on the topic; they want the suffering to stop as well. Let’s take it to a bit deeper level because for most of us, it is a problem or at least a confusion. The current conflict in Syria is just one nasty example. There is much wisdom to be garnered as we grapple with such major human concerns.

Aldous Huxley wrote: “In the form we have posed it, the Riddle of the Universe requires a theological answer. Suffering and enjoying, men [women] want to know why they enjoy and to what end they suffer. They see good things and evil things, beautiful things and ugly, and they want to find a reason–a final and absolute reason–why these things should be as they are.”

Here’s how the discussion often proceeds:

1. A God who is infinitely good and loving would not want evil to exist.

2. A God who is all·powerful could remove all evil, if he so desired.

3. Therefore, if God is both good and all-powerful, there would be no evil. Sounds forceful and convincing on surface.

4. But evil continues in the world. Evidence for this is in the news every day. That bugs everyone, both believer and skeptic!

5. Therefore, God (at least a good and all·powerful God) cannot exist. So people like Bertrand Russell conclude.

This argument is superficially convincing. But it has one major flaw. The third point does not follow logically from the first two. All that is required, if God were both good and all-powerful, is that evil would not exist forever. God would at some point have to deal with evil and remove it from his creation. It would require a final reckoning, or settling of the accounts.

The argument thus stated does not recognize the grace of a merciful God. It fails to take into account the love, patience and compassion God has extended to us, his creatures, in delaying the removal of evil from the world (and compensating people for their suffering). There would have to be morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil and suffering.

But let’s try a thought experiment: Suppose God were to immediately wipe out all evil. Where would we stand? Would not all humanity be destroyed? For which one of us is free from evil? No one. Do we not all contribute to the evil and suffering of our world at some level? Far from remaining an intellectual problem “out there”, evil is a moral, existential problem within each of us. It is terribly anthropological–finding its way into our hearts, motives, judgments and actions. We are busted; we have tracked down the enemy and it is us; we humans need to own our part in the drama of evil. And if simple eradication were the only answer, we would have no hope. Most of us want a second chance; cold justice would be clean, but devastating.

But the choice may not be quite so stark: i.e. between inescapable evil and immediate eradication. There is a third alternative, and this is the heart of the Christian message: God became man in Jesus Christ and took upon himself the total, cumulative weight of all the world’s evil and suffering. Jesus died to solve the problem of evil and violence, and to break its back, its power over us (Rene Girard, I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning). And when on the cross he cried in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), something happened that is beyond human understanding.

God himself experienced the depths of the problem of evil more intensely than any of us could possibly know or withstand, so that he could free us from the trap, the cycles of evil, war, oppression, destruction of life and property, and self-harm. Os Guinness capture it: “As God became man in Jesus Christ, he was no Whitehall or Pentagon chief, making quick flying inspections of the front line, but one who shared the foxholes, who knew the enemy fire. No other God has wounds.”

God was not interested in simply eliminating evil if that meant getting rid of his entire creation in the process; shockingly however, the Bible claims that he did consider it. Instead, he offers us a way out, the way of forgiveness of our guilt, and the renewal and transformation of our broken lives and suffering world. It offers amazing hope, an unexpected turnaround. We are also offered meaning in our suffering.

How evil will finally end is just as mysterious as its origin; perhaps no adequate account can ever be given. Nevertheless, we are set free from the dilemma of hating God and the depression of wallowing in grinding evil; the Bible envisions the ultimate triumph of good (sourced in an infinitely good, loving Father) over evil, because God acts dramatically on our behalf. There is a way of escape from evil’s machinations, its trap.

As it turns out, God both desires and is able to solve the problem of evil, to bring  justice to those who are harmed by it. It is a tremendous gift to us that we can also be part of the solution; we can benefit immensely from his grace and patience; we can turn from evil, resist evil ourselves and embrace the good (Romans 12). So much of the biblical Psalms and the wisdom of Proverbs speak strongly into this situation. But it requires transcendence; we are incapable of defeating evil in our own strength.

The ball is in our court. We must take stock of ourselves if we are not to further contribute to the problem, and commence joining the cleanup crew of a polluted world. We each need radical change (transformed posture/new outlook), and this is what Christianity offers at its core. God has already acted, and is making a way out of evil, war and violence; he has paved the way for peace and forgiveness and reconciliation. Now it is our turn to step up to the challenge, and step into what Dostoyevski called the river of love, and find redemptive meaning in our suffering (Scott Cairns, Peter Kreeft). Mother Teresa was quoted: “The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference to one’s neighbour who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease.”

Rather than walking out on God in the midst of suffering and evil, we recommend leaning hard into God for his wisdom, help and rescue. This is a deeper and more fruitful approach to life. If we dare to love, we will most certainly suffer. The deeper question is what can we learn from our disappointments and suffering and how can we reduce the suffering and evil in our circle of influence? Kudos to those who turn terrible tragedy into a will to change society for the better.

~Gord Carkner & Richard Middleton

See also Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are.

Globe & Mail Interview: An Atheist’s Defence of Religion http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/an-atheists-defence-of-religion/article552347/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEc4nLzdlc0  Dr. Alvin Plantinga top philosopher of religion speaks on “Does Evil Disprove God?”

References: Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God; Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering; Desmond Tutu, Hope and Suffering; Scott Cairns. The End of Suffering: finding purpose in pain.

UBC’s English professor Dr. Dennis Danielson did his PhD on the top of Milton & the Problem of Evil, and wrote the book Milton’s Good God. He is in a dialogue on the topic in the GFCF Archives http://www.gfcf-ubc.ca

See also N.T.Wright’s excellent DVD on Evil; Dostoyevski’s works Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot.

C.S.Lewis, The Problem of Pain.

Paul Copan’s book and talk, Is God a Moral Monster?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C3q3Zr_R8E

GCU Value Note: We include rather than avoid suffering in our discourse–suffering not as a mistake, or a sign of God’s indifference–but as something God deeply identifies with and cares about. God cares deeply about the emotional problem of evil. Clearly Good Friday represents the depth of his concern. Suffering can be used to teach us for our good and help us discover a deeper calling in life; it offers a challenge to our individualistic self-sufficiency, and teaches us compassion for others who suffer.
 Engaging suffering fruitfully adds meaning to our existence. See the discourse on suffering in Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Finding God After Harvard.


Past Events & Resources

Lecture Delivered to Apologetics Canada

Monopolizing Knowledge: Scientism and the Search for Reality

Speaker: Dr. Gordon Carkner 

Text of the TalkSCIENTISM: Apologetics Canada

 Science is a vital part of our modern culture in the West.  However the contemporary belief that science is the only way to  truth (scientism) is a perversion of science and a major barrier to  the gospel. Rooted in the worldview of materialistic naturalism, it  promotes a conflict between science and faith (believed by 70%  of university students). This workshop provides critical  perspective on the character of scientism, as compared to  legitimate scientific work, offering excellent resources to grapple  with this vital apologetic question. SCIENTISM@Missfst Full Paper on Scientism with bibliography


Gord Carkner’s Apologia Resource Index

Toward Stronger Discipleship, Dialogue Skill Growth and Stable Commitment to Christ

 Apologetics is a highly effective and necessary resource for today’s students, Christian leaders and church community members. There are some very effective, proven approaches and resources available. We want to put you in touch with the cutting edge in this field. These resources are relevant for both the early and late modernity. We must be multi-lingual in our approach depending on the area of study or the individual questioner. Students and friends need answers, plus fresh ways of articulating what they believe and why, as well as tools to challenge the hegemony of Philosophical Naturalism or materialism. They need resources that can help them reason well and engage the hard questions; it often is a matter of spiritual life and death. Apologetics can be a real game changer in the life of someone 16 to 30 years of age.

The bibliography below is an attempt to show that there exists a strong resource base in speakers, books, websites and articles on a host of topics and issues. It will be continually updated with new releases and discoveries. In section 13. Faith & Culture, there is an important list of books to engage Western culture, to keep your life or your ministry on the creative curve. We do not want students, pastors or community members to get caught in the cultural rip tide of skepticism and scientific materialism, or the malaise/nihilism within the humanities. Religion is making a come back and these resources can help us negotiate the future.

Gord has consulted with apologists internationally to bring to the surface some of the best available material and speakers so that our ministries, our dialogue can be robustly empowered. Our campus and church communities need to be challenged to rethink the stereotypes of naïve or blind irrational faith. Quality and creativity are top priorities in what is offered below, vital to build strength into people’s minds and hearts, to offer encouragement in the midst of doubt, and courage to speak for God in today’s society.

Faith is not wishful thinking, nor is it the opposite of evidence. It is definitely not anti-science. It is a reasonable trust: faith seeks understanding and in turn increased understanding strengthens faith. We live by faith all the time in every realm of life: we trust chairs, houses and cars, lawyers, doctors, friends, spouses, business partners. Of course, we are properly skeptical of a drunk driver’s offer of a ride home–that would be bad faith. We must first believe certain facts and insights–that something is true or sound or grounded, not based on hype, lies, propaganda or obfuscation. But then, we must also believe in something or someone–when we get married or take a job in a certain company. We make a commitment and take on appropriate risk. We cannot know everything about the person or institution, but there must be warrant for our trust. At the end of the day, Christian faith in God is a friend to good reason, reflection, examination of theology and culture, documents and stories. It is aimed at attaining wisdom, coherence, certainty and discernment about key life issues. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote: “One ounce of truth can outweigh the whole world.” It helped him survive the Gulag prison camp.

We don’t want to give up on, or reject, the great claims of the ancient, enduring Christian faith tradition based on stereotypes, half-truths or myths. In some sense, we are all on a spiritual journey of some sort. There are lots of so-called barriers to faith these days in our culture, and in individuals due to selfishness and pride, repression of certain ideals, or refusal to investigate certain lines of thought. We have found in our dialogue with students that some of the toughest questions provide the best platforms for discussion and dialogue, so we should not fear them. We do not have to be shy to ask our hard questions about a ‘secular’ outlook either. Love works out to be the most important apologetic for the Christian, so we should be sure to cultivate love for our dialogue partners/seekers. The goal of apologetics is: Speak the truth in love, answer the tough questions and move people towards God (I Corinthians 15:58). These discussions often move from brainy/intellectual issues to heart issues as trust builds.

It is encouraging to see believers grow in confidence and discover creativity in their witness as they begin to read and think through good questions and realize that Christian faith is compatible with good reason and non-hostile discussion  or dialogue. This resource directory is oriented to promote energy, hope and a non-defensive stance on the part of Christians. It provides intellectual and spiritual leverage. Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God which we studied a couple years ago in GCU is a great example of the spirit of thoughtful dialogue we value. It is the basis of a Christianity 101 course taught at SFU each semester.

Regent Bookstore on the UBC campus has an excellent selection of this kind of book and even a special section labeled Apologetics. See also their Philosophy, Literature, Social Science and Science selections.

Debate on the Trinity with Nabeel Qureshi and Dr. Shabir Ally https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWpqqqZn7Kg

Cover of
Cover of A Mind for God

1. Methodology & Perspective

Carkner, Gordon, The Great Escape from Nihilism: rediscovering our passion in late modernity.

Hart, David Bentley, The Experience of God: being, consciousness and bliss. Yale, 2013

Newman, John Henry, The Idea of the University.

Sommerville, C. John, The Decline of the Secular University.

Newbigin, Lesslie, The Gospel in a Pluaristic Society. Eerdmans, 1989.

Letters to Doubting Thomas: a case for the existence of God. ~ C. Stephen Layman

McGrath, Alister, Intellectuals Don’t Need God? Zondervan

Swiinburne, Richard, His Trilogy

  • The Coherence of Theism, 1977
  • The Existence of God, 1979 (new edition 2004).
  • Faith and Reason, 1981 (new edition 2005).

Sire, James, The Universe Next Door: a basic worldview catelogue. IVP, 2004.

Volf, Miraslov, Flourishing: why we need religion in a globalized world? (Yale 2015)

The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: surveying the evidence for the truth of Christianity (eds. Ed Hinson and Ergun Carter, 2008)

Stackhouse, John G., Jr.  Humble Apologetics: Defending the Faith Today.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Clark, David K. Dialogical Apologetics: A Person-Centered Approach to

Christian Defense.  Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993.

Marsden, George, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. OUP, 1998.

Edgar, William.  Reasons of the Heart: Recovering Christian Persuasion. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.

Craig, William Lane, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Crossway Books.

Chapman, C., Eerdmans Handbook: The Case for Christianity. Eerdmans, 1981.

Hart, David Bentley,  Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies.

Adler, M. J. Intellect: Mind Over Matter. Collier, 1990.

Keller, Tim. Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism. Dutton, 2008.

Marsden, George, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship; The Soul of the American University.

Newman, John Henry, The Idea of the University.

Plantinga, Alvin, Warranted Christian Belief.

Zaccharias, R. Can Man Live Without God?

White, J.E., A Mind for God. Ivp, 2006.

William Lane Craig & Chad Meister. God is Great: God is Good: why believing in God is reasonable and responsible. IVP (Scholarly responses to the New Atheists)

Bush, L. Russ.  Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics: A.D. 100-1800.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Academie, 1983.

The Apologetics Study Bible

Campbell-Jack, W.C., McGrath, G.J., Evans, C. Stephen. Eds. The New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics

Evans, C. Stephen.  Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2002.

Kreeft, P.  & Tacelli, R.K., Handbook of Christian Apologetics. IVP

Noll, Mark, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Eerdmans, 1994.

Miller, James, Hardwired: Finding the God You already Know.

Loconte, Joseph. The Searchers: a quest for faith in the valley of doubt. Thomas nelson, 2012

1b. Debates about Theism

Alberta’s Dr. Randall Rauser & John Loftus debating  God or Godless?  http://randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/God-or-Godless-Loftus-v.-Rauser-Calgary.mp3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYWEYuhiWzE  David Bentley Hart on Christianity & its Fashionable Enemies

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2. Gender Issues

Cochran, Pamela D. H. Evangelical Feminism: A History. New York and London: New York University Press, 2005.

Grenz, Stanley J., with Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church:  A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

Hancock, Maxine, ed. Christian Perspectives on Gender, Sexuality, and Community. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2003.

Pierce, Ronald W. and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, eds. Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Stackhouse, John G., Jr. “Women in Public Ministry: Five Models in Twentieth-Century North American Evangelicalism.” Chap. in Evangelical Landscapes: Facing Critical Issues of the Day. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.

Storkey, Elaine. Origins of Difference: The Gender Debate Revisited. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Tucker, Ruth A. and Walter Liefeld. Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987.

Van Leeuwen, Mary Stewart. Gender & Grace: Love, Work  & Parenting in a Changing World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990.

Van Leeuwen, Mary Stewart, ed. After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation. Grand Rapids, MI / Carlisle: Eerdmans / Paternoster Press, 1993.

Stackhouse, John G. Jr. Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender Baker Academic, 2005.

Charry, Ellen T., article in Cambridge Companion to Feminism, ed. Susan Frank Parsons. CUP, 2002.

Creegan, N.H., & Christine D. Pohl, Living on the Boundaries: evangelical women, feminism and the theological academy. IVP, 2005.

3. Science & Natural Theology 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRT4U15WURJuxdnej_ZBRdwCSCA YouTube Channel

Dennis Alexander, Faraday Institute, Cambridge

Polkinghorne, Sir John, One World: The Interaction of Science & Theology. Princeton. (physicist/theologian—leading light)

Polkinghorne, Sir John, Exploring Reality: The Intertwining of Science: Religion, Science and Providence.

Plantinga, Alvin. Where the Conflict Really Lies: science, religion and naturalism. OUP, 2012.

Gingerich, Owen, God’s Universe.

http://johnlennox.org/  Oxford Mathematician/Philosopher Dr John Lennox

Collins, Francis, The Language of God. Free Press.

Sir Karl R. Popper & John C. Eccles, The Self and its Brain. Routledge.

Pascal, Blaise.  Pensees.  Trans. A. J. Krailsheimer.  Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1966.

Capell & Cook eds., Not Just Science: Questions Where Christian Faith and Natural Science Intersect. Zondervan

Jaki, Stanley, The Road to Science and the Ways to God. Chicago (Gifford

Lectures on history of science)

Russell, Colin, Crosscurrents: Interactions Between Science & Faith. Eerdmans

Danielson, Dennis ed., The Book of the Cosmos. Perceus.

Plantinga, Alvin, Where the Conflict Really Lies.

Lewis, C.S., Miracles. Macmillan

Waltke, Bruce, “Gift of the Cosmos”(article on Genesis 1:1-2:4) Chapter 8 in   An Old Testament Theology, Zondervan, 2007.

Alexander, Denis, Rebuilding the Matrix: Science & Faith in the 21st Century. Zondervan (director of Faraday Institute in Cambridge, UK)

Burke, ed., Creation & Evolution: 7 Prominent Christians Debate. IVP UK.

Livingstone, D. N., Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought.

Owens, V.S., Godspy: Faith, Perception, and the New Physics.

Gingerich, Owen, “Let There Be Light” article on natural theology by America’s top Christian physicist.

Theology of Creation

Capon, R. F.,  “The Third Peacock” in The Romance of the Word. Eerdmans

Gunton, C., The Triune Creator: a historical and systematic study. Eerdmans (English theologian)

Walsh & Middleton, The Transforming Vision. IVP

Bouma-Prediger, S., For the Beauty of the Earth: a Christian vision of creation care.. Baker Academic, 2010.

Scholarly Responses to New Atheism and Other Misconceptions of Science
Iain Provan, Seriously Dangerous Religion: what the Old Testament really says and why it matters. (Baylor 2014)
Hart, David Bentley, The Experience of God: being, consciousness and bliss. Yale, 2013

Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies: science, religion and naturalism.

Thomas Nagel, Mind & Cosmos. (questions whether reductionistic explanations are adequate)

Alister McGrath, A Fine-Tuned Universe.

——————–, The Dawkins Delusion

David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and its fashionable enemies.


David Bentley Hart 

John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Lion.

——————, Gunning for God: why the new atheists are missing the target.

John Lennox debates Richard Dawkins at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UIbd0eLxw

Craig & Meister (eds.), God is Great; God is Good: why believing in God is reasonable and responsible: https://ubcgcu.org/2013/09/06/gcu-book-study/

Peter Hitchens, Rage Against God: how atheism led me to faith.

Denis Alexander, Evolution or Creation?

Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Making sense of the Old Testament God.

Limits of Science

Medawar, P., The Limits of Science.

http://m.weeklystandard.com/articles/heretic_707692.html?nopager=1 Limits of Materialism (Vilification of Thomas Nagel)

Schumacher, E.F. A Guide for the Perplexed. Abacus. (challenge to reductionism)

Carkner, G., Under Investigation: Scientism (short unpublished paper on reductionism)

McGrath, A. & J., The Dawkins Delusion? IVP 2007.

Lennox, John. God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Lion

Jeeves & Berry,  Science, Life, and Christian Belief. Apollos Books.

Ward, Keith, Pascal’s Fire:  Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding.


Harper, Charles Jr. ed., Spiritual Information: 100 Perspectives on Science and Religion. Templeton Foundation Press.

Spencer, N. & White, R. Christianity, Climate Change, and

Sustainable Living.  SPCK, 2007.

4. Scripture Authority and Authenticity

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http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/10/miraculous-witness   Craig Keener Miracles: the Credibility of the N.T. Accounts. 2 volume set.

series Life of Jesus by John Dickson, Centre for Public Christianity, Sydney, Australia.

Barnett, Paul.  Is the New Testament Reliable? 2nd ed.  Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2005.

Bock, Darrell, L.  The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities.  Nashville: Nelson Books, 2006.

Iain Provan, Seriously Dangerous Religion: what the Old Testament really says and why it matters. (Baylor, 2013)

Bruce, F.F., New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?  Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 2003.

Blomberg, Craig, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1987.

Blomberg, Craig.  The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity press, 2002.

Bock, Darrel, Can I Trust the Bible? Defending the Bible’s Reliability.

Atlanta: RZIM Critical Concerns Series, 2001.

5. Jesus: Life, Death & Resurrection 

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DVD by Tom Wright on the Resurrection

Why Jesus? Rediscovering his truth in an age of mass marketed spirituality. ~ Ravi Zacharias

Wright, N.T.  The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. Intervarsity Press, 1999. (Wright is top scholar on Jesus and the New Testament)

Wright, N.T., The New Testament and the People of God.

Dunn, James D.G.  The Evidence for Jesus.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986

Yancey, Philip. The Jesus I Never Knew.

Copan, Paul ed.  Will the Real Jesus please stand up: A Debate between

William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,


Habermas, Gary and Antony Flewdebate.  Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?  Ed. by

Terry L. Miethe.  San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987.

Swinburne, Richard, The Resurrection of God Incarnate.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003.

Two part video on Gospel of John (powerfully acted and close to the text)

6. Christianity & Other Religions & Ideologies

Taylor, Charles, A Secular Age. Harvard University Press, 2007

Anderson, Sir Norman. Christianity and World Religions: The Challenge of Pluralism [original title:  Christianity and Comparative Religions]. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1984 [1970].

Neil, Stephen, Christian Faith & Other Faiths. IVP

Baker, David W., ed. Biblical Faith and Other Religions:  An Evangelical Assessment. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2004.

Chesterton, G. K. The Everlasting Man. Reprint ed. New York: Image, 1955 [1925].

Edwards, James R. Is Jesus the Only Savior? Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2005.

Gardner, Howard. Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds. New York: Harvard Business School Press, 2004.

Griffiths, Paul J. An Apology for Apologetics: A Study in the Logic of Interreligious Dialogue. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991.

Griffiths, Paul J. Christianity through Non-Christian Eyes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998.

Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. An Introduction to the Theology of Religions: Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003.

Ludwig, Theodore. The Sacred Paths:  Understanding the Religions of the World. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

McDermott, Gerald R. Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?  Jesus, Revelation & Religious Traditions. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Pinnock, Clark H. A Wideness in God’s Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.

Sanders, John, ed. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?  Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

Sanneh, Lamin. Whose Religion Is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003.

Stackhouse, John G., Jr., ed. No Other Gods before Me? Evangelicals Encounter the World’s Religions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Tiessen, Terrance L. Who Can Be Saved? Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004.

7. History

Evans, C. Stephen. The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

McIntire, C. T. and Ronald A. Wells, eds. History and Historical Understanding. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984.

Marsden, George & Frank Roberts, ed. A Christian View of History? Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975.

Marsden, George, The Soul of the University.

Gregory, Brad, The Unintended Reformation: how a religious revolution secularized society.

Bebbington, David. Patterns in History: A Christian Perspective on Historical Thought. Reprint Ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990 [1979].

Wells, Ronald A., ed. History and the Christian Historian. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

8.Epistemology: making sense, evidences, coherence, comprehensiveness, sources, method of analysis, what constitutes good argument or warrant.

Stackhouse, John R. Jr.,  Need to Know: vocation as the heart of Christian epistemology. (2014)

Schumacher, E.F. A Guide for the Perplexed. Abacus

Mavrodes, George, Belief in God.

Sire, James, The Universe Next Door: a worldview catalogue. IVP.

Swinburne, Richard, The Coherence of Theism. Oxford University Press

Wolfe, D.L.  Epistemology: The Justification of Belief. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1982

Plantinga, Alvin & Nicholas Wolterstorff, ed. Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Reason within the Bounds of Religion. 2nd ed., Grand Rapids, MI. Eerdmans, 1984 [1976].

Moreland, J.P. and William Lane Craig.  Philosophical Foundations for a

Christian Worldview.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2003.

Wood, W. Jay, Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous (Contours of Christian Philosophy), IVP.

Beckwith, F.G. & Koukl, G., Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air.

Schlossberg, H.,  Idols for Destruction.

various blog posts at ubcgcu.org

Thisleton, A., New Horizons in Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

9. Use of Literature in Apologetics

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Craig, William Lane (use of Dostoyevski) in Apologetics: an Introduction.

Lewis, C.S., Narnia Chronicles and Space Trilogy; The Abolition of Man

http://www.cslewis.org Free Scholarly Talks on Lewis

Bowen, John, new book on Narnia, Dare Booklets on Tolkein, etc.

Eagleton, Terry, The Ideology of the Aesthetic.

Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamozov, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot.

Percy, Walker, Lost in the Cosmos.

Capon, Robert Farrar, Romancing the Word.

Lewis, C.S., God in the Dock.

T.S. Eliot’s poetry

Chapman, J.D., Faith in Words: a poet’s creed. (a Canadian bio-physicist’s poetic reflections). Durango, 2006.

10. Suffering, Evil, & Injustice

DVD by Tom Wright on the Problem of Evil.

Kreeft, P. Making Sense Out of Suffering. Servant Books, 1989.

Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain & A Grief Observed. Macmillan.

Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce.

Girard, René. I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning.

Geivett, Douglas, Evil and the Evidence for God: The Challenge of John Hick’s Theodicy.” Temple University Press, 1993.

Geisler, N. The Roots of Evil.

Howard-Snyder, Daniel ed., The Evidential Argument from Evil.

Peck, Scott, People of the Lie.

Stackhouse, John G. Jr. Can God Be Trusted? OUP.

Wolterstorff, N., Until Justice & Peace Embrace. Eerdmans, 1983.

11. Quest for Meaning, Identity, and Parameters of the Self


Taylor, Charles. Sources of the Self: the Making of the Modern Identity.

Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Harvard University Press.

Morris, Tomas V., Making Sense of It All.

Kreeft, Peter.  The Best Things in Life: A Twentieth-Century Socrates

Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth, and the Good Life.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1984.

Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity.

Gay, Craig, The Way of the (Modern) World.

Kreeft, P. Heaven: the Heart’s Deepest Longing. Ignatius Press

Zacharias, R. Cries of the Heart.

Lewis, C.S., The Weight of Glory

Packer, J.I. & Thomas Howard, Christianity: the True Humanism.

Barrs, J. & Macauley, R.  Being Human: the nature of spiritual experience. IVP

Moltmann, Wolterstorff, & Charry, A Passion for God’s Reign: Theology, Christian Learning and the Christian Self.

Yancey, Philip. Reaching for the Invisible God 

12. The Postmodern Condition

Zimmermann, Jens, Incarnational Humanism: a philosophy of culture for the church in the world. IVP Academic. 2012.

Ward, Graham ed., The Postmodern God: a theological reader. Blackwell, 1997.

Anderson, W.T., The Future of the Self: Exploring the Post-Identity Society. Tarcher, 1997.

Walsh & Middleton, Truth is Stranger than it Used to Be. IVP

Walsh, B. & Keesmaat, S., Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire. IVP, 2004.

Downing, C.L., How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith: Questioning Truth in Language, Philosophy and Art. IVP. 2006.

Thiselton, A.C., Interpreting God and the Postmodern Self: on meaning, manipulation and promise. T. & T. Clark, 1995.

Carkner, Gordon, University of Wales PhD Dissertation: “A Critical Examination of the Constitution of the Moral Self in Michel Foucault in Dialogue with Charles Taylor” in the British Library.

Klassen, N. & Jens Zimmerman, The Passionate Intellect: incarnational humanism and the future of university education. IVP Academic,  2007.

Shrag, C.O., The Self After Postmodernity. Yale University Press, 1997.

Eagleton, Terry, The Illusions of Postmodernism. Blackwell, 1996.

Borgmann, A., Crossing the Postmodern Divide. University Books, 1993.

Cahoune, L. ed., From Modernism to Postmodernism: an Anthology. Blackwell, 1996.

12. Faith & Culture Goldmine: Substantial Resources to Open the Mind and the Imagination (Good sources for those interested in engaging the Big Life Questions in Sermons and Research)

Who are we moderns? Where have we come from? What is our context?

Featured Promotion: Seven brilliant podcasts from CBC Ideas Series produced by David Cayley called: ‘The Myth of the Secular’.  Riveting analysis of religion and the secular age, a reframing of how we late moderns see ourselves and our world. Interviews with some of the deepest thinkers and most insightful minds of our age.

Christian Smith, Souls in Transition: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. Oxford University Press, 2009 (top Notre Dame University sociologist analyses America’s 18-23 year old spirituality; award winning book)

Marilynne Robinson. Gilead (very highly recommended by Dr.Dennis Danielson English professor UBC)

David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies. Yale, 2009 (philosopher of culture and Church Fathers specialist gives an amazing, insightful apologetic for the relevance of Christianity to Western culture; this is a prophetic and challenging book).

Jens Zimmerman. Incarnational Humanism: a philosophy of culture for the church in the world. IVP Academic, 2012

______________Humanism & Religion: a call for the renewal of Western culture. Oxford University Press, 2012.

John Milbank. Theology & Social Theory: beyond secular reason. Blackwell, 1990.

Ian Hutchinson. Monopolizing Knowledge.

Rob Alloway’s award winning Babylon Post.

Jeremy Begbie. Resounding Truth. (major current articulate theologian of the Arts)

Leland Ryken. The Christian Imagination. (older classic on faith & the Arts).

Andy Crouch. Culture Making: recovering our creative calling.

Eugene Peterson. Practice Resurrection: a conversation on growing up in Christ.

Christian Smith. Souls in Transition: the religious and spiritual lives of emerging adults. OUP, 2009.

Jeremy Begbie. Voicing Creation’s Praise.

David Lyle Jeffrey & Gregory Maillet. Christianity & Literature: philosophical foundations and critical practice.

Brad S. Gregory. The Unintended Reformation: how a religious revolution secularized society.

Charles Taylor. A Secular Age.

James Davison Hunter. To Change the World: the irony, tragedy and possibility of Christianity in the late modern world.

Alasdair MacIntyre. Three Versions of Moral Inquiry; also After Virtue.

D. Stephen Long. The Goodness of God: theology, the church and the social order.

Crystal L. Downing. How Postmodernism (Serves) my Faith.

Craig Gay. The Way of the Modern World: or why it’s tempting to live as if God doesn’t exist.

Jens Zimmerman & Norman Klassen. The Passionate Intellect: incarnational humanism and the future of university education; plus Zimmerman’s new Humanism and Religion: A Call for the Renewal of Western Culture.

Niall Ferguson. Civilization: The West and the Rest.

Lesslie Newbigin. The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society.

Don M. Page. Servant Empowered Leadership: a hands-on guide to transforming you and your organization.

Quenton J. Schultze. Habits of the High Tech Heart: living virtuously in the information age.

Albert Borgmann, Power Failure: Christianity in the Culture of Technology.

Wendell Berry. Life is a Miracle: an essay against modern superstition.

Scott Cairns. The End of Suffering: finding purpose in pain.

Miraslov Volf. Exclusion & Embrace: a theological exploration of identity, otherness, and reconciliation.

Stephen Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith.

Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies.

Francis Collins, The Language of God: a scientist presents evidence for belief in God.

Steven Bouma-Prediger. For the Beauty of the Earth: a Christian vision of creation care.

H. Richard Niebuhr. Christ & Culture.

James Sire. The Universe Next Door: a worldview catalogue.

John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University.

13. Some Top Apologist Speakers

Alvin Plantinga

William Lane Craig phiosopher @ Talbot Seminary; Paul Chamberlain philosopher @ ACTS/TWU Langley, BC, Ravi Zacharias in Orlando, Florida; Alister McGrath theologian/scientist in Oxford, UK;  Norman Geisler, Dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina; J.P. Moreland philosopher @ Talbot, Os Guinness @ The Trinity Forum in Northern Virginia, Kevin Van Hoozer @ TEDS in Deerfield, Illinois on Paul Ricoeur (good on postmodernity),  C. Stephen Evans philosophy @ Baylor, John Stackhouse theologian @ Regent College. Dr. John Patrick from Ottawa is a great speaker on medical ethics. Biola University in California is a major center of Christian philosophy and apologetics. Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale) and Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame) are the two greatest American philosophers. Charles Taylor at McGill is Canada’s greatest living philosopher, a world-class mind in social sciences and the self. IFES Apologists: Jurgen Speis in Germany (now Institut fur Glaube und Wissenschaft); Stefan Gustavsson former General Secretary in Sweden (now @ Credo Institute) s.g@mailbox.euromail.se; Spain: Dr. Pablo Martinez Vila (physician); Brazil: Dr. Altair de Souza Assis (physicist).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyQ5cFIoKts Sample Debate on Naturalism with Dr. Alvin Plantinga

13. Key Websites


Ravi Zacharias Ministries www.rzim.org/resources, Course in apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, UK (Dr. Andy Bannister, Canadian Director RZIM, Toronto)

Michael Ramsden RZIM Europe http://www.rzim.eu/biography-michael-ramsden

UCCF (IVCF) in UK www.bethinking.org/resources.php?ID=224

Faith & Philosophy Victoria, BC Canada: Dr. Rob Fitterer’s Blog: http://faithandreality.ca/

Christian Heritage Cambridge www.christianheritageuk.org.uk/  summer school in apologetics

Unbelievable: UK Thoughtful Christian Radio (e.g. debates between top scholars) http://www.premierradio.org.uk/shows/saturday/unbelievable.aspx

William Lane Craig  www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer

William Lane Craig’s scholarly articles: www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=scholarly_articles_main

C.S. Lewis Foundation: Stan Mattson www.cslewis.org/ Conferences in Oxbridge

Faraday Institute on Science & Religion: www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/

The Bibliography You Cannot Live Without: Resources on the Christian Worldview by Walsh, Middleton & Carkner: www3.sympatico.ca/ian.ritchie/BiblioWCLW.htm

Leadership University articles: www.leaderu.com

Mars Hill Audio Interviews with Great Christian Thinkers: www.marshillaudio.org

Apologetics 315: http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/02/book-review-where-conflict-really-lies.html

14. Apologetic Lecture Sampler

Veritas Forums @ Western and all across USA.

Pascal Lectures @ University of Waterloo, esp Chales Malik: “A Christian Critique of the University.”

Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh, Scotland

Grad & Faculty Christian Forum @ UBC, esp. Francis Collins “Are we more than our genes?”

Bampton Lectures in Natural Theology in UK

Cambridge University: the Faraday Institute

Various Debates with people such as Craig, Moreland, Geisler, Chamberlain, Redekop-Glass on Christianity & Marxism, Lennox & Dawkins on the God Delusion.

15. Series & Periodicals

Dare Booklets byDr. John Bowen

First Things Journal

Journal of American Scientific Affiliation

Christians in Science (UK)

16. Schools of Apologetics

Oxford RZIM School of Christian Apologetics at Wycliffe College: http://www.rzim.org/study/advanced/oxford-center-for-christian-apologetics/

Biola Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics, Biola University http://www.biola.edu/academics/sas/apologetics/

ACTS Seminary Institute of Christian Apologetics, run by Dr. Paul Chamberlain http://acts.twu.ca/programs/institute-for-christian-apologetics.html

Dr. Gordon Carkner, Graduate Student & Faculty Ministries,  Outreach Canada


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