Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith Part I: Human Limitations In Apologetics -- By: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 134:534 (Apr 1977)
Article: Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith Part I: Human Limitations In Apologetics
Author: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.


Contemporary Apologetics and the Christian Faith
Part I:
Human Limitations In Apologetics

John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

[John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Director of Postgraduate Studies, Professor of Theology and Old Testament, Grace Theological Seminary, Winoma Lake, Indiana.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 8–11, 1977.]

A Work Of God At Princeton University

My personal experience with Christian apologetics began in February, 1943, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord as a student at Princeton University. It had not been my privilege to be raised in a Christian home nor to attend a Bible-teaching church. But God in His grace used one or two Christian students at the university to invite me time and time again to attend a weekly Bible class being taught in the student center by a Princeton alumnus and former missionary to India. The gospel message was skillfully and graciously presented, and after several months of such teaching, I surrendered to the claims and the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As far as I could tell, there were no other Christians in the dormitory where I resided at that time. But I had made several good friends, one of whom was a sophisticated intellectual from a wealthy home. I was convinced that the conversion of such a man could bring great changes in the dormitory and university, so one day I invited him to attend our Bible class. My hopes were high, because I was prepared to convince him that no one else could match this Bible teacher who had led me to the Lord.

The conversation, as I recall over the years, proceeded as follows: “Harry, here is a teacher who can make the message of the Bible clear and convincing. Why not come with me Sunday afternoon and see for yourself?” “The Bible? Why should I take time

to study a religious book that is already nearly two thousand years out of date? You know that there isn’t a single science prof here at Princeton who takes the Bible seriously on the origin of the world. The idea of creation by divine fiat is no longer held by intelligent people. I have no interest in the Bible.”

Stung by this flat rejection of God’s Word on the basis of a scientific consensus, I retreated to my Christian friends. Weren’t there any publications of a scholarly nature, I asked, that could help my friend see the weaknesses of evolutionism and thus the possibility of supernatural creation? Except for a few small booklets, nothing came to hand; but armed with these I approached Harry again. He was surpris...

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