The Avengers in Modern Day Apologetics
So, you might be thinking “What in the world do Marvel’s Avengers have to do with Christian apologists?” Good question! It may help if I start by explaining how I came up with the idea for this article.
It was announced recently at Ocean City Tabernacle, a church my family occasionally visits, that they would be bringing in Josh McDowell next Summer to do a seminar on his book ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict.’ This got me thinking immediately of who I would be inviting to join me, after some thinking I thought of an agnostic friend of mine who I would categorize as quite the intellectual. Of course, now I had to figure out HOW I would be inviting him. I was picturing the conversation between us and my first thought was to tell him to think of Josh McDowell as the Captain America of current Christian apologists. I assumed this may give McDowell some more credibility (in a weird millennial type of way).
Maybe it’s because I’m a Marvel fan and have a few close comic nerd friends, or maybe it’s because I tend to think of things in the current cultural climate and relate them to other things on my mind, that are relevant at the time. However, all of which probably played a part in how I came up with this interesting and odd idea for an article.
Josh Mcdowell: Captain America
Captain America is the original Avenger, the oldest Avenger, and to this day can still go toe-to-toe with anyone. McDowell has all those same qualities among other living Christian apologists. ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’ (written in 1972) was McDowell’s first of over 150 books he either authored or co-authored to date. This means he not only started ministry earlier than most people still alive (1964), but he even wrote his first book before many people reading this article were born. He has debated many intellectual opponents throughout the years from all types of backgrounds and beliefs all while standing firm in truth with a heavy reliance on the Bible's reliability and positive evidence; evidence, that demands a verdict.
Ravi Zacharias: Ironman
Throughout the Marvel Universe movies, Ironman was one of the first avengers to headline the theaters, and the first avenger to make himself known. So, he was super famous all over the globe and because of his enormous fortune and incredible intellect he had much at his disposal. Now, I’m not saying that Ravi is a rich snob who thinks he knows more than everyone else walking this earth. However, what they do have in common is that, of any living Christian apologist, Ravi is probably the best known worldwide and with his RZIM ministry he has a large team at his side.
Ironman 3 showed Tony Stark (Ironman) flying around with robots he had created that were all specialized with certain abilities. That being said, that is exactly how I view the RZIM team of apologists that all have their own specific areas of expertise. Ravi started ministry work in 1971 and RZIM was created in 1984. Since then, the ministry has grown to currently having over 70 global speakers, authors, and apologists. At this point in time, Ravi is probably the most well known Christian apologist with over 200 worldwide speaking engagements on a regular, yearly basis. He has authored 30 plus books to his name and has even made a recent appearance on The Ben Shapiro Show, Sunday Special.
Frank Turek: Thor
Thor is a character that is arguably the most powerful Avenger, but at times can be reckless in his approach to handling situations. Turek is relatively new to the public scene, in regard to being a well-known apologist; especially when you consider Turek in relation to Ravi or McDowell. It is amazing that this can be said of Truek, considering he does have over 20 years of experience, and is not afraid to hold people accountable to their worldview. In my comparison to Thor, I am NOT saying Turek is reckless in his handling of confrontation, but that his straightforward approach to truth sometimes comes off as being harsh, even though it really is rooted in love. He has a great following on his podcast, ‘I Don't have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,’ he is constantly speaking at universities and other venues throughout the year, he has 4 books to his name, and has debated the top names (who have opposing worldviews) out there. His quick thinking and delivery of his thoughts lends well to the debate stage where he has gone against names like Christopher Hitchens and Michael Shermer. Turek is already one of the top names in the Christian apologetics world and doesn't seem to show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
John Lennox: Hulk
Bruce Banner is typically a very mild mannered, brilliant scientist and would like to live a life that is void of conflict with others, but since a gamma ray accident in the lab one day, he now transforms into the Hulk when angry. Lennox is also a very mild mannered philosopher/scientist, but when in a debate or writing a book you could say he “Hulk smashes” his opponents with an incredible amount of grace and truth. He has debated the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Lawrence Krauss, among others. He finished with favorable outcomes in each one of these debates. His academic record is on par with any of the top minds out there and somehow while building all of that in his career he also can fluently speak over 5 languages. Lennox has authored or co-authored over 15 books, debated the top names of the opposition, sat under C.S. Lewis’ teaching, and more that I could keep writing about, but need to end this at some point. I have chosen Lennox to compare with the Hulk, because anything he puts his mind to he will smash it and succeed as an almost unstoppable force.
Nancy Pearcey: Black Widow
Black Widow comes off as a fairly normal woman until she is put in a position to take action and then everyone sees the almost unstoppable fighter she is, even as an un-enhanced human. Pearcey is not as well known as the others on this list but just as good and intellectually on par with anyone. She has amassed quite an impressive resume that includes 5 books, an ECPA Gold Medallion Award for her book ‘Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity,’ and many high level roles at various universities. Currently Pearcey serves as a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Being a leader is something that Pearcey also has in common with Black Widow since she is one of the leading voices for the Intelligent Design movement.
William Lane Craig: Hawkeye
Hawkeye is a very skilled fighter along with being the world’s best archer, with what seems to be an arrow for any occasion ready to go at his disposal. William Lane Craig is one of the most decorated academics, no matter which side of the debate you land. Similar to having an arrow ready for any situation, Craig is ready to go against anyone anytime on multiple topics. Craig is an expert in philosophy, arguments for the existence of God, and reasons for the resurrection of Jesus Christ as an actual historical event. In the best selling book and now recent movie ‘The Case for Christ’ where then atheistic and skeptical journalist, Lee Strobel, goes to many different experts in different fields to see what they have to say. Craig was one of the experts that Strobel decided to consult with. There is not enough room in one article to list all of Craig’s academic accomplishments, which include numerous debates with very few of his opponents wanting to debate him more than once.