Evangelical intellectuals

I’m interested in some opinions from all groups on some of the Evangelical intellectuals of our time. I have been following them closely for the last couple of years and it seems they are doing so much great for Christianity.

Often, to defeat the false stigma that Evangelicals are fundamentalist crazies who shout nonsense on street corners I cite three of my favourites:

Dr William Lane Craig
Dr Ravi Zacharias
Prof Daniel B Wallace

But there are so many more. There’s the up and coming Muslim convert to Christianity, Dr Nabeel Qureshi who happens to be a part of the RZIM ministries. There’s Dr Timothy Keller and of course Lee Strobel and his “Case for Christ.”

What I also want to touch on is their unwillingness to debate Catholicism. It seems as if they are only interested in bringing others to Christ without debating other Christian point of views.

Nick Vujicic is also an honorable mention, a man without limbs who preaches hope, happiness and of course Christ.

Do Catholic intellectuals ever see themselves willing to be on the same panel discussing the same issues along side these intellectuals one day? I often notice that all Catholic Apologists also have negative things to say about Evangelicals or Protestants in general. Who are the preachers with PHD’s in Catholicism who preach at big universities and aren’t intending to put down Protestant beliefs? Will they be willing to preach along side William Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharias?

I’m interested in multiple opinions because obviously Evangelical intellectuals are making huge progress proving Christ to the masses at universities, open forums, etc.

Oh, and also; I have not had the chance to watch this yet and I just started if anyone wants to join me:


From the Catholic point of view we are simply defending the Apostolic faith given to the Church from the beginning. When others who profess to be Christian contradict or lead others away from this Truth we have an obligation to correct them. In all of my years in a Catholic Church I have never, not once, heard a priest attack another faith tradition. And as far as our apologists are concerned, I find them to be most charitable. Please do not equate disagreement with having “negative things to say about Evangelicals”.

There is another thread on this sub-forum which discusses the book “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating. Do yourself a favor and read it. You will find that what I say is true.

In short, we accept all truth that exists within any faith tradition, Christian or otherwise. We will always defend against the errors that exist along side that truth.

Other religious views are seldom mentioned. Our priests do not contrast and compare faith traditions as a rule of thumb. They simply teach us the Gospel from the Catholic point of view and administer the sacraments.

I can certainly believe that, however all of the Catholic Apologists I know of certainly speak out against Evangelicalism or Protestantism. So what I’m trying to say is that the greatest minds of Evangelicalism who travel to Oxford and many universities are more interested in bringing those to Christianity. They aren’t out to write books against Catholicism, so I would like to go back to the OP now.

Would the Apologists with PHD’s who are also a part of the Catholic Religion stand next to these men and preach Christianity? There’s that and of course my other points in the OP.

The Catholic faith has been around for a long time. There are many saints whose bodies bore the wounds of Christ, many whose bodies are incorrupt for centuries after death, mystics, visionaries, ecstatics, miracle workers, and great theologians (intellectuals) all of whom bear witness to the truths of the faith throughout all the centuries.

There have also been numerous personalities who disputed the truths of the faith with intellectual vigor over the centuries. They come and go. Heresies appear and fade away and reappear in different form. They are most often championed by intellectuals, no doubt intelligent and sincere, who impress many and gain followers.

Evangelicalism is a novel movement in these latter times. I am not sure even what it is other than it claims to be Christian, because its followers profess belief in divinely inspired scripture.

My sense is that it is a flash in the pan. It became very popular with Protestants disaffected by mainline Protestant denominations and some Catholics and new converts. That may not be true.

It generated a lot of excitement which appears to be waning. A friend who is a minister who started several Evangelical congregations told me there is a general decline in numbers. Adherents are moving on, losing interest for one reason or another. I know some who went back to traditional Protestant denominations looking for liturgy. Some became Catholic. I met some who struggled with theological premises. I saw some congregations divide over disputes of scriptural interpretations. The mega church phenomenon with a charismatic minister seems personality based and unstable. I now one man who does not go to any church, because he does agree with any after trying several, but confirms he is an Evangelical Christian. Good grief.

But behind your question is a fundamental desire programmed into Christians of all stripes, a desire for unity. You want to know if present day Catholic intellectuals would stand with, support, join the efforts of the non-Catholic intellectuals you admire in an effort to evangelize the world, because we all desire unity. We should.

The question remains the same if asked, would the new generation remodeled Protestant thinkers join Catholic intellectuals in their work. The answer is no. They do not share several important doctrinal positions and disagree with one another on matters of faith each believes is important.

Time is the test. Truth remains. Error passes away. We do not have to dispute with one another about who is right or wrong and dispute is unlikely to persuade anyone of anything. That which is of God will pass the test of time.

In the mean time we should love one another and pray for one mother. Go your way. Try it on for size. See if it withstands the test of time.


I am a big fan of both Tim Keller and Dr Craig. I saw dr Craig debate Christopher Hitchens in person, and it was a great debate.

I think there are plenty of Catholics willing to speak with them and alongside them, unfortunately I don’t know if that is always the case the other way.

See it’s hard for an evangelical to embrace a Catholic. A good number of their donors and audience will throw out the whore of babylon fundamentalist nonsense so it’s a touchy subject. It’s hard to go arm and arm with someone you feel you should be evangelizing out of the Catholic Church.

I know Alastair Mc Grath has done some Catholic stuff and NT wright has hd some dialogues with Catholics.

I am not sure if you are familiar with the document “Catholics and Evangelicals Together”. It was an ecumenical work to get together and preach the gospel together and work together against secularism.

Sadly ten times more prominent evangelicals than the signers, condemned not only the document but the evangelical signers for getting into bed with the Catholic Church.

The document is a beautiful document I will post a link. I have only ever been able to find it on Catholic websites, although you should be able to find all the evangelical propaganda against it around the net.

I don’t mean to be harsh and raw raw Catholic Church. It just seems to be the sad truth of the matter.

That said, I hope more and more Catholics and Evangelicals begin working together.

It was big news here in California, but Rick Warren’s mega evangelical church, Saddleback, has partnered up with the diocese of Orange to combat Mental Helath issues and how the Church has handled it. Warren and Bishop Vann have had a number of private meetings and are good friends going hand in hand on this…Catholics are ecstatic…a good number of evangelicals are questioning Warren now.

But hopefully more good than harm will come of it.

“Evangelicals and Catholics Together”. ewtn.com/library/issues/evancath.txt

Warren and Bishop Vann- losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/pastor-rick-warren-raises-mental-health-awareness-in-memory-of-sons-suicide/

In the Detroit area. Father John Riccardo and the Pastor of Kennigston mega Church have gotten together and have even done I think a CD series about working together and discussing issues. I would say on the Catholic side. Dr. Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, Patrick Madrid would be on the levels of the men you have mentioned. I know about the Detroit series because it was shown at my parish.

What does “preach Christianity” entail?

When a Catholic priest after the altar call by the evangelical, starts signing people up to be baptized to become Christian, will the evangelical be ok with that?

When they come to seek forgiveness and the Catholic directs them to the confessional, will the evangelical be ok with that?

These are the problems. Evangelicalism is so loosely defined, and so individual it is very different from the sacramental theology of the Catholic Church

Where we seem to be doing what you ask is in things like professing Christ risen, and answering atheists and fighting against abortion.

I just remembered another exammple, that Catholic Answers Apologist Patrick Coffin had Dr William Lane Craig as one of three guests on his CD set “How to Talk to Atheists”

Dr. Peter Kreeft is basically the Catholic William Lane Craig. Benjamin Whiker also comes to mind. I think they have spoken at open forums alongside the men you speak of, and for a Catholic who deals with Muslim issues you might think of Robert Spencer.

I’m a little surprised you didn’t include Church Colston (RIP).

He and Richard Neuhaus basically led the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” initiative in the 90’s.

Excellent, my thoughts to.:thumbsup::clapping::signofcross:

Evangelical and Catholic intellectuals do come together. It probably happens more often than we realize. There are some great books by Dwlight Longnecker and an Evangelical pastor out there. If you look up Catholic and Evangelical dialogue, the interactions occur through that as well.

Hmmmm. I’m 58 years old. Been Catholic all my life.
Go to Mass daily 365 days a year. Listen to the priest
every day.
Have never heard even ONE mention another
religion. Not once. Ever.
Priests normally discuss the Gospel reading for the
day and the readings from NT and OT and the
psalms and how we are to use them in our daily life.
My suggestion is you educate yourself about what
goes on in a Catholic Church.
Quite frankly the priest is not concerned with what
other people are doing- he’s interested in his own

Really I was interested in the youtube video even though it was over two hours in length. After 5 minutes of nothing but staring at an unoccupied lecturn I gave up.
But I am very much aware of Evangelical intellectuals as would anyone who has tried to wade through Calvin’s Institutes.

Donald, I think your experience might be weighted because you are spending a lot of time reading Catholic Answers materials. In case you have never read the story of its founding:

Catholic Answers began in 1979 after a Fundamentalist church in San Diego, California, decided to leaflet the cars at a local parish during Mass. The fliers attacked the Eucharist and were riddled with misinformation. Upon coming out of Mass and finding one on his car, attorney Karl Keating was annoyed and drove home with a modest goal: to draft a tract that would present basic Catholic beliefs and refute anti-Catholic charges. Keating signed the tract “Catholic Answers,” opened up a post office box in that name, and then placed his rebuttal on the windshields of cars in the Fundamentalist church’s lot.

That modest effort was Catholic Answers’ first publication. Much to his surprise, Keating soon found the post office box bulging with letters—some unquotable, others cheering him on and asking for other tracts. He obliged, writing 24 more tracts that comprised Catholic Answers’ total line of publications for several years.

He also wrote articles for the Catholic press about the clash between Fundamentalists and Catholics, drawing responses that convinced him there was a real need for information on Catholic apologetics—the study of how to explain and defend the faith. In 1986 he launched a monthly newsletter to help people keep abreast of what Catholic Answers was doing and learn more about the exciting field of apologetics.

In 1988 growing demand and his own burgeoning desire to commit himself to serving the faith led Keating to close his law practice and turn Catholic Answers into a full-time apostolate, with its first office and staff members.

The apostolate grew quickly, and in 1990 its original newsletter was replaced with This Rock, a 10-issue-a-year magazine that has become the nation’s premier journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization.

If you read their mission statement, you will find that part of their stated mission is to “lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the faith.” Many of the CA apologists are former Protestants as well so they talk about what they know. There are plenty of Protestant organizations whose mission is to lead Catholics into whatever they believe is the “fullness of the faith” as well. Do you think that no Protestant should speak about issues of controversy between Catholicism and Protestantism? If I spent all my time on the Alpha and Omega Ministries website, for example, then I might come away with the idea that all Protestants talk about is why they hate Catholicism. I do not think it is inappropriate for an organization called Catholic Answers to focus on Protestant-Catholic issues because the numeric majority, both in kind in frequency, come from Protestant mouths. You might wish this were not the case but it’s just the reality at the moment.

The Protestant speakers you mentioned also do not just happen to be Protestant. They are Protestant for their own reasons and they would not hesitate to say why they are not Catholic. For example, Dr. William Lain Craig: “Why I’m not a Catholic.”


Of course, they do not speak about this as frequently as others because that is not their focus. There are Catholic apologists who focus on other things besides Protestant-Catholic issues. Their are Catholic apologists just like your list of Protestant apologists who focus on theist-atheist issues as well, such as the one’s Dmar named. I could mention others like Trent Horn from Catholic Answers, Edward Feser or Fr. Rober Spitzer.

In short, I don’t think Catholic apologetics is fundamentally different from Protestant apologetics on this point. Moreover, from the Catholic perspective, even to defend the kind of “mere Christianity” (as Dr. Craig put it) that you’re talking about is implicitly conceding the Protestant position as the Christian faith is inseparably bound up with the Catholic doctrine of the Church.

This is a loaded topic. Defending a theological system is not the same thing as understanding Truth. Great intellectual energy has been spent plumbing the depths of the Godhead. Making pronouncements about God’s nature and intentions is a risky thing when armed only with The Bible and Sola Scriptura. Some very bright people have used these “paints and canvas” to draw mutually exclusive paintings. Calvin or Arminius? Claiming to use one’s intellectual armament to discern truth is dangerous. These arguments are logic-based and necessarily locked in the arena of spacetime. God “exists” outside of spacetime. They tend to presuppose a God whose intentions can be ultimately determined with intellectual effort. This lowers God to the realm of the Pantheon where the gods are exaggerated humans and deal with humanity on an almost mathematical quid pro quo playing field.

Likewise, I am 76 years old, gone to many protestant churches even Baptist and never heard a bad word about Catholics. I think it is just a small percentage of protestant think they need to debate Catholics about their faith. Most just do not care.

Perhaps it is due to my time spent here; almost every topic is Catholic vs Protestant in the non-Catholic forums.

I will add that of course WLC touches on why he’s not Catholic, but he even says “he gets asked this so frequently.” It would certainly be a hard question to avoid, but at least he’s not interested in putting down or debating the Religion.

I always feel like we have bigger problems at hand, such as seclurism, Islam, new Atheist movements, etc than each other. I think this should be emphasized between Christians.

By the way, all of the other posts in this thread have been wonderful. I want to thank those who have brought to my attention past books and teams that brought Catholics and Evangelicals together to preach.

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