Author Topic: English Christian Apologists and Scholars  (Read 879 times)

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Offline 88Devin12

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English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« on: April 07, 2012, 02:15:49 AM »
I was listening to a lecture from N.T. Wright today, and I was wondering. What is it that produces such wonderful theologians, scholars and apologists for the Christian faith from the United Kingdom?

In the past 100 years, we've had G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic), C.S. Lewis (Anglican), Bishop N.T. Wright (Anglican) and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Orthodox).
I'm sure the education these men may have had helped, but what is it that has made them so prominent and impressive when it comes to speaking on behalf of orthodox Christianity?

Offline Nicene

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 02:33:26 AM »
It's gotta be the accents.

But I think it might have something to do with British Christianity.

Thank you.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 02:41:46 AM »
G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic), C.S. Lewis (Anglican), ... and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Orthodox).

For these three... good communicators, average theologians, poor apologists. Don't know about Wright as I've never read him (except in snippets). Anyway, I'm guessing most of whatever advantages they have came from their cultural pedigree. Except Chesterton, he seems to me, more than the others, admirably good at coming up with striking phrases as a natural gift.

Offline JamesR

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 02:47:55 AM »
Chesterton is the only good apologist on that list. C.S. Lewis was good, but he mostly only taught the fundamentals and if you really want depth then you have to go deeper. Kallistos Ware is more of a theologian than an apologist. Chesterton though is an intellectual heavyweight who could argue in favor of utter nonsense and still actually make an interesting case for it.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 02:48:58 AM »
G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic), C.S. Lewis (Anglican), ... and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Orthodox).

For these three... good communicators, average theologians, poor apologists. Don't know about Wright as I've never read him (except in snippets). Anyway, I'm guessing most of whatever advantages they have came from their cultural pedigree. Except Chesterton, he seems to me, more than the others, admirably good at coming up with striking phrases as a natural gift.

 I actually see Chesterton and Lewis as extremely intelligent apologists.  His Grace, Metropolitan Kallistos is a fair apologist but an exceptional apologist.  The two apologists who had serious affects on my path were/are C.S. Lewis and Ravi Zacharias.  Both have cool accents, but it's their arguments that won me over.
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Offline NightOwl

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 02:57:24 AM »
GK Chesterton brought me to Christianity and Kallistos Ware to Orthodox Christianity. 8) I find both to be incredibly inspirational as true Christian role models in the modern world.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 03:02:26 AM by NightOwl »

Offline Peter J

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 09:47:49 PM »
I was listening to a lecture from N.T. Wright today, and I was wondering. What is it that produces such wonderful theologians, scholars and apologists for the Christian faith from the United Kingdom?

In the past 100 years, we've had G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic), C.S. Lewis (Anglican), Bishop N.T. Wright (Anglican) and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Orthodox).
I'm sure the education these men may have had helped, but what is it that has made them so prominent and impressive when it comes to speaking on behalf of orthodox Christianity?

I'm fairly ignorant of N.T. Wright, but the other 3 are certainly all great.

BTW, are you familiar with the Inklings groups at CAF? Lewis is, naturally, a recurring topic there, and so is Chesterton even though he doesn't actually fit the name.
- Peter Jericho (a CAF poster)

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 09:52:25 PM »
I actually see Chesterton and Lewis as extremely intelligent apologists.  

I suppose I was being a bit unfair. After all, if I don't find any Christian apologetics persuasive, I can hardly fault them for their apologetics not persuading me. It's not their fault they don't have much to work with.  8) :P :angel:

Offline orthonorm

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 10:51:00 PM »
I suppose I was being a bit unfair.

You were being too kind.
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 10:54:46 PM »
Chesterton is the only good apologist on that list. C.S. Lewis was good, but he mostly only taught the fundamentals and if you really want depth then you have to go deeper. Kallistos Ware is more of a theologian than an apologist. Chesterton though is an intellectual heavyweight who could argue in favor of utter nonsense and still actually make an interesting case for it.

With Lewis, I find that if you want his real depth you have to go to his fiction. He himself abandoned his apologetic work after coming to realize the inadequacy of philosophy in arguing theology, but his fiction is where he truly shines- nuggets are hidden away in his Narnia series, refined in his Space Trilogy, and wrought into fine jewelry in Till We Have Faces.  

I suppose I was being a bit unfair.

You were being too kind.

Because you do so much better writing an internet Orthodox dating column- oh wait, when was the last time you actually posted on that?  ;)
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2012, 10:59:24 PM »
Chesterton is the only good apologist on that list. C.S. Lewis was good, but he mostly only taught the fundamentals and if you really want depth then you have to go deeper. Kallistos Ware is more of a theologian than an apologist. Chesterton though is an intellectual heavyweight who could argue in favor of utter nonsense and still actually make an interesting case for it.

With Lewis, I find that if you want his real depth you have to go to his fiction. He himself abandoned his apologetic work after coming to realize the inadequacy of philosophy in arguing theology, but his fiction is where he truly shines- nuggets are hidden away in his Narnia series, refined in his Space Trilogy, and wrought into fine jewelry in Till We Have Faces.  

I suppose I was being a bit unfair.

You were being too kind.

Because you do so much better writing an internet Orthodox dating column- oh wait, when was the last time you actually posted on that?  ;)

It spawned too many PMs, phone calls, and personal coaching appointments.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 10:59:36 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2012, 11:01:32 PM »
With Lewis

I've said it before:

In literature, he is a hack.
In "theology", he is worse.

But in his "personal writing", A Grief Observed, it cannot go more highly recommended.
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 11:42:37 PM »
With Lewis

I've said it before:

In literature, he is a hack.
In "theology", he is worse.

But in his "personal writing", A Grief Observed, it cannot go more highly recommended.


Heh, that was always my least favorite of the Lewis works- I've never liked reading published diaries, it's a little too much like voyeurism for my taste.

Lewis would have probably been the first to agree with you about his theology, though.

As for his literature- compared to the rich works of the past- the Odyssey, Divine Comedy, or Paradise Lost it might leave something to be desired. Compared to his contemporaries and those who have followed he is Bunyan to Tolkien's Shakespeare.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 11:44:53 PM »
Compared to his contemporaries and those who have followed he is Bunyan to Tolkien's Shakespeare.

And with that orthonorm gave up the ghost.
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2012, 11:53:44 PM »
Compared to his contemporaries and those who have followed he is Bunyan to Tolkien's Shakespeare.

And with that orthonorm gave up the ghost.

W00t! I win all teh internets!
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: English Christian Apologists and Scholars
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 12:12:22 AM »
I suppose I was being a bit unfair.

You were being too kind.

 Daniel Clendenin writes in his book "Eastern Orthodoxy: A Western Perspective" that when he taught theology in Russia, he used C.S. Lewis' book "Mere Christianity".  I don't have it in front of me, but he writes that the Russian students didn't like it at all.  I don't recall the exact reason, but I remember Mr. Clendenin was a bit surprised.  I guess what I'm saying is that you're not alone.  But I am curious; whom do you esteem in the world of Christian apologetics?
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