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Methods for Sharing the Gospel on College Campuses By William Lane Craig, Ph.D., D. Theol. Introduction Yesterday I spoke of the value of philosophy for the new evangelization with respect to the task of shaping culture. Christian philosophy helps to create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the Gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women. Philosophy is also of value for the new evangelization in a more direct and practical way as well. For philosophy undergirds the discipline of Christian apologetics, that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification of Christianity’s truth claims. A positive apologetic for Christianity will comprise two major components: the arguments of natural theology and various Christian evidences. Natural theology is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to prove the existence of God apart from the resources of authoritative divine revelation. Christian evidences seeks to provide warrant for thinking that God has revealed himself decisively in Jesus of Nazareth. Unfortunately, in my admittedly limited experience most Catholic apologetics seems to be aimed at persuading Protestants to become Catholics rather than at convincing unbelievers to become Christians. This strikes me as a case of misplaced priorities. Catholics and Protestants together face a common challenge in secularism, a challenge which has evoked the call for a new evangelization. An Approach to Apologetics What is urgently needed today is an apologetic for what C. S. Lewis called “mere Christianity,” those central truths which are common to all the great confessions of Christendom, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. Now Lewis recognized that no mature Christian rests content with such a bare-boned Christianity. Mere Christianity, he said, is like the hallway into which one enters upon coming into a great house. Off the hallway are the various rooms representing the different confessions and denominations of Christendom. No one is content to remain in the hallway, for it is in the rooms that the couches and the fireplaces and the conversations are to be found. But in a secular culture we first--and foremost--need to bring people into the house. Lewis lived through and wrote during the height of the positivist era at Oxford, the times of A. J. Ayer and Verificationism and the alleged meaninglessness of religious, ethical, and metaphysical discourse. He bucked conventional wisdom by presenting a variety of arguments for God’s existence. And he rejected the relativity of history, arguing for the historical veracity of the Gospels’ record of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Lewis was thus a champion of both natural theology and Christian evidences. If I may speak personally, my own approach to Christian apologetics has been inspired by Lewis’ model. I have self-consciously focused on the defense of mere Christianity, based upon the twin pillars of God’s existence, as demonstrated by a variety of arguments of natural theology, and the resurrection of Jesus, as established by historical-

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Chicago Studies Spring 2017  

Volume 56:1

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