It’s time again for that most prized of all personal discipleship honors, Veracity’s Top 10 Scorer Awards. (I know, I know…I can hardly stand the excitement either!)
There are lots of great resources for personal discipleship on the web and in bookstores, but these are the sources Clarke and I cite most frequently, and for good reason. They are the players who consistently “put the puck in the net.” No skating around the issues—just on-target discipleship. We listen to their podcasts, read their books, watch their debates, and benefit greatly from their teaching and personal examples. We don’t agree with everything each of them says or believes, and they wouldn’t want us to. But we are blessed by having studied them. They are, in our opinion, among the most influential proponents of the Christian faith today.
This year’s list includes pastors, philosophers, professors, theologians, apologists, an astrophysicist, several world-class scholars, some exceptionally gifted teachers, and a cop. (As in the past there are more than 10 winners on our Top 10 Scorers list because they all deserve the award.)
With great appreciation we extend a Chi Rho hat tip and our Top 10 Scorer award to the following:
|William Lane Craig||Professional philosopher, professor, and apologist who according to atheist Sam Harris, “Put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.” Extremely well prepared and researched. Dr. Craig has two earned doctorates and is about as articulate and unflappable on his feet as they come. Founder of Reasonable Faith, and called “The greatest defender of Christianity in the world” by Lee Strobel. Because analytic philosophy removes obstacles.
|Daniel Wallace||How reliable is the Bible? There aren’t any experts with more to share on this question than Dan Wallace. A painstaking researcher who not only can tell you how reliable the manuscripts are, but why they are holy and why they should make a difference in our lives. He has a very dry sense of humor and isn’t afraid to use it.
|J. Warner Wallace||One of the most gifted rhetoricians you will ever hear. Profiled on several NBC Dateline episodes for his forensic gifts. Never lost a cold case. Very fine apologist as well. Knows how to make a convincing case for the objective truth of Christianity. Active writer, speaker, blogger and all around good guy.
|Hugh Ross||Astrophysicist with an insatiable appetite for proving the validity of Scripture through scientific findings. Founder of Reasons To Believe, a science-faith think tank. Quite possibly one of the greatest minds to ever appreciate General Revelation. Gracious under fire, he is the epitome of “gentleness and respect.”
|Andy Stanley||A mega church pastor with few peers. Just like a crowded restaurant, there are good reasons his church is so large. He coordinates and delivers messages in a way that scores, having learned a lot of lessons the hard way and isn’t afraid to share those experiences. One of the most effective preachers you’ll ever hear.
|Dick Woodward||The master of devotional Bible study. What does the Bible say, what does it mean, what does it mean to me? Talk about putting the puck in the net! 4,500 churches have been built around his 780+ Mini Bible College lessons, which have now been translated into 31 languages. Dick went home in 2014, but his ministry continues to influence. His lessons are the plumb line for what we do on Veracity. Of all the apologetic arguments I know, Dick’s joy through decades of physical torment and paralysis is the one I truly treasure.
|Norman Geisler||Dr. Geisler is the standard-bearer for conservative, evangelical doctrine. Chief architect and driver of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Author of more than 50 authoritative, well-researched books on Christianity and apologetics. Founder of two seminaries. An active speaker, writer, apologist, and professor.
|Ravi Zacharias||Apologist and evangelist. “The primary mission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries is to reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (according to the rzim.org mission statement). Dr. Zacharias comes at faith both ways: helping thinkers to believe and believers to think. A brilliant mind and gifted thinker and orator.
|Michael Kruger||Dr. Kruger is an expert on the New Testament Canon. President and Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. Studied under Bart Ehrman, and has become one of Ehrman’s most credible refuters. A gifted speaker and insightful researcher.
|Darrell Bock||Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Known for his work in Luke and Acts, historical Jesus study, biblical theology, as well as with messianic Jewish ministries. He is a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today and is on the board of Chosen People Ministries and Wheaton College. He is a well-known author of over thirty books on biblical topics.
|Ben Witherington||Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Considered one of the top evangelical scholars, Witherington also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. The author of more than 40 books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also has been seen on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.
|Greg Koukl||Christian apologist, radio talk show host, author, speaker, and the founder of the Christian apologetics organization Stand To Reason, an organization dedicated to training those supporting Christian viewpoints to defend their faith with “knowledge, wisdom, and character.” Stand To Reason produces a weekly radio program, audio podcasts, articles, and video materials, many available on its website.
|John Ankerberg||Founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America. His television and radio programs are broadcast into 106 million American homes and are available in more than 200 nations in 12 languages. Author, co-author, or contributor to 155 books and study guides in 20 languages, his writings have sold more than 3 million copies and reach millions of readers each year online.
|Michael Brown||Considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. Founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, Director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily, nationally, syndicated talk radio show, the Line of Fire, as well as the host of the apologetics TV show, “Answering Your Toughest Questions.” He is the author of 25 books, including, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, and Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.
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Who’s on your list and why? Please let us know!
February 22nd, 2015 at 2:05 pm
Great work guys…makes for great reference list.
February 22nd, 2015 at 2:19 pm
Thanks Jim, it’s so good to see your comment. You’ve been on my prayer list.
February 22nd, 2015 at 3:58 pm
Great list and worthy of any top ten.
February 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Reblogged this on Reasons For The Hope Blog and commented:
The guys at Veracity have put together a list of some of the best apologist around. Each one is worthy of your time. David
February 24th, 2015 at 7:29 am
MY TAKE: The list is excellent, of course, as is your blog in general.
But…thanks also for the opportunity for those of us out here to be able to join the discussion. If the point of this list has to do with those outstanding individuals who contribute the most to the actual building of “a love for truth”, and the building of “a Biblical foundation” within each of us whereby we CAN “give a reason for the hope”, it would seem strange to leave out John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul.
And, although each case for inclusion of these three can be easily built, perhaps the easiest to demonstrate is Sproul, as evidenced by a short primer of his (which should be in the backpack of every believer, irregardless of denomination or level of ministry for Christ) entitled: “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith”. Published in 1998, it is reviewed in the following paragraph: “For those who yearn for a deeper walk in faith, their journey can begin here. Dr. Sproul takes theology down off of the dusty shelves of theological libraries and expounds in clear and simple terms over one hundred major Christian doctrines. He offers readers a basic understanding of the Christian faith that will kindle a lifelong love for truth, which is foundational to maturity in Christ.” This is in stark contrast to the erudite offerings of most on the current list who a are WONDERFUL witnesses for Christ, but who speak with a vocabulary and syntax which is not necessarily accessible across the board. A tiny but potent companion Sproul book which reinforces the need to “eat the scroll” is “Knowing Scripture”, published in 09.
Of course, both Piper and MacArthur are equally potent in setting and expounding the “plumb line”, and are certainly within the same league as Sproul–and the others on the existing list–but space does not allow for the development of the complex reasons they should be included–realizing that you have already included 14 where there should be only 10 spaces, and that this additional 3 would bring the 14 to up to 17!!! I surely realize that the task you have set defies quantification–but since you asked for our candidates for inclusion, here they are.
Thanks again for this list, and for all your work, and most especially the opportunity to contribute. (By the way, in our ministry we use these two tiny but potent Sproul books listed above to lure and to “jump start” a renewed desire in believers to dive deeper into the pool of hope within the pages of the 66 books that make up the only inerrant “library” in history…the Bible, of course.) In His precious name, Caroline Debs
February 24th, 2015 at 10:43 am
Thanks so much for commenting! (And for such a thorough comment at that!)
There are many, many wonderful teachers, pastors, apologists, theologians, and authors who are not on this list–not because they don’t deserve to be, but simply because these are the people Clarke and I draw from most frequently (and of course for the power of their messages). Often it just comes down to how much time we have and who really resonates with our own personal discipleship studies. I am a big fan of Sproul and Piper…and a host of others like Lee Strobel, John Lennox, Ray Vander Laan, Michael Card, John Yates, J.I. Packer, and on and on. I really haven’t read or listened to MacArthur. It was really hard laying out a list. The point isn’t to eliminate anyone; it is to give people who want to get started and venture into the waters of personal discipleship a few good sources to consider. I did put out a post a while back about embarrassing witnesses, and again, it was meant to give people something to think about if they are searching for voices and perspectives.
Some of these folks are very intellectual in their delivery (Zacharias and Craig in particular), and that will be a stumbling block for some people. Pastors like Dick Woodward and Andy Stanley work to “put the cookies on the bottom shelf.” Intellectualism makes me bristle, but after having listened to these particular intellectuals for such a long time, I have come to appreciate the great work they do in tearing down intellectual barriers to the Christian faith. For that I greatly admire them. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they have enviable records of reaching atheists and agnostics, and reinforcing the faith of people like me.
Thanks once again for such a great response!
March 1st, 2015 at 11:29 pm
John – thanx for including Papa on your impressive list. You know how much he loved the Word of God (what does it say? what does it mean? what does it mean to me?) – & how he loved to see the Word of God transforming lives (with the power of the Holy Spirit!!) Big blessings to you (& smaller blessings to Clarkey – sometimes his posts rile up this red head! But isn’t it grand how the blood of Jesus Christ unites us despite our differences ?? : )
grace, peace & faith – Virginia
March 2nd, 2015 at 5:05 am
Dick has an emeritus position on our list. His love of the Bible was as infectious as his humor and love of people. He was truly a gifted teacher and encourager. I miss him greatly and think about him constantly.
Veracity is a little edgy, and not everyone agrees with our views on every issue. As your Dad used to say, “If two of us are exactly alike, one of us is unnecessary.” Where we challenge views we hope to do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). It’s harder than it may seem.
Please give my love to all the Woodwards.
March 2nd, 2015 at 7:16 am
Oh John, i am SO smooted!! Clark is the dearest of guys & I will pray for the biggest of blessings for him! (We go all the way back to high school where I remember spirited discussions then!) What the two of you are doing here @ Veracity is a huge example of faithfulness & faith-filled-ness…
We are so very grateful! Keep being edgy & making us think & pray as we all ask God to strengthen our faith..
Big hugs to you (& Clark) … & ‘gobs of agape’ – Virginia
March 2nd, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Right back at you, and thanks for the continued encouragement!