Dr. Norman Geisler, philosopher, systematic theologian, and classical Christian apologist, died early in the morning today, according to one of Geisler’s best-known students, Ravi Zacharias.
Geisler was “blessed with an incredible mind and being a prolific writer, he influenced tens of thousands all over the world. He was one of the most ardent defenders of the Holy Scriptures,” Zacharias said in a Facebook post today. That is an understatement, to be sure.
It’s difficult to measure the academic and popular influence of Geisler, but in his scholarship, rhetorical skills and teaching excellence he certainly ranks with C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, Zacharias and Gary Habermas as a key factor in the explosion in recent decades of credible, compelling philosophical, historical, archeological and other evidence for the reliability of the Bible, the literal resurrection of Christ and the existence of God.
In my own library, in addition to the aforementioned classic with Turek, I have Geisler’s 1999 hardback “Baker Books Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics,””When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties” (co-written with Thomas Howe), and the paperback 2012 update of the encyclopedia, “The Big Book of Christian Apologetics.”
In the following video, Geisler explains how he was, shortly after becoming a Christian, stumped by a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness and a drunk (who claimed to be a Moody Bible Institute graduate, by the way) on the street in Detroit. Those experiences inspired him to a serious, systematic study of why he believes what he believes and how best to communicate it.
In view of his reference to the drunk on the street, I wonder if the title to the updated encyclopedia might be a veiled reference to the “Big Book” of AA: