Friday, July 22, 2011

Josh McDowell's Revelation

Fifteen years after I warned him both in person and by mail that he needed to do something -- Josh McDowell had the light go on in his head.

In an article (link below), McDowel is reported as saying:

The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have... whether you like it or not...


Later on he is quoted as saying that all of this is "just beginning." No it's not. It was beginning long before that, even before I warned him, in fact. I was using databases that worked like Google when googol was still just a number (and was spelled differently). I'm not saying I predicted the Internet any more than Al Gore invented it. But it wasn't hard to see that it would become important to collate and collect information in defense of the Christian faith, and I was doing my best to do that from the start.

McDowell didn't pay any attention to this. Oh, sure, he says, he "made the statement off and on for 10-11 years that the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism." I never heard him say that, but even if he did, he sure didn't do anything about it.

Yes, he's right that the Internet has levelled the playing field; such it is that any idiot can get online and be believed by other idiots. YouTube is proof of that. And I've ranted enough on the Forge about how we've gotten to places like that far later than we should have, so I won't repeat that all here. Suffice to say that McDowell himself is one of the people riding in the caboose, and all this time has also been hanging his feet out of it dragging along the tracks.

McDowell's also worried about pornography, and that's a good thing. I do think that sort of social concern should be his niche, rather than apologetics. But the sort of neglect he and others have performed over the past 15 years is now coming back to haunt us.

If God were to grant me one wish for myself (not for the world at large), you know what it would be? I'd ask Him to take the Dell Inspiron notebook I'm typing this on, and send it back to my 1996 self, with all of my apologetics articles on it. It sure would be fun to pre-empt all the Skeptics out there with refutations of articles they hadn't written yet, and also be ahead of the game on YouTube when it starts (most of my vids are on the notebook too). Actually though, if McDowell had listened to me, the results might have been much closer to that time travel scenario.

It's too bad things are so bad that that is my fondest wish.



  1. While I would agree with your general assessment that in many ways Christians have allowed the internet to be overrun by skeptics, I also think it's important to look on the bright side. There is an active community of Christian apologist like Road Warrior, Anglicanapologist72, Labarum32, and others. Also there are numerous quality Christian apologetic websites like, William Lane Craig's website,and That of course doesn't include the many apologetic blogs out there. The resources are definitely out there, the problem is getting people to it since many people aren't even aware of apologetics or if they are their only familiar with C.S. Lewis, Strobel, and McDowell.

  2. All true of course (speaking as TektonTV!). Yet the counterfactual historian in me wonders how many more there would have been had a big name like McDowell paid closer attention. Or whether that active community would have been able to draw attention somewhere else. And so on.

  3. I agree that if church leaders and celebrities both in the past and now had put more emphasis on apologetics we wouldn't be in the predicament that we are now. To be fair to McDowell, though, he is just one more example of a trend that has been going on since the enlightenment. Whether it's biblical scholarship,books, or the internet, Christians for the most part have always been on the defensive; responding to skeptical arguments long after they've become common "knowledge"


    On the forefront for years now. One of the most substantial Christian wikis on the Internet. I recommend everybody check it out, including you JP.