30 Sep Q&A with EP Author John Blanchard
Recently Ligonier Ministries interviewed EP Books author John Blanchard for its Tabletalk Magazine. We found his answers to be incredibly insightful. Enjoy this excerpt:
Tabletalk: What is the most common objection to the Christian faith you hear from atheists, and how do you answer it?
John Blanchard: The theory of evolution, and science in general, have often been thrown at me as reasons for rejecting the Christian faith, and one must develop ways of dealing with these. It can easily be shown that evolutionary ideas have no explanation for human dignity, rationality, or morality, while science’s limitations can be pinpointed just as easily. For example, Richard Dawkins’ claim that “truth means scientific truth” is not even a scientific statement. On its own terms, it can’t be true; it is no more than a silly sound bite.
Yet the most common objection to the Christian faith is usually framed in the question, “Where is God when things go wrong?” On Popular Christian Apologetics tours, I am asked to speak on this subject more often than on all the other options combined. People are puzzled, skeptical, or simply angry that a sovereign, loving God could allow atrocities, wickedness, injustice, and hideous evil to take place on His watch. It is impossible in a few sentences even to summarize how I answer these concerns, but I often begin by positing the case if there were no God. This would reduce 9/11 to a spectacular, noisy, colorful rearrangement of atoms of molecules; it would turn solemn services of mourning for national tragedies into pointless pantomimes; it would make it futile for anyone who is suffering from physical, mental, or psychological pain, or trauma of any kind to seek supernatural help.
Most people have never thought this through, and when I sense that this is the case, I point them to a loving Creator, the violation of whose law is the root cause (though obviously not always the immediate cause) of all suffering. The next steps (though there is no rigid formula here) are to show from Scripture the immeasurable depth of God’s love, His amazing grace, the staggering sacrifice of His Son in the place of sinners, and His willingness to rescue us from our sins and to have us live with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21:4).
TT: How can the church best prepare young people to proclaim and defend the gospel?
JB: The best preparation is to do everything possible to help them “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Courses designed to deepen their understanding of themes directly related to apologetics have their place, but there is no substitute for falling ever more deeply in love with Jesus. As someone the Lord has graciously (and very recently) led into a late-in-life marriage to a wonderful Christian lady, I can assure you that a training course is not necessary for me to tell others about her—only hearers are needed. The same is true of the gospel.
TT: What is the greatest apologetic for the Christian faith, and why?
JB: When I am asked which of my books I would like to outlast all the others, my reply is always the same: Meet the Real Jesus. This is because every other book ends by unveiling Him and confronting readers with His identity, work, and claims. It has been said that while apologetics can get people from A to Y, only the gospel can get them from Y to Z. I understand what this is saying, but I would prefer to go one step further and say that the Lord Jesus Christ, in all the glory of His deity, birth, life, death, resurrection, return, and everlasting reign, is the ultimate apologetic.
If you’d like to read the full interview, head here.
Evangelical Press is delighted to feature a large collection of John Blanchard’s books. You can view the full catalog here, as well as these featured titles:
The finest book I have ever read explaining who Jesus really is. Carefully reasoned, rooted in the Bible, and written in a popular, easy-to-read style, this book will prove thrilling for the Christian and very convincing to the sceptic or unbeliever.
— Brian Edwards, preacher and author
Why are we here? What is life all about? Are we part of a bigger picture, or just specks of dust swirling around in a mindless universe? In this short and very readable book, John Blanchard faces these questions and shows how the answers are more accessible than many think.
Clear. Concise. Comprehensive. Unwrapped is a great starting point for new Christians, but also a lovely fresher for long-standing believers. It’s packed full of foundational information and practical advice, but it will also warm your heart. A delight.
— Tim Chester, pastor of Grace Church Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire