Thanks to my good friend, Kevin Bywater (Director, Summit Ministries Oxford Study Centre), here are a few quotations worthy of reflection. which are embedded in his latest report on the Summit Oxford semester. Please browse to the Summit Oxford site and learn more about this important ministry and prayerfully consider how God may have you be involved.

From C.S. Lewis, “Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock: Essays in Theology and Ethics

While we are on the subject of science, let me digress for a moment. I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round…. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian. The first step to the re-conversion of this country is a series, produced by Christians, which can beat [the competition] on their own ground.

From Charles Malik, “The Two Tasks”

Who among evangelicals can stand up to the great secular or naturalistic or atheistic scholars on their own terms of scholarship? Who among evangelical scholars is quoted as a normative source by the greatest secular authorities on history or philosophy or psychology or sociology or politics? Does the evangelical mode of thinking have the slightest chance of becoming the dominant mode in the great universities of Europe and America that stamp our entire civilization with their spirit and ideas?…For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence….For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ himself, as well as for their own sakes, the evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence….Anti-intellectualism is an absolutely self-defeating attitude. Wake up, my friends, wake up: the great universities control the mind of the world. Therefore how can evangelism consider its task accomplished if it leaves the university unevangelized? And how can evangelism evangelize the university if it cannot speak to the university? And how can it speak to the university if it is not already itself intellectualized?


  1. Point is well taken. But changing a culture has to start at the foundation of a culture. Changes in philosophy have led to where we are in the West. ‘Taking over’ philosophy is the best way to go about it. Not theologians should speak, but philosophers. In that respect I take great joy in the current wave of theistic philosphy.

  2. So very much agree! Without a substantive change from the inside out and ground up, any change on the outside will be temporary at best. As for being at the “philosophical” level, there’s a reason why a “Ph.D” is the terminal degree. A fine quote comes to mind (since we’re on notable quotables) from Robert Audi, to wit:

    “Sound reasoning, critical thinking, well constructed prose, maturity of judgment, a strong sense of relevance, and an enlightened consciousness are never obsolete, nor are they subject to the fluctuating demands of the market-place. The study of philosophy is the most direct route, and in many cases the only route, to the full development of these qualities.”

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