During the past five years, alert and sensitive observers of the theological scene have noted that Christian apologetics is undergoing a renascence. This discipline, possessed of such an honorable heritage, fell into decline during the ascendency of Barthianism, with its aversion to natural theology and evidential supports for faith. Today this is changed, however. Thus, Martin Marty writes:
The apologist is coming into his own again in the church. In the earlier Barthian period the apologist had to run for cover; now more are coming to agree with W. Norman Pittenger that it is hard enough to be a Christian; should thought forms be adopted which exaggerate the intellectual difficulties? John Baillie, for instance, chastened by Barthian mistrust of natural theology, consistently attempted to carry on an understanding of the secular world and bring a Christian witness to it [Varieties of Unbelief, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964, p. 208].
In a similar vein, William Hordern has written: “In recent years a number of books have appeared to argue that, despite changes in the world, the truth of Christian faith can be defended. A new form of apologetics is beginning to appear” (New Directions in Theology Today, Volume I: Introduction).
At least two factors have especially contributed to the renewal of apologetics in our day, it seems. One, already mentioned, is the decline of Barthianism. Daniel Day Williams says:
The dogmatic expositions of Christian doctrine (and when have there been three more powerful ones than those of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Paul Tillich?) have suddenly lost the center of attention, and are not the major subject of theological inquiry, nor are they invoked in that inquiry. It is as if this systematic ...1
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