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Gordon Lewis: Irenic Apologist

Remembering one of the great early evangelical philosophers.
Gordon Lewis: Irenic Apologist

In the mid-1960s, many evangelicals looked askance at higher education and the field of apologetics. The secular world at the time thought evangelicals had nothing to offer. In recent decades, however, apologetics and Christian philosophy have found a footing not only in the church but also the academy. Many pioneers contributed to this advance of God’s kingdom, and one of them was my colleague, Gordon R. Lewis, who entered paradise on June 11, 2016 at the age of 89.

Lewis converted when he was 8 years old and remained committed to Christ for 80 years. He studied at Baptist Bible Seminary, Gordon College, Faith Theological Seminary, and Cornell University, and received his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Syracuse, and this at a time when few evangelicals dared enter the secular academy. His dissertation concerned Augustine’s view on faith and reason in The City of God.

He began his service at Denver Seminary (then Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, the fledgling theological flagship for the newly-formed Conservative Baptist denomination) in 1958, having been recruited by the president, Vernon Grounds (1914–2010), who was another groundbreaking evangelical intellectual. He remained faithful to one institution for nearly his entire academic career. He primarily taught philosophy and theology, but also Greek (when needed early on), and a course on church marketing. He also served as a visiting professor at Union Biblical Seminary in Yeotmal, Maharashtra, India.

Besides his professorial work, Lewis served as president of both the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. In 2013, The Gordon Lewis Center for Christian Thought and Culture was established at Denver ...

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