50 Evangelical Apologists Were Asked: Do You Perceive the Inner Presence of Jesus? None Responded!

I have said before on this blog that the evangelical Christian belief in “the testimony of the Holy Spirit”—that true believers can perceive the presence of the resurrected Jesus living within them—is the Achilles Heel of evangelical apologetics. Now I have proof!

Evangelical apologists do NOT want to discuss this belief with counter apologists and other skeptics. They absolutely do not want to discuss this topic when debating the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Why? They know that it reveals their unmistakable bias: If they believe that they can feel the presence of the ghost/spirit of Jesus living within them, how can this not affect their objectivity when reviewing the historical evidence for the alleged resurrection of this same man? Evangelical apologists know that if they admit that they can perceive the presence of a ghost/spirit living within them, the entire world will see them for what they are: irrational and hopelessly superstitious!

I recently emailed more than 50 evangelical scholars, theologians, and apologists and asked them this one question:

Dear _______. Hello. I am conducting a survey among evangelical scholars, theologians, and apologists regarding the belief in the inner presence of Christ. Here is the question: Do you perceive the presence of Jesus within you, yes or no? Thank you.

Not one single response has been received!

I wonder why…

Here is the list of evangelical apologists I contacted. I obtained the names from two websites. I could not find the contact information for some of them. Some of the people on these lists are dead, so unless there is a miracle, I won’t be hearing from them. Some names appear on both lists:

  1. Greg Bahnsen
  2. Greg Beale
  3. Jeremy Begbie
  4. Henri Blocher
  5. F. F. Bruce
  6. Edward Carnell
  7. Don Carson
  8. Gordon Fee
  9. John Frame
  10. Timothy George
  11. Marc Goodacre
  12. Stanley Grenz
  13. Wayne Grudem
  14. Colin Gunton
  15. Richard Hays
  16. Carl Henry
  17. Michael Horton
  18. Tim Keller
  19. George E. Ladd
  20. Peter Leithart
  21. John MacArthur
  22. George Marsden
  23. I. Howard Marshall
  24. Bruce McCormack
  25. Alister McGrath
  26. Scot McKnight
  27. Al Mohler
  28. John Warwick Montgomery
  29. Doug Moo
  30. Leon Morris
  31. Richard Mouw
  32. Nancy Murphy
  33. Roger Nicole
  34. Mark Noll
  35. Harold Ockenga
  36. J. I. Packer
  37. Rene Padilla
  38. Eugene Peterson
  39. John Piper
  40. Alvin Plantinga
  41. Vern Poythress
  42. Phil Ryken
  43. Charles Ryrie
  44. Fred Sanders
  45. Francis Schaeffer
  46. Ron Sider
  47. Jamie Smith
  48. R. C. Sproul
  49. John Stott
  50. Carl Trueman
  51. Cornelius Van Til
  52. Kevin Vanhoozer
  53. John Walvoord
  54. David Wells
  55. Dallas Willard
  56. Doug Wilson
  57. Ben Witherington
  58. Nicholas Wolterstorff
  59. Tom Wright
  60. Ravi Zacharias













End of post.


4 thoughts on “50 Evangelical Apologists Were Asked: Do You Perceive the Inner Presence of Jesus? None Responded!

  1. It’s such a disconnect from what on hears in the typical Sunday service or bible study. But if one wants to play in academia, on has to put on airs of objectivity.


  2. If I were to ask the same questioners if they perceive the vacuum of Jesus, the silence may very well be the same. Anyone can write sensationalistic articles and post them on the web as factual. So what? Most intellectuals don’t answer loaded questions, whether they are religious or not.


    1. ‘The vacuum of Jesus’? The phrase means nothing at all, unless you’re using it as a synonym for faith itself.

      The presence of Jesus, however. is one that evangelicals and others bandy about all the time, based on some nonsense from the Bible. You might think some of these apologists would admit to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Christian blogger and author, Hendrik van der Breggen: First, not responding to a question in a survey is not the same as an answer of no (nor yes). It’s simply not a response. I suspect many scholar-apologists are too busy with students and life in general to answer an unknown blogger’s email survey that appears out-of-the-blue in their inbox.

    Second, it seems to me that to, as you say, “perceive the presence of Jesus within you” is not the goal of evangelical Christian apologetics. Rather, the goal is to have people come to believe that Jesus is Lord (God come to earth as a human being), that Jesus resurrected (physically), and to follow Him. So even if the non-response were taken as a “no,” that wouldn’t be a problem for evangelical Christian apologetics, at least not its goal.

    Third, if you think (as you do on your blog post) that an apologist’s having a subjective perception of the presence of Jesus within him/herself somehow precludes the possibility for an apologist to be reasonably objective or non-biased in discerning the truth of Christianity in the first place (and thus the apologetic project can’t get off the ground at the get-go), I think you are mistaken. Perhaps this comment from page 193 of my book (in the chapter “The virtues of a critical thinker”) may provide some insight here:

    “In the pursuit of knowledge of truth and the communication of knowledge of truth, critical thinkers should also distinguish between psychological objectivity and rational objectivity. Psychological objectivity involves a lack of subjective involvement, a lack of commitment, a detachment from reality. Such objectivity, if possible, seems appropriate only when there is no investigation or no interest, and thus should not be a part of an education that encourages students to make a subjective commitment to seek and embrace whatever is true, excellent, praiseworthy, and good. Rational objectivity, on the other hand, acknowledges our subjective involvement as appropriate—we are, after all, subjective beings—and it calls us to exercise those epistemological virtues by which we discern objective truth (regarding what is real). How? By calling us to honesty, by calling us to take into account positive evidence and negative evidence, by calling us to reason carefully, by calling us to acknowledge and limit the intrusions of personal and cultural bias (as much as humanly possible), and by calling us to respect the true and good insights arising from our communities of investigation (i.e., the various academic and scientific disciplines).”

    (As I note in my book, this important distinction between psychological objectivity and rational objectivity is from J. P. Moreland, “Four Degrees of Postmodernism,” in Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics, edited by Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, 17-34 [Nashville: B&H Academic, 2012]. See especially pages 26–28.)

    Can personal and cultural biases be overcome or at least acknowledged and managed so they don’t distort our perception of reality? Can one achieve a reasonable degree of rational objectivity? I think so.

    Therefore, the survey question you mention shouldn’t be a problem for evangelical Christian apologetics, let alone its so-called “Achilles Heel.”

    I hope my answer is helpful.


    P.S. In my book I have a couple sections on critical thinking tools (truth, logic, and language) and philosophy of knowledge (skepticisms, interpretation, modest foundationalism). You might find these to be of interest.

    Gary: I have read many, many books on this subject, Hendrik.


    I’m sorry, but I am not interested in reading yet another book (yours). Imagine you attempting to evangelize a Mormon or Muslim regarding his beliefs and being told to go read a book first. You don’t need to read a book to know that Mormonism and Islam are false, do you? And I don’t need to read any more books to know that your superstition is false, Hendrik. I only need to apply good critical thinking skills to the central claims of your particular superstition (traditional Christianity).

    I am an evangelist. An evangelist for Reason, Science, and good critical thinking skills. Just as the Sower in the Christian parable, I cast the seed of truth wherever I can, hoping that it will take root. I have sown the seed here on your blog with you. I hope you will one day see that superstitions are unhealthy for humanity, no matter how comforting they may be for you personally.

    Take care, Hendrik!


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