Monday, December 12, 2011

10 Favorite Apologetics Interviews

This past month marks a milestone of over 100 interviews in the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast. Now two years running, it has been a great tool for my personal learning and growth. At the same time, I hope that it has been a good learning tool for others. Here I'll write about the purpose of the podcast, followed by 10 favorites out of the 100.

The Purpose Behind the Questions
I have two overarching goals in mind when composing interview questions. On of them is the goal of introducing a particular apologist (author, speaker, pastor, teacher, philosopher, theologian, historian, scientist, blogger, etc.) to a listener that is intent on being a better defender of the faith. With this in mind, I want to give the audience an idea of what the guest's main areas of expertise are. So this is one factor guiding my questions: putting people in touch with some of the best resources in the area of Christian apologetics.

Another goal is to learn from the guest a bit more---beyond mere "content." What I mean is this: if an apologist is an amazing scholar, it's one level to ask questions about what they learned. But it's a deeper level to ask how they learned it. What are this person's disciplines? What are their character traits? What are their words of advice? I'm not looking for information only, but mentorship. So this is a key factor: providing mentoring for those who want to defend the faith.

Of course there are other goals: to answer questions on a hot topic, to introduce an extremely helpful book, to promote excellent resources, etc. But this all comes back to the main goal of creating a podcast that will help mentor and equip the next generation of Christian defenders.

Ten Favorite Interviews
Someone emailed me the other day asking what interviews were my favorites. Three came to mind at the time: Craig Evans, Peter Kreeft, and Paul L. Maier. It might be good to define "favorite" here... When I say these are favorites, I mean that these are interviews which are most memorable for me personally for various reasons, which I'll explain. (I'm not putting them into any particular order.)

Craig Evans: This was one of the most memorable because Evans was both brilliant and so easy to connect with on a personal level. His insights were sharp and his advice during the interview was very useful. Everyone loves this interview.

Paul L. Maier: I was amazed by the clarity and wit of Maier as well as his thorough knowledge of the historical particulars surrounding Jesus and the nativity. (This is a great Christmas time interview, by the way.) He was also funny.

Peter Kreeft: This interview was rapid-fire question and answer. Kreeft is so sharp, witty, and insightful. He's someone you just can't help but enjoy listening to (I think so, anyway). Of course the content was great too.

Kenneth Samples: Ken has been a secret mentor to me in many ways, though he may not know it. His demeanor, attitude, humility, clarity, fairness, and brilliance really impress me. The interview was one that was a real pleasure for me. He also talked a lot about life-long learning, which I wanted to hear about.

Lee Strobel: My interview with Lee makes my top ten for a few reasons. One is simply because he's so easy to talk to. That may be a small thing in the minds of some, but being a great scholar is diminished if one can't be a great communicator. It's possible that Lee has done more to promote Christian apologetics through his excellence in communication than anyone else. 

Greg Koukl: This interview was right after Greg released Tactics (a true must-read for all apologists). The interview with Greg was a real encouragement to me, and Greg's insights and advice were excellent.

Gary Habermas: This was a memorable interview because I was able to ask Gary all the questions I had been storing up about the resurrection and the minimal facts approach. We covered a whole lot of content on doubt and near-death experiences as well.

J.P. Moreland: This interview is a favorite because I love how J.P. thinks and speaks. Although he is a brilliant philosopher, he emphasizes the devotional life and dependence on the Holy Spirit. His advice is excellent and, for me, it was a very encouraging interview.

Mark Eckel: The best way to describe Mark's interview is simply to say that it is just packed with solid content. In one word, this interview is rich. Plenty of stuff on the teacher/student relationship, learning, Francis Schaeffer, and cultural apologetics.

Richard Morgan: Richard converted to Christianity from atheism -- something that started on the Richard Dawkins forums, of all places. This interview was memorable because Richard's testimony is powerful. 

Are you a long-time listener? What have been your favorite interviews and why?
Go here for the whole list and to subscribe to the podcast.


failedatheist said...

Looking forward to listening to some of these, lots of the good ones have slipped under my radar by the looks of things. Big fan of Kenneth Samples, not enough is said about his great book 'Without a Doubt', have you read it?

Brian said...

Yes, great book - although I haven't done a "slow read" of it yet.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to encourage you Brian because your interviews are by far the best podcast or audio content which I look forward to every week. Most notably, getting into personal aspects of these scholars is very encouraging for myself, since I plan on eventually following suit.

I think those in this list share a common trait: they aren't just about the content of apologetics, but have a genuine foundation in Christ as a living reality. It's great to see - as Moreland has termed - the kingdom triangle present in these great scholars.

Just to note: Craig Evans is debating Bart Ehrman in Nova Scotia Canada in January! A great opportunity for us Nova Scotians.

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