Throwback Thursday: Accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 12, 2016 and has been revised.

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Several months ago, I wrote a post regarding one of the strangest books I have ever read in my entire life. In “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” (1995), evangelical theologian, Norman Geisler (d. 2019), examined the many doctrines that separate evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Most importantly, Geisler noted that Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit was not in accord with the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Nevertheless, Geisler still somehow concluded that Catholicism is a Christian entity. Huh? It was like a courtroom prosecutor closing his presentation by ripping up his water-tight evidence and turning to the judge and asking that the case against the clearly-guilty defendant be dismissed. Needless to say, ecumenists loved Geisler’s book. See my review here.

I’ve come across Geisler’s name several times recently. While he’s certainly not a household name, Professor Geisler is esteemed in evangelical academic circles as one of the most respected theologians, philosophers, and apologists. I’ve learned that several of evangelicalism’s most popular apologists were mentored by Geisler; men like Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel. Ahhh. Now I get it! The apple never falls too far from the tree. I’ve mentioned Zacharias’ ecumenical leanings here. I’ve also read a couple of offerings from Strobel’s best-selling “The Case for…” series, but I jumped off that assembly line, never to return, after he cited Roman Catholics, Mother Teresa, pope John Paul II, G.K. Chesterton, and Saint Teresa of Avila as exemplary Christians in “The Case for Faith.” I’ve also documented Craig’s ecumenical compromise (see here).

While searching on Amazon the other night, I came across a book titled, “Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe” (2001), which was edited by Geisler. Among others, contributors include Zacharias, Craig, and Roman Catholic philosopher, Peter Kreeft. Kreeft, a convert to Catholicism from the Dutch Reformed Church during his college years, is definitely one of Rome’s most prolific champions. He has authored many books which proclaim and defend Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Isn’t it strange that a Catholic philosopher would be invited to contribute to a book devoted to evangelical apologetics? Not if the editor is Norman Geisler. Imagine Catholicism’s EWTN or Ignatius Press inviting John MacArthur or R.C. Sproul to contribute to a book on Catholic apologetics! Oy vey! The concept is laughable from either side. But accommodators like Geisler would much rather err on the side of “Christian unity” than be known as – heaven forbid – “uncharitable” Protestant sectarians.

Kreeft’s false gospel of salvation sacramental grace and merit is NOT the genuine Gospel of grace. Including Kreeft in “Why I Am A Christian” blurs the Gospel just like Peter’s accommodation of the legalistic judaizers in Antioch. Shame on accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler.

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2:11-14

Note from 2022: Readers of this blog know I’ve been critically examining Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018), every Friday. Chapter after chapter in that book, Kreeft has disparaged the genuine Gospel of grace and Gospel Christians and advanced the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Norman Geisler’s influential role as an accommodator and compromiser is manifested even more clearly in the reading of Kreeft’s anti-Gospel apologia. Many people within the evangelical camp have contributed to the ecumenical compromise with Roman Catholicism, but none more so than Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Norman Geisler. The argument is made that Geisler and cohorts got a lot of things right, so it’s unfair to judge them solely on their acceptance of RC-ism. With my background as an ex-Catholic who escaped the RCC and its false gospel, I can only view these accommodators and compromisers as traitors to the genuine Gospel who regrettably influenced many others.

25 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler

    1. Thanks, David. One of the most dismaying things to me after leaving RC-ism and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior almost 40 years ago is seeing evangelical pastors, apologists, and para-church leaders increasingly embracing RC-ism as “close enough” even though Catholics, clergy and laity, unapologetically defend their church’s doctrine of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great to near the end of a book, especially a dry read. Is that first book a philosophy of history or history of philosophy? Either way is over my head.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow this was written nearly 6 years ago; so much has happened with Geisler’s disciples and also SES’ alumni since this book has been written. Ravi, Strobel and other lesser known names mentored by Geisler can be so lite with sound doctrines.

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    1. Yeah, Ravi, was a complete fraud. No coincidence that just about all of Geisler’s disciples (also including McDowell and Turek) take a friendly approach to Rome. The exception is Ron Rhodes.

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      1. I searched online for some Josh McDowell, pro-Catholic info, but I didn’t find anything other than his being a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration (2009), penned by Catholic Robert George and arch-ecumenists Chuck Colson, and Timothy George, which fully embraced Catholics as Christians.

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  2. Years ago I read a book called, “Why I am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell. I do not know why I tortured myself trying to get through that book. It sounds like you had near the same experience with this book, Tom. I can imagine your surprise at the turn this book took. It all sounds very odd and the word you used (strange) sounds almost kind. Well, I guess you did say it was one of the strangest you have ever read and I know you are well read by the way you write so that is telling.
    You go on here to make serious comments about known people that are well founded in my opinion. Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit doesn’t cut the mustard and it doesn’t cut the mustard by more than a mile.
    Thanks for updating this good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all of the good comments, Chris. Yes, the jaw-dropping conclusion of “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” was a stunner given Geisler’s strong case against the RCC throughout the preceding chapters of the book.
      It’s dismaying that many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders have embraced RC-ism as Christian when Catholic clergy and apologists are quite forthright about their belief in salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

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      1. You’re welcome, Tom. I don’t understand how he can’t see the conflict in his own book but I suppose people will go to any length to justify their traditions.

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      1. Thanks, Chris. As I remember it from 40 years ago, as the Holy Spirit was leading me closer and closer to accepting Christ, I was desperately digging in my heels and reading Russell’s book was a last ditch effort.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome and wow. Isn’t it amazing how God can work in our lives? Dig in our heels as we may and still sometimes do in different ways, God’s grace is there for us. This is what wiki says about Russell:

        “His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, and various areas of analytic philosophy, especially philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.”

        I’m so glad that your eyes were opened by the only Man/God who can set us free and rid us from the folderol and fiddledeedee of men like Bertrand Russell.

        Praise be to God.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks, Chris, and thanks for the info on Russell. Wise in his own eyes and according to the world’s standards. I remember growing up back in the 60s that anyone who declared they were an atheist was perceived as a scoundrel. We’re at the point now where if anyone declares they’re more than a nominal Christian is perceived as a weirdo.

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