One of these things is not like the other: Augustine, Lewis, Schaeffer, and… G.S. West?!?
by “G.S.” West
I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill it was for me when I ran across this short blog post on “faith and reason” in which the author quotes Augustine, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and… ME! The quote was credited to “G.S. West”, which was what I used to call myself when quoting, well, myself—partly as a little private joke and partly to pay homage to greats such as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, who were/are known by the initials of their first and middle names. Shoot, if my name was “Gilbert Keith”, or “Clive Staples”, I’d probably rather be known by my initials as well. It’s no wonder that Lewis preferred for his friends to call him “Jack”, a nickname he gave to himself.
The full quote that the author of the post refers to can be found on TPE here, and if you Google it, you’ll also find that it’s also made its way onto a few other websites and blogs. Why the author chose to quote me, a mere mortal among such intellectual giants, is a mystery to me—but it’s likely that it just struck a chord with him and fit in with the point he was making. He could have from picked a number of similar quotes that say basically the same thing from other sources who would seem less out of place, but regardless of that fact, I’m really stoked that he chose to include mine. I’m tempted to print out the page and hang it on my wall; not just out of some warped sense of pride, but as a reminder that you don’t have to be such a brilliant and profound thinker or a renowned scholar to have an impact on people’s lives. Not all of us can be a C.S. Lewis or Francis Schaeffer, but we can all learn to be solid, critical, and careful thinkers. Seriously folks, it’s not rocket surgery, but it does take some effort.
Many people I talk to or who come to one of my apologetics classes assume that I have some kind of degree in religion or apologetics. They are usually surprised to learn (as you might be) that my highest degree is a high school diploma. I don’t consider myself an especially smart person— I’m sure that when it comes to my IQ, I would likely score a little higher than Forrest Gump, but compared to many of the scholars whose work is featured here on TPE, I’m nowhere close to being in their league.
Before becoming involved full-time in apologetics ministry, I worked a few different jobs including production manager at a gourmet popcorn shop and my last job as an industrial air-systems cleaner, who worked on TPE tent-maker style whenever I could. In fact, if you eat products from Kraft Foods (which most of us do), you can bet that I’ve crawled through the ductwork in the plant where it was made. The point I’m desperately trying to make, is that while learning apologetics does take some effort, don’t sit around and wait for someone else to take the initiative, just do it! Particularly if you already have an interest in apologetics.
Many of the articles we post here are written by scholars of much higher-learning, while others are written by pastors, teachers, and students. But many are from plain regular people (laymen) who simply have a passion for encouraging and helping people to learn apologetics so that they may become better equipped disciples and evangelists. Discipleship and evangelism are the two primary reasons we should all be learning apologetics. Although some progress has been made in recent years, we have a long way to go before most Christians wake up to the desperate need for apologetics and critical thinking training in our homes, churches, schools, and universities.
I’ve mentioned before that I find it sad that your average militant atheist is more familiar with Christian apologetics than the average Christian and that we’re long past due for a change. There are many posts written by myself and others on TPE about how you can get started in learning and applying apologetics and why you need to. Those links are good places to start—you can also pick up some very inexpensive apologetics books on Amazon Kindle here. I have yet to hear a good reason to not be learning apologetics as there are more resources available today than at any previous time in history!
Another important thing you can do is contribute financially to help support the work I’m doing here at TPE and in the Christian community at large. I’m so thankful to be able to do this full-time, but TPE’s growth has outgrown my ability to keep up with the demands of the day to day operations (a problem I’m thankful for as opposed to the alternative) requiring attention. I do this on a very limited shoestring budget, but if given the resources, this ministry (done in partnership with Ratio Christi) could be and would be reaching so many more. I’m at the point where if I were able to hire one or two more people to assist me full-time, there still would not be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done.
Will you partner with myself and Ratio Christi in our endeavor to help make disciple-making disciples and enthusiastic evangelists who are equipped to boldly share the Gospel? If you will, you can donate directly to this ministry right now by following this link here. Thank you so much in advance for your prayerful consideration.