Today, July 1, 2019, Norman Geisler passed away peacefully, just 20 days short of his 87th birthday. No doubt he ranks as one of the greatest and most influential apologists of our time. He may be best known for his unswerving defense of biblical inerrancy and was a major participant in framing the Chicago Statements on Biblical Inerrancy and Hermeneutics. He also cofounded two Christian seminaries, Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Santa Ana, California.
My friendship with Norm goes back to 1985. At that time, many people and fellow pastors in the church where I served were strongly encouraging me to launch an organization dedicated to developing new scientific tools that could help bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. I knew that one or more organizations already existed with this stated purpose, but they were committed to claims that the universe and Earth are less than 10,000 years old. Wouldn’t it be more honoring to God, I thought, to work with one of these existing organizations rather than launch a new one, as long as they would acknowledge that the Bible can be interpreted, inerrantly, as an old-earth book? Who better to take with me to make this appeal than the foremost defender of biblical inerrancy? Even though I was a complete unknown in the Christian community, Norm agreed to accompany me. When our appeal was flatly rejected, Norm encouraged me to go ahead with the launch of Reasons to Believe.
In the early years of the fledgling ministry, we met with personal attacks and serious misrepresentation of our beliefs. Norm interceded on our behalf, most significantly with a popular radio talk show host. Thanks to Norm’s endorsement, not only did the attacks stop but also I was given the opportunity to be interviewed on that show, where many people heard me speak for the first time.
In the past two decades, Norm has helped by endorsing several of my books. He has also allowed us to record interviews with him on several topics relevant to biblical accuracy and authority. You can access one such interview here: Inerrancy of the Bible. I’m especially thankful for the times when Norm and I ministered together. Whenever we did, I knew I could count on him to reinforce whatever points I was making. He was my strong ally. I am immensely grateful that in his long tenure as a seminary professor and mentor to countless leaders he has raised up additional allies for Reasons to Believe, and for me, personally. May his legacy continue to gain momentum until the day the Lord returns.