Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy,
November 15, 2011
Roots and Fruits:
Intellectual Influences that Shaped my Christian Calling
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.—1 Corinthians 11:1
I. What is a Christian Calling? (See Os Guinness, The Call)
A. Life direction according to spiritual gifts, opportunities, and strong desires
1. What needs to be done for the Mission of God
2. What one does well
3. What gives one deep joy
B. My calling (Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
1. Defend and apply Christianity as objectively true, rationally compelling, and pertinent to all of life (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3)
2. To do this through teaching, preaching, and writing
3. What this means: teaching at Denver Seminary, adjunct teaching and guest lecturing at secular schools; preaching in local churches; writing academic and popular works: Twelve books; two dozen peer-review academic journal articles; hundreds of articles, book reviews, and letters to the editor in dozens of magazines, journals, and elsewhere.
4. The biggest literary fruit: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011)
II. The First Root: Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55)
A. The Sickness Unto Death: exegeted my own soul for me
B. Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing: solidified my calling as a Christian thinker
C. Example of an earnest, brilliant life of letters for the cause of Christ (despite his fideism)
III. The Second Root: Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84)
A. The discovery of Schaeffer in the fall of 1976: The God Who is There (1968)
B. The gift of understanding, intellectual courage, and a life-plan
C. Schaeffer’s strengths
1. A deep compassion for the lost
2. Spiritual integrity in ministry
3. A broad understanding of the Bible, theology, culture, and history
4. A strong sense of the Lordship of Christ over all of culture
D. Schaeffer’s weaknesses
1. Over simplification
2. Lack of philosophical rigor
IV. The Third Root: Blaise Pascal (1624-1663)
A. The discovery of Pensées in 1977.
B. The genius of his view of the human condition: deposed royalty
C. The genius of the wager (properly understood)
D. His influence on all my writing and ministry
E. See my book, On Pascal (
V. The Fourth Root: Os Guinness (b. 1941)
A. The Christian as astute social critic and prophet: The Dust of Death (1973); The American Hour (1992); The Case for Civility (2008); etc.
B. Guinness as a matchless orator and statesman for Christ
VI. The Fifth Root: Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
A. Rebecca and my calling
1. Prodding me to write Unmasking the New Age (1986)
2. Alerting me to spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
3. Challenge to develop my views of women in the
a. “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role: Exploring the Logic of Woman’s Subordination,” in Discovering Biblical Equality (2004)
b. See Adam Omelianchuck, “Ontologically Grounded Subordination.” Philosophia Christi, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2011): 169-180. This defends Rebecca’s argument against challenges by Steven Cowan.
c. See Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict (1994); Good News for Women (1997).
B. Rebecca’s editing and my writing
Episode from finishing our book, Christian Apologetics
Those also deserving mention (not in priority order):
James W. Sire, C.S. Lewis, Carl F. H. Henry, Gordon Clark, Gordon R. Lewis, R. J. Rushdoony, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Richard John Neuhaus, Arthur Holmes,
Keith Yandell, R.T. Herbert, John Calvin, The Westminster Divines, G.K. Chesterton, Jacques Ellul, Bernard Ramm, John Stott, Walter Martin, Brooks Alexander, Harry Blamires, Ronald Nash, Alvin Plantinga, Phillip Johnson, F.F. Bruce, William Dembski, Neil Postman, Marshall McLuhan.