This was originally published in Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. Baker, 2000.
Walter R. Martin (1928-1989)
Pioneering cult apologist, evangelist, and author who founded the Christian Research Institute in 1960. Martin is widely considered the father of the American countercult movement. Beginning in the 1950s when few others were advancing this cause, Martin challenged Evangelical Christians to develop biblically faithful and apologetically solid approaches to those involved in cults, nonChristian religions, and the occult. He was known as an outgoing and articulate defender of the faith.
Martin became a Christian under the ministry of Dr. Frank Gaebelein at the Stony Brook School and received a bachelor’s degree from Shelton College and a Master’s degree from New York University and Biblical Seminary in 1956. His first book, Jehovah of the Watch Tower (1953), was followed by many other books, booklets, and tapes, including the standard reference work, The Kingdom of the Cults (1965), which remains in print in a revised edition; it has sold over 500,000 copies.
Martin was well-known for his live, call-in radio program, “The Bible Answer Man,” which began in 1965. His impact has been felt on world missions through ministry trips to Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in which he warned of the challenges of cults on the missions field and through the translation of his books into several foreign languages.
After Martin’s death in 1989, he was succeeded by Hank Hanegraaff now hosts “The Bible Answer Man” radio program and serves as the president of the Christian Research Institute in southern California.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
An Author You Should Know
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As a late teenager in 1983, Walter Martin's tape ministry was my introduction to thinking seriously about theology. Listening to some of his stuff and also some Q and As that are on the web shows he was a man who had a fierce intellect as well as a rapier sharp wit. If he hadn't simply specialised in the cults I believe he would be more remembered today than perhaps Francis Schaeffer. However his hard work evangelising Mormons must have hit hard because to this day they are still attacking his memory, academic cred, personal life and other legacies. A giant who I still appreciate to this day.
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