One of the Greatest Apologists of Our Time, Norman Geisler, Dead at 86

This morning the great apologist Norman Geisler passed away. It was announced on his ministry page, but I saw the news from my colleague Scott Lindsey, who knew Dr. Geisler personally.

Scott has permitted me to share his reflection here, which reveals a side of Dr. Geisler many weren’t privileged to see.

Here is Scott’s reflection: 

Norm wrote over 100 books. And was one of the greatest apologists of our time. We spent many weekends together driving around the country doing conferences. I always wondered why he had never released a joke book. Literally, Norm has told me hundreds of jokes and puns. I think humor was the pressure release valve for his brilliant mind.

I’ll never forget one Saturday afternoon with Norm at a Starbucks in Jackson, Tenessee. We sat outside sipping our frappuccinos, a delicacy Norm enjoyed until his doctor got after him. A Muslim man sat next to us and started talking to Norm. For the next hour, I watched Norm kindly yet powerfully show the supremacy of Christ. The man literally smoked an entire pack of cigarettes as he nervously engaged with Doc. Every argument against Christianity the man tried to throw at Norm was graciously refuted. I literally witnessed an entire seminary apologetics class in this incredible engagement. The conversation ended with both men exchanging phone numbers and hugging one another. That was Norm Geisler.

I have always marveled at how Norm could take a very complex subject and break it down to its essential elements so anyone could understand. He was a master of logic.

Although it’s sad to lose such a giant of the faith, I can’t help but smile at the thought of Norm waking up this morning to the glory of the Christ he defended so powerfully his whole life. And because he’s in Heaven and doesn’t need to defend the Lord he now stands with, I guarantee he’s gathered a group of saints around him . . . telling them a new joke.

This was Dr. Geisler—one always ready to give an answer (1 Pet 3:15), and who spent his life helping others be ready, too. Geisler, who once said,

So I cast my lot with him—not the one who claimed wisdom, Confucius; or the one who claimed enlightenment, Buddha; or the one who claimed to be a prophet, Muhammad, but with the one who claimed to be God in human flesh. The one who declared, “Before Abraham was born, I am”—and proved it.

We pray God’s peace for Dr. Geisler’s loved ones and thank and praise God for his faithful ministry. 


You can explore many of Geisler’s works on or the desktop app.

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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