What Is Imaginative Apologetics?

Holly Ordway

A twitch upon the thread, and here I stand,
Pausing at this door. I wish that I
Could look aside, or back away, pretend
I don’t see where this threshold leads, deny
The summons and the sudden urgency
That blows away as so much useless chaff
My nonchalant excuses for delay.
I thought I had control, I was in charge,
Until I followed truth, which led me here,
Where I both want and fear to enter in.
I must lay down my arms, that much is clear;
But this is not the end. Here I begin –
For where else could I go if I retreat?
What better victory win than this defeat?

This week begins our study of Apologetics and the Christian Imagination with author Holly Ordway.  In many ways, we will enjoy a learning experience of gathering and assimilating new information to better inform our heartfelt beliefs.  This, however, is the lowest bar of aspiration.  In fuller context, this study will guide us from data to wisdom and from wisdom to worship where communion with God is both inward and outward.

In the book, Holly writes this:

The Great Commandment tells us to love God with “heart, soul, strength, and mind”—that is, with the whole person: intellect, emotions, will. To be sure, we can love and obey God without knowing much about him (thank God!); the gift of faith is not limited to those who can give explanations for their faith. But if we have the opportunity to learn, we should do so: we are called to childlike, trusting faith, not childish, ignorant faith. After all, anyone who has spent any time around children knows that they are far more inquisitive than most adults. Children by nature want to learn about the world; they fearlessly ask questions, because they trust that their parents and teachers can answer those questions. So, too, with learning about our Faith and sharing what we know. We are all called to evangelize—to share the good news—and also to help people understand that the Gospel really is good news, and that it is true.

Apologetics isn’t the province just of specialist scholars and scholarly saints, but of ordinary men and women in every walk of life: parents and teachers, lay ministry leaders, priests and pastors, to be sure, but also anyone who has a friend or colleague with doubts, or who wants to be able to invite others to the Faith. Indeed, apologetics is for everyone who wants to develop a stronger faith, to really understand why we believe what we believe, to know Our Lord better and love him more fully. However, this essential work of sharing the Faith, and helping others to grow in it, is increasingly difficult to do in the modern day.


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John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Meet The Author

Holly Ordway

Ordway author photo

Dr Holly Ordway is Professor of English and faculty in the M.A. in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University; she holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

She is the author of Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017) and Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014), and she has contributed chapters to C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner (edited by Michael Ward and Peter S. Williams), C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most (edited by David Werther) among other volumes; she is also a published poet, with poems in Word in the Wilderness and Love, Remember (edited by Malcolm Guite).

Her academic work focuses on the writings of the Inklings, especially C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Her current book project is Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (forthcoming from Kent State University Press, 2019).

She lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and travels regularly to speak on Tolkien, Lewis, and imaginative apologetics.

Dig Deeper at HollyOrdway.com and buy the book HERE.

Photo of Holly Ordway by Lancia E Smith