If you’ve got a young person in your life (either a child, grandchild, niece or nephew), you’ve probably already discovered the vast majority of his or her internet consumption involves a handheld device (a smart phone or tablet). If you’re a web designer you already know the trajectory of this trend and the need to make everything accessible from a mobile platform. Phone and tablet apps are important contributors in this new internet frontier. Several Christian apologetics ministries now have mobile apps to deliver their content and I’ve downloaded and used all of them at one time or another. I like to read everyone, even brothers and sisters who disagree with one another. For this reason, I don’t limit myself to people who ascribe to a particular age of the earth or eschatological understanding. I’ll give you a peak of what’s on my phone, based on the criteria that’s important to me. First and foremost, I’ve limited my list to free apps. If you really expect to reach the most important apologetics target audience (young people), your phone app better be free. Secondly, I am looking for apps that are content rich. Some apps serve more as an advertisement for a ministry than as a robust resource for people who have questions. And if you’re inclined to download an apologetics app, you’re probably not using it for a daily devotional. You’re more likely interested in a mobile resource to help you answer critical questions and challenges as you encounter them. For this reason, I’m also looking for a third characteristic: accessibility. I want apps specifically designed with searchable content, easily categorized so this content can be quickly accessed. Given these three criteria, here are my favorite apps in alphabetical order:
AP is a ministry of Christian writers dedicated to making the case for Christianity from a decidedly young earth position. The AP phone app, like their website, is elegant and robust, providing a large number of categorized articles on the landing page. The app also allows you to bookmark the articles you find important and save them in a separate section of the app. It is accessible and well organized.
You didn’t think I was going to write an article on case making apps and leave out my own, did you? Our app provides all the free materials available at our website. The articles are organized into sections to make them easy to find and reference. In addition, our podcasts, NRB broadcasts and videos are all available in separate sections and can be played right from your phone (this includes many of my public presentations). We also have a section featuring all our popular quick reference Bible Inserts so you can pull them up and view them on your mobile platform.
CrossExamined is Frank Turek’s ministry (as many of you know, I am partnered with Frank on a number of projects). Frank is a dynamic thinker, speaker and author who has fearlessly taken to university campuses across America to make the case for theism and Christianity. The CrossExamined app has a “Quick Answers” section categorized into sections dealing with Truth, God, the Bible, and the 4 E’s (Evolution/Creation, Evil, Ethics and Eternity). There’s also a podcast section so you can listen from the app, and be sure to browse the Connect tab to find links to the daily blog and videos.
GotQuestions.org is a volunteer Christian ministry dedicated to assisting people who have questions related to God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics. Their website is extremely popular and their phone app is incredibly straightforward. It opens immediately to a long list of categories so you can easily find articles related to any topic under investigation. Better yet, this is app is searchable so you can dial down to the topic you’re looking for immediately, and it even has a question submission form. While the Got Questions app may not connect you directly to the work of a celebrity apologist, it does provide quick answers to the most pressing spiritual questions.
I can’t think of a single apologist who isn’t in some way indebted to the work of William Lane Craig. In every interaction I have ever had with him, he continues to be the real deal. Incredibly smart, wise and kind, no one has engaged more atheists and naturalists in public debate. His ministry, Reasonable Faith, is a growing collection of important resources for thinking Christians. The Reasonable Faith app is nicely formatted, providing Craig’s resources in an accessible way. His articles are divided into major groups (Question of the Week, Scholarly Articles, Popular Articles and A-Z Articles), and even more importantly, the Scholarly and Popular articles are further categorized for easy access. You can also listen to Craig’s weekly podcast and even watch many of his debates. A great resource to be sure.
Reasons to Believe
RTB has always been a powerful resource for those who have questions related to science. This ministry features the work of four scholars: Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, Jeff Zweerink and Ken Samples. Their expertise is diverse, from astrophysics, to molecular biology to theology. The Reasons to Believe app landing page opens to the latest articles containing research conducted by the group. In addition, the RTB 101 tab provides a number of articles highlighting the key positions of the ministry. The app does not, however, organize RTB’s materials in an accessible way beyond this tab, and that’s definitely one of the limits of the app. But RTB’s contribution to the apologetics conversation makes this app worth the download. RTB also has a number of podcasts and these are available from the app.
Ravi Zacharias doesn’t really need an introduction from me; he is perhaps the foremost Christian apologist of our time. His stature in our community leads me to include the RZIM app in this list, even though I wish the app did more. Ravi is an incredible public speaker and his varied radios shows are available from the phone app. You can also access his written material, but it is not organized by topics and it would be difficult to use this app to answer a specific question or concern. There’s also no way to search the content, and there appears to be very little work represented from his able colleagues at RZIM. All that being said, I bet there are still lots of people who use this app to get a daily fix of Ravi.
Stand to Reason
Another essential Christian Case Making ministry, Stand to Reason features the dynamic work of Greg Koukl, Brett Kunkle and Alan Shlemon (I also get to contribute with these guys on occasion). STR was critically important to me as a young Christian and became the benchmark from which I continue to measure my own work. I cannot speak more highly about them. The STR app is a nice collection of materials including the daily blog, recent podcasts and radio shows. Articles are divided into types (Featured Articles, Article Library, Quick Thoughts, Solid Ground, Mentoring Letters and more) but are not yet categorized by topic, so it may be a bit difficult to retrieve a quick answer within a particular subject matter.
In a culture increasingly dependent on smart phones and tablets, it’s time for all Christian case making ministries to rethink this opportunity. In the past, we’ve typically considered mobile apps as an afterthought; a nice additional “icing on the cake” to supplement our work online. Times have changed. Millennials use their phone first when accessing information online. Successful case making ministries need to rethink the way they are delivering information. We need to provide free, content rich, accessibly mobile versions of our materials. The ministries I’ve listed here have a head start on this new reality. Download these apps and become a better Christian Case Maker.