Christians who are active on social media, whether it be YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook, will run across a fair number of trolls during online apologetic encounters. Smelling the blood of Christian men, the trolls will typically show up when a biblical opinion is under discussion. I see troll attacks practically every week. In fact, Twitter is a breeding ground for trolls. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis can tweet out a picture of his grandson building a Lego car and atheist trolls swarm on the tweet within minutes berating him for teaching his stupid grandson the Bible. It’s a kid building a Lego car! Good grief people!
A while ago, I was on Facebook watching a troll leaving stupidly ignorant comments under an acquaintance’s post concerning some benign point of theology. Regrettably, in this instance, I hung my head in shame, because no one following in the comments offered any serious rebuttal. I don’t believe the person who initially posted the original item under discussion even tried offering a response. That started me pondering: Is that because people don’t want to or that they just lack the ability?
Now I recognize that Christians engaging in any meaningful discussion in the comment threads on social media with a strident, chest-beating “know-it-all” skeptic can be a rather ridiculous waste of time. Honestly, the better course of action is to just silently move on without any engagement. I get that. So many times I ignore the troll because I have not desire to discuss anything with him or her.
But Christians shouldn’t be helpless invalids who roll over because they can’t offer any informed push back. Moreover, trolls don’t exist solely on social media. They can show up at your Bible studies, Sunday school classes, at your family reunions, and holiday get togethers. Whatever the situation, it may be helpful to have some resources that can help a person offer at least a little bit of a response in order to squash the troll and chase it away.
That got me thinking about what recommended resources would I offer. I scanned my personal library and compiled a list of a few books I believe cover the essential areas of biblical theology or historicity where trolls tend to attack. I thought I would share my resources with the greater BTWN readership.
One important note: My cut-off was books around 300 pages. Understandably, that 300 page limit will eliminate a number of books I personally like. In fact, I’m sure folks will be annoyed I left such-and-such awesome book off my list. My first thought was to keep the list set at 200-250 pages, so cutting it off at around 300 is really stretching the commitment of many people. I want to keep my selections simple and prevent overwhelming the uninitiated. I figured most serious minded believers are not afraid to tackle a book around 300 pages or so.
The categories I have in mind pertain to basics about the Godhead, the person and work of Christ, the doctrines of salvation, the authority of Scripture, historical matters, and basic apologetic methodology and theological worldview. From my observation, trolls tend to latch onto those areas of discussion.
With that brief background, here is my basic introductory list.
The World-Tilting Gospel – Dan Phillips
The Divine Challenge – John Byl
Knowing God – J.I. Packer
The Forgotten Trinity – James White
The Five Points of Calvinism – David Steele & Curtis Thomas
Redemption Accomplished and Applied – John Murray
For Us And For Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church – Stephen Nichols
Hell on Trial – Robert Peterson
The Heresy of Orthodoxy – Andreas Kostenberger & Michael Kruger
The Bible Among the Myths – John N. Oswalt
Scripture Alone – James White
From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible – Norman Geisler & William Nix
From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man – James Williams & Randolph Shaylor
The Question of Canon – Michael Kruger
Biblical Authority: Infallibility & Inerrancy in the Christian Tradition – John Woodbridge
One Bible Only? – Roy E. Beacham & Kevin T. Bauder
The Battle Belongs to the Lord – Scott Oliphint
Every Thought Captive – Richard Pratt
Apologetics to the Glory of God – John Frame
Reasons We Believe – Nathan Busenitz
Inventing The Flat Earth: Columbus & Modern Historians – Jeffrey Russell
God’s Battalions: A Case for the Crusades – Rodney Stark
Creation and Change – Douglas Kelly
Not By Chance – Lee Spetner
The Battle for the Beginning – John MacArthur
By Design – Jonathan Sarfati
Same-Sex Controversy – James White & Jeffrey Niell
Decision, Decisions: How & How Not to Make Them – Dave Swavely
Exegetical Fallacies – D.A. Carson