David Geisler (MABS, 1982; ThM, 1985) | Living a Directed not Designed Life

Alumni Spotlight

God designs each of us to be gifted in certain ways. However, there may be times in our life when He calls us to do something outside of our gifting, outside of our expectations, even outside of what we feel is possible! 

After my solid training at DTS in the 80’s, along with apologetic training from my father, Norm Geisler, I spent a lot of time in the 90’s and for the next two decades developing new apologetic/evangelism paradigms that are sensitive to postmodern concerns, both in the East and in the West. During that time, my father and I co-wrote about these paradigms in our book Conversational Evangelism.

Several years ago I felt directed to help extend my father’s legacy in a greater way, and he and I agreed to co-found Norm Geisler International Ministries. Over the last few years, I have been given greater opportunities to speak around the globe, even in areas I don’t feel gifted to speak on, yet nevertheless have felt directed to do so! But when my father passed away in July 2019, everything in my life that I was designed to do took on an even deeper direction.

For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to interview many Christian leaders including Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, John Ankerberg, along with many DTS alumni and professors. Many of these leaders were either mentored or influenced by my father, who was also a DTS professor in the 80’s.

Sometimes called “the greatest Christian apologist” of the last half century, my dad was a humble man who didn’t seek fame for himself. His concern was always for truth, and his efforts to help people understand and apply Biblical truth have reverberated around the world through his teachings and writing. But looking at his upbringing, no one would have expected him to become an author, speaker or academic.

Throughout high school he was virtually illiterate, and no one in his family had ever attended college. However, God directed him in ways that went further than anyone could imagine, especially those who knew him in his youth. His obedience to that direction opened the doors to opportunities my father could never have anticipated.

Growing up I never had doubts about my faith, because my father had answers for all my questions. But I realized that giving answers is not all that my father did, nor all that the church needs today. His true impact, to me, was in the example he set in his character. My father once told me he didn’t think that a Christian should have any more influence than what God wanted them to have, and he certainly lived his life in harmony with that perspective.

In addition, over the past 10 years God has also brought another mentor into my life, Rev. Edmund Chan. Through the combined influence of these two giants of the faith, God has helped me see ministry through a different kind of lens. This new perspective is one that seeks to integrate apologetics more seamlessly within evangelism and discipleship, in ways that can be more fruitful. I truly believe that these distinct disciplines, when combined and practiced by believers, and in partnership with the Holy Spirit, can have a significant impact on the post-truth culture that we face today!

In the last ten years I have been learning how to walk with greater rootedness and restedness in Christ. I understand more clearly now that the important thing in life is not what I do, but who I am as a Christian, as Jesus taught in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-4). Furthermore, after years of practicing a two-dimensional ministry of apologetics and evangelism, God has helped me to see that I must do three-dimensional ministry: combining apologetics, evangelism and discipleship in order to have a greater impact today.

God is also directing me to do other things outside my comfort zone. When my father passed away, Ravi Zacharias told me, “David, there will never be another Norm Geisler.” Those of you who were students in the 80’s at DTS and took one of the classes my father taught, will have some idea of what Ravi meant by that statement. Since that day, everything in my life that I was designed to do has expanded into an ever more urgent and global direction.

The video interviews I have conducted with Christian leaders who were mentored and or influenced by my dad are now being produced as a movie, “Norm Geisler: Not Qualified”. Next year our ministry will begin showing this movie around the US, together with training and resources that we believe God will use to make a powerful impact.

The following year, we will begin taking this program around the globe, translating both the resources and the movie, and offering, through the Norm Geisler Institute, stand-alone courses and or online mentored workshops to better equip Christians around the globe.

Pray for us as we work to raise up leaders in the church who are committed to practicing a trifecta of apologetic, evangelism, and discipleship, in order to change the culture for Christ by better equipping Christians! You can access the private link to the movie trailer at www.normgeislerthemovie.com.