Author to deliver sermon Dec. 10 at Pulaski Heights Methodist Church

Oxford professor emeritus Alister McGrath will preach Dec. 10 at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock.
(Courtesy photo)
Oxford professor emeritus Alister McGrath will preach Dec. 10 at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock. (Courtesy photo)

Alister McGrath, an internationally renowned author, academic, Anglican priest and Christian "apologist," will preach at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock next weekend.

The title of his Dec. 10 sermon is "From Atheism to Christianity: How I discovered faith and the difference it makes."

McGrath, 70, who retired last year as the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, will deliver the message during the 9 and 11 a.m. services, with a book signing scheduled from 10:10 to 10:40 a.m.

The service will also air at 10 a.m. on KATV, a church spokesman said.

Over the years, McGrath has written dozens of books, including "In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture," "Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution: A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First" and "The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World."

He has also debated some of the world's most famous atheists, including the late Christopher Hitchens (author of "God Is Not Great") and Richard Dawkins (who penned "The God Delusion").

His latest book, "Christian Apologetics: An Introduction," was published just last month.

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy defines apologetics as the attempt, in theology, "to show that a faith is either provable by reason, or at least consistent with reason."

Richard Ostling, the former Time magazine and Associated Press religion reporter, once wrote that McGrath "has important things to say and does so without fancy theological verbiage, favoring prose that's as clear and crisp as a December evening."

Pastor John Robbins, whose bookshelves include many of McGrath's works, said he's pleased to have him at Pulaski Heights.

"He is a brilliant man who is a devout follower of Jesus Christ," Robbins said.

McGrath "can articulate the faith and an understanding of how science and the faith go hand in hand. They're not mutually exclusive. That's really, really important," Robbins said.

At Oxford, McGrath received a doctorate in molecular biophysics in 1978, followed by a doctorate in theology in 2001 and a doctorate in letters in 2013.

In addition to his work at his alma mater, McGrath has also worked at Cambridge, King's College in London and Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In 2013, he wrote "C.S. Lewis -- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet" as well as "The Intellectual World of C.S. Lewis," offering insight into the mind of the man who wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" as well as "Mere Christianity."

Both were available in time for the 50th anniversary of Lewis' death.

McGrath will give a lecture about Lewis at Pulaski Heights United Methodist on Dec. 9; tickets are no longer available.

McGrath's visit to Little Rock is part of the Raney Series, named for Thomas Jefferson and Inez Raney. Since its inception in 1951, it has enabled dozens of prominent religious leaders to appear at the church.

If you go: Alister McGrath will preach on Dec. 10 at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, 4823 Woodlawn Drive.