Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Bowman is the oldest of seven children, the son of Robert M. Bowman, a scientist and former colonel in the United States Air Force. Raised in the Roman Catholic Church, Bowman converted to Evangelicalism in college. He received the M.A. in Biblical Studies and Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1981, and was married the same year to Catherine Lyon. They have four children: Beth, Robbie, John, and Maria.
In 1984, Bowman began working as a researcher and editor at the Christian Research Institute, at the time headed by Walter Martin and located in Southern California. From 1988 to 1990 he pursued a Ph.D. in Historical and Theological Studies at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, by early 1992 completing all of the requirements, although the seminary did not accept his dissertation. In 1990 he returned to CRI, this time under Hank Hanegraaff, who had succeeded Martin when he died in 1989. A falling out with Hanegraaff led to Bowman being ousted in early 1992. For most of the next fourteen years Bowman worked as a full-time author and as an adjunct instructor, specifically at Luther Rice Seminary (1994–99) and Biola University (2001–05). In 2002 he became the president of Apologetics.com and hosted their weekly radio broadcast on 99.5 KKLA in Los Angeles. From 2006 to 2008 he was the manager of Apologetics and Interfaith Evangelism for the North American Mission Board (based in Alpharetta, Georgia), an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since 2008 he has worked at the Institute for Religious Research, first as Executive Director and more recently as Director of Research.
Bowman is the author of nearly sixty articles and of a dozen books. Five of those books he co-authored with Kenneth D. Boa, an Oxford-trained scholar; two of these books (An Unchanging Faith in a Changing World and Faith Has Its Reasons) won the Gold Medallion Book Award. Four of his earliest books were theological critiques of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His most recent book, co-authored with J. Ed Komoszewski, is Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ.
Christian countercult movement
Since 1984, Bowman has been associated with the Christian countercult movement. Besides working at the Christian Research Institute, he has also been employed by Watchman Fellowship (1999-2000) and the Institute for Religious Research (2008-present), two other Christian countercult ministries. Bowman’s approach to countercult apologetics has been almost exclusively hermeneutical (focusing on the interpretation of scriptural texts) and theological. In his 1991 book Orthodoxy and Heresy, Bowman recommended that evangelicals drop the use of the word cult as a term of theological criticism in view of its associations in the media with socially deviant groups. However, Bowman does view the teachings of various religious groups, especially those that deny the doctrine of the Trinity, as theological heresy. Most of his work in this area has focused on Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism, although he has also written and lectured on the Word of Faith movement.
In his early years of studying theology and apologetics, Bowman was influenced by a variety of Christian apologists, including C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and John Warwick Montgomery. At Fuller Theological Seminary, he became familiar with the fideist tradition in Christianity that emphasizes faith over reason. One of the reasons he pursued doctoral studies at Westminster Theological Seminary was to study presuppositional apologetics, which Cornelius Van Til had pioneered at Westminster. In Faith Has Its Reasons, Bowman (with his co-author Kenneth D. Boa) argued that Christian apologetics may be done using a variety of such approaches, or methods, and that apologists should try to integrate elements from other approaches into their own. Bowman’s own approach is a broadly traditional or “classical” approach that favors using reasoned arguments to establish theism as a context within which evidences for the Bible and Christian faith can carry weight.
• Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (with J. Ed Komoszewski; 2007)
• Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell (with Kenneth D. Boa; 2007)
• Sense and Nonsense about Angels and Demons (with Kenneth D. Boa; 2007)
• Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending Christian Faith (with Kenneth D. Boa; 2001, 2006)
• 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists (with Kenneth D. Boa; 2002)
• The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel (2001)
• An Unchanging Faith in a Changing World (with Kenneth D. Boa; 1997)
• Jehovah’s Witnesses (1995)
• Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Biblical Guide to Doctrinal Discernment (1992)
• Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do (1991)
• Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (1989)
• Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John (1989)
- About Rob Bowman at the Wayback Machine (archived October 23, 2008), Center for Biblical Apologetics.
- On the larger controversy involving Hanegraaff’s leadership of CRI, see Jill Martin Rische, “The CRI Connection,” http://www.waltermartin.org/cri.html.
- Apologetics Team at NAMB
- See Carolyn Curtis, “Unchanging Faith in a Changing World", OnMission.com, Nov./Dec. 1998.
- Putting Jesus in His Place
- “Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Publications Editor,” 2000, Watchman Fellowship ministry
- Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Biblical Guide to Doctrinal Discernment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 113-14.
- See Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman, Jr., 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists (Colorado Springs: RiverOak, 2002).