Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)


Sean Anthony Turchin


Kierkegaard, apologetics, anxiety, despair, faith, revelation, self, ideal self, true self, actual self, indirect communication, Karen Horney, Crowd, Single Individual


Philosophy | Religion


The central question this paper aimed at addressing was: How to present the gospel to people that are resistant to its presentation? The Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard suggested that the best strategy in this scenario was indirect communication. In Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous writings many theological themes were indirectly presented as philosophical ones. The following Kierkegaardian themes were selected and arranged into a two-phase apologetic strategy that can be used in informal conversational settings: Anxiety, Despair, The Crowd, Single Individual, Revelation, and Faith. Indirect communication takes place in the first phase which is comprised of the first four themes. The second phase, direct communication, is where the explicit presentation of the gospel takes place, transforming the philosophical categories from the first phase into theological ones. The concepts of true self, ideal self, and actual self proposed by Karen Horney are a fundamental component of the apologetic strategy, since its goal is to demonstrate to the apologist’s conversational partner that: The various Crowds that one encounters in a lifetime will seek to impose their version of the ideal self upon the individual. However, one’s true self can only be received through unmediated divine Revelation and actualized in Faith.