Bob and Gretchen Passantino were known for their work in Christian apologetics and research into cults and new religious movements. Their work in opposition to the "Satanism Scare" of the 1980s and 90s was well respected in both religious and secular circles. But their influence is more broadly felt in the number of now better known apologists and authors that were influenced or mentored by them. Dr. Norman Geisler and Chad Meister published a collection of essays written in honor of the Passantinos in 2007, Reasons for Faith: Making a Case for the Christian Faith. They describe the Passantino's work this way:
Providing reasons and evidences for faith, however, is only one aspect of Christian apologetics. The manner in which these reasons are presented is just as important as their content, for the same passage that instructs us to be prepared to give reasons for our hope concludes by admonishing us to do this "with gentleness and respect." In other words, the gospel of Christ shoud always be presented and defended in a spirit of love. It is this model of apologeticcs that Bob and Gretchen continually exemplified, combined with their expansive knowledge and inexorable zeal, which set them apart as paragons of apologetics.
Before Bob's death in 2003, he and Gretchen ministerd together for close to thirty years. Through their Answers in Action ministry, they equipped Christians to share and defend their faith and helped countless seekers find faith. They have been widely respected in a variety of fields, including evangelism, apologetics, philosophy, and theology. They have advanced the gospel of Jesus Christ through many means--personal discussions, public lectures, research, radio and television interviews, and a wide variety of publications. Amazingly, they have personally influenced an overwhelming number of leading Christian apologists of our day . . .
This book is a labor of love and gratitude for the Passantinos, who have worked tirelessly to shine as beacons of light and hope to Christians and seekers of all persuasions.
Dr. Frank Beckwith assessed them with these words:
I was two years out of my PhD at Fordham, and I felt like I knew nothing after that evening. Neither Bob nor Gretchen had any formal training in any of these academic areas that occupied our conversations, and yet their depth and breadth of knowledge was truly astonishing, and all without a wit of pride or pretentiousness. Perhaps this is why they worked behind the scenes for decades as trusted researchers, ghostwriters, editors, consultants, and debate coaches for some of the most well known Evangelical speakers and authors in the world. They were, in the words of Bob Dylan, "the brains behind Pa."
This website was created in 1995 and was one of the first Christian apologetics websites. It may in fact have been the first. It was used to feature articles written by the Passantinos. In spite of this first early mover potential, it never went much further than that.
The Passantios have both now have passed away entering into a great reward laid up for them in heaven. Here are some resources that tell their story:
- The Wikipedia article for Robert Passantino.
- About Answers In Action. The Passantinos description of their ministry on this website.
- Gretchen Passantino's Memorial Service. The speeches are well worth viewing for anyone interested in apologetics ministry for the lessons they offer. The speakers are in order:
- Kurt Van Gordon, apologist, author and head of Jude 3 ministries.
- Eric Pement, former executive editor of CornerStone Magazine
- Cindy Morgan, daughter of Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute
- Hank Hanegraaff, director of the Christian Research Institute
- A great tribute to the Passantinos by noted scholar Dr. Frank Beckwith. He describes very suscinctly what it was like to meet and interact with the Passantinos.
- Remembering Bob. A set of messages posted to the AIA website after Bob Passantino passed away in 2003 from many of the people whose lives were touched by the Passatinos.
- A facebook page dedicated to the knowledge and works of Robert Passantino.
To access the article archive, select an appropriate category on the left side bar. A new page will be loaded showing the articles. (A curiosity: Many of these articles have had the same URL for 20 years! This must be close to an internet record of sorts.) If you are on a mobile device, tap the button in the upper left of this page to display the side bar.