Apologetics

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 23 2021 7:42 AM

I am beginning a study of apologetics. I looked for a guide on the topic but couldn't find one. I am wondering do you have any suggestions on the study of Apologetics - where to begin? Which authors to follow? Courses? Etc. I have watched videos by some apologists such as John Lennox but want to develop a concentrated plan of study. 

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 1:43 PM

Michael Kinch:
I am wondering do you have any suggestions on the study of Apologetics - where to begin? Which authors to follow? Courses? Etc. I have watched videos by some apologists such as John Lennox but want to develop a concentrated plan of study. 

In order to give such recommendations, I would have to know what theological background/position/denomination/church/whatever it is that you wish to apologize for (i.e., defend), and who your potential apologetics work would be directed at.

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 2:09 PM

While waiting for the information SineNomine above requested for, I would recommend this one:

Five Views on Apologetics (Counterpoints) | Logos Bible Software

It is not so much a book on the contents of apologetics (i.e. different doctrines), rather than a book on different methodologies on apologetics. I read it carefully just a few months ago and it sure gave me a lot to think about! The book contains articles defended by (and criticized by) different authors:

  • Classical Apologetics, William Lane Craig
  • Evidential Apologetics, Gary R. Habermas
  • Cumulative Case Apologetics, Paul D. Feinberg
  • Presuppositional Apologetics, John M. Frame
  • Reformed Epistemology Apologetics, Kelly James Clark

This book would help you define your starting point(s).

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 2:28 PM

The five views books is a good intro to what you might call 'meta-apologetics' or apologetics theory.

If you want to get right into apologetics practice, Rebecca McLaughlin's Confronting Christianity is relatively recent and quite good (Faithlife ebook edition). 

As one delves more deeply into apologetics the field simply becomes philosophy of religion. A good starting place for that level would be Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by Moreland and Craig (Logos edition).

Of course each 'apologist' has their own theological commitments that will guide how they answer certain apologetic issues or philosophical topics. But none really dominates the practice to such an extent that I'd say something like "If you're a baptist then you should stick with..." or "if you're Reformed you should stick with...". The only place this would really be important is regarding 'in-house' apologetics (e.g., Catholic apologetics specifically attempting to establish the truth of Catholicism vs. apologetics attempting to demonstrate the errors of Catholicism, etc.)

(Some presuppositional apologetics of the Van Tillian variety did make claims that might lead one to that conclusion--Van Til, Bahnsen--but I would not say that this view is widely held by his followers today--Anderson, Frame--and I think Van Til's/Bahnsen's points in such statements was a bit different.)

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 2:47 PM

Michael, I would love to help if I can although in this group I am somewhat of a beginner but have learned a lot in the last year or so.
I agree with SineNomine that more info is needed to best suggest something. I would add your personal motivation. For example, for me, ultimately my goal is to share the gospel which for me overlaps in a big way with apologetics. Secondly, my particular niche is that I try to keep learning to equip young believers for the issues they will face when they go to college, away from home and face professors/peers and others that will challenge their faith and beliefs. I do want them to think for themselves but I don’t want their first challenges to come without having addressed church history, historical evidences, sciences, psychology, culture, philosophy, evil in the OT, etc proactively. Thirdly, recently I have been working on how best to address and defend in a loving way. It is not about winning an argument but about winning them to Christ. (Greg Koukl‘s book Tactics is good for the strategy aspect. While it certainly is written from a Protestant Christian perspective, the tactics could work for anyone...this strategy could even be used against you by anyone from a different belief or worldview)

For recommending courses, I would ask approximately how much time would you be willing to give it? I have done some that I knocked out in a couple of days others that were master’s level seminary courses that approximates a semester at a seminary or university that took a great deal of time. I plan to audit some courses this summer. I will say my perception of apologetics and how broad it can be has changed so much from about this time last year. 

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 2:54 PM

Olli, which Feinberg book would you recommend reading first?

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 6:45 PM

Actually, I pursue a degree in apologetics, so let me give you some ideas. I'm replying from an Evangelical perspective, but not necessarily from s specific denominational point of view. And I also assume you want to study on an academic level, and not just popular level.

First of all, the range of topics covered by apologetics is massive. Since the attacks on Christianity come from all sides, we also need to defend all sides, so there's overlap with all kinds of disciplines (theology, philosophiy, history, sciences, archaeology, anthropology, forensics, psychology etc. and even fringe sciences like ufology...)

One of the first things I learned at seminary was the importance of a solid theological basis, both biblical theology and systematic theology. Since you're a Logos user, I assume you have that already.

Since I believe it's impossible to study all the aspects of apologetics in detail in one lifetime, I would suggest first reading through a primer, and decide afterward how to proceed from there.

Some good primers to get an overview:

Now that there's a foundation, let the craziness begin... I guess following the curriculum of my degree program is not gonna be helpful, because there are so many electives that the list might grow very big. Just pasting a list of 50+ books (all of which are truly excellent) wouldn't be helpful either. so let's start with a few Mobile Ed courses:

  • Craig Evans has a couple of courses on biblical archaeology, and non-Christian sources. I own a couple of them. If you're interested in evidence for Christianity from archaeology, and early history, these courses are excellent.
  • Mike Licona has a course about objections to the Gospel. I don't own that, but I've been following Mike for some years. I trust that this is good material when it comes to defending the reliability of the Gospels.
  • Craig Keener has a course specifically on defending the miracles in the Gospels. That's again one that I own. Excellent material.
  • There's also an introduction course to apologetics by Bobby Conway, which I don't own. Since the product page has only little information, it's difficult to tell how big the scope is.

What I love about these courses is that they lots of ideas and suggestions where to continue reading on the respective topics.

Now for authors... Rather, let me do it the other way around. I'll list some areas of possible interest, and some authors that provide good apologetic material on these topics. So you can do some pick-and-mix based on the areas you want to study first.

  • Resurrection: Gary Habermas. Almost all apologists use his material when defending the resurrection.
  • Reliability of the OT: Steven Collins, Kenneth Kitchen, Walter Kaiser, Leen Ritmeyer
  • Reliability of the NT: Richard Bauckham, Colin Hemer, Craig Evans, J. Warner Wallace (he writes popular level books, but his perspective as a cold case detective is unique), Mike Licona, Darrell Bock
  • Counter cult apologetics: Ron Rhodes, James White
  • Postmodernism: DA Carson, John Feinberg, Donald Bloesch, Dan Story, Robert Morey
  • Inerrancy of the Bible: Norman Geisler, Albert Mohler, Eta Linnemann
  • Human Origins: Fazale Rana (from an old earth perspective)
  • Cosmological Argument: William Lane Craig
  • Teleological Argument (Argument from Design): Hugh Ross (also from an old earth perspective)
  • Moral Argument: CS Lewis
  • Apologetics to Islam: Daniel Janosik, Nabeel Qureshi
  • Problem of Evil: Norman Geisler, Clay Jones, Paul Copan
  • Progressive Christianity: Alisa Childers
  • Original Monotheism: Winfried Corduan
  • New Atheism: Alister McGrath, John Lennox
  • Philosophy of Mind: JP Moreland
  • Creation vs Evolution: Fazale Rana, William Dembski, Stephen Meyer
  • Miracles: Craig Keener
  • Trinity, Divinity of Jesus: Ed Hindson, James White

It somehow feels as if I've forgotten some topics and authors... If something important comes to my mind later, I'll just add to the thread.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 6:50 PM

Jan, you forgot the most interesting -- the books on argumentation and applied logic -- think Douglas Walton as the best known in the field. Wink

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 6:56 PM

MJ. Smith:

Jan, you forgot the most interesting -- the books on argumentation and applied logic -- think Douglas Walton as the best known in the field. Wink

Yes indeed! Thanks. Also Greg Koukl on a more popular level.

Also forgot:

Apologetics to Judaism: Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Michael Brown

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 23 2021 9:29 PM

Greg Dement:

Which Feinberg book would you recommend reading first?

Logos does have apologetics books also by John S. Feinberg - not the same Paul D. Feinberg writing in the Five Views -volume. They're siblings..?John is an expert on theodicy. This is co-authored by both:

Ethics for a Brave New World | Logos Bible Software

(I haven't read this one).

To my knowledge there are no other Paul D. Feinberg books in Logos (please correct me, if I'm wrong).

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 1:46 AM

As a classic apologetics book I would recommend this one:

Mere Christianity | Logos Bible Software

by C.S. Lewis.

Unfortunately it is sold in Logos only as a part of a C.S. Lewis -package that is quite expensive:

The C.S. Lewis Collection (30 vols.) | Logos Bible Software

Thus I would recommend to purchase it otherwise, if you don't have the money to buy it in Logos...

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 5:52 AM

Thank you everyone for your great suggestions. I am not looking for material aimed at any particular denomination or theological position. I have found myself in conversations with people who had questions about Christianity that I did not have adequate answers to. It drives me to dig deeper and find answers so that I will be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks a reason for the hope that I have. And so my apologetics will be aimed at anyone who is not a Christian to help them make a decision for Christ. I am retired and so I have a good deal of spare time. Most of it is spent in study using Logos and also paper volumes. One volume that I have in paper that I have that is helpful is Ralph Muncaster's "Examine The Evidence. I think that it is not available in Logos though.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 6:27 AM

Michael Kinch:
I am not looking for material aimed at any particular denomination or theological position. I have found myself in conversations with people who had questions about Christianity that I did not have adequate answers to. It drives me to dig deeper and find answers so that I will be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks a reason for the hope that I have.

There are different kinds of apologetics, irrespective of denomination. I normally don't point people to wikipedia, but this article might help. Different kinds of apologetics are helpful for specific audiences and situations. 

Michael Kinch:
my apologetics will be aimed at anyone who is not a Christian to help them make a decision for Christ.

It has been a while since I have read them, but I enjoyed "The Case for Christ" and "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel. 

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 7:32 AM

Though not exhaustive, Wesley Huff put together a pretty good list of resources but the list is a few years old and there has been some great stuff that should be added.

https://www.wesleyhuff.com/blog/2018/11/13/the-apologetic-books-you-should-already-have-on-your-shelf

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 8:47 AM

I am very far from being a Universalist and am a pretty conservative Evangelical but I do fully embrace my Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. I have really enjoyed and benefited greatly from what limited reading I have done from the early church fathers. Mostly what I have read are sections of greater works I have been referred to. There is so much it is overwhelming. It is something I have started to give greater time to.

I have a lot the literature in Logos but would appreciate some pointers on how to best tackle studying this in general but especially with apologetics in mind. For example the following works (but would love other recommendations):

https://www.logos.com/product/7832/early-church-fathers-special-catholic-edition

https://www.logos.com/product/4248/summa-theologica

sorry, one more thing. Has anyone read this and if so would you recommend it?

https://www.logos.com/product/43220/christian-apologetics-past-and-present-a-primary-source-reader-volume-1-to-1500

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 9:06 AM

Michael Kinch:
I have found myself in conversations with people who had questions about Christianity that I did not have adequate answers to. It drives me to dig deeper and find answers so that I will be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks a reason for the hope that I have. And so my apologetics will be aimed at anyone who is not a Christian to help them make a decision for Christ.

It sounds to me like what you're most looking for, at least right now, is resources explaining/teaching your own faith, so that you can then attempt to pass it on to others. As you know, it's hard to give other people answers that you don't yourself have!

This does, in fact, mean that your own theological place/background/outlook/etc. does matter. For example, I would recommend a Catholic in your position to read https://www.logos.com/product/29612/youcat-youth-catechism-of-the-catholic-church, but that would not be as helpful a resource for a Pentecostal, a high church Lutheran, or a Russian Orthodox Christian to learn their own faith.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 4:03 PM

Greg Dement:
https://www.logos.com/product/43220/christian-apologetics-past-and-present-a-primary-source-reader-volume-1-to-1500

I highly recommend both volumes - and wish there was a supplement to supply more materials.

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 5:25 PM

I would recommend "Christian Apologetics A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith".  I got it on Logos as soon as it became available.

Dr. Douglas Groothuis is a professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary.  He has spent years speaking to college students at their campuses.  This is how he honed his skills.  It makes him very practical.

I you are diligent, you can also find hours of mp3's online where he covers the same material as his book.  His specialty is New Age, but I found the above book to be quite comprehensive. 

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 6:30 PM

Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari:

I've read much of it. On the one hand, great in-depth research from all sides on the individual ethical issues. On the other hand, after all this wonderful research, the default to traditional evangelical conservatism in their conclusion, completely ignoring those parts of their research that contradicts this position, with little or no explanation.

I'd still recommend it though.One of the best books on ethics I'm aware of.

Greg Dement:
https://www.logos.com/product/4248/summa-theologica

YES! The Summa Contra Gentiles is even more comprehensive. These books are not for the faint of heart though.

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