Apologetics- Where do I begin?

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Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
I feel a burden to study apologetics and epistemology.

Where would you instruct someone to start in the study of apologetics and epistemology? I'm looking for books. I will probably start small but also give more challenging works that I can read soon after I get some basics down. I really want a detailed, lifelong, disciplined study of this, so where would you instruct me to start, and also what goals do you think I should strive for in terms of what monumental works on the subject that I should tackle?

Also, just any personal advice for one who is looking to study this? Any personal goals you think I should consider?

Links are good too but I'm primarily looking for books (I'll take links to online books too).

Thanks!
 
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cbryant

Puritan Board Freshman
Megan,

If you've never studied apologetics/philosophy before the I would start with Richard Pratt's "Every Thought Captive".
 

Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
The most I have ever done with apologetics is read The Reason for God and I loved it. I have also listened to two or three podcasts.

:eek:

I really want to delve into it now.
 

steven-nemes

Puritan Board Sophomore
Don't read presuppositionalist literature.

Listen to lecture on The Veritas Forum by JP Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga at least--and check out others which sound interesting to you.

As for books, read 5 Views on Apologetics and introductory philosophy texts.
 

awretchsavedbygrace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Don't read presuppositionalist literature.

Listen to lecture on The Veritas Forum by JP Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga at least--and check out others which sound interesting to you.

As for books, read 5 Views on Apologetics and introductory philosophy texts.

William Lane Craig? :rolleyes:

Start with " The Kingdom Of The Cults" by Dr. Walter Martin. James White has a bunch of videos on his youtube channel that will help you (there are also videos there of Dr. Walter Martin).
 

steven-nemes

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't know why the eye-roll, but William Lane Craig is good stuff. He's a respected and well-known philosopher; I don't know why you don't like him.

Also Megan Mozart: study arguments for the resurrection of Jesus as opposed to arguments for the existence of God. The latter are not as powerful and as convincing as the former.
 

awretchsavedbygrace

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't know why the eye-roll, but William Lane Craig is good stuff. He's a respected and well-known philosopher; I don't know why you don't like him.

Also Megan Mozart: study arguments for the resurrection of Jesus as opposed to arguments for the existence of God. The latter are not as powerful and as convincing as the former.

http://mp3.aomin.org/images/jpeg/WLCraigslist.jpg

Isaiah 46:10-11

10: declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying,'My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
 

Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
I just remember that I read The Case for Christ in the beginning of High School and I remember devouring it.

Isn't Craig one of the interviewees in that book?
 
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steven-nemes

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, yeah, they're not Calvinists, but so what?

If the heretic of all heretics brandishes the greatest argument for the existence of a triune God, then who cares how his theology is?

The point is apologetics and philosophical argumentation, and you don't get that from the presuppositionalists, whereas you do get it from WLC and others.

-----Added 10/23/2009 at 06:00:22 EST-----

Yes he is in Case for Christ.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Well, yeah, they're not Calvinists, but so what?

If the heretic of all heretics brandishes the greatest argument for the existence of a triune God, then who cares how his theology is?

The point is apologetics and philosophical argumentation, and you don't get that from the presuppositionalists, whereas you do get it from WLC and others.

I think the point is, "What are you apologizing for?" If you have a great argument that leads to salvation by works, what exactly have you accomplished.

CT

-----Added 10/23/2009 at 06:17:41 EST-----

I don't know why the eye-roll, but William Lane Craig is good stuff. He's a respected and well-known philosopher; I don't know why you don't like him.

Also Megan Mozart: study arguments for the resurrection of Jesus as opposed to arguments for the existence of God. The latter are not as powerful and as convincing as the former.

I would say that the former makes no sense without the latter.

CT
 

awretchsavedbygrace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, yeah, they're not Calvinists, but so what?

If the heretic of all heretics brandishes the greatest argument for the existence of a triune God, then who cares how his theology is?

The point is apologetics and philosophical argumentation, and you don't get that from the presuppositionalists, whereas you do get it from WLC and others.

-----Added 10/23/2009 at 06:00:22 EST-----

Yes he is in Case for Christ.

"Who cares how his theology is?" That is one phrase I would have never thought in a million years reading from anyone on this board. Well, I for one do care.

When William Lane Craig debated Chrisitoper Hitches and he was asked if any christian denominations were false, He replied "Ummm...well, I'm not a Calvinist. I think certain tenets of Reformed theology are incorrect." Maybe he can give good arguments as to the existence of the Triune God. But I reject Molinism as heresy. I rather listen to a reformed apologist. To each his own. Just dont be surprised when I roll my eyes at the William Lane Craig endorsments. His flaws concerning Sotierology and God's eternal decrees are enough for me to listen to someone else.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Look for Greg Koukl, he has a series of MP3s on defending the faith.

Also, find some debates between atheists and Christians(I recommend Bahnsen v. Stein and WLC's debates) and listen to/read them. Figure out what the arguments being used to support and critique each position are.

As for William Lane Craig--he's a brilliant philosopher, but his theology needs work. The arguments he uses, insofar as they go, are good, and I use them myself. But I think there's also a place for presuppositional apologetics.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Amazon.com: Reason and Worldviews: Warfield, Kuyper, Van Til and Plantinga on the Clarity of General Revelation and Function of Apologetics (9780761840381): Owen Anderson: Books

Amazon.com: Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith (9781932805345): Kenneth D. Boa, Robert M. Bowman Jr.: Books

Are two books that I found informative. I think the first book is an interesting hybrid between classical and presuppositional apologetics known as rational presuppositionalism.

The second book is a survey of different apologetic "school" and how they would tend to attack different question concerning the faith.

CT
 

uberkermit

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, yeah, they're not Calvinists, but so what?

If the heretic of all heretics brandishes the greatest argument for the existence of a triune God, then who cares how his theology is?

The point is apologetics and philosophical argumentation, and you don't get that from the presuppositionalists, whereas you do get it from WLC and others.

Steven, an unbeliever will never be brought to the light of the gospel through philosophy. I could say more, but I would ask you to read Romans 1:16-17, and 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5 very carefully. The Apostle puts it far better than I ever could. Philosophical arguments will come and go, and woe to those who put their faith and trust in them! Blessed are those who put their trust in Christ and his gospel, and "how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Those men who spend their time dressing up the gospel with things like philosophy - the wisdom of this world - will (one day) see the error of their ways. I hope they see it sooner rather than later. Can a man who is sent to preach the gospel be counted faithful when he doesn't do it, but rather fills the ears of hearers with more respectable sounding arguments?
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
If you want to learn apologetics from a presuppositionalist perspective, I would recommend that you read Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen, The Battle Belongs to the Lord by Scott Oliphint, and Ask Them Why by Jay Lucas. The book by Jay Lucas contains many fictitious conversations between a believer and an unbeliever. These fictitious conversations give examples of how apologetics is done from a presuppositionalist perspective.

If you want to learn about Classical Apologetics, I would recommend reading JP Moreland's book, Scaling the Secular City. The book discusses the arguments for God's existence, the meaning of life, the historicity of the New Testament, Christ's resurrection, philosophy of science, and so on.

A World of Difference by Kenneth Richard Samples discusses different criteria that one can use when evaluating worldviews. This book gives a critique of naturalism, postmodernism, pantheistic monism, Isalm.

Without a Doubt: Answering The 20 Toughest Faith Questions by Kenneth Richard Samples is a good book.

The following link will go to a set of lectures given by Douglas Groothuis. This was for his apologetics class at Denver Seminary. He calls himself a Calvinist.
This Week's Apologetic Lecture
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor

I'm glad to read the few posts on here that don't have an axe to grind against presuppositionalism :p


Bahnsen, van Til and Gordon H. Clark would probably be good starting points. Bahnsen's Always Ready is good.

Van Til's Defense of the faith is a tough read, but good.

Gordon H. Clark has a good book called Lord God of Truth with was bound with Augustine's De Magistra; both good. Clark has the added benefit of being intelligible. A Christian View of Men and Things may also be a good place to start.

Cheers,
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
If the heretic of all heretics brandishes the greatest argument for the existence of a triune God, then who cares how his theology is?

That's great advice for a new wife. From a young man. Getting good fruit from bad trees.
 

JTB

Puritan Board Freshman

I'm glad to read the few posts on here that don't have an axe to grind against presuppositionalism :p


Bahnsen, van Til and Gordon H. Clark would probably be good starting points. Bahnsen's Always Ready is good.

Van Til's Defense of the faith is a tough read, but good.

Gordon H. Clark has a good book called Lord God of Truth with was bound with Augustine's De Magistra; both good. Clark has the added benefit of being intelligible. A Christian View of Men and Things may also be a good place to start.

Cheers,

I'd echo this recommendation, especially Clark's "A Christian View of Men and Things."

If you are interested in specific fields of apologetics (like science), Clark also has several books critiquing non-Christian views of science, history, language (Lord God of Truth address that topic), etc. If you are interested in those titles, I can post a more comprehensive list.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I would start with Schaeffer's How Shall We Then Live? as a starting point for a good overview of the history. In my (albeit limited) experience, knowing the history behind ideas is as important as knowing the ideas. Very often, distorted views of history are huge stumbling blocks in dialogue (I'll add that, in my opinion, Van Tillians are guilty of over-simplifying the history of ideas). Half of the time, I find myself disputing the false views of history that are common now (e.g. The gnostics were just alternate versions of Christianity that didn't make the cut; Islam is a religion of peace and equality; etc.).

I would also recommend R. C. Sproul's Consequences of Ideas series as well as the Silencing the Devil series of mock debates between Sproul and Gerstner.

For a Christian epistemology, I would recommend Thomas Reid (echoing all pre-modern thought--including the reformers) or even a little Plantinga.
 

Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
If you are interested in specific fields of apologetics (like science), Clark also has several books critiquing non-Christian views of science, history, language (Lord God of Truth address that topic), etc. If you are interested in those titles, I can post a more comprehensive list.


YES. I am definitely interested in the science. Let's hear that list.
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Any personal goals you think I should consider?

Thanks!

Yea, DON'T DO IT!

Seriously Megan,

Even Bahnsen reminisced that he didn’t know how good he had it as a delivery boy driving around listening to the radio. His greatest problems in life by his own admission were as a philosopher and apologist (and not a theonomist). At the very least, do proceed with caution, the subject can consume you. I wouldn't trade those hours of mental anguish for anything but I cannot tell you how often have I felt like Michael Corleone when he said "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." What I mean by that is don't let epistemology consume you.

Ron
 

Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
Any personal goals you think I should consider?

Thanks!

Yea, DON'T DO IT!

Seriously Megan,

Even Bahnsen reminisced that he didn’t know how good he had it as a delivery boy driving around listening to the radio. His greatest problems in life by his own admission were as a philosopher and apologist (and not a theonomist). At the very least, do proceed with caution, the subject can consume you. I wouldn't trade those hours of mental anguish for anything but I cannot tell you how often have I felt like Michael Corleone when he said "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." What I mean by that is don't let epistemology consume you.

Ron

Ron, I understand what you're saying.

I've considered these things before. As far as I can tell, I'm convinced that it is only the Holy Spirit that changes hearts, and not those who can argue eloquently and convincingly. I know that even a simple presentation of the gospel from one who is not learned in philosophy can be used mightily by God.

At the same time, I do think it is still a worthwhile pursuit to know why I believe what I believe, and that it's not simply believing things that have no evidence in history, science, archaelogy, philosphy, etc. Not saying that that's what you're doing :)
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Any personal goals you think I should consider?

Thanks!

Yea, DON'T DO IT!

Seriously Megan,

Even Bahnsen reminisced that he didn’t know how good he had it as a delivery boy driving around listening to the radio. His greatest problems in life by his own admission were as a philosopher and apologist (and not a theonomist). At the very least, do proceed with caution, the subject can consume you. I wouldn't trade those hours of mental anguish for anything but I cannot tell you how often have I felt like Michael Corleone when he said "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." What I mean by that is don't let epistemology consume you.

Ron

Ron, I understand what you're saying.

I've considered these things before. As far as I can tell, I'm convinced that it is only the Holy Spirit that changes hearts, and not those who can argue eloquently and convincingly. I know that even a simple presentation of the gospel from one who is not learned in philosophy can be used mightily by God.

At the same time, I do think it is still a worthwhile pursuit to know why I believe what I believe, and that it's not simply believing things that have no evidence in history, science, archaelogy, philosphy, etc. Not saying that that's what you're doing :)

Indeed, far from me to say that apologetics is not a noble enterprise and even our bounden duty according to each one's ability.

For what it's worth, here are some links to some articles:

Articles in Apologetics (Updated 3/28/07)

Apologetics – Articles Theology and Apologetic Resources

Chew on the meat and spit out the bones!

Ron
 
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