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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very informative book
I am an avid reader of philosophy and apologetics and I have read a quite a bit of books concerned with the defense of the Christian faith. But, I must say that this one (along with Moreland's Scaling the Secular City) takes the cake. Geisler's presentation of the evidentialist's objections to Christian theism are by far the most fair minded representations of these...
Published on March 7, 2000 by Jorge A. Gonzalez

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A ho-hum work.
Books on Christian apologetics are a dime a dozen. Some are relatively complete in scope, carefully reasoned, and creditable throughout. Those are the ones worth having. A few are really terrible and should never have been published. The rest are ho-hum. Geisler's book, which has been around since 1976, falls into the last-mentioned category. It's not really bad. But...
Published 16 months ago by Doug Erlandson


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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very informative book, March 7, 2000
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
I am an avid reader of philosophy and apologetics and I have read a quite a bit of books concerned with the defense of the Christian faith. But, I must say that this one (along with Moreland's Scaling the Secular City) takes the cake. Geisler's presentation of the evidentialist's objections to Christian theism are by far the most fair minded representations of these arguments. Seldom do I find a Christian apologist who argues nearly as well for the opposing view as for his own and Geisler does just that in his CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS. He summarizes the objections to reality and theism with the force one would expect only of the proponents of these views, and he then procedes to refute these objections (or at least to point out the fallacious logic that is employed in delivering the argument) with rigor and tough-minded intellectualism. Geisler is not only capable of presenting the objections with force but he is equally capable of rebutting these objections with equal or even greater force. I give this book four stars primarily because I find his defense of the cosmological argument a little bit shaky. Personally, I am an advocate of the kalam argument that is advanced by Moreland and Bill Craig. Overall though, if you are seeking a cogent defense of Christianity I highly recommend that you purchase this book and spend some serious study time in it. Don't learn the answers to the objections but become well versed in the objections themselves for this book presents both equally well. Furthermore, if you have George Smith's ATHEISM: THE CASE AGAINST GOD you will find that most of his petty objections are answered and refuted quite thoroughly in Geisler's CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, April 20, 1999
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
The more about philosophy you know, the more persuasive this book will be. The thorough and systematic approach was very appealing. The book divides nicely into three parts. The first and longest part establishes "undeniability" and "unaffirmability" as valid truth tests (who could argue with that?). The second part uses these truth tests to demonstrate that theism is true both deductively (demonstrating that all competing worldviews are false) and inductively (using a revised cosmological argument similar to Aquinas's Third Way). The third part establishes the truth of Christianity given a theistic universe using combinationalism as a test for truth within a worldview. When I first read this book, I had relatively little knowledge concerning philosophy and religion, but since then I've read a bit from various philosophers (e.g. Quentin Smith, William Craig, etc.). I read Geisler's book again and his anticipated objections and rebuttals make much more sense, and his conclusions are even more persuasive. Some of the strongest atheological arguments I've found on atheistic websites, are addressed in his book. On a personal note, his book was a tool in my younger years that kept me from becoming a nontheist. For that I'm very grateful!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Standard Apologetics book; critiques other views, October 17, 2001
By 
Bruce H (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
When I think of American apologetics, three major names come to mind: William Lane Craig, Norman L. Geisler, and J.P. Moreland. Together, they could be said to comprise the "apologetic dream team," of America.
Apologetics is the branch of theology/philosophy that seeks to provide a logical and rational defense of Christianity against all other rivals.
To preface my review, I would like to distinguish between two types of apologetics. Negative apologetics is concerned with showing that opposing (i.e. non-Christian) worldviews or ways of understanding reality are false. Positive apologetics seeks to provide evidence and arguments that directly argue for the truth of Christianity.
In this volume, it seems that something like 70% of the book is spent on showing opposing views are false. In this regard, I think Geisler's evaluation of atheism is very well done (Geisler summarizes his section by saying that most atheistic critiques of Christianity or arguments for atheism are either self-defeating or can be turned into arguments for Christianity). However, in our world, people are much more "cautious" and prefer to stay away from the so-called extremes (i.e. theism: the belief that a personal God exists. atheism: the belief that God(s) do not exist) and choose agnosticism. Geisler provides a very through critique of agnosticism and shows that it is intellectually bankrupt.
There are three Parts to the book:
Methodology (approx. 35% of content)
Theistic Apologetics (approx. 29% of content)
Christian Apologetics (approx. 30% of content)
The Methodology section is about forming an adequate test for truth. This was an unusual section and it seemed to be unnecessary to spend so much time on it. A brief discussion (i.e. 20 pages) ought to be sufficient. Geisler's two tests for truth are very uncommon; unaffirmability as a test for falsity and undeniability as a test for truth. He rejects most of the better truth tests (e.g. combinationalism) for numerous reasons, one of the most common being that the test fails to establish one view over all others. However, this section did have good critiques of skepticism, agnosticism, and fideism; this is the most useful part of this section.
The Theistic Apologetics section was probably the best in the book, in my opinion. Geisler surveys and evaluates the following worldviews:
Deism
Pantheism
Panentheism
Atheism
Theism
Geisler offers several reasons to reject the first four options, however I think it is unfair to exclude the first three simply because they are not theism. To me, this is blatant question begging. I thought Geisler was trying to establish the rational view rather than the Biblical view; there is a place for evaluating other "types" of God(s) but this is not that place. If one's objection to an argument amounts to, "He disagrees with Christianity therefore false," then it is question begging. To be fair, Geisler does offer several other reasons to reject these philosophies.
The Christian Apologetics section was very typical. There was a defense offered for the general historical reliability of the New Testament, the authority of Jesus Christ (e.g. by His sinless life, miracles, resurrection), and the authority of the Bible.
Geisler could have written an actual conclusion to the book rather than just suddenly ending it; something that brought it all together, perhaps with some examples when apologetics has strengthened the faith of Christians or convinced skeptics or something along those lines; I have noticed this problem in other books as well. Several other reviewers have said that this is a common text book in the United States on this topic, so perhaps that explains the lack of the features common to a broader audience (e.g. introduction and conclusion). An annotated bibliography would have been useful as well; he included a mini "Further Reading" section at the end of every chapter but there were very few recent (i.e. 1970's to present) books listed.
I think that Moreland's, "Scaling the Secular City," (see my review) is a better defense of Christianity; he spends more of his time arguing FOR Christianity and refutes the objections offered against those arguments.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad, but much better apologetics books exist, June 4, 1998
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
Geisler gives a foundationalist defense of Christianity: he tries to construct a rational chain of argumentation starting from the Cartesian notion of indubitability all the way to the main doctrines of the Christian faith. Some of the arguments are not bad, but the foundationalist approach practically begs the reader to pick holes in the long chain of reasoning, and in fact it is not hard to find such holes. Even more importantly, foundationalism in general has serious defects, which the reader can find discussed in any Anglo-American textbook on contemporary epistemology. In my opinion, the entire project of giving a rationalist, foundationalist defense of Christianity is misguided; it is not demanded by most Christian theologies or by Scripture and is based on an overly optimistic view of what reason alone can accomplish.
Nevertheless, it is valuable to have such a book around, to demonstrate concretely just how far one can get with such an approach, and to see what its limitations are. Given what he is trying to accomplish, Geisler does a creditable job (though I think Richard Swinburne's books are much better). After reading this book I gained a much clearer sense of what the hardest-to-defend points in the Christian worldview are.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Standard Apologetics book; critiques other views, October 24, 2001
By 
Bruce H (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
When I think of American apologetics, three major names come to mind: William Lane Craig, Norman L. Geisler, and J.P. Moreland. Together, they could be said to comprise the "apologetic dream team," of America.
Apologetics is the branch of theology/philosophy that seeks to provide a logical and rational defense of Christianity against all other rivals.
To preface my review, I would like to distinguish between two types of apologetics. Negative apologetics is concerned with showing that opposing (i.e. non-Christian) worldviews or ways of understanding reality are false. Positive apologetics seeks to provide evidence and arguments that directly argue for the truth of Christianity.
In this volume, it seems that something like 70% of the book is spent on showing opposing views are false. In this regard, I think Geisler's evaluation of atheism is very well done (Geisler summarizes his section by saying that most atheistic critiques of Christianity or arguments for atheism are either self-defeating or can be turned into arguments for Christianity). However, in our world, people are much more "cautious" and prefer to stay away from the so-called extremes (i.e. theism: the belief that a personal God exists. atheism: the belief that God(s) do not exist) and choose agnosticism. Geisler provides a very through critique of agnosticism and shows that it is intellectually bankrupt.
There are three Parts to the book:
Methodology (approx. 35% of content)
Theistic Apologetics (approx. 29% of content)
Christian Apologetics (approx. 30% of content)
The Methodology section is about forming an adequate test for truth. This was an unusual section and it seemed to be unnecessary to spend so much time on it. A brief discussion (i.e. 20 pages) ought to be sufficient. Geisler's two tests for truth are very uncommon; unaffirmability as a test for falsity and undeniability as a test for truth. He rejects most of the better truth tests (e.g. combinationalism) for numerous reasons, one of the most common being that the test fails to establish one view over all others. However, this section did have good critiques of skepticism, agnosticism, and fideism; this is the most useful part of this section.
The Theistic Apologetics section was probably the best in the book, in my opinion. Geisler surveys and evaluates the following worldviews:
Deism
Pantheism
Panentheism
Atheism
Theism
Geisler offers several reasons to reject the first four options, however I think it is unfair to exclude the first three simply because they are not theism. To me, this is blatant question begging. I thought Geisler was trying to establish the rational view rather than the Biblical view; there is a place for evaluating other "types" of God(s) but this is not that place. If one's objection to an argument amounts to, "He disagrees with Christianity therefore false," then it is question begging. To be fair, Geisler does offer several other reasons to reject these philosophies.
The Christian Apologetics section was very typical. There was a defense offered for the general historical reliability of the New Testament, the authority of Jesus Christ (e.g. by His sinless life, miracles, resurrection), and the authority of the Bible.
Geisler could have written an actual conclusion to the book rather than just suddenly ending it; something that brought it all together, perhaps with some examples when apologetics has strengthened the faith of Christians or convinced skeptics or something along those lines; I have noticed this problem in other books as well. Several other reviewers have said that this is a common text book in the United States on this topic, so perhaps that explains the lack of the features common to a broader audience (e.g. introduction and conclusion). An annotated bibliography would have been useful as well; he included a mini "Further Reading" section at the end of every chapter but there were very few recent (i.e. 1970's to present) books listed.
I think that Moreland's, "Scaling the Secular City," (see my review) is a better defense of Christianity; he spends more of his time arguing FOR Christianity and refutes the objections offered against those arguments.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true textbook of protestant apologia, February 16, 2005
By 
C. Wynes (Dyersburg, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
Dr. Geisler's book is excellently organized, mostly well-written, and makes a valiant effort to establish the truth of evangelical/protestant Christianity. It is by far the best book of its sort. As it draws to a close, however, the methodical march of its earlier sections begins to rush headlong to conclusions that it ultimately cannot sustain.

Dr. Geisler divides the attempt to demonstrate the truth of Christianity into three distinct sections. In the first, he attempts to find a test for truth by examining (and discarding) many of the ways that people have defined truth and reality over the centuries. He rightly perceives that to assert "Christianity is true" requires that one know what it is which makes a proposition true or false, and furthermore that one must establish that such a thing as truth exists at all.

Dr Geisler then examines a series of views about how the world really exists, and applies his test of truth to them. This section, like the first, is well-organized and has a methodical approach that is easy to follow. Yet it is here that his arguments begin to weaken. This happens for a number of reasons.

First, the test of truth that he is using to defeat these non-theistic systems of belief is not a big enough club to beat them down. He says truth is "undeniability" and falsity is "unaffirmability". One thinks of the sort of trite logical paradoxes with which Captain Kirk might try to make a robot malfunction, like "everything within these quote marks is a lie". Geisler's attempt to make it seem that his tests apply to more than such trivialities amounts mostly to hand-waving.

Secondly, take his argument against Deism. It amounts to something like "surely god wouldn't create the world and then walk away from it." Well, that argument has little to do with his test for truth and everything to do with his inherent prejudices as a Christian about what god is like. A deist might counter by saying that divine intervention amounts to petty tinkering and is uncharacteristic of a perfect god. Who knows which conception is right? Geisler's test for truth provides no guidance. This is an error he repeats in the third section, because he is too ready to skip ahead to conclusions that are easy for him to reach only because he's been believing these things for most of his life.

The third and final section is that in which, having concluded the truth of theism in the second section, he now moves on to attempt to demonstrate the truth of Christianity. Here, he loses the methodical pace of the earlier chapters and rushes headlong to his conclusion.

Many a well-read Christian trying to convince a non-believer focuses solely on the second step, proving the existence of god. Most debates between atheists and Christians tend to settle there. Geisler gives attention to the steps both before and after that one, and that makes his book a complete text. Perhaps he fails simply because his conclusions are wrong and Christianity is not true. If so, he cannot be faulted for giving the best defense of those conclusions but falling short. If not, if Christianity is true, then surely Geisler's book provides a clear roadmap for arriving at that truth.

Overall, this is a great summary of Christian apologetics that starts at ground zero and leads methodically towards its conclusion. As a skeptic who has read more than his share of Christian apologetics, I recommend this book to anyone interested in a persuasive intellectual treatment of this religion.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "American Express" of Apologetics:Don't leave home w/o it!, August 31, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
I am a student of Dr. Geisler's at Southern Evangelical Seminary and he is, hands down, one of the greatest apologists of this century. This is a must read for anyone serious about apologetics. "Christian Apologetics" is an essential text used in colleges and seminaries all over the country. He has taught and influenced some of the best apologists for Christianity in the last 35 years, and this work has been used and refered to by countless apologists and authors. If your looking for a broad but deep thought provoking work that gives answers to the tough questions and worldviews then this is the book for you!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely one of the best!, June 13, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
This apologetics book is only one of several excellent books by Norman L. Geisler. For me, it answered questions and solidified ideas that had bothered me ever since I began to attempt to view the world rationally, objectively, and logically. I found it completely crushing in it's weight of logic for the Christian world view as the only reasonable option. The option I have accepted and come to love.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great text on Christian apologetics, March 31, 2005
By 
Michael Ruangnol (Los Angeles, ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Paperback)
Dr.Geisler is a well known and respected bible scholar and apologetist. His book is used in seminary and bible colleges all over the U.S. and Canada. He is a defender of the truth of the Christian faith and world view. In this text Dr. Geisler covers these world views in his assentment and then exposes them in light of Christian world view, views like rationalism, agnosticism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, combinationalism, deism, pantheism, panentheism, atheism, theism, etc. This text will and has stand the test of time. Dr. Geisler, the church of Jesus Christ thanks you for your service to the Lord.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehending The Argument, December 18, 2003
By 
Philip S Roeda (Cook, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Christian Apologetics (Hardcover)
Christian Apologetics written by Norman L. Geisler is not an easy read. Twenty years ago I had taken an introductory class in philosophy. My readings included Berkley, Kant, Hume , and Decartes. Depending heavily on lecture notes, I received B's in my reports. I have also listened to R.C. Sproul's series on Philosophy titled the Consequences of Ideas and his serious on Apologetics titled The Consequences of Ideas. I did not read R.C. Sproul's book on apologetics also titled Defending Your Faith. Geisler's book demands a more thorough understanding of critical thought than I have. The book is a text book and may be easier to understand if one has a professor guide a student through Geisler's thoughts, the other theologians thought, and philosophers cited in this book.

This book covers thoughts and philosophies in a couple of pages that the original author of these ideas took hundreds of pages to articulate and defend. Geisler also limits himself to a page or two debunking each theory. Understanding each theory was easier then comprehending the argument against. This despite my own disagreement with the original theory. Geisler's argument I usually read a second time and on occasion a third time before getting some sort of a comprehension and moving on. In the preface, the purpose of this work is to prove Jesus is the Christ and the Bible is the word of God.

The first part of the book deals with methodology; The process in determining the truth through a prior knowledge or lack of knowledge before moving forward. One must know God's attributes before one can make arguments about His existence. The discussion starts with agnosticism: The ability to know God and some of His attributes. The discusion continues in six different sections about Rationalism, Flideism, Experientialism, Evidentialism, Pragmatism and Combinationalism. These are six different arguments in how to determine truth.

The second part deals with six theories on who God is: Deism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Atheism, and Theism. Geisler calls these World views. Each has its defenders and Geisler discusses philosophers thoughts on each and makes an argument against those accept Theism. Which he defends. Which leads to the third part where he attempts to prove Christianity. By arguing for the existence for the Supernatural, the ability to know history, and the reliability of the Bible.
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Christian Apologetics
Christian Apologetics by Norman L. Geisler (Paperback - March 1, 1988)
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