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on February 26, 2002
Although I am a Protestant, I have come to appreciate every thing Peter Kreeft writes. I bought his Handbook of Apologetics and could not put it down. Now these essays are feeding both mind a soul. Kreeft's way with words must be inspiration. His idea that faith, hope and charity together are the tripod that holds Christianity together is wonderful. In just one paragrpah he shows how you can't have one without the other two. Together they keep Christianity from becoming cold, cruel and wishful thinking.Each chapter is short and every word wothy of thought. My copy of the book is well marked and each page written on.
Just one example of Kreeft's powerful imagery is his picture of Christianity as a flower: Faith is the root, hope the stem, and charity the flower. "The flower is the fairest, the stem does the growing, but the root must come first" (p.170)
I expect to return to this book time and again. For anyone who wants to know what Christians believe (including Christians), this is essential reading. The last section on the unity of the Church in which Kreeft lists the things both Protestants and Catholics would have to surrender to become one again is worth the price of the book. Kreeft calls his vision of a united Church "The Evangelical Catholic Church" and perhaps his ideas could serve as a starting point for meaningful conversation. I also enjoy his list of questions concerning orthodoxy that can unify all Christians.
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on March 6, 2006
"The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it." That sums up most of the Christian apologetics I have heard. For the Christian, that may settle it. For the unbeliever, it settles nothing.

The Apostle Paul, when he evangelized in Athens, realized that he could not appeal to scripture or religious tradition because they meant nothing to the nonbelievers of the Areopagus. In this post-modern, secular world, a Christian will not score debating points against an atheist by quoting scripture, but by making logical arguments. Kreeft's book equips the Christian with those logical arguments. His apology appeals to reason, and his logical arguments in defense of Christian faith are compelling.

A FOOTNOTE: Kreeft, like C.S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton before him, comes in for the criticism that his philosophy isn't "deep" enough. Although I am a firm believer in the proposition that "deep" thought can be expressed with shallow words, I can understand the concern for a thoroughgoing scholarly treatment of Christian apologetics. If you want some heavyweight philosophical language on the subject, read Richard Swinburne's "The Existence of God" or Alvin Plantinga's "Warranted Christian Belief." If you want something you can read without getting a headache, stick with this book.
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on November 4, 2001
I first ran across this book ten years ago and have found myself continually buying copies for friends. Having just purchased it and reread it, yet again, I am convinced that, of Kreeft's many works, and among Christian apologetics generally, this one continues to stand out as foundational. By starting with the very "fundamentals lf the faith" in the first part of the book, Kreeft enables those with little or no understanding of Christianity to embrace it. He moves on to some of the tougher issues of the faith, and without flinching, presents a defense that is both philosophically and theologically sound. Finally, he turns to a series of essays on the Lord's Prayer that has continued to revitalize my prayer life. Overall, what makes this book such a winner for me is his clear, articulate prose -- and the fact that the book is presented in short essays that are ideal for an evening's consumption... if, in fact, you can resist the temptation to plough through the whole thing in a sitting.
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on February 9, 2000
Peter Kreeft has just the right knack for finding the clear and telling analogy to make these age-old stances of church doctrine come alive and stick in your mind so that you can pass them on to friends. Many classic Church arguments are presented here in a way that's understandable for a non philosophy student. I've been wrestling with many of these concepts informally for years, but Kreeft's pedagogy is beginning to enlighten me, where my older and smarter brother in the faith hasn't been able to make it clear. Solid and orthodox in Catholic teaching.
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on September 12, 2004
Kreeft's "Fundamentals of the Faith" is Christian Apologetics 101. Starting with "proofs" for the existence of God, he then establishes the reality of Christ's life and divinity, and then moves on to defenses of Christian doctrine entrusted to the Church.

Written as a series of essays, "Fundamentals" is a terrific primer on the Faith that doesn't insist you read it in one sitting.

Kreeft has a unique way of turning a phrase or skillfully using an analogy. For instance, in his chapter on the Holy Spirit, he instructs the reader that the Spirit is a "He" not an "it."

Is the Church an "invisible" body as Protestants say or a visible entity as described by Catholics? Both. The Mystical Body of Christ, Kreeft explains, has an invisible dimension and a physical one recognized by its four marks--one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic.

"Fundamentals" is also an effective apologetic against attacks on orthodox Christianity perpetrated by modern theologians and, most recently, by the likes of The Da Vinci Code's Dan Brown. In his chapter on the divinity of Christ, Kreeft states the following:

"The first escape is the attack of the Scripture 'scholars' on the historical reliability of the Gospels. Perhaps Jesus never claimed to be divine. Perhaps all the embarassing passages were inventions of the early Church (say 'Christian community' - it sounds nicer).

In that case, who invented traditional Christianity if not Christ? A lie, like a truth, must originate somewhere. Peter? The twelve? The next generation? What was the motive of whoever first invented the myth (euphemism for lie)? What did they get out of this elaborate, blasphemous hoax? For it must have been a deliberate lie, not a sincere confusion. No Jew confuses Creator with creature, God with man. And no man confuses a dead body with a resurrected, living one.

Here is what they got out of their hoax. Their friends and families scorned them. Their social standing, possessions, and political privileges were stolen from them by both Jews and Romans. They were persecuted, imprisoned, whipped, tortured, exiled, crucified, eaten by lions, and cut to pieces by gladiators. So some silly Jews invented the whole elaborate, incredible lie of Chrisitanity for absolutely no reason, and millions of Gentiles believed it, devoted their lives to it, and died for it - for no reason. It was only a fantastic practical joke, a hoax. Yes, there is a hoax indeed, but the perpetrators of it are the twentieth-century theologians, not the Gospel writers."

The book is vintage Kreeft and has earned the wide readership it enjoys.
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on October 31, 2000
I have been a professional religious educator for 20+ years now, and this is one book that I have relied on consistently for many years. It is intelligent without being obtuse, faithful without fundamentalism. I particularly appreciated the comparative religions sections, especially the two on Hinduism and Buddhism. He does a good job explaining the two religions and comparing them with Christianity, and all without criticism. If there is any lack, however, it would be that, while he compassionately discusses the similarities and differences that these Eastern religions have to Christianity, nowhere does he really say why we should be Christian instead of something else. His dealings with "The New Paganism" is excellent, and would be a good beginning point for anyone in dialog with New Agers. All in all, an excellent book, as are all of Kreeft's works.
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on September 26, 2005
Having read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis at least three times, I was delighted to find Peter Kreeft's book covering similar spiritual territory from a Catholic perspective. He does a great job of presenting the fundamentals -- fundamentals by the way that for the most part Protestants and Catholics should be able to agree on. As a protestant, I found the chapters on creeds to be quite useful in showing how the creeds contain truths that unite the church in a consistent doctrine -- again one that is shared by most Protestants and Catholics. Finally, the section of the book on the fundamentals of Christian living explains in very practical terms how we may live our lives more pleasing to God and to ourselves by following the basic principles discussed. The discussions on "Forgiveness" and "Temptation and Deliverance" are particularly powerful.

Much of what is in this book will be more familiar to Protestants who have attended Sunday School and studied the Bible, than it will be to a Catholic who attends Mass but rarely, if ever, attends a study group or reads the Bible. I suspect many Protestants in reading this book, however, will be surprised to see a Catholic theologian describing his Catholic faith in terms quite consistent with Protestant faith. This can create a new understanding among Protestants of what Catholics believe. This book should also be recommended reading for every Catholic in order that they might better understand the faith taught by their church. A sad truth is that although the Church may officially teach what Kreeft describes in the way of theology and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, many of the people sitting in Catholic Church each week don't know the depth of the faith the Church teaches and yet they are searching for just that -- and this book could go a long way to providing them some answers.
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on June 16, 2005
This is a wonderful collection of short essays covering various issues in Christian apologetics and doctrine, such as philosophical proofs for God's existence, comparisons between Christianity and other religions, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the theological virtues (faith, hope, and love), and the nature of the church. While the book as a whole does not constitute a comprehensive treatment of either apologetics or doctrine, Kreeft has a great knack for discussing these topics in a clear, concise, informative, and insightful manner, which makes the individual essays well worth reading.

If you would like the opportunity to read part of this book before deciding whether or not to purchase it, several of the chapters from this book are available on the author's web site (which you can find by doing a web search on "Peter Kreeft") -- look under the "Arguments for God's Existence" on the Featured Writing page, and under "Other Religions" on the More Featured Writing page.
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on November 4, 2001
I first ran across this book ten years ago and have found myself continually buying copies for friends. Having just purchased it and reread it, yet again, I am convinced that, of Kreeft's many works, and among Christian apologetics generally, this one continues to stand out as foundational. By starting with the very "fundamentals lf the faith" in the first part of the book, Kreeft enables those with little or no understanding of Christianity to embrace it. He moves on to some of the tougher issues of the faith, and without flinching, presents a defense that is both philosophically and theologically sound. Finally, he turns to a series of essays on the Lord's Prayer that has continued to revitalize my prayer life. Overall, what makes this book such a winner for me is his clear, articulate prose -- and the fact that the book is presented in short essays that are ideal for an evening's consumption... if, in fact, you can resist the temptation to plough through the whole thing in a sitting.
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on October 24, 2000
This is an excellent book by an excellent author. Kreeft clearly, concisely, and charitably explains various doctrines of the Faith. He looks at the arguments for the existence of God, looks at the creeds, the Our Father line by line with great explanations, the last things, the Trinity, and many other things. Each essay is 10-20 pages long and eminently readable in short bits of time. For a great explanation of what C.S. Lewis called "Mere Christianity", read this book.
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