Other Sellers on Amazon
Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources Hardcover – Illustrated, July 28, 2012
Enhance your purchase
An authoritative reference for key persons, concepts, issues, and approaches in the history of Christian apologetics—allowing you to read the great apologists and thinkers in their own words and understand their arguments in historical and cultural context.
Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources makes available over fifty primary source selections that address various challenges to the Christian faith in the history of apologetics.
The compilation represents a broad Christian spectrum, ranging from early writers like Saint Paul and Saint Augustine, to Saint Teresa of Avila and Blaise Pascal, to more recent apologists such as C. S. Lewis, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Richard Swinburne and Pope Benedict XVI.
Insightful introductions, black-and-white images, concise section headings and discussion questions will guide you toward a clearer understanding of classical defenses of Christianity. Sources are organized thematically and include topics such as:
- Arguments for the existence of God.
- Defenses of the doctrine of the Trinity.
- Discussions on the authority and credibility of canonized Scripture.
- Questions regarding the problem of evil and free will.
- Discourses on Christianity and science.
Annotated reading lists, a bibliography, and author and subject indices make this anthology a useful textbook or supplemental reader.
From the brand
About the Author
Khaldoun A. Sweis (PhD, University of Hull; MA, Trinity International University) teaches philosophy with the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education in the UK and is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois. His publications include Think : A Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, and Debating Christian Theism (Oxford University Press), with J. P. Moreland and Chad Meister.
Chad V. Meister (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of philosophy and theology at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. He is the author and editor of multiple books and articles including: God Is Great, God Is Good (winner of the Christianity Today Book of the Year); Building Belief; Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed; and Debating Christian Theism (with J. P. Moreland and Khaldoun Sweis). Meister is also editor of the Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, book review editor for Philosophia Christi, and General Editor (with Paul Moser) of the series Cambridge Studies in Religion, Philosophy and Society.
- Publisher : Zondervan Academic; Illustrated edition (July 28, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 560 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0310325331
- ISBN-13 : 978-0310325338
- Item Weight : 2 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.5 x 1.7 x 9.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #214,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There are 54 selections divided into 11 parts. Christian Apologetics begins with some methodological considerations in part 1, then moves right into various arguments for the existence of God-cosmological, teleological, ontological, moral, the argument from religious experience, and so on. From there the book narrows to more specific topics like the Trinity, the incarnation, miracles, the resurrection, the problem of evil, and more.
Christian Apologetics claims to be "a sampling of some of the best works written by Christian apologists throughout the centuries," offering "a snapshot of Christian apologetics at its best across the spectrum of time and culture."
The essays in this volume certainly are some of the best in apologetics. There is Paul at the Areopagus in Acts 17, Aquinas on the cosmological argument for God's existence, Anselm and Plantinga with the ontological argument for God, Pascal's wager, Teresa of Avila on experiencing God, Anselm on the incarnation, Swinburne on miracles, John Hick's "Soul Making Theodicy," Augustine on free will, and Marilyn McCord Adams on horrendous evil and the goodness of God. Each of these essays is a classic and makes a valuable contribution to the area of apologetics.
The book spans "the spectrum of time" fairly well, with a higher concentration of 20th century writers. Just a couple of the contributors are women, and the overwhelming majority hail from Western contexts-this latter an admission of the book, but a weakness all the same.
A particularly pleasant surprise to me was the inclusion of an an article by R.T. France, in which he makes the case for the historical reliability of the Gospels, which must, he argues, be understood in their proper literary context as "highly selective" records of Jesus' life with "only a loose chronological framework." This is not due to deficiency of the Gospels; rather, it is how the Gospel writers intended to write:
"The four canonical gospels will not answer all the questions we would like to ask about the founder of Christianity; but, sensitively interpreted, they do give us a rounded portrait of a Jesus who is sufficiently integrated into what we know of first-century Jewish culture to carry historical conviction, but at the same time sufficiently remarkable and distinctive to account for the growth of a new and potentially world-wide religious movement out of his life and teaching."
As I read I appreciated a statement in the book's general introduction:
"But arguments and evidences do not of themselves bring someone into new life in Christ. Here the work of the Holy Spirit is central, and we must be willing to surrender to his leading and his truth and his goodness if we are to truly dwell with the Lord."
I had hoped to hear more in this book about the role of the Holy Spirit in apologetics. There is a short (one paragraph) treatment by James K. Beilby in chapter 3 that asks, "What is the role of the Holy Spirit in apologetics?" He rightly (in my view) sees it as "not a zero-sum game." The apologist should be "significantly involved" yet "still hold that the Holy Spirit will determine the effectiveness of our efforts."
Though the Holy Spirit receives treatment in the section on the Trinity (by Origen, Aquinas, the Creeds, and Thomas V. Morris) and on the Bible (Calvin and canonization), there is never more than Beilby's paragraph treatment about the role of the Holy Spirit in the project of apologetics. Cogent though Beilby is, I would think "a snapshot of Christian apologetics at its best" should make more mention of something like the Wesleyan view of prevenient grace or even the notion that the Holy Spirit witnesses to a person's heart before an apologist does. Only the former can enable the latter. Christian Apologetics is not without the exploration of other methodological considerations; I just would have liked to have seen more of this one.
Several other possible areas for improvement in a future edition could be more on faith and reason and how the two interrelate, as well as arguments for the existence of God that take into account and respond to the varous assertions made by the "new atheism" (anemic though it is).
All in all, though, this is a strong work, and I'm happy for it to sit alongside my old college text, Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. Zondervan's Christian Apologetics is a worthy, if basic, reference guide. I expect it will serve apologists well.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy, which I was given for the purposes of review, though without any expectations as to the nature of my review.
In reading "Christian Apologetics" I understand its' significance in spreading the gospel. Chapter three explained the "Varieties of Apologetics" which gave me a better appreciation of the different Denominations as well as better understanding as to how false doctrines could develop. As a small group leader in my church this book has given me greater insight into the various faith doctrines.
If you have never read a book such as "Christian Apologetics" there might be some reluctance. However, the information presented is easy to understand and will not be overwhelming. It is divided into functional parts with chapter subdivisions which allow an individual to leisurely read.
The Parts are as follows: History, Methodology, and Engagement; The Existence of God; The Trinity; The Incarnation; The Bible; Miracles; The Resurrection of Jesus; Body Soul, and the Argument from Mind; The Problem of Evil; Christianity and Science; and Christianity and the World. Each of these categories contains information believers need to know.
I recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy ebook from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.
Top reviews from other countries
"The Christian message and doctrines", wrote the editors, "articulated and defended in this volume are not ones that a person need affirm by blind faith. Indeed, evidences for them have been honed, refined, and forged on the anvils of logic, reason, and history."(p.16)
Part 1 of Christian Apologetics focused on history, methodology and engagement of Christian's apologia. St. Paul defense in Acts 17 opened Chapter 1. While John Warwick Montgomery provided a short history of apologetics, exploring apologetics in the Bible, patristic apologetics, medieval defense of the faith, renaissance and reformation, 17th century apologetics, the great divide and its apologetic aftermath, and apologetics today in Chapter 2.
James Beilby, in Chapter 3, expounds Varieties of Apologetics. Interreligious Apologetics by Herold Netland, in Chapter 4, contends that, "Christian apologetics in the days ahead must contend with not only the critiques of atheists and radical secularists but also the sophisticated challenges from intellectuals in other religions"(p. 40). Netland gave brilliant guidelines to help Christian's apologist to engage other religious worldviews with respect and graciousness showing why one should "become or remain a follower of Jesus Christ"(p. 45).
Norman L. Geisler, in Chapter 5, contended for the knowability of history. He opened his essay maintaining that "[u]nlike some religions, historical Christianity is inseparably tied to historical events [...]"(p.46). Geisler answered objections to the objectivity of history, the epistemological, methodological, and metaphysical objections. He also gave a response to historical relativism and provided some general remarks concerning the objectivity of history.
Alvin Plantinga dove in with advice to Christian philosophers in chapter 6. He advised Christian thinkers to display a more independence from the rest of the intellectuals, display more integrity and display more their trust in God.
Part 2 presented an array of arguments for the existence of God. Thomas Aquinas set forth the classical cosmological argument, in Chapter 7. Aquinas contended that the existence of God can be proved in five ways. The argument from motion, the nature of the efficient cause, possibility and necessity, the gradation to be found in things and the governance of the world (which is variety of teleological argument).
William Lane Craig, in chapter 8, robustly presented the Kalam cosmological argument, which if sound, provides an uncaused, eternal, changeless, timeless and immaterial cause of the existence of the universe. Craig goes further to contend that this cause must be personal since "If the cause were simply a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions existing from eternity, then why would not the effect also exist from eternity?"(p. 93)
The Argument from Sufficient Reason, chapter 9, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz contended that there must be a sufficient reason to why anything exists. He argued "no fact can be real or existent, no statement true, unless there be a sufficient reason why it is so and not otherwise". Leibniz reasoned that, "God alone (or the necessary Being) has this prerogative that He must necessarily exist, if He is possible"(p.95)
Chapter 10, William Paley presented the classical design argument and Michael J. Behe, in chapter 11, mounted evidence for Intelligent Design from biochemistry. Robin Collins contributed one of the most powerful design arguments I ever came across in his essay; A Recent Fine-Tuning Design Argument in chapter 12.
Anslem of Canterbury, in chapter 13, contributed the classical ontological argument. In "A Recent Modal Ontological Argument", Alvin Plantinga presented a breath taking responses to the objections offered by Gaunilo and Kant, in chapter 14, as he resurrected this powerful argument.
A Transcendental argument made its way in chapter 15, as the transcript of debate between Greg Bahnsen and Gordon Stein showed the power of presuppositional apologetics when correctly used. Bahnsen presupposed God's existence and contended from that perspective to show the validity of Christian theism and the flaws of atheism.
The Wager, Blaise Pascal's contribution found its place in chapter 16.
C. S. Lewis' God and the Moral and Paul Copan's the Moral argument, chapter 17 and 18 vigorously set forth the power of the moral argument.
Teresa of Avila's Experiencing God, William Alston's On Perceiving God, in chapter 19 and 20 presented arguments from Religious experience closed part 2 of these awesome and powerful collections of Christians defense.
Trinity is defended in part 3 by Origen, Nicene bishops, Aquinas, Richard of St. Victor, and Thomas V. Morris. Part 4, poured out the defense of the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandria, Anselm and Morris.
Augustine's On the Canon, John Calvin's The Authority and Credibility of Scripture, R. T. France's The Gospels as Historical Sources for Jesus and Eugene Carpenter's Archaeology and the Old Testament marked part 5: The Bible of Christian Apologetics.
John Locke, Geisler, and Richard Swinburne defended Miracles in part 6, while Aquinas, John Warwick Montgomery, Gary R. Habermas and William Lane Craig defended the resurrection of Jesus in part 7.
Part 8: Body, Soul and the argument from Mind collected Aquinas, Rene Descartes and J. P. Moreland robust essays.
Part 9 focused of the problem of evil with "Evil and Free Will" by Augustine, "A Free Will Defense" by Alvin Plantinga, a case that put to rest the logical problem of evil, "A Soul Making Theodicy" by John Hick, "Evil, Suffering, and Calvary" by Peter Kreeft and "Horrendous Evil" by Marilyn McCord Adams.
John Polkinghorne's God and Physics, Del Ratzsch's Design and Science and Kurt Wise's The Origins of Life's Major Groups, essays marked Christianity and Science in part 10.
Part 11: Christianity and the World offered the Epistle to Diognetus, "The City of God" by Augustine, "A Christian Manifesto" by Francis A. Schaeffer and "Christianity Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict XVI superb works contending for Christians relation to the world.
In the introduction, Meister and Sweis openly admitted that "arguments and evidences do not of themselves bring someone into new life in Christ"(p. 16). The role of the Holy Spirit is central and "we must be willing to surrender to his leading and his truth and his goodness if we are to truly dwell with the Lord"(ibid).
I highly recommend this book to every Christian and non-Christians who are passionately exploring the reasons for believing in Christian God. This primary sources collection of Christian's apologias in one volume will remove obstacles hindering faith in Christ and indeed bolster faith in those who already believe.
If you are an apologist, this is a must have apologetics book. I could not help myself but buy my own hardcover copy after reviewing a free 55 days electronic review version offered by Zondervan through netgalley.com.
Prayson Daniel, Blogger of philosophy, apologetics and theology blog: [...]