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Christian Apologetics Past and Present (Volume 2, From 1500): A Primary Source Reader Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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“The texts here assembled are ‘classics’—not in the sense that they answer all legitimate questions about Christianity, but that, when they were written, they made their readers think hard about the faith, and that they continue to do so today. This is a most worthy collection.”
—Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame; editor, Protestantism after 500 Years
“Understanding apologetics as explicating, affirming, and vindicating Christianity in the face of uncertainty and skepticism, Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best primary sources to introduce us to this ongoing task. Their work fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of the prominent defenders of our faith.”
—J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College
“This series on the classical traditions of Christian apologetics is, to my knowledge, unmatched in basic compendia. It will equip and encourage thoughtful Christians to develop equally compelling defenses of the faith in our post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic, post-Postmodern era where global interdependencies plunge many into new varieties of suspicion, contempt, and hostility that demand reasonable and faith-filled encounter, dialogue, and debate.”
—Max L. Stackhouse, De Vries Professor of Theology and Public Life Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary
“In an age of historical amnesia such as ours, nothing could be more helpful than to know how the church, in its long march through time, has addressed the opponents of Christian faith. This collection is superbly done and will bring much needed wisdom to our own times.”
—David F. Wells, distinguished senior research professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World
“Bill Edgar, one of evangelicalism’s most valued scholars and apologists, has given us in this work with Scott Oliphint; a classic destined to be used for generations. I highly recommend it to all who are called to defend the faith.”
—Charles Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“For years I have wanted a collection of primary sources in apologetics to use in my classes. Now we have an excellent one. Editors Edgar and Oliphint have made good choices in the selections used. A number of them are fascinating pieces rarely considered today, but very timely.”
—John M. Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
About the Author
William Edgar (DTheol, University of Geneva) is professor of apologetics and John Boyer Chair of Evangelism and Culture at Westminster Theological Seminary. William lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Barbara. They have two children and three grandchildren.
K. Scott Oliphint (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and has written numerous scholarly articles and books, including God With Us. He is also the co-editor of the two-volume Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader and Revelation and Reason: New Essays in Reformed Apologetics.
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Some of what is covered: The teleological argument (William Paley), the cosmological argument (William Lane Craig), Human Freedom (Martin Luther), Human Nature (C.S. Lewis), Human Reason (Blaise Pascal) and many others.
The genius of this collection is that it locates the most influential writing of the greatest minds past and present and puts them all in one volume for us to pour over and begin to truly understand. If you are like me, you want to have access to these powerful truths, but do not have the time to pour through the massive complete works to find the best portions. Edgar and Oliphint have answered our prayers and done the most difficult work for us. Now all we must do is read and reread these passages, make them our own and dare to share them with anyone we might engage in serious dialogue. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.
The editors have put together brief biographies of those writers they are highlighting and then give us either an article they have written or a chapter out of one of their famous works. The intent of the this work is to help every Christian learn more about those writers / theologians who have shaped our thinking in regards to Christianity.
This second volume is over 700 pages, so it is not a quick read, but it is an extensively researched and produced volume that will help everyone who works through it to learn more about the Early Church Fathers up to an including our most modern day thinkers.
Since it is a collection of writings you can pick and choose how you will read through the work. You can first read about your favorites or read about Apologists you have heard about but have never read. So, pick and choose the ones you want to start with, but don't ignore those you don't know, you will be encouraged by all of the depth of knowledge and wisdom these thinkers share with us.
Finally, it is hoped that as you become familiar with these scholars that you will want to read other works that they have penned or the full work from which the articles in this work are taken from.
What a valuable tool.