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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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Top customer reviews
Here are some of the problems I find with this very expensive book.
1. The choices that are made here to represent Christian apologetics are grossly misleading, and even Liberal. A number of the scholars represented in this book are arguably not even Christian in the Protestant or Orthodox sense. The choices made are even worse when you consider Edgar and Oliphint are supposed to be reformed. I don't believe Bellarmine, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, von Balthasar, Westphal, or Marion actually believe or defend the Biblical Gospel. They may be important in some perverse way to understand the modern history of apologetics, but they are certainly not defenders of the true Gospel. This is not a small matter, but a very serious matter. Read 2 Peter and Jude! This book actually promotes heresy, Roman Catholic idolatry, Neo-Orthodoxy, antinomianism, and Liberal theology by its choice of readings. How stupid and ungodly is that! This is a source book for Liberal-minded academics who do not preach or defend the Biblical Gospel as the Lord Jesus Christ commands. To include such Liberals and Roman Catholics in a sourcebook of Christian apologetics is to deny the principles of the Reformation.
2. There are also many instances in which these editors make very poor choices of the readings in dealing with the Evangelical and Reformed authors that have an important place in the history of apologetics. For example, why include just a part of Luther's treatise on Christian Liberty??? Are they not familiar with Luther's real apologetical works, like those condemning Roman Catholicism, i.e. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, or his treatise against the Jews and Judaism, or his sermons against atheism, Mohammedanism, or the Anabaptists. I could say the same for the strange inclusion of the already well known portion of Calvin's Institutes, or John Owen's Dissertation on Divine Justice, and all the others that are cut and pasted from a larger work...This is just intolerably annoying. These men seem to be completely unfamiliar with the apologetic treatises of the Reformation and the Puritan era.
Also, any real student of apologetics would already own Luther's Three Treatises, Owen's works, Calvin's Institutes, Edward's Works, Pascal's Pensees, Butler's Analogy, Paley's Evidences and Natural Theology, Orr's Christian View, Machen's Christianity and Liberalism, Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism, Van Til's Defense of the Faith, and much more that is not included in this source book.
I find this source book to be a big waste of time and money, as well as a gross misrepresentation of the history of modern Christian apologetics. It is a commercial deceit. The book should include 16th-20th century apologetic refutations of Atheism, Islam, Judaism, Socinianism, Roman Catholicism, Neo-Orthodoxy, Evolutionary paganism (like Charles Hodge's book "What is Darwinism?), the modern New Age movement, Broad Evangelicalism and their theology of cheap grace, the evils of Pentecostalism, and the demonic influence of modern Liberalism in America today and the Democratic party. The focus of the book is almost entirely philosophical theology and apologetics. There is an ungodly capitulation to the myth of natural theology and a compromise with Liberal theology that runs through this book.
When I think of all the ungodly and antichristian movements in modern history from the Reformation to the present, and all the destructive influences of idolatry, false religion, cults, modern ideologies, and the apostasy of the church today, I find this book to be utterly superficial, devoid of real godly discernment, and totally misguided in its purpose as a sourcebook of modern Christian Apologetics.
5. My last point. These men (though I am sure they are good men) seem to me to be seriously devoid of Biblical discernment as to the real issues of apologetics in the modern world. It seems Reformed seminaries today like to flatter the heretics and Liberals more than ever. Edgar and Oliphint should not have wasted their time on publishing an Anthology as this, but instead should have written an extensive documented and thoroughly reformed work on the history of Christian Apologetics.
Also, it is very clear to me that Edgar and Oliphint don't know much about the apologetics of the Reformation, or the Puritan era, or the 18th and 19th century. How did Bellarmine get into the book, and not Zwingli, Bullinger, Tyndale, Mornay, Ames, Charnock, Baxter, Voetius, Turretin, John Edwards (not to be confused with Jonathan Edwards) or a hundred other defenders of the faith? How did Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard make it in this book, and not John Gill, Timothy Dwight, Uzal Ogden, Robert Haldane, Thomas Chalmers, CH Spurgeon, Philip Schaff, Archibald Alexander, or Charles Hodge??? How did CS Lewis get in this book, and not AT Pierson, RA Torrey, AW Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Louis Berkhof or John Murray? It is especially abominable and wicked that CS Lewis is in the book and not Martyn Lloyd-Jones. CS Lewis was a heretic, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the greatest preacher and defender of the faith in 20th century war time England. There is a perverse and unScriptural view of apologetics that has invaded reformed seminaries!
May God grant them repentance and get them back to preaching and defending the true Gospel against all forms of idolatry and false religion in the modern world.
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.