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Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics Paperback – November 1, 1988

4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, is one of the most widely read Christian authors of our time. His many bestselling books cover a vast array of topics in spirituality, theology, and philosophy. They include Practical Theology, Back to Virtue, Because God Is Real, You Can Understand the Bible, Angels and Demons, Heaven: The Heart's Deepest Longing, and A Summa of the Summa.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First edition (November 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089870202X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898702026
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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"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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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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By A Customer on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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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.
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