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Christian Apologetics

Because Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and do good to people who treat us badly, many assume Christianity is a passive religion. Even a lot of Christians think this. They try to be tolerant, avoiding hot topics like hell and sin, especially specific sins. The consequent disappearance of conviction and valuable instruction, ironically, becomes in itself offensive; Christianity is reduced to sweet smiles and vapid stares.

Apologetics isn't the art of asking forgiveness. Instead, an apology (from the Greek apologia) of the Christian faith is the exact opposite of saying "I'm sorry." An apology is the active defense of an idea or belief. It is not a simple guard against attack. Paul said, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-5). This is not passive resistance. It is conscious warfare against every philosophy, religion and idea opposed to the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul didn't wait for attacks on the Gospel to explain his faith in the triune God, he actively tore down opposing arguments with the truth of the Bible.

The Christian philosopher and apologist Gordon Clark identified three main approaches to apologetics. Rationalists, he said, try to prove the existence of God and the truth of Christianity using reason. They formulate elaborate arguments and appeal to the reasonable nature of Biblical truth, trying to convince people to become Christians. Empiricists (evidentialists) try to prove Christianity by accumulating evidence in its favor. Those who use the Turin shroud to prove Jesus' death and burial are empiricists. Presuppositionalists (or dogmatists) make up the third group. They accept the truth of the Bible prior to the apologetic endeavor. The Bible, they say, is its own best defense.

Contrary to a popular stereotype, a dogmatist is not someone whose mind cannot be changed about anything, no matter how unreasonable or false their beliefs may be. Dogmatism (also called presuppositional apologetics) is built on the presupposition that the Bible is the word of God, and that it provides the only viable defense of the Christian faith. Presuppositionalists don't reject reason or evidence, but they don't use either to defend the faith: instead, they presuppose the existence of the triune Christian God and that He has revealed Himself in Scripture, and defend such belief on the authority of the Bible itself.

While material evidence and reason can be useful, they can by no means be the final standards. Humans will always manipulate physical and intellectual arguments to mean whatever they want them to mean. Only the Bible, preserved by the Holy Spirit for God's people, can consistently resist such misuse. Peter says it is the duty of every Christian to be ready to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15), and we believe the books here and in our worldview section are helpful in preparing such a defense.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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154 Items found Print
"But Don't All Religions Lead to God?"
by Michael Green
from Baker Books
for 7th-Adult
in Evangelism & Missions (Location: C04-01A)
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Always Ready
by Greg Bahnsen
from Covenant Media Foundation
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Angry at God?
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Answers for Difficult Days
by David Quine
from Cornerstone Curriculum
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Apologetics
by John Frame
2nd edition from P&R Publishing
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Apologetics in Evangelism - CD
by Doug Wilson
from Canon Press
in Canon Audio (Location: C01-01B)
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Art of Apologetics
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from Communicators for Christ
for 9th-12th grade
in Speech & Debate (Location: APO-03B)
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Assurance of Our Salvation
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Assured by God
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Assured by God
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for 10th-Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: C08-02E)
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Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics
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for 10th-Adult
in Beginning Christian Apologetics (Location: C04-03C)
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Basic Christianity
by John Stott
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in Beginning Christian Apologetics (Location: C04-03C)
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Battle Belongs to the Lord
by K. Scott Oliphint
from P&R Publishing
for 10th-Adult
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Beyond Belief to Convictions
by Bob Hostetler, David H. Bellis, Josh D. McDowell
from Tyndale House
for 9th-Adult
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Bible Has the Answer
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from Master Books
for Adult
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Biblical Criticism on Trial
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in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: C08-02E)
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Big Argument: Does God Exist?
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By What Standard?
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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C. S. Lewis: The Signature Classics Audio Collection
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from HarperAudio
for 10th-Adult
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Case for a Creator
by Lee Strobel
from Zondervan
for 10th-Adult
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Case for a Creator
by Lee Strobel
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for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: C08-02E)
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Case for a Creator - Student Edition
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in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel
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Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel
N edition stated from HarperCollins
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Case For Faith
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from HarperCollins
for 11th-Adult
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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Castles in the Sand
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for 10th-Adult
in Occult & New Age (Location: C07-01F)
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from InterVarsity Press
for 10th-Adult
in Jesus Christ (Location: C05-01C)
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in Philosophy (Location: C08-01B)
Christian Apologetics
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Christian Manifesto
by Francis Schaffer
from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Christian Manifesto
by Francis A. Schaeffer
Revised from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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for 11th-Adult
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Christianity and Liberalism
by J. Gresham Machen
from Eerdmans
Religion/Philosophy for 11th-Adult
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Cold-Case Christianity
by J. Warner Wallace
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for 8th-Adult
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Common Sense 101
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from Ignatius Press
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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Consequences of Ideas
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for 11th-Adult
in Worldview Resources (Location: C04-03B)
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Courage to Stand
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from P&R Publishing
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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from Crossway Books
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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3rd edition from P&R Publishing
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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from P&R Publishing
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in Canon Audio (Location: C01-01B)
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in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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End of Reason
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from Zondervan
for Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: C08-02E)
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from Broadman & Holman
for Adult
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Every Thought Captive
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from P&R Publishing
for 9th-Adult
in Presuppositional Apologetics (Location: C04-03D)
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Evidence for Jesus
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for 10th-Adult
in Evidential Apologetics (Location: C04-03E)
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