The apostle Peter makes it plain that every Christian is to defend the faith: "But even if you suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:14-16).
Such a defense can be difficult, especially if our accusers (or those we're trying to evangelize) happen to be highly intelligent or well-versed in philosophy. Richard Pratt makes it clear in Every Thought Captive that, while having a knowledge of philosophy can help, the only thing you really need to know is the Word of God and your Christian presuppositions.
As an apologetic method (apologetics simply being the defense of Christianity), Cornelius Van Til developed presuppositionalism in the early part of the 20th century. A presupposition is a belief we hold on which we base other beliefs. For Christians, the chief of all presuppositions is that God exists, that He can be known, and that He has revealed Himself in the Bible. This is our starting point for every other belief we hold.
What a lot of Christians don't understand, and what a lot of non-Christians deny, is that non-Christians have presuppositions that are just as fundamental to their views as Christian presuppositions are to ours. One of the main non-Christian presuppositions is that the only way to obtain true knowledge is through observation of the external world. It is the most basic goal of Christian apologetics to demonstrate that this is a groundless foundation, and to offer in its place the foundation of belief in Christ and His Word.
Pratt shows us how to do this, and much more, in language that any Christian can understand. Van Til is notorious for being hard to unerstand, but Pratt distills his apologetic method into a basic format that laypeople of all ages can deal with and put into practice: this isn't just theory, it's extremely practical. Originally intended for high school students, Every Thought Captive is a fantastic book for Sunday school, small groups, and individuals to equip themselves to defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
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.
Table of Contents:
- A Firm Foundation
- Where It All Began
- The Character of Man before Sin
- The Character of Man in Sin
- The Character of Man Redeemed by Christ
- The Non-Christian Point of View
- The Christian Point of View
- Attitudes and Actions
- Popular Tactics
- Structure ofa Biblical Defense
- Defending the Faith (1)
- Defending the Faith (2)
- Defending the Faith (3)
- An Apologetic Parable
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and 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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