Apologetics is concerned with demonstrating the reasonableness of Christianity’s truth claims, and answering objections to them. With over 230 articles on the topic, this website is obviously quite heavily involved with Christian apologetics. And there is a lot of helpful material out there to help us in this task. An increasing array of new worthwhile volumes are coming forth which can be of real assistance to the believer, and may even be worth reading by non-believers.
Here I provide brief assessments of ten new books dealing with apologetics, philosophy of religion, the new atheism, and related concerns. After that, I look at five books which have just appeared (or are about to) which I have just ordered. Knowing the authors of these books gives me full confidence that these five volumes will be very important indeed. So happy reading – and thinking.
Ten new apologetics titles (All these volumes are, or can be made, available in Australia at Koorong Books)
Copan, Paul, Loving Wisdom. Chalice Press, 2007.
This is an introductory text on the philosophy of religion, obviously penned from a Christian perspective. All the usual important topics are carefully addressed: the nature and attributes of God; arguments for God’s existence; the problems of evil and hell; science and miracles; religious pluralism; the uniqueness of Jesus; and so on. Copan is a rising star in Christian philosophy, and this is a very good volume indeed.
Copan, Paul, When God Goes to Starbucks. Baker, 2008.
Copan has written a number of important intermediate-level works on apologetics (and some advanced ones as well), and this volume offers more helpful and practical material. He looks at a number of mistaken ideas concerning worldviews, truth, reality, morality, miracles, contentious ethical issues, hotly debated biblical topics, and so on. Brief but meaty chapters cover many of these heated discussions found in contemporary society.
Cowan, Steven and James Spiegel, The Love of Wisdom. B&H Academic, 2009.
Those who are interested in a general introduction to philosophy, but from a Christian perspective, will find this book very useful indeed. While some other earlier books along these lines have appeared, this may be one of the better ones. It is neither too light-weight nor overly heavyweight. All the basic discussions found in an introductory philosophy text book are covered here, with various positions presented along with weakness and strengths of each. A very valuable volume.
Dembski, William and Jonathan Wells, How to Be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (or not). ISI Books, 2008.
This is really a book about Intelligent Design and the question of the origin of life. In brief, informative chapters the authors cover the many reasons why naturalistic evolution simply cannot properly explain life’s origins, and how there are many quite substantial reasons for accepting an intelligent origin of life. There is plenty of solid science here, along with good philosophical reasoning, but all expressed in an easy-to-understand manner. Even though just 130 pages, it is a quite helpful book.
Geisler, Norman and Patrick Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus. Baker, 2009.
People may not consider Jesus to be an apologist, but in this brief (200-page) volume, the authors demonstrate how Jesus in fact used a number of apologetic methods and strategies in his teachings and practices. They show how this took place in his parables, discourses, prophecies, use of reason and his use of miracles.
Hasker, William, The Triumph of God over Evil. IVP, 2008.
The problem of evil and suffering presents Christians with a difficult challenge. Although just 225 pages, Hasker responds to a number of recent philosophical and theological discussions concerning theodicy, and weighs up the various options. Thus discussions about middle knowledge, divine omniscience, best possible worlds, and other considerations are included as well as examinations of the biblical data. Hasker himself advocates an open-theism point of view in addressing this issue.
Leithart, Peter, Solomon among the Postmoderns. BrazosPress, 2008.
A number of earlier Christian responses to postmodernism have been quite helpful. But this new volume presents a new slant to the discussion, with Solomon and his wisdom held up as a sparring partner to the concepts of postmodernism. He examines a number of issues, and demonstrates that while there might be some helpful insights associated with the movement, it too must stand under the critical eye of the biblical worldview. A well-written and helpful work of interaction and assessment.
Lennox, John, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Lion, 2009.
This book actually first came out in 2007, but this new expanded edition has just appeared. The main addition seems to be a new concluding chapter on David Hume. This is an excellent book written by an Oxford Professor of Mathematics. He takes on all the heavyweight challengers, including Dawkins and Dennett, as he offers detailed discussions on science, evolution, naturalism, information theory, scientism, and related topics. A first-class work.
Moreland, J.P., The God Question. Harvest House, 2009.
In this popular level book Christian apologist J.P. Moreland combines rigorous thinking with practical reflection and personal direction. He looks at the big question of the existence of God; presents the attractiveness of the person of Jesus; offers some helpful reflections on living the moral life; and includes some personal testimony about his own journey. A helpful look at 21st century discipleship.
Sire, James and Carl Peraino, Deepest Differences: A Christian-Atheist Dialogue. IVP, 2009.
This volume is a collection of numerous emails sent back and forth between a committed and intelligent Christian (Sire) and a dead-set atheist academic (Peraino). Most of the usual topics are covered: the existence of God, morality; science and evolution; the meaning of persons; truth and reason; and so on. By the end of the book neither side seems to have budged, but the reader is presented with a helpful and informative dialogue between two thinkers with strongly opposing worldviews.
Five Forthcoming titles
Copan, Paul, Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors. B&H Academic, 2009.
In this 300-page book are 18 essays written by leading biblical scholars and Christian apologists, examining the various claims of the new atheists and related themes. Chapters on naturalism, evolution, Dawkins, morality, the resurrection, hell, and other topics are included.
Craig, William Lane and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
Some of the best writers on the topic of natural theology and Christian apologetics are featured in this 700-page work. A dozen articles examine and defend the various arguments for God’s existence, such as the ontological, teleological, cosmological, and moral. Also, arguments from reason, consciousness, evil, religious experience and miracles are examined. The latest thinking on these key arguments are here most capably presented. (Warning: expensive!)
Dembski, William, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. B&H Academic, 2009.
Bill Dembski is a leading figure in the Intelligent Design movement, but he is also a keen Christian apologist. Here he tackles one of the really tough issues: theodicy. How can we defend the concept of God in the face of so much suffering and evil? With hearty recommendations from Montgomery, Geisler, Moreland and McDowell, this looks to be a very valuable contribution to the discussion.
Dembski, William, ed., Tough-Minded Christianity: Legacy of John Warwick Montgomery. B&H Academic, 2009.
John Warwick Montgomery has been one of the premier Christian apologists of the last fifty years. Here a group of experts pay tribute to the man and his work with a number of essays on a wide range of theological and apologetics topics. Around fifty essays written by leading theologians, apologists and philosophers are included in this 800-page work.
Moreland, J. P., The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism. SCM Press, 2009.
Naturalism is the belief that nature is all there is. All atheists and most evolutionists subscribe to this belief. Yet to do so has devastating consequences for our understanding of personhood and what it is to be human. Here a noted Christian philosopher offers a thorough rebuttal of naturalism.