Off the Shelf: Apologetics for the 21st Century

Books new and old that have caught my eye.

Apologetics for the 21st Century

By Louis Markos

Meet acclaimed apologists who’ve equipped countless believers to stand firm against skeptics! Tracing the development of modern Christian apologetics, Markos surveys the work of C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and others to help you meet the challenges of defending your faith in our postmodern world. Includes a bibliography, timeline, and glossary.

I asked Dr. Markos to provide some insight about what’s he’s up to with this book. Here’s what he said:

In Apologetics for the Twenty First Century, I survey the work of the finest popular apologists of the last century who have successfully demonstrated not only that Christianity “makes sense” but that it has the power to explain the nature of God, man, and the universe. The book begins with a six-chapter survey of C. S. Lewis’s major apologetical works and arguments (the existence of a universal moral code points to the existence of a transcendent God; Jesus must have been either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord; miracles do not break but suspend the Laws of Nature; the existence of pain and of hell are consistent with an all-loving, all-powerful God) and then follows with chapters on G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man, Dorothy Sayers’ The Mind of the Maker, Francis Schaeffer’s Apologetics Trilogy, and Josh McDowell’s More than a Carpenter.

In the second half of the book, the focus shifts from specific apologists to general apologetical themes and arguments. Chapters 13-15 offer various arguments for the existence of God from the perspectives of logic, science, and the problem of pain, while 16-18 take up the reliability of the scriptural record, the historicity of the gospels, and the historical truth of the Resurrection. Chapters 19-24 zero in on some of the recent developments in apologetics. Specifically, they contrast Christianity with other world religions and argue for the exclusivity of the gospel; expose both the errors and dangers of the growing interest in the Gnostic gospels; survey new approaches that apologists have taken to reach postmoderns who yearn for spirituality but are suspicious of “institutional” religion; marshal the arguments that the Intelligent Design movement has leveled against Darwinism; rebut the critiques of the new atheists; and explore the causes that led to the conversion to deism of Antony Flew.

Though there are many apologetical books on the market these days, I felt a strong need to write one built around a number of unique qualities that would make it both comprehensive and detailed, both theoretical and practical, both challenging and accessible. Accordingly, Apologetics for the 21st Century 1) uses short chapters (3000-3500 words each) that can be discussed in a class or Bible study; 2) is written in a narrative, notes-free “man of letters” style; 3) combines a survey of major apologetical arguments with a sense of how apologetics has developed over the last century; 4) engages both modernism and postmodernism; 5) offers a dual focus on C. S. Lewis and on all the great work that has been done in his wake; 6) includes an extensive, heavily annotated bibliography, together with a timeline, a who’s who of apologists, and a glossary of common terms; 7) is non-denominational in focus; and 8) is as practical in its application as Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict while being as literate and whimsically written as the works of Lewis, Chesterton, and Sayers.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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