Apologetics for the Twenty-first Century
Publisher (Date): Crossway (2010)
Length: 272 pages
Apologetics for the Twenty-first Century is required reading for one of my classes in the Master of Arts in Apologetics I am starting this fall at Houston Baptist University, so I figured I would get an early start on the extensive book list.
I started with this book because it provides an overview of basically all of the important apologetics development since GK Chesterton. A majority of the book is dedicated to CS Lewis understandably, but you also get exposure to Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell, and many more.
For many of the more recent arguments, the chapters are more of a synthesis. For example, in responding to postmodernism, Dr. Markos does not just dedicate an entire chapter to one apologist as he did earlier for Josh McDowell. It is more of a compilation of the prevailing thoughts on this topic in the market right now from several apologists.
I think that is the main value of this book right off the bat. I might not have time to sit down and read every book written by each of these authors, but I certainly had enough time to read the excellent summaries provided in this compilation.
Beyond that, you don’t just become entrenched in one school of thought. You get the evidentialist McDowell right beside the presuppositionalist Schaeffer. Personally, I have not done a lot of reading in presuppositional apologetics, and if you look at my reading list, I have largely been reading in evidential fields. It gave me exposure to some different approaches, and even though I still think that I would not be the best presuppositionalist, I certainly have much more understanding of this approach and the value that it has (which I think is actually quite a bit).
Another useful feature I would like to point out about this book is that it provides you with a jumping off point. For example, if someone had a question for me about intelligent design and I didn’t know much about that topic, I had read this summary chapter, and it would provide me with names like Michael Behe and Phillip E Johnson that I could then follow up with and then learn more from. I would certainly use this book as almost like a Yellow Pages of Christian apologetics. You can open to the appropriate section, find an “advertisement” that tells you a little bit about the person at hand, and you can go from that to the primary source. Since apologetics is such a large field, this is an extraordinarily valuable characteristic of this book.
Overall, I would recommend this book without hesitation. I know that when I began reading apologetics, I began where most people do. I kind of stabbed around at a variety of books, and while they were all valuable, it might have been a little bit more helpful if I would have had this kind of resource to channel me toward the topics of my interests.