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Christian Apologetics Paperback – 1 Mar 1988

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (1 Mar. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801038227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038228
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,160,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Norman L. Geisler (Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago) has taught at top evangelical schools for over fifty years and is distinguished professor of apologetics and theology at Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California. He is the author of more than seventy books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.


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There are various approaches or methods to the question of God, some positive and some negative. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
For someone starting to read apologetics, this book of Geisler is a very comprehensive and useful book. It deals with all sorts of world views, making the claim for theism, and finally defending the case for christian theism, including the reliability of the scriptures and defending the deity of Christ.
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Format: Paperback
Geisler gives a foundationalist defense of Christianity: he tries to construct a rational chain of argumentation starting from the Cartesian notion of indubitability all the way to the main doctrines of the Christian faith. Some of the arguments are not bad, but the foundationalist approach practically begs the reader to pick holes in the long chain of reasoning, and in fact it is not hard to find such holes. Even more importantly, foundationalism in general has serious defects, which the reader can find discussed in any Anglo-American textbook on contemporary epistemology. In my opinion, the entire project of giving a rationalist, foundationalist defense of Christianity is misguided; it is not demanded by most Christian theologies or by Scripture and is based on an overly optimistic view of what reason alone can accomplish.
Nevertheless, it is valuable to have such a book around, to demonstrate concretely just how far one can get with such an approach, and to see what its limitations are. Given what he is trying to accomplish, Geisler does a creditable job (though I think Richard Swinburne's books are much better). After reading this book I gained a much clearer sense of what the hardest-to-defend points in the Christian worldview are.
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Format: Paperback
Contents:
Part One: Methodology
1 Agnosticism
2 Rationalism
3 Fideism
4 Experientialism
5 Evidentialism
6 Pragmatism
7 Combinationalism
8 Formulating Adequate Tests for Truth
Part Two: Theistic Apologetics
9 Deism
10 Pantheism
11 Panentheism
12 Atheism
13 Theism
Part Three: Christian Apologetics
14 Naturalism and the Supernatural
15 Objectivism and History
16 The Historical Reliability of the New Testament
17 The Deity and Authority of Jesus Christ
18 The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible
Bibliography
Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9100b804) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x911bb2e8) out of 5 stars A very informative book 8 Mar. 2000
By Jorge A. Gonzalez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am an avid reader of philosophy and apologetics and I have read a quite a bit of books concerned with the defense of the Christian faith. But, I must say that this one (along with Moreland's Scaling the Secular City) takes the cake. Geisler's presentation of the evidentialist's objections to Christian theism are by far the most fair minded representations of these arguments. Seldom do I find a Christian apologist who argues nearly as well for the opposing view as for his own and Geisler does just that in his CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS. He summarizes the objections to reality and theism with the force one would expect only of the proponents of these views, and he then procedes to refute these objections (or at least to point out the fallacious logic that is employed in delivering the argument) with rigor and tough-minded intellectualism. Geisler is not only capable of presenting the objections with force but he is equally capable of rebutting these objections with equal or even greater force. I give this book four stars primarily because I find his defense of the cosmological argument a little bit shaky. Personally, I am an advocate of the kalam argument that is advanced by Moreland and Bill Craig. Overall though, if you are seeking a cogent defense of Christianity I highly recommend that you purchase this book and spend some serious study time in it. Don't learn the answers to the objections but become well versed in the objections themselves for this book presents both equally well. Furthermore, if you have George Smith's ATHEISM: THE CASE AGAINST GOD you will find that most of his petty objections are answered and refuted quite thoroughly in Geisler's CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS.
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f5e930) out of 5 stars Excellent book 21 April 1999
By joshrasm@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The more about philosophy you know, the more persuasive this book will be. The thorough and systematic approach was very appealing. The book divides nicely into three parts. The first and longest part establishes "undeniability" and "unaffirmability" as valid truth tests (who could argue with that?). The second part uses these truth tests to demonstrate that theism is true both deductively (demonstrating that all competing worldviews are false) and inductively (using a revised cosmological argument similar to Aquinas's Third Way). The third part establishes the truth of Christianity given a theistic universe using combinationalism as a test for truth within a worldview. When I first read this book, I had relatively little knowledge concerning philosophy and religion, but since then I've read a bit from various philosophers (e.g. Quentin Smith, William Craig, etc.). I read Geisler's book again and his anticipated objections and rebuttals make much more sense, and his conclusions are even more persuasive. Some of the strongest atheological arguments I've found on atheistic websites, are addressed in his book. On a personal note, his book was a tool in my younger years that kept me from becoming a nontheist. For that I'm very grateful!
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x943a9564) out of 5 stars A Standard Apologetics book; critiques other views 17 Oct. 2001
By Bruce H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I think of American apologetics, three major names come to mind: William Lane Craig, Norman L. Geisler, and J.P. Moreland. Together, they could be said to comprise the "apologetic dream team," of America.
Apologetics is the branch of theology/philosophy that seeks to provide a logical and rational defense of Christianity against all other rivals.
To preface my review, I would like to distinguish between two types of apologetics. Negative apologetics is concerned with showing that opposing (i.e. non-Christian) worldviews or ways of understanding reality are false. Positive apologetics seeks to provide evidence and arguments that directly argue for the truth of Christianity.
In this volume, it seems that something like 70% of the book is spent on showing opposing views are false. In this regard, I think Geisler's evaluation of atheism is very well done (Geisler summarizes his section by saying that most atheistic critiques of Christianity or arguments for atheism are either self-defeating or can be turned into arguments for Christianity). However, in our world, people are much more "cautious" and prefer to stay away from the so-called extremes (i.e. theism: the belief that a personal God exists. atheism: the belief that God(s) do not exist) and choose agnosticism. Geisler provides a very through critique of agnosticism and shows that it is intellectually bankrupt.
There are three Parts to the book:
Methodology (approx. 35% of content)
Theistic Apologetics (approx. 29% of content)
Christian Apologetics (approx. 30% of content)
The Methodology section is about forming an adequate test for truth. This was an unusual section and it seemed to be unnecessary to spend so much time on it. A brief discussion (i.e. 20 pages) ought to be sufficient. Geisler's two tests for truth are very uncommon; unaffirmability as a test for falsity and undeniability as a test for truth. He rejects most of the better truth tests (e.g. combinationalism) for numerous reasons, one of the most common being that the test fails to establish one view over all others. However, this section did have good critiques of skepticism, agnosticism, and fideism; this is the most useful part of this section.
The Theistic Apologetics section was probably the best in the book, in my opinion. Geisler surveys and evaluates the following worldviews:
Deism
Pantheism
Panentheism
Atheism
Theism
Geisler offers several reasons to reject the first four options, however I think it is unfair to exclude the first three simply because they are not theism. To me, this is blatant question begging. I thought Geisler was trying to establish the rational view rather than the Biblical view; there is a place for evaluating other "types" of God(s) but this is not that place. If one's objection to an argument amounts to, "He disagrees with Christianity therefore false," then it is question begging. To be fair, Geisler does offer several other reasons to reject these philosophies.
The Christian Apologetics section was very typical. There was a defense offered for the general historical reliability of the New Testament, the authority of Jesus Christ (e.g. by His sinless life, miracles, resurrection), and the authority of the Bible.
Geisler could have written an actual conclusion to the book rather than just suddenly ending it; something that brought it all together, perhaps with some examples when apologetics has strengthened the faith of Christians or convinced skeptics or something along those lines; I have noticed this problem in other books as well. Several other reviewers have said that this is a common text book in the United States on this topic, so perhaps that explains the lack of the features common to a broader audience (e.g. introduction and conclusion). An annotated bibliography would have been useful as well; he included a mini "Further Reading" section at the end of every chapter but there were very few recent (i.e. 1970's to present) books listed.
I think that Moreland's, "Scaling the Secular City," (see my review) is a better defense of Christianity; he spends more of his time arguing FOR Christianity and refutes the objections offered against those arguments.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x910d30f0) out of 5 stars Not too bad, but much better apologetics books exist 5 Jun. 1998
By Timothy Chow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Geisler gives a foundationalist defense of Christianity: he tries to construct a rational chain of argumentation starting from the Cartesian notion of indubitability all the way to the main doctrines of the Christian faith. Some of the arguments are not bad, but the foundationalist approach practically begs the reader to pick holes in the long chain of reasoning, and in fact it is not hard to find such holes. Even more importantly, foundationalism in general has serious defects, which the reader can find discussed in any Anglo-American textbook on contemporary epistemology. In my opinion, the entire project of giving a rationalist, foundationalist defense of Christianity is misguided; it is not demanded by most Christian theologies or by Scripture and is based on an overly optimistic view of what reason alone can accomplish.
Nevertheless, it is valuable to have such a book around, to demonstrate concretely just how far one can get with such an approach, and to see what its limitations are. Given what he is trying to accomplish, Geisler does a creditable job (though I think Richard Swinburne's books are much better). After reading this book I gained a much clearer sense of what the hardest-to-defend points in the Christian worldview are.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90dc9ccc) out of 5 stars A Standard Apologetics book; critiques other views 24 Oct. 2001
By Bruce H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I think of American apologetics, three major names come to mind: William Lane Craig, Norman L. Geisler, and J.P. Moreland. Together, they could be said to comprise the "apologetic dream team," of America.
Apologetics is the branch of theology/philosophy that seeks to provide a logical and rational defense of Christianity against all other rivals.
To preface my review, I would like to distinguish between two types of apologetics. Negative apologetics is concerned with showing that opposing (i.e. non-Christian) worldviews or ways of understanding reality are false. Positive apologetics seeks to provide evidence and arguments that directly argue for the truth of Christianity.
In this volume, it seems that something like 70% of the book is spent on showing opposing views are false. In this regard, I think Geisler's evaluation of atheism is very well done (Geisler summarizes his section by saying that most atheistic critiques of Christianity or arguments for atheism are either self-defeating or can be turned into arguments for Christianity). However, in our world, people are much more "cautious" and prefer to stay away from the so-called extremes (i.e. theism: the belief that a personal God exists. atheism: the belief that God(s) do not exist) and choose agnosticism. Geisler provides a very through critique of agnosticism and shows that it is intellectually bankrupt.
There are three Parts to the book:
Methodology (approx. 35% of content)
Theistic Apologetics (approx. 29% of content)
Christian Apologetics (approx. 30% of content)
The Methodology section is about forming an adequate test for truth. This was an unusual section and it seemed to be unnecessary to spend so much time on it. A brief discussion (i.e. 20 pages) ought to be sufficient. Geisler's two tests for truth are very uncommon; unaffirmability as a test for falsity and undeniability as a test for truth. He rejects most of the better truth tests (e.g. combinationalism) for numerous reasons, one of the most common being that the test fails to establish one view over all others. However, this section did have good critiques of skepticism, agnosticism, and fideism; this is the most useful part of this section.
The Theistic Apologetics section was probably the best in the book, in my opinion. Geisler surveys and evaluates the following worldviews:
Deism
Pantheism
Panentheism
Atheism
Theism
Geisler offers several reasons to reject the first four options, however I think it is unfair to exclude the first three simply because they are not theism. To me, this is blatant question begging. I thought Geisler was trying to establish the rational view rather than the Biblical view; there is a place for evaluating other "types" of God(s) but this is not that place. If one's objection to an argument amounts to, "He disagrees with Christianity therefore false," then it is question begging. To be fair, Geisler does offer several other reasons to reject these philosophies.
The Christian Apologetics section was very typical. There was a defense offered for the general historical reliability of the New Testament, the authority of Jesus Christ (e.g. by His sinless life, miracles, resurrection), and the authority of the Bible.
Geisler could have written an actual conclusion to the book rather than just suddenly ending it; something that brought it all together, perhaps with some examples when apologetics has strengthened the faith of Christians or convinced skeptics or something along those lines; I have noticed this problem in other books as well. Several other reviewers have said that this is a common text book in the United States on this topic, so perhaps that explains the lack of the features common to a broader audience (e.g. introduction and conclusion). An annotated bibliography would have been useful as well; he included a mini "Further Reading" section at the end of every chapter but there were very few recent (i.e. 1970's to present) books listed.
I think that Moreland's, "Scaling the Secular City," (see my review) is a better defense of Christianity; he spends more of his time arguing FOR Christianity and refutes the objections offered against those arguments.
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