In first Chapter, Van Til begins by emphasises the importance of clear biblical doctrine as foundational, especially those of God, Christ and Man. Then in the second chapter, he explains how this provides the only reasonable worldview and the only solid base from which to do philosophy and science. Later he explains the difficulties associated with communicating a truly biblical worldview, particularly the gospel, to fallen man. Finally, he shows us what to communicate and how, but also highlights how not to.
Like much of Van Til's writing, this book is really written for theology/philosophy students, so you will need a grasp of the history of philosophy for some sections. However, the introduction and notes by William Edgar are really useful not only in explaining Van Til's use of more technical vocabulary, but also in putting highlighting and expanding themes that are recurrent in his writings.
The central merits of this book are, primarily in emphasising the necessity of sound, thorough doctrine as the basis for evangelism, but it also helps us to work through the effects of the fall, shows how to argue by presupposition, encourages proclamation and will give the reader an increased confidence in biblical narrative in evangelism.
To be honest, the methods outlined in Christian Apologetics cannot be appropriated for direct use in everyday life, unless you are witnessing to philosophers or people with machine-like rationality. However, by reading through this excellent book, you should find your knowledge of God's glorious plan of salvation sharpened, a greater love and understanding of unbelievers kindled, and be more effective in your witness and praise to the glory of God.
Was this review helpful to you?
This title is the first one I have read by Van Til. I am beginning to understand why he is seen as such a classic apologist. His principle is timeless -- one's pre-suppositions and worldview must begin with the truth of the Scriptures. He shows why other systems of thought are flawed, in that they do not have their foundation on the Word of God. While his principle here, profoundly stated, is timeless, his presentation is tiring. This book is hard to read and to follow. Perhaps if Van Til's work had been more recent his presentation would have been easier to digest. Van Til also makes his point by focusing on Arminians and Catholic thought systems, rather than on secular thought systems. The author gives the impression that he is defending his own reformed position, rather than defending historic, biblical Christianity. While he IS defending the Christian faith, using a wider variety of examples would have made defense clearer and more compelling. This book is NOT for the faint of heart. Van Til is a deep thinker and a dogmatic, reformed theologian. I recommend it only to those people who have a strong interest in apologetics in general or in Van Til in particular.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Introduction to Van Til and His Method13 Feb. 2004
Camden M. Bucey
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is an excellent introduction to Cornelius Van Til's presuppositional apologetic. Written as an introductory work for his students at Westminster Seminary, it includes the theological foundations of the method and the philosophical, epistemological, and methodological issues surrounding apologetics. Van Til spends much of this book explaining the shortcomings of the Roman Catholic and Arminian apologetic methods while demonstrating how the Reformed presuppositional framework is the proper framework to employ when apologizing from a Biblical worldview. I recommend this book to any person looking for a solid introduction to Van Tillian thought written by Van Til himself and including insightful comments by William Edgar, professor of apologetics at Westminster Seminary.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Small but insightful...1 Oct. 2004
M. P. Ryan
- Published on Amazon.com
Originally a basic text for his introductory course in apologetics, today this small but insightful book will undoubtedly serve to introduce a new generation of students to Van Til's distinctive approach to Christian apologetics. Although a good starting-place for understanding Van Til's thought in general, yet the real strengths of this book are its clarity and conciseness (two qualities only heightened by Edgar's respectful editorial hand). Now typeset and published with translated foreign terms and annotative footnotes that open up Van Til's meaning to even the neophyte, this work is sure to become a popular entry-way into presuppositional apologetics. Modifications aside, another reason that makes purchasing this second edition worthwhile is Bill Edgar's introductory essay. An essay that in only fifteen pages manages to: set Van Til in apologetic and ideological context, clarify presuppositional apologetics against still too common misconceptions, and offer a prefatory tour of the content, style and features of this volume. A compliment to Edgar's Westminster predecessor and a genuine improvement over the first edition, I hope this newly packaged text achieves a wide reading and that additional volumes in what was the "Cornelius Van Til Collection" can receive similar treatment in due course.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Impressive3 Nov. 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a great presentation of Van Til's style of Christian apologetic.
OK, I'l be honest, I was very eager to finish this book when I got near the end. But I did finish it, and I don't regret having read it! Van Till does an impressive job of packing very deep subject material into such a small soft-cover book. The subject matter is very interesting, but in the final analysis it is not easy reading. If you want an easy read, go elsewhere. If you want to gain a deep insight on the apologetical method of Van Til, who is quite popular in Reformed circles, by all means do read this!
Excellent!22 May 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a good work by Cornelius Van Til. The work is divided into five chapters with the first one on Christian truths as a system. The beginning discusses the importance of thinking about Christianity in terms of a system and the need for systematic theology. From here, Van Til discusses the bearing of systematic theology in the field of Christian apologetics. It is an important theses of Van Til that what one believes should shape how one defend what one believes, an important point that Presuppositional apologists wishes to make. The second chapter discusses what a Christian philosophy of life looks like. The third chapter is a discussion about the point of contact in apologetics with the unbeliever. Here Van Til makes an important point in that the point of contact between the believers and the nonbelievers can have actual common ground for point of contact but that common ground is not neutral. Chapter four is on method and chapter five is on the issue of authority, although I felt chapter four dealt with much on the issue of authority before chapter five! One of the weakness of Van Til is that critics often complain that he talks in generalities when it come to other ways of doing apologetics (his shorthand for non-Presuppositionalists is the "Roman Catholic" and the "Arminian"). But his description does describe generally how some think about and actually do apologetics. I recommend this work. The edition with William Edgar's comment is not filled with as much lengthy comments and footnotes as Edgar's edition for Van Til's "Defense of the Faith." This is a plus in the sense that lengthy footnotes can bog down the readers who wishes to hear Van Til for themselves. The minimal comment is a plus to the Edgar's edited edition.