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Every Thought Captive, a Study Manual for the Defense of the Truth [Paperback]

Richard L. Pratt Jr.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Presbyterian and Reformed; First edition (1 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875523528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875523521
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 733,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (I Pet. 3:15). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's the Best Intro. to Biblical Apologetics!... 26 July 2001
By Chang Yuon - Published on Amazon.com
Pratt gives us a very short and condensed form of what is known as Pressupositional Apologetics (following after VanTil). Although Pratt hardly defends this approach from all it's critics, he lays down clearly what is at the heart of biblical apologetics. He does this by first showing his readers that God-centered apologetics arises from love for God and the gospel.
God depends on no one to defend His truth. His truth stands as true regardless. However, because we are called and loved by God, studying apologetics should be our passionate duty. Thus, God's word becomes "both the foundation upon which our defense must be built and one of our belief which must be defended." (pg.4)
Pratt then focuses on the nature of common grace in apologetics. More specifically, nature of man before and after the fall, and man's ability to come to the knowledge of God. This foundation is critical for biblical defense and clear thinking. Is it that man has no knowledge about God but is still able to reason Him out? Or is it that man has the knowledge of God, so that he must be rationally honest with himself to see God? Finally, is there a neutral ground where Christians and non-Christians could come together for an unbiased examination?
Without getting too technical, Pratt gives us an enriching exercise of searching and examining the Scriptures. However, Pratt's treatment is so brief and condensed that it lacks clarity on some major points. For instance, I cannot agree with his view on logic--that it is merely a part of creation. True, there are inferences and conventions in logic that are man-made; but Pratt seems to over-simplify the nature of logic as being completely separated from God. I come to understand that logic has a transcendental quality that reveals the eternal character of God. Therefore, God cannot create a thing not equivalent to itself! Oh well, I give Pratt the benefit of the doubt...I'm probably wrong or mistaken (after all, He's the certified theologian!)
Interestingly, Pratt then critiques Evidental method of apologetics. Namely, Paul Little's "Know Why You Believe." Although, I thought Pratt's critique was necessary and valuable (I whole-heartly agreed), I thought it was a bit unfair because he never bothered to examine the critique of VanTil's apologetics. (But then again, this is an intro. designed for High schoolers)
Pratt pretty much ends his book with some applications. Questions like "What's the proof of God?", "How do we know the Bible is God's word?", and "Why is there so much suffering in the world?" are addressed. However, only in an outlined-sketchy way. Maybe he ran out of space or time (I don't know), but he's application seems a bit weak.
Don't get me wrong!...Pratt, gives us the best introduction to Pressuppostional apolgetics I've ever seen--showing us correct foundation and motive. So Pratt pushes the readers to be patient regarding all the challenges he/she could not answer from his/her friends. But all the patience leads to the last 3-4 chapters of this 14 chapter book. Maybe Pratt thinks that he set the foundation so strong that application will come naturally. Or maybe there's a second book! (I doubt it...it's been over 20 years since the first printing)
In short, I thought this book was excellent as an intro. (it really deserves 5 stars), but could be better if you supplement this book with another. I recommend "Persuasion" by Doug Wilson. Wilson's book is all application (with little or no theory) which is filled with sampled dialogues. So...Pratt's Very Short Book with Wilson's Very-Very Short Book...this combo packs a punch for anyone who wants an intro. in apologetics!!!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, easy 12 Mar 2002
By Apologia - Published on Amazon.com
and faithful to scripture. This is the idea book you want to start with on Christian apologetics. Filled with neat illustrations, and practical advice, it should be good for high schoolers who want to know more on Van Tillian thought. What is especially helpful is that Pratt criticizes a book entitled KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE by Paul E. Little, which suggests a more popular tactic for defending the faith. Here, Pratt writes (p.73-74): "Little's view of reason has several major difficulties. First, human reason is not seen as entirely dependent on God. Little encourages the Christian apologist to present Christianity as a view to be examined and judged by independent human reason....Second, reason is not seen as affected by the fall of man into sin. Man's problem does not, for Little, include blindness to the truth but his unwillingness to choose the truth which he is fully capable of knowing. As a result, Little treats rationality and logical analysis as something neutral for both Christians and non-Christians." Why is it that human reasoning must judge God's existence? Who are we to put "God in the dock"? What Pratt is saying is that neutrality is a myth because "sin has so affected mankind that even rational abilities are not neutral." When a non-Christian suggests that he is "honestly" looking for the God of Christianity, and is left wanting, he seems to skip the fact that he is wearing what Cornelius Van Til calls "colored glasses" that keep him from finding the truth. His own autonomous worldview won't find the truth, he must have the Christian worldview.
Here is the Table of Contents:
Foreword
Author's Note
Acknowledgments
1. A Firm Foundation
2. Where It All Began
3. The Character of Man before Sin
4. The Character of Man in Sin
5. The Character of Man Redeemed by Christ
6. The Non-Christian Point of View
7. The Christian Point of View
8. Attitudes and Actions
9. Popular Tactics
10. Structure of a Biblical Defense
11. Defending the Faith (1)
12. Defending the Faith (2)
13. Defending the Faith (3)
14. An Apologetic Parable
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect 15 Aug 2006
By Paul J. Stadig - Published on Amazon.com
When it comes to apologetics, I'm of the presuppositional persuasion (specifically Van Tillian). Pratt was a student of John Frame who was a student of Cornelius Van Til, but Frame differs in his approach from that of Van Til, as does Pratt. For a more consistently Van Tillian approach to apologetics, take a look at Always Ready and other works by Greg Bahnsen.

Though I applaud Pratt for taking the subject of apologetics and presenting it on a level that high school students can understand, I also think on some points he is wrong, and on other points he takes a dangerous position.

At one point he says that we can use near death experiences as evidence of some kind of afterlife. I think this is a naive at best and dangerous at worst. Many people have had experiences, and can even present "evidence," for things that are decidedly false.

On the other hand, I can commend Pratt for his coverage of the foundations of people's worldviews, and I think here he is barking up the right tree. I just wish he would take it a little further.

Ideally, I would have preferred that he focus on how the foundation of one's worldview effects one's interpretation of facts. The question is which worldview can even allow the possibility of facts in a consistent and non-destructive manner. Of course, this would have made the book Van Tillian, and I can't fault him that he doesn't completely agree with me.

Over all, this is a good book, and I would use it for a high school Sunday school class, but (personally) I would supplement it in order to give a complete picture of the apologetic conflict.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenominal, Practical, Chock-full of usability! 27 Dec 1999
By Clint Nolan - Published on Amazon.com
Richard Pratt has done what I thought would be impossible, that is, he has simplified the task of Reformed Apologetics to a practical and manageable level of usability. Most other works on presuppositional apologetics are mainly philosophical in nature and lack the "how to" necessary to train lay believers in the important task of defending the faith from a Reformed perspective. Pratt's love for Van Til's work shows through his approach, while he has simplified the language into manageable chunks for the newcomer to the "Defense of the Faith".
Also recommended are Cornelius Van Til's work "Defense of the Faith" as well as John Frame's "Apologetics to the Glory of God"
If you buy any one book on "How to do" apologetics, get this one! I can't recommend it highly enough.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to presuppositional apologetics 15 Mar 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I felt this book was an excellent foundation for further studies and practice of presuppositional apologetics. Pratt provides a manual for Christian apologetics by getting to the heart of the matter - the unbeliever's commitment to independence while suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Pratt stresses the importance of addresses the foundational issues in apologetics. This book was extremely helpful.
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