Item description for Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics by John H. Gerstner, Arthur W. Lindsley & R. C. Sproul...
Overview This work on apologetics examines the classical arguments for the existence of God (ontological and Thomistic arguments), discusses the philosophical issues that confront contemporary apologetics, and provides an incisive critique of presuppositional apologetics.
Publishers Description Must a person accept Christianity on faith alone, or is there a reasoned defense for being a Christian? The authors of this book hold that Christianity is eminently reasonable. The primacy of the mind in the Christian faith can be affirmed without denying the importance of the heart. This book embraces reason without rationalism, personal love without personalism, faith without fideism is our capacity to love Him. The book is divided into three parts. Section I is a prolegomenon dealing with the problems and methods of apologetics. Section II develops the theistic proofs and authority of Scripture. Section III is given over to a critique of presuppositionalism in apologetics, particularly with reference to the thought of Cornelius Van Til. Classical Apologetics will help the thoughtful Christian understand his or her faith better, and it will provide more solid grounds for sharing this faith with others.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Classical Apologetics?
Not what I would expect from their caliber Oct 12, 2006
Despite my immense respect and love for the teachings of each of these authors, this work is there least impressive bit of scholarship. They seem to fall to their own presuppositions (pun intended) in making a paper tiger of the views they wish to counter. They provide a slanted version of the views they oppose then commence to tear it down. It seems doubtful to me that these gentlemen are intentionally taking this direction and so we are left to believe that they truly do not understand the views they are attempting to discredit. Perhaps it is the immense respect that Dr. Sproul has for his mentor, Dr. Gerstner, that leads him down this path - and his loyalty could even be commended. Dr. Gerstner is more difficult to explain since I find it unfathomable that he could resort to intellectual dishonesty in order to play the role of contrarian. His belief in the superiority of the classical approach is without doubt. His understanding seems to view the presuppositional and classical approaches as mutually exclusive creating a false dichotomy in which he is forced to defend one against the encroachment of the other. How he came to the belief in this dichotomy is never explained or expounded upon and that makes one wonder if he explored the topic in enough depth before making judgements. Again, however, I feel unequipped and hesitant to state what seems obvious to me in light of the intellect and depth of these teachers. It sends me away thinking I must be mistaken but there seems no way around what I sense from this work.
Please Don't Waste Your Time Mar 24, 2006
If there is one thing true students and scholars respect, it is an author who gets to the point and is clear and concise. This book is neither. Firstly, it doesn't take seriously the real concrete philisophical issues at their most basic levels. The arguments are filled with confusion and error. And the part that most upset me was that even the confusion was not presented according to a clear methodology. THis book is by no means erudite and you will not consider yourself to have learned much by reading this work. This book is not art nor good scholarship. It takes the authors a long time to get to the main points. In an age when everyone seems to be writing books, it would have been nice to have cut this one out of the run of the mill evangelical products. If you are interested in apologetic materials GO TO THE SOURCES. Read Kierkegaard, Hume, Kant, Van Til, Lewis, Schaeffer--but especially Dr. Gordon Clark. I will have saved you years of study if you take my advice AND READ DR. GORDON H. CLARK'S works. This man is among the very few who have made Christian revelation intellectually defensible. A Christian View of Men and THings by Clark is the best place to begin studying apologetics. His other work titled, "Three Types of Religious Philosophy" is strictly on the apologetical method and answers the question, 'how ought the Christian religion be defended?' Go read it--it is only 90 pages in length. And please read 'Classical Apologetics' alongside Clark's work and then come back to this review and you will mark "yes, this review was helpful" in a hurry. Bottom line: THis book is long-winded and mediocre.
Disappointing Jul 1, 2004
In Bible college I was given this book as a text for a class on Apologetics. I was fairly new to the Reformed faith, and highly indebted to Dr. Sproul's works such as Chosen By God. He helped give me a proper view of predestination, reprobation, depravity, election, perseverance etc. During that time I also read his book Faith Alone that critiqued Roman Catholicism and enjoyed it immensely. But having read this book on apologetics, I came away from it sadly confused. It came across as Roman Catholic at worst and Arminian at best. Although the authors are Calvinistic in their approach to other areas of theology, in terms of their apologetics they are a strange hybrid of a variety of traditions. Classical Apologetics is a tough read for someone who is just getting in to apologetics, there are better ones out there to be used as an introduction - for example Scott Oliphant's The Battle Belongs to the Lord, or Greg Bahnsen's Always Ready. It is divided into three sections 1) sets forth their unreformed view of natural theology (for a critique of the natural theology of this ilk, see John Owen's Biblical Theology) 2) is a section on the "classical" theistic proofs, which are nothing more than a reassertion of Aquinas' theology and 3) a horrible critique of presuppositional apologetics a la Cornelius Van Til. The scholarship in this book is poor. Whoever the publisher was, or the editor, they should have looked at it more closely. There are some glaring errors in terms of research. For example, when they cite Edwards on the noetic effects of sin (and try to make him out to be a rationalist) footnote nine on page 243 actually refers the readers to one of Dr. Gerstner's books! For a good review of Edwards' apologetical background, see Stephen Nichols' book An Absolute Sort of Certainty or Scott Oliphant's article Edwards the Reformed Apologist at www.reformed.org. The bulk of the book is set at critiquing Van Til. They label him a "fideist" - a horrible charge. One that Sproul denied in a debate with Greg Bahnsen (www.cmfnow.com), yet stated categorically in this book! Their attack on circular reasoning proves that they don't understand what Van Til was saying when he called it a "glorious circle." He did not mean that the fallacy of begging the question was glorious, rather he gloried in the fact that there is no higher standard with which to measure the claims of the Bible (otherwise that standard would be deemed more worthy than the Bible) so it is self-attesting and therefore its attestation of itself is in fact circular. Just as Christ's authority is based not on some outside source to measure it, rather it is attested to by His own authority. For an indepth critique of this book I would suggest Oliphant's article, as well as the appendix of John Frame's Apologetics to the Glory of God and Bahnsen's response at cmfnow.com. Don't buy this book, unless you have to for class. If you do, look at it critically and in light of what others have said about it. Sproul, Gerstner and Lindslay come out looking like Arminian rationalists, which is very sad to say the least.
Good, just a little wordy at times Jul 20, 2001
This was a rather intense read about classical apologetics. I would highly recommend it to those that have an interest or prior knowledge and understanding of apologetics. The book is divided into three sections:
--Classical Natural Theology, an overview of problem and method --Classical apologetics, the theistic proofs, the deity of Christ, and the infallibility of scripture --Classical critique of presuppositional apologetics
The first section seemed very wordy to me, and I had a hard time getting through it. The second was very interesting, and providing a great summary of different arguments, including the ontological, cosmological and teleological arguments for God. This chapter also has chapters dealing with the Spirit and Word of God.
The third section is probably the best section (although it still lacked brevity). Chapter 11 is the best chapter in the book; it has great summaries of Luther, Calvin, and Augustine's views on reason as it relates to faith. All should check out this chapter.
legends. Jun 3, 2001
This work which has been so explosive, especially in the Reformed family, should be bought by every child of the Canons of Dort. Many, many, critiques notwithstanding, this work in my mind has not been refuted to date. Bob Sproul and his mentor, John Gerstner follow in the line of the Old Princetonians. They prove themselves in the succesion of Warfield. Sproul, Gerstner & Lindsey devestate the school of Van Till. This work belongs on the shelf of both friend and foe. H.S Bultmann.