Recent Trends in Christian Apologetics, Part 1

As the author of a book that offered good advice to Christian apologists, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, I should keep up with how they're doing. Given that Evangelicals concede they are losing in the marketplace of ideas, and that they partially blame this on the rise of the internet, no wonder apologetics is in demand. Everyone is doing it, or so it appears. This is a sign, all by itself, that Christianity of the evangelical kind is dying. For apologetics is necessitated by the need, and the need is dire.

So what's recently been happening in the apologetics publishing world? Let's look at some books.

1) Apologists are making apologetics more accessible to readers.

We've seen the advent of apologetics study Bibles. The first one to be published was The Apologetics Study Bible: Understand Why You Believe, by Holman Bible Publishers, 2007. Sean McDowell put out one for younger people three years later, Apologetics Study Bible for Students, Holman Bible Publishers, 2010.


2) Apologists are making apologetics more accessible to young readers.

This is Sean McDowell's focus, son of Josh McDowell:

--Apologetics for a New Generation: A Biblical and Culturally Relevant Approach to Talking About God.

--A New Kind of Apologist: *Adopting Fresh Strategies *Addressing the Latest Issues *Engaging the Culture.

--So the Next Generation Will Know.

This is something other apologists are doing. They will write their books and then co-write another one for indoctrinating the kids. Get'em while they're young, right? Then the odds are they will stay in the faith.

--Lee Strobel, has written several books like The Case for Faith...for Christ...for a Creator...for Miracles...for Easter...for the Real Jesus...for Grace. Then he has a whole series of books on these topics for the kids, called The Case for....Kids Series.

--J. Warner Wallace wrote his book Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. Then with Susie Wallace, co-wrote Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective.

3) Apologists focus on winsome persuasion, since good arguments are fewer and farther between.

--Tim Muehlhoff argues for this in Winsome Persuasion: Christian Influence in a Post-Christian World.

--Randal Rauser is doing this with his blog, and with books like You're Not As Crazy As I Think: Dialogue in a World of Loud Voices and Hardened Opinions, The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails, and An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar: Talking about God, the Universe, and Everything, which I've reviewed in three parts right here. Rauser's problem is that he's too critical of other evangelicals, so they tend to ignore him. Another problem is that when things don't turn out as he expects he doesn't know how to lose gracefully.

4) Apologists focus on using rhetoric without substance.

They now emphasize that before becoming Christians they were atheists. That rhetorically makes their arguments seem more impressive. It's an attempt to counter the many former believers who are defecting from their faith.

--Mary Jo Sharp, Why I Still Believe: A Former Atheist’s Reckoning with the Bad Reputation Christians Give a Good God.

--Sy Garte, The Works of His Hands: A Scientist’s Journey from Atheism to Faith.

--With Norman Geisler and Frank Turek's book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, they attribute to atheists faith, and say we have more of it than they do. But faith is something we atheists eschew.

4) Apologists accuse atheists of stealing from God, or not being skeptical enough, or refusing to believe due to immorality.

--Frank Turek, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. Franz Kiekeben wrote a good rebuttal of this book.

--Mitch Stokes, How to be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren't Skeptical Enough. I have this book and was set to debate Stokes, but once he received my book on apologetics in reverse, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, he declined. He's more skeptical than atheists are because he's skeptical of science. Yeah, get that! What does he suggest can replace it? Faith. Oh my! One can question the results of science only with better science, but when there is an overwhelming consensus from scientists there's little or nothing to question. Just look at the results of science in the 700 page book, The New York Public Library Science Desk Reference! The limited edges of frontier science are a different matter of course. But then that's where apologists always perch to preach about making room for faith, while ignoring the staggering results of science.

--James S. Spiegel, The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief. I debated Spiegel. You can watch the videos right here. You can read my prepared debate opener right here.

More later...I'll mention a few particularly powerful recent apologetics books, powerful in the minds of believers anyway. Plus what we can expect more of in the future from them.

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