Groothuis, Douglas. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011. 752 pp. $40.00. Purchase at Amazon for much less.
Dr. Douglas Groothuis is professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary and also teaches the same subject at Metropolitan State College of Denver. He has written some ten works involving a Christian philosophy, apologetic, and worldview. Two of his works that have impacted me are Truth Decay and On Jesus. This particular work is what could be considered his magnum opus.
This review is the second part of a two part review. You can read the first review that covers Parts one and three of the work here. This review will cover the more extensive part two that deals with the nuts and bolts arguments for the Christian faith.
Part two of Christian Apologetics is a fourteen chapter, 450-page section that states the case for Christian Theism. Each chapter gives a sound introduction to a particular philosophical argument for or against Christianity. The first chapter is a treatise seeking to defend theistic argumentation in general. Chapters ten and eleven discuss the ontological and cosmological arguments for the existence of God.
Chapters 12-14 can be set aside as one major discussion on the origin of everything. Chapter 12 is the design argument while chapter 13 brings Darwinism into the discussion with chapter 14 offering the evidence for intelligent design. Chapter fifteen transitions the reader to the moral argument while chapter sixteen looks at the tough argument from religious experience.
Chapters seventeen and eighteen take a closer look at the humanity arguments while chapter 19 is a slight detour with Craig Blomberg adding an article on how historians can know Jesus Christ and why that matters. With this chapter, Groothuis now transitions the reader into a discussion centered squarely on the Man, Jesus Christ.
Each chapter can be studied in and of itself and, I am pretty sure, never be exhausted in material. That goes to show that Groothuis undertakes a monumental task in writing a “comprehensive case for biblical faith.” There is so much to be digested in each chapter that it would do the reader well to read and reread each chapter. You will need a pen and/or a highlighter as you take many notes and want to look many other things up for further study.
It is important to note, as I do with most works of apologetics, you cannot argue someone into heaven or salvation. What you can do, however, is equip yourself to better engage unbelievers and those who are antagonistic toward the Christian faith. Each chapter in Christian Apologetics will help you to take steps toward being better equipped to do just that. There is so much to master in this work that I highly doubt you would ever exhaust your need for this book even if you become familiar with all of its contents.
The footnotes also aid the reader in understanding both sides of the debate and will also be of greater use to the student looking to learn more. Groothuis does a masterful job of interweaving academic work and discussion in everyday language. He defines his terms and explains most of the technical wording such that most readers will find the material easy to understand.
In the end, I am thoroughly impressed with the accomplishment of Dr. Douglas Groothuis in the publication of Christian Apologetics.
The breadth and depth of this work is a sight to behold. The ability for Groothuis to articulate each argument at a clear and concise manner and then philosophically argue for at both an academic and lay-level is an achievement unmatched by other Christian apologists. Perhaps another title (or subtitle) for this work that may show what exactly has been attained could be Christian Apologetics for Dummies. Unfortunately, there are to many…um…dummies out there that would rip that out of context just as they do so many arguments against Christian Theism. Purchase a copy of Christian Apologetics and keep it handy. You will need find that it is a most helpful resource.