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 first of a two part review (you can read the second part here). Because the work is so large, I have decided to offer two reviews. The first review is going to look at parts one and three while the second review will look at the primary section of the book found in part two.
The entire book is divided into three parts with two appendices. Part one is an eight-chapter look at the preliminaries of Christian apologetics. Dr. Groothuis offers the biblical basis for apologetics before engaging in the discussion of the importance of worldviews. He argues for absolute truth (a very important and sadly very necessary conversation today) in chapter six and explains in chapter seven why truth matters. Chapter eight concludes the preliminary discussions on apologetics by arguing for the rationality of the Christian faith.
Part two will be discussed here.
Part three engages the reader in a discussion some major objections to Christian Theism. Chapter twenty-three looks at religious pluralism – the concept that all religions are equally valid and true. Chapter twenty-four is very important chapter in this day and age as it seeks to show arguments against Islamic Theism. Finally, chapter twenty-five deals with the problem of evil. He concludes part three with an exhortation to take the knowledge and information gleaned from reading this resource and use it in your conversations.
Definitely written to be a textbook, Christian Apologetics is a well-written resource that will most definitely equip the reader to be more ready to defend his or her faith in every day life. Groothuis writes with the academician in view, but the lay person in mind. In other words, you do not need a degree or need to be pursuing a degree in philosophy or apologetics in order to read or study this work.
The chapters are well structured and organized so that the reader does not get lost in what amounts to be some pretty heady conversation. His footnotes (thank you for using footnotes instead of endnotes!!!) are a ready source for further information on each topic and will help the serious student to delve further into the various conversations. The bibliography is more than 50 pages long!
The scripture index at the back of the book is a great resource for those looking to defend a particular issue brought up in conversation. You can look it up here and quickly turn to the page where it is mentioned or discussed and then see if what is said and if anything is quoted, you can quickly see what resource that is and do some further study rather quickly.
I do wish there was a section in each chapter that would provide key themes, ideas, arguments and some questions to ask that would help the reader to engage the material a bit more in depth within the context of this work itself. Outside of that, I was very impressed with the quality of the work by one man.
If you are serious about Christian apologetics in general, then Christian Apologetics by Dr. Douglas Groothuis is an indispensable resource. It is well-written, well-researched, and well-indexed. While there are many well done works of apologetics, this resource is the most comprehensive (yes, it is part of the title for a reason) I have read introducing the subject matter of Christian Apologetics. It most assuredly will be a resource you will find yourself using over and over making the price of the book well worth it.