In my last post, I explained what apologetics is and why you absolutely have to care as a Christian parent today. As promised, this is a follow up post to help you get started learning how to defend your faith. Without further ado, here are seven things you can do.
1. Get to know who the leading apologists are and read their books.
Of course you’re not going to read every book by every leading apologist when you’re just getting started. But a great first step is to familiarize yourself with the big names in apologetics so you can look into what those authors have written. I’ve highlighted some below. To get a feel for what they write, look at their books on Amazon. Click on the titles and check out the table of contents. If you do this for several authors below and their books, you’ll quickly gain an overview of the major topics apologists address (and identify a few books for your reading list!).
This is far from an exhaustive list. I’m highlighting the authors I feel offer the best starting point for people new to apologetics.
- J. Warner Wallace: Wallace is a homicide detective and the author of Cold Case Christianity, which I recommended here as the best of the 42 books I read in the last year. It is an excellent starting point for understanding the nature of apologetics and I can’t recommend it highly enough. (On a side note, I had the great opportunity to guest post on his blog recently. Check out “Preparing Kids to Encounter Atheism Online” if you missed it.) Here is his website, where he blogs daily.
- William Lane Craig: Craig is perhaps the best known apologist and has written many books. I read his “master” book, Reasonable Faith, this year. This was a fantastic and very detailed survey of key apologetics topics. I wouldn’t recommend diving straight into it if you’re new to apologetics (but absolutely would if you’ve done some preliminary reading!). He has several other books, however, that are more concise in nature. Here is his Amazon author page and here is his website (which contains extensive writings).
- Lee Strobel: Strobel is a former atheist and journalist who has written several investigative-style books, such as the Case for Christ, the Case for Faith and the Case for the Creator. His books are written at the “popular” level and are a good introduction. Here is his Amazon author page and here is his Twitter account (his Facebook page isn’t active).
- Hank Hanegraff: Hanegraff is a radio host known as the “Bible Answer Man” and the author of many books. I read his book, “Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration,” this year and would recommend it highly. Here is his Amazon author page and here is his website.
2. Become a fan of Facebook pages providing apologetics resources.
This is a little like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. It’s not a very organized or methodical way of learning, but it can give you a good idea of the scope of what apologetics covers when you see the links posted to various articles/resources (there are many questions addressed by apologetics that you may never have even realized are important).
Aside from the Facebook pages of the authors I just listed, here are some great ones to check out.
- Poached Egg (This is a favorite page of mine that constantly posts article links throughout the day. Warning: You may get sucked in. So many great links, so little time.)
- Apologetics 315
- Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
- Apologetics Press
If you’re specifically interested in the apologetics of Genesis/origins/science, check out these pages representing varied views:
- Answers in Genesis (promotes Young Earth Creationism)
- Reasons to Believe (promotes Old Earth Creationism)
- Stephen C Meyer (from the Discovery Institute, which promotes Intelligent Design)
- Biologos (promotes Theistic Evolution)
3. Pick a topic that interests you and find books and articles to study on that topic.
You may have some apologetics-related questions in mind that you would really like answers to. For example, maybe you’re especially bothered by the problem of evil, the existence of hell, the reliability of the Bible or issues of faith and science. Instead of focusing on surveys of apologetics topics (as in the first two points), start with your topic of interest and go deep. (Deep doesn’t mean reading random people’s responses to a Yahoo question about why God allows evil. Search for credible authors on Amazon. Read a full-length treatment of the topic.)
4. Get an Apologetics Study Bible.
Yes, there is actually an Apologetics Study Bible! Check it out here.
5. Watch videos.
I’m not personally big on videos, so I don’t have much to recommend here. That said, several of the organizations and people already listed produce videos with answers to common questions, interviews and debates. Also check out the One Minute Apologist.
6. Read books and articles written by non-believers.
I know this might sound counterintuitive, but I’ve grown an enormous amount in my faith and knowledge of apologetics by reading the writings of atheists. Think about the preparation for a football game. Even if you know your own team inside and out, if you only focus on what you’re doing and saying, you’re missing half the picture. You can study how to throw the ball in the best possible way, but if you don’t know how the other team will respond, it weakens your position significantly. When you study a topic, Google that topic specifically to find writings on it by atheists. There are thousands of atheist blogs for your “research.”
7. Get an apologetics certificate!
Well, this one is a bit random on a list of starting points, but I had to mention it because I just discovered it this week. Biola University offers a distance learning apologetics certificate that you can earn by watching a year’s worth of lectures (Biola is a leading apologetics university). I emailed them today for more information – Bryan and I are thinking of doing it together this year!
Were these resources helpful to you? I’d love to hear what you find that helps you the most. If you have other resources to share, please do!