Getting Started with Apologetics: How to Learn to Defend Your Faith

Getting Started with Apologetics

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.

  • 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.

Other key apologists to look for include Paul Copan, Ravi Zacharias, J.P. Moreland, Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell, N.T. Wright, and C.S. Lewis.

 

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.

If you’re specifically interested in the apologetics of Genesis/origins/science, check out these pages representing varied views:

 

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!

24 Comments

  1. BTM on November 13, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    Hi Natasha,

    A few of my fav resources that you don’t have listed are Stand to Reason (Greg Koukl) and The Discovery Institute (GREAT videos for beginners and novice alike). Greg Koukl provides free mentoring letters every other month that are very useful and always on current topics. He’s great at explaining difficult topics as well.



    • Natasha Crain on November 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM

      Great recommendations! Thank you! For those who want to check these out, here are links:
      http://www.str.org/ (Stand to Reason – J Warner Wallace, listed above, is part of this organization)
      http://www.discovery.org/ (Discovery Institute – This is Stephen C Meyer’s organization)



  2. Rosann on November 13, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Thanks for the information and resources Natasha! I think I’ll start with Cold Case Christianity. 🙂



    • Natasha Crain on November 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Awesome! Let me know what you think after you read it!



      • Rosann on November 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        I will! Just put it on my Kindle a little bit ago.



  3. Jim on November 13, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Great list of resources. As for video clips, there is a site that specifically addresses the issues raised by Barth Ehrman concerning the origin and reliability of the New Testament, with 2-5 minutes segments featuring some of the top NT evangelical scholars, like Dan Wallace, Ben Witherington, Alvin Plantinga, Michael Kruger, and Darrel Bock. Great, concise resources that are really good for passing along to a friend. http://www.ehrmanproject.com

    They also have a You Tube channel
    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWWeT-LcpA85I2edobmf41w



    • Natasha Crain on November 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Great resources, Jim, thanks! The site doesn’t seem to be working right now, but I got to the YouTube channel. Very interesting – I’ll definitely check these out.

      You may already be familiar with Credo House Ministries (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/), but if not, you might be interested in checking out the textual criticism course they are developing with Dan Wallace (it’s on pre-sale: https://store.reclaimingthemind.org/SearchResults.asp?Cat=68).

      I keep seeing references to Alvin Plantinga in the faith/science stuff I’ve been reading and he’s next on my list to check out. Do you recommend any particular book of his?



  4. Jerome Danner on November 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Just…..thanks for writing this blog/article!!



  5. Curt on November 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Those are some great resources.

    I earned the apologetics certificate from Biola and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    You can use your apologetics knowledge to teach Sunday School or at a Bible study or even at a Toastmasters club.



  6. Jennifer Pinch on December 13, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    I finished my distance learning certificate through Biola this fall. It was a great course! Very helpful to solidify my Christian Worldview and provide a better development of reasoning to defend my faith. Well worth your investment. Doing the course with your husband sounds like a great idea! Loving your blog. Thanks for writing.



  7. Julie Loos on December 17, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    BTW, The Poached Egg is part of Ratio Christi, the ministry I just wrote you about that I also work with.



  8. Julie Loos on December 17, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    I also highly recommend Stand to Reason with Greg Koukl and his weekly podcast. And CrossExamined.org with Dr. Frank Turek. He has an app that is great! You could do drills with your kids with it on his quick answers section. Podcasts are great ways to learn! Many of the leading apologetics ministries have them.



  9. Rick Schenker on December 17, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Here is another list of Apologetics Resources for Kids from Ratio Christi.
    http://ratiochristi.org/blog/post/apologetics-resources-for-kids#.UrCJWLR_jKc



  10. AndyM on December 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    I have found James White and his podcast (the dividing line) to be helpful. He takes a more presuppositional / reformed position, but is good in interacting with muslims, mormons, atheists and catholics.

    I’ve made a start on Scott Oliphant’s “Covenental apologetics”. Good value so far. Looking forward to working my way through it.



  11. Anthea on January 22, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    You can also try the podcast for the ‘Unbelievable’ show from Premier Christian Radio in the UK. Each one is a mini-debate.



  12. Julie on March 5, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    I know I’m a couple months late to the party, but I’m happy to have found this post. I like Gregory Boyd. I know he’s controversial, but he certainly delivers an interesting perspective. I don’t agree with his every claim, but he is very thought provoking. Thank you for such helpful posts!



  13. Andrew on July 31, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    On W.L. Craig’s site is his Defenders series of podcasts, which I cannot recommend highly enough as a starting point. He covers Christian doctrines in-depth, which is very helpful for answering the question, “what do you mean by that?”



  14. chan on December 16, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Natasha,
    Great Article! I couldn’t agree more. As to the Biola Degree, I am currently working on that and have been for about 3 years. I am really taking my time and soaking it all in. IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!! So if you and your husband are thinking of doing this together I highly recommend it.



  15. Jim Bauer on June 14, 2015 at 5:55 AM

    Thanks for this great article! As a fifty-something grandparent and high school youth group volunteer, I have been struggling to equip myself to become an apologist. This provided me with an organized way to approach the topic. As I still work, time and resources are at a premium and I need to keep my efforts focused. Have you read Greg Koukl’s book “Tactics?” I would like to know your opinion of it.
    Thanks!



  16. Mary Murphy on June 23, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    This list of apologists/resources has been mentoring me (unbeknownst to them) for the past six months. They are wonderful! I would also recommend reading and following, Frank Turek/Cross Examined.org, and, author, Mike Robinson/Applied Apologetics. (Very inspiring).
    There’s my 2 cents… thank you.



  17. Michael Risser on June 28, 2015 at 12:35 AM

    Another great resource is Always Be Ready (alwaysbeready.com). Charlie Campbell is a great teacher. His web site is full of great short articles that will help to equip you for apologetics.

    Speaking of Charlie, if you can, go see one of the Christian Apologetists if they are speaking in your area. And perhaps talk with them for a few minutes afterward.



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