TBBA asked Conor McCarthy, entrepreneur and writer on theology and politics for his top book selections about Christian apologetics. Christian apologetics is field of Christian theology which present reasoned bases for Christianity, in order to defend against objections. “I love it because, perhaps contrary to popular belief, Christians are just as skeptical as anyone else. There are a lot of legitimate questions to be asked about faith, and apologetics attempts to provide answers to those questions using reason. Studying apologetics has allowed me to have some great conversations with both believers and non-believers, hopefully to all of our betterment,” McCarthy says.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
While Clive Staples (for real, that’s what C.S. stands for) Lewis may be popularly known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, he wrote many books concerning Christian apologetics. Many of his books are compilations of radio addresses that Lewis gave in Britain during World War 2. Mere Christianity is a perfect introduction to apologetics offering readers a wealth of information in a relatively short book that is both easy to read and easy to comprehend. Lewis provides some very well-reasoned and logical answers to some of the more daunting questions that both believers and non-believers have about Christian faith. Personally, Mere Christianity provided a profound revelation: there is such a thing as a Christian intellectual.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller
Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, Timothy Keller has become what many might call today’s C.S. Lewis. In The Reason for God, Keller directly addresses objections from many of today’s most popular atheists, including Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Keller is very well educated, something that is clearly evident in his extremely well-sourced writing. For many, Keller’s clear intellectual prowess is a plus, since pastors aren’t often represented as professorial brainiacs. The best thing about Keller’s writing, however, is how approachable it is. It is clear that (C.S.) Lewis is one of Keller’s biggest influences, because like Lewis, Keller is able to break down complex questions and provide clear, concise answers for the layman.
The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel
A Yale-educated lawyer and journalist for The Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel was an avowed Atheist. When his wife became a Christian, he decided he would investigate the claims of Christianity, intending to prove to her that Christian faith was pointless. As a result of his investigation, Strobel became a Christian. He has now written many books considered to be must-reads in Christian apologetics, including his first: The Case for Christ. This book documents the process he went through to investigate Christian faith, the answers he found, and how he subsequently converted. This book’s personal narrative makes it unique in a genre that can sometimes get a little too cerebral. If you’re feeling lazy, he also produced a news-magazine style film by the same title.
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig
Disclaimer: this is a textbook. Not exactly light reading. However, this volume is an incredibly effective tool to keep handy, as it is separated by particular philosophical problems. Looking for answers regarding the origin of mankind? There’s a section just about that. Wondering if Bill Maher is right about the problem of suffering? (Spoiler: he’s not) There’s a section for that. Professors at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in California, Moreland and Craig are both monsters of Christian apologetics and philosophy. Fun anecdote – Craig was once scheduled to debate Richard Dawkins in London, but Dawkins cancelled at the last minute and was widely criticized for doing so by Christians and Atheists alike. Craig ended up debating three different professors at Oxford instead. If debates sound interesting to you, feel free to go down the YouTube rabbit hole. There are hundreds of fascinating debates between great Christian and Atheist philosophers available to stream in their entirety.
More resources for going deeper into apologetics: The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, Confessions – St. Augustine, Reasonable Faith – William Lane Craig, Tactics – Gregory Koukl, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach – Mike Lincona, and if you really want to get heavy – anything by Soren Kierkegaard – his philosophical writings are the foundation of many of the aforementioned books.
Guest curated by The Talking Mirror’s Conor McCarthy.
Did we overlook a title in this category? Please kindly let us know in the comments section so we can check it out.