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Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith

, 2013

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Defending your faith can be daunting, and a well-reasoned and biblically grounded apologetic is essential for the challenge. Following in the footsteps of groundbreaking apologist Cornelius Van Til, K. Scott Oliphint presents an introduction to Reformed apologetics, also referred to as presuppositional apologetics. This book clearly explains the theological foundations of covenantal apologetics and illustrates its application in real-world conversations with unbelievers—helping Christians to boldly and knowledgeably proclaim the gospel.

In the Logos editions, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Resource Experts
  • Examines the foundations of covenantal apologetics
  • Introduces the concepts of Reformed (presuppositional) apologetics
  • Discusses how Christians can defend faith through covenantal apologetics
  • Always Ready
    • Christian Truth
    • Required to Respond
    • What Is Covenantal Apologetics
    • The Ten Tenets
    • Tenets and Texts
  • Set Christ Apart as Lord
    • I Am
    • Condescension and Apologetics
    • He Who Is Not with Me
  • Proof to All Men
    • Paul at Athens
    • Where Shall I Flee?
    • Proving the Proofs
    • What a Burden
    • How Do You Know?
  • We Persuade Others
    • “Trivial” Matters
    • Conclusion
  • We Destroy Arguments: The Achilles’ Heel
    • The Good Fight
    • Negative Apologetics
    • Positive Apologetics
  • Walk in Wisdom toward Outsiders
    • The Wisdom of Persuasion
    • The Spirit of Persuasion
    • Dennett, Dawkins, and Doubt
    • A Concluding Word to the Wise
  • You Are Very Religious
    • Idol Worship
    • God Is (Not?) Great

Top Highlights

“Christian apologetics is the application of biblical truth to unbelief.” (Page 29)

“‘Apologetics,’ as he puts it in several places, ‘is the vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life.’” (Page 17)

“5. All people know the true God, and that knowledge entails covenantal obligations.” (Page 50)

“4. Man (male and female) as image of God is in covenant with the triune God for eternity.” (Page 50)

“This is what a covenantal apologetic seeks to do. It seeks to take the truth of Scripture as the proper diagnosis of the unbelieving condition and challenge the unbeliever to make sense of the world he has made. Scripture tells us that a world built on the foundation of unbelief does not exist; it is a figment of an unbelieving imagination, and thus is basically irrational.” (Page 46)

A major undertaking in Christian apologetics, this volume makes a most timely and welcome contribution. By labeling the apologetic task ‘covenantal,’ Scott Oliphint highlights throughout that the presuppositions of ‘presuppositional apologetics’ are the clear and indubitable teachings of Scripture and not a postmodern understanding of presuppositions. Comprehensive in its scope, this balanced mix of principles and practice provides valuable instruction to a broad range of readers. I commend it most highly, especially to those concerned with responding to the challenges of unbelief, both present and perennial, in growing fidelity to Scripture as God’s Word

Richard B. Gaffin Jr., professor of biblical and systematic theology, emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary

In a day marked by shallow thinking, weak reasoning, and arguments lacking in both theological and biblical depth, Oliphint offers an arsenal of apologetic insight. His affirmation and exposition of a covenantal apologetic brings a vital biblical and theological dimension to the apologetic task. Believers seeking to give an answer for the hope that is in us will enthusiastically receive this book.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

As a teacher I have been crying out for an apologetic primer that would help to demystify a presuppositional method, demonstrate the exegetical and biblical-theological basis for this method, and give some idea as to what this might look like in the real world with real people. Oliphint’s Covenantal Apologetics fills this need. It is not only principled and practical, but pastoral. For those looking to give reasons for hope, I recommend it.

Daniel Strange, academic vice principal and tutor in apologetics, Oak Hill College, London

Covenantal Apologetics is carefully written, with close attention to detail. It is clear, compelling and cogent. I recommend it to every careful student of this important subject.

Douglas Wilson, senior fellow of theology, New St. Andrews College

In attempting to put to rest the term ‘presuppositional,’ Oliphint integrates the best insights from his philosophical expertise in the Westminster Seminary tradition with the best insights from the Westminster Assembly theological tradition. The result: a book that aims at both the mind and the heart. As a pastor, I welcome books that offer a consistently Reformed approach to a defense of Christianity, for they are few and far between. This may be the best one yet.

Mark Jones, senior minister, Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church

  • Title: Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith
  • Author: K. Scott Oliphint
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Print Publication Date: 2013
  • Logos Release Date: 2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Apologetics; Reformed Church › Doctrines
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-05-03T14:42:40Z
K. Scott Oliphint

Dr. K. Scott Oliphint, PhD, is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and the author of numerous articles and books, including Is There a Reformed Objection to Natural Theology?: A Review ArticleUsing Reason by FaithBavinck’s Realism, the Logos Principle and Sola ScripturaSomething Much Too Plain to SayEpistemology and Christian Belief, and Plantinga on Warrant. His books include The Battle Belongs to the LordReasons for FaithGod with Us, and his most recent book, Covenantal Apologetics. He’s also the coeditor of the two-volume Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader and Revelation and Reason: New Essays in Reformed Apologetics


6 ratings

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  1. Nicholas Prendes-Brizuela
  2. Patrick



    This book concludes a three year study in presuppositional apologetics (PA). Having heard a lot of good things about this book and seeing a large number of recommendations in the actual book itself, I decided to check it out. While Oliphint lays out a clear plan of action on telling you what the book is about, I don't think he quite sets out what he wants. He doesn't seem to add anything new to the table that people like Greg Bahnsen or Jason Lisle haven't done before and, frankly, done better. I do like his attempt at focusing a more biblical perspective and wording to PA and even from a Calvinistic point of view. He just doesn't knock it out of the park like I think he wants to. Now, that's not to say that the subjects he tackles aren't good. I think his most interesting chapter is his take on Paul's apologetic message on Mars Hill in Acts 17. He asks a lot of hard questions even from his position and sets about trying to answer them. He also has a great chapter on comparing PA to an Islamic position. In fact the best parts of the books are where he has these practical application conversations with a non-PA person (atheist, Muslim, etc.). However, he is weakest in that his writing can tend to appear to be a little all over the place or not holding too much relevance to the whole, especially at the beginning of a chapter. Not every chapter as there are some where I really, REALLY found them to be grand. But when he gets into this one chapter where he talks about the Greek educational system it doesn't really point to much of anything. It's not a bad ready by any means but if you've read Bahnsen and Lisle who have the same "don't answer, answer" style you see that here. I will say that Oliphint is great at wanting to take the conversation from a strictly philosophical one straight into the Scriptures which is admittedly lacking in at least half the conversation for a PA. This shouldn't be a book that should be read by anything looking for an introduction to presuppositional apologetics (that honor goes to Jason Lisle's "The Ultimate Proof For Creation", but it isn't terrible. This book didn't add anything knew to the overall system of PA, but it doesn't point out some very good conversation roads PA need to be aware of and have and to make sure they are committing themselves to the Scriptures. Final Grade - C+
  3. Chris Flick

    Chris Flick


  4. Debra W Bouey
  5. Cris Dickason

    Cris Dickason


  6. Doug




Digital list price: $16.99
Save $3.00 (17%)