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Volume 2 of Christian Apologetics Past and Present takes a sweeping look at apologetics from the Reformation to the present. Readings from 26 apologists, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Søren Kierkegaard, Francis Schaeffer, Alvin Plantinga, and William Lane Craig are included. With editorial commentary and questions for reflection, this is a valuable text for both students and people interested in defending their faith.

Author Bios

William Edgar

Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary.

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K. Scott Oliphint

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

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Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483–1546), one of the most significant figures in Western history, was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. Over the course of his life, Luther was a monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a Reformer, a husband, and a father.

Luther is most noted for his Ninety-Five Theses (1517), in which he argued that indulgences were not acts of penance which could replace true repentance. His refusal to retract all his writings, demanded by Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521, resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.

Luther has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. Luther’s translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular greatly influenced the church. His works continue to impact all Christians and animate the movement that bears his name. Luther’s Works (55 vols.) contains many of Luther’s writings, including commentaries, sermons, and lectures.

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John Calvin

John Calvin

John Calvin (1509–1564), one of the most important thinkers in church history, was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of Calvinism. His theological works, biblical commentaries, tracts, treatises, sermons, and letters helped establish the Reformation throughout Europe.

Calvinism has spawned movements and sparked controversy throughout the centuries. Calvin began his work in the church at the age of 12, intending to train for the priesthood. Calvin attended the Collège de la Marche in Paris at 14, before studying law at the University of Orléans and continuing his studies at the University of Bourges.

In 1532, Calvin’s first published work appeared: a commentary on Seneca’s De Clementia. The controversy of calling for reform in the Catholic Church disciplined Calvin in his writing project, and he began working on the first edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which appeared in 1536. Calvin’s Commentaries and The Letters of John Calvin are also influential; both appear in the Calvin 500 Collection.

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Robert Bellarmine

St. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) studied theology at the University of Padua and the University of Leuven. He was the first Jesuit to teach at the University of Leuven, and the subject of his course wasThomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. After seven years, he moved and taught theology at the new Rome College. In 1592, he was made rector of the Roman College, then examiner of bishops in 1598, and then cardinal in 1599. In 1602 he was made archbishop of Capua, and later served as archbishop of Montepulciano until his retirement. He was prominent in the Counter-Reformation. In 1930, he was canonized by Pope Pius XI. He is a Doctor of the Church.

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John Owen

John Owen

John Owen (1616–1683) is considered one of the most influential and inspiring theologians of the seventeenth century. He entered Queen's College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and completed his M.A. in classics and theology at the age of nineteen.

His first parish was at Fordham in Essex where he became convinced that the Congregational polity was the scriptural form of church government. In the 1640s he became chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, the new "Protector of England," and traveled with him on his expeditions to Ireland and Scotland.

In 1651 he was appointed dean of Christ Church and in 1652 made Vice-Chancellor of Oxford—positions which allowed him to train ministers for the Cromwellian state church. Owen later moved to London and led the Puritans through the bitter years of religious and political persecution—experiences which shaped his theological inquiry, pastoral reflection, and preaching. Owen authored one of the richest commentaries on the book of Hebrews, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews which are also included in The Works of John Owen along with sermons and essays.

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Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) was a French mathematician, inventor, writer, and Catholic philosopher. Pascal began studying science at an early age; he invented the mechanical calculator around 1642. He first identified with Jansenism—a movement within the Roman Catholic church—in 1646, and after a “mystical experience” in 1654, he stopped his scientific work and focused on philosophy and theology. Volume 48 of The Harvard Classics features many of Pascal’s works and essays.

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Joseph Butler

Joseph Butler (18 May 1692 O.S. – 16 June 1752) was an English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher. He was born in Wantage in the English county of Berkshire. He is known, among other things, for his critique of Thomas Hobbes’s egoism and John Locke’s theory of personal identity. During his life and after his death, Butler influenced many philosophers, including David Hume, Thomas Reid, and Adam Smith.

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Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is considered one of America’s greatest theologians. While attending Yale College, he encountered the same Calvinism that had influenced his own Puritan upbringing.

Three years after Edwards was ordained as a minister, the First Great Awakening began in his church, which prompted Edwards to study conversion and revival within the context of Calvinism. During the revival, Edwards preached his most famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and penned many of his most popular works, including Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, and Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd.

In 1757, Edwards reluctantly became president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University), where he hoped to complete two major works—an expansion of his treatise on the history of redemption and a study of the harmony of the Old and New Testaments. The Works of Jonathan Edwards (26 vols.) is a massive collection containing five decades’ worth of study and scholarship on and from Edwards.

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Friedrich Schleiermacher

Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), often called the father of modern theology, was a German philosopher and one of the greatest Protestant theologians of the 19th century. He is often regarded as the father of modern hermeneutics, i.e. the science of interpreting the Bible, and known for his many other works in the area of systematic theology. Otto Weber states that, “Retrospectively, the dogmatics of the 19th century can be understood essentially as the direct, indirect, or negatively received influence of the theology of Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher, one of the most powerful personalities in all of church history, in some ways comparable with Augustine.”

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Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel; he was also critical of the state and practice of Christianity in his lifetime, primarily that of The Church of Denmark. He is widely considered to be the first existentialist.

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Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) founded the Free University in Amsterdam and served as a professor of theology. At the invitation of B. B. Warfield, Kuyper traveled to the United States to deliver the Stone Lectures at Princeton and address Reformed congregations in Michigan and Iowa.

Kuyper studied at the University of Leiden, and received his doctorate there in 1863. He became a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in 1863, and consistently called for the separation of church and state. He also led a secession from the Dutch Reformed Church and united several disparate Reformed churches in the Netherlands.

Kuyper also led an active political life. He served as a member of Parliament in the Netherlands beginning in 1874 and served as prime minister from 1901–1905.

Abraham Kuyper was instrumental in the development of Neocalvinism, and is remembered for his articulation of common grace and for popularizing the notion of a Reformed worldview. He has influenced such notable figures as Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Chuck Colson.

Some of Kuyper’s publications, which are available in Logos, include Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art, The Antithesis between Symbolism and Revelation, and Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles.

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James Orr

James Orr (1844-1913), born in Glasgow, was a Scottish Presbyterian minister and theologian. He was minister at East Bank United Presbyterian Church, Hawick from 1874 to 1891, and professor of apologetics and theology at Glasgow College of the United Free Church from 1901 until his death. One of his more prominent works is The Christian View of God and the World as Centering in the Incarnation (1893).

(From Theopedia.com. Freely redistributable under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.)

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B. B. Warfield

B. B. Warfield

B. B. Warfield (1851–1921) was a prolific writer, accomplished scholar, and ranks as one of America’s greatest theologians. After studying mathematics and science at Princeton University, he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1873, where he was taught by Charles Hodge, in order to train for ministry as a Presbyterian minister. He later returned to America and taught at Western Theological Seminary (now Pittsburgh Theological Seminary).

In 1881, Benjamin B. Warfield co-wrote an article with A. A. Hodge on the inspiration of Scripture—a subject which dominated his scholarly pursuits throughout the remainder of his lifetime. When A. A. Hodge died in 1887, Warfield became a professor of theology at Princeton, where he taught from 1887 until 1921.

History remembers Warfield as one of the last great Princeton Theologians prior to the seminary’s re-organization and the split in the Presbyterian Church.

Warfield is known as one of Reformed theology’s most ardent defenders. The foundation to Warfield’s theology was his adherence to Calvinism as supported by the Westminster Confession of Faith and much of his writings are centered on this.

He has authored many books in his lifetime, including The Atonement and Modern Thought in the Classic Studies on the Atonement collection, Westminster Doctrine anent Holy Scripture: Tractates by A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, and the titles included in the B. B. Warfield Collection.

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G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) was an English author of various works, including his famous Orthodoxy. He worked at the Redway and T. Fisher Unwin publishing house until 1902, when he began writing regularly. His weekly columns appeared for decades in the Daily News and The Illustrated London News. In all, he wrote more than 80 books, hundreds of poems, 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays.

Among his other writings are biographies of St. Aquinas, the Father Brown detective stories, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, and The Man Who Was Thursday. His famous Orthodoxy and several other titles including Heretics can be found in the G. K. Chesterton Collection (11 vols.).

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John Gresham Machen

John Gresham Machen

John Gresham Machen (July 28, 1881–January 1, 1937) was an American Presbyterian theologian in the early twentieth century. He was the professor of New Testament at Princeton Seminary between 1915 and 1929, and led a conservative revolt against modernist theology at Princeton and formed Westminster Theological Seminary as a more orthodox alternative.

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Cornelius Van Til

Cornelius Van Til

Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987) was one of the most respected apologetic theologians of his time. Van Til earned degrees from Calvin College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University on his way to becoming an Orthodox Presbyterian Minister.

He served throughout the ministry and scholarly fields, including serving as a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary and being heavily involved with the foundation of the Philadelphia-Montgomery Christian Academy.

His most noted writings include The New Modernism, The Defense of the Faith, and Christianity and Barthianism which can all be found in The Works of Cornelius Van Til (40 vols.).  Much of his work with apologetics focuses on presuppositions, the difference between believers and non-believers, and the opposition between Christian and non-Christian worldviews.

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C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent PlanetThe Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classic Mere Christianity.

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Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) was a Swiss Roman Catholictheologian. Along with Karl Rahner, Balthasar is one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century.

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Lesslie Newbigin

Bishop James Edward Lesslie Newbigin (8 December 1909 – 30 January 1998) was a Church of Scotland missionary serving in the former Madras State, India, who became a Christian theologian and bishop involved in missiology, ecumenism, and the Gospel and Our Culture Movement.

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Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) was an evangelical missionary. After studying at Hampden-Sydney College, Westminister Theological Seminary (where he studied under Cornelius Van Til), and Faith Theological Seminary, Schaeffer pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

In 1948, Schaeffer moved to Switzerland and founded L’Abri, a community where people discuss philosophy and religion. Thousands of people have passed through L’Abri, and it has expanded into several other countries. Schaeffer held a presuppositional approach to apologetics which many believe heavily influenced the Christian Right movement in the United States.

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Os Guinness

Os Guinness (born September 30, 1941) is an author and social critic.

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William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England) is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and lives in Marietta, GA.

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