Here is a book that I would like to see serious minded Christians own, read, and study. I would like to see Sunday school classes and other small groups work through this book because the layout lends itself to that type of study. Richard Ramsay, a PCA teaching elder with a variety of experiences and ministries, has given us a primer on apologetics that is reader friendly.
I had the privilege of reading the manuscript prior to publication and told the publishers, “This would be a must print book.” I realize that most Christians will not think much about apologetics and defending the faith unless challenged and taught to do so by pastors and teachers, but it is a crucial topic. Peter says that we must be able to give a reason for why we believe what we believe (I Peter 3:15), and we must be able to help others whom we disciple to do the same.
While I have been using some other books as I work to make kingdom disciples, this book will now be high on my priority list. Although an obvious presuppositionalist in his approach, Ramsay writes about a variety of apologetic methods that are applicable to many different situations. I especially appreciated his clear distinction between God-centered reasoning and reasoning that is not.
The first part of the book deals with “Uncertainty in Non-Christian Thought” and makes the case for doing apologetics in that setting. Part two deals with “Certainty in Christian Apologetics” and gives us a summary of fifteen men from Augustine to John Frame to R.C. Sproul and how they dealt with apologetics. As a primer type book, it is far from simplistic.
Each chapter concludes with good review questions and a group exercise that enhances its use as a study book. It is a good practical book that covers much material. Through and through we are reminded that our final authority is God speaking to us in His Word. He writes:
“The Christian alternative is to accept God as the judge and source of truth. When you keep backing up a Christian to his ‘final answer,’ it should be that ‘God says so.’ It is true because God says so. How do I know God says so? Because He says so! As a Christian, I cannot back up any further than God Himself; I cannot elevate something above Him. If I appeal to an authority superior to God, I have just contradicted my own worldview and destroyed the foundation underneath me.”
This of course is in contrast, as Ramsay points out, to the non-Christian who “essentially makes himself the judge of what is true and false and right and wrong.”
Ramsay concludes the book with what he calls the three most challenging questions for apologetics: Evolution, hell, and the problem of evil. This book will help you to be better equipped to know how to challenge non-Christians to rethink their belief system, reminding us of Francis Schaeffer’s methodology.