Thoughts on the Second Edition of Christian Apologetics
The mail recently brought me two hardbacks of the second edition of my book, Christian Apologetics, published by InterVarsity Press. It was originally published in 2011. The Kindle version came out on February 8 of this year. The hardback was delayed by supply chain problems. We cannot take books and magazines for granted now. World Magazine recently spoke of their concern about getting enough paper to print their magazine.
Holding a book you have written in your hands for the first time is always rewarding. (It is nothing like holding your newborn, I’m sure; but, I have no children.) This book is 839 pages long. The first edition was 758 pages. The second edition has smaller print, so there is much more material. Every chapter is updated and the book sports seven new chapters:
1. Original Monotheism
2. Doubt, Skepticism, and the Hiddenness of God
3. In Defense of the Church
4. The Atonement: Stating It Properly
5. The Atonement: Defending It
6. The Resurrection: Prolegomena on Miracles
7. Lament as Apologetic
Not much has been removed in this edition, although I omitted a few arguments with emergent church authors (since that movement seems to be over) and with a few other Christians. I wanted to be more positive, and to have more room for my own apologetic as opposed to critique of other apologetic ideas.
Has my mind changed on anything? Yes and no. I take the case for the truth, rationality, and relevance of Christianity to be stronger today than in 2011, given the advances especially in the intelligent design movement. Recent work on miracles by Craig Keener and (more popularly) Lee Strobel strengthens the case for the resurrection and for all biblical miracles. I could go on—and I did in the book.
However, my views on the possibility for salvation for those who have not heard the Gospel through direct human contact (oral or written) have cautiously opened up a bit. I take this up in the chapter, in “The Challenge of Religious Pluralism.” I carefully state my views and explain what level of confidence I have for certain outcomes. Of course, I still affirm that salvation is through the work of Jesus Christ, the Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6)! The question is how much one needs to know to benefit from that gracious work of Jesus Christ.
I am grateful to God that at age sixty-five, I was able to complete a second edition to my major life work. I am honored by the kind endorsements from J. P. Moreland, Paul Copan, Sean McDowell, J. Warner Wallace, and William Dembski.
I often reflect on how much time my Lord has given me to read, write, and teach ever since my conversion in 1976. I did not have to work my way through college (thanks, Mom!), so I had plenty of time to study for my classes as well as engage my own parallel curriculum as a Christian thinker, reading the likes of C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, James Sire, and Os Guinness. My five years in campus ministry at the McKenzie Study Center (1979-84) allowed me protracted time for study. (Thanks, Wes Hurd.) And such has been the case ever since.
I really don’t know how to do anything except study, write, teach, preach, and mentor. I’m generally helpless (or dangerous) otherwise. But God has made a way for me, a way that has helped others through my labors. Thanks be to God.
I will likely not write any more tomes (or bricks), but two more books should be published this year, and I am working on two others. I have ideas for about ten more after that, but this must be placed in God’s hands.