While reading books on the theory of various apologetics methods are necessary and beneficial, it is certainly helpful to read books that provide practical discussion and mock conversations on how to employ those methods in everyday life. What good is it to know what a method is if you don’t know how to use it?
Presuppositionalism is an apologetics method that has been gaining a lot of ground in the recent years. The two best sources for practical explanations of how to use this method have been Richard Pratt’s classic work Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of the Christian Faith and sections in K. Scott Oliphint’s more recent work Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith. Both books provide mock conversations used to show how the presuppositional method looks in practice.
Recently, Voddie Baucham Jr. has written a new book along these same lines called Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word (Crossway, 2015). Voddie is a well-known pastor, speaker, and writer and is the dean of African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. The book gets its title from Voddie’s unique way of preaching and practicing presuppositional apologetics when he speaks.
The expository part of the title comes from his commitment to expository preaching and the apologetics part comes from how, in his messages and speaking, he answers objections to Christianity or arguments in the passage of Scripture he is preaching from. For Voddie, “Expository apologetics is merely the application of the principles of biblical exposition to the art and science of apologetics.” (20)
The first few chapters of this book give a basic overview of and defense for Christian apologetics as Baucham explains passages like 1 Peter 3:15, Romans 1:18-32, and Acts 17:22-33. His explanation of the Peter passage is thorough and clear and probably gives one of the best defenses of why all Christians are to engage in apologetics.
His discussion of the Romans passage is the standard explanation for why the presuppositionalism is the best method (some say the only biblical method) to use given the relationship between man and sin. Presuppositionalism does not rely as heavily on evidence to defend the faith because the problem is not evidential but spiritual – man is dead in sin and needs to be supernaturally awoken from it. Unbelievers reject the evidence God has given them of himself because of their sin. This does not mean Christians are not to familiarize themselves with the evidence for Christianity or dismiss questions about such evidence. It does mean that Christians do not argue primarily from the evidence for the truth of Christianity.
The core of the book is found in chapter five on Learning Apologetics through Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms and chapter six on The Ten Commandments. Baucham firmly believes that the best way to train someone to defend the Christian faith is to teach them the various creeds, confessions, and catechisms. If one can learn the content of these Christian writings then one has learned the basics of the Christian faith and how to respond to objections to it. Similarly, learning the many implications of the Ten Commandments further equips Christians to defend the faith and cut to the heart of the unbeliever’s questions, doubts, and objections to Christianity.
There is a lot to like (love) about this book. Baucham presents the material in his own unique way that adds to the body of existing material, rather than just merely repeat it. He is to be commended for his commitment to Scripture and the usefulness of the Church’s various creeds, confessions, and catechisms that seek to faithfully summarize the teaching of Scripture.
My only criticism of the book is that it suffers from too much trailing. There are many times in which the thought goes and goes only to end abruptly without actually finishing the thought or answering the questions posed by the author. More time needed to be spent directly on topic rather than engaging in various tangents.
Expository Apologetics is a must read for fans of presuppositionalism. Even those who are persuaded by other apologetic methods can benefit from this book. This would be a great book for any Christian, especially upper-level high school teens, and college kids. It might serve well as a good small group book to train Christians to defend their faith better.