Apologetics, as a discipline, is meant to help unbelievers overcome obstacles to faith in the Gospel and to help strengthen believers in their faith. However, when it comes to how exactly to go about that, you are bound to get caught up in debates about methodologies and hear phrases like “evidentialism” and “presuppositionalism” and “classical apologetics”. What do these phrases mean? What’s the big fuss about them? How should we go about defending the faith?
Five Views on Apologetics, edited by Stanley N. Gundry and Steven B. Cowan, attempts to clarify one of the biggest areas of disagreement and contention among apologists today. Five well-known apologists makes the case for why their methodology of apologetics is the best: William Lane Craig for Classical apologetics, Gary Habermas for Evidential apologetics, Paul Feinberg for Cumulative Case apologists, John Frame for Presuppositionalism, and Kelly James Clark for Reformed Epistemology. Each contributor explains his position, allows for others to critique his position, and then respond to those criticisms in the end.
“The difficulty in responding to Habermas is that he has so qualified evidentialism that it ceases to be an interesting alternative to other approaches to apologetics. Pity our poor editor!….[the editor] winds up with a Presuppositionalism who argues like an evidentialist and an evidentialist who endorses belief in Christian theism on the basis of the testimony of the Holy Spirit apart from evidence!” (pg. 122)
“As noted in the introduction, the issue of apologetic taxonomy is difficult, and not all of the contributors to this volume are agreed on how to delineate the various approaches.” (pg. 337)