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Five Views on Apologetics (Counterpoints)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  405 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The goal of apologetics is to persuasively answer honest objections that keep people from faith in Jesus Christ. But of several apologetic approaches, which is most effective?

Five Views on Apologetics examines the “how-to” of apologetics, putting five prominent views under the microscope: Classical, Evidential, Presuppositional, Reformed Epistemology, and Cumulative Case.
Paperback, 398 pages
Published February 7th 2000 by Zondervan (first published 2000)
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Mark L.
Jun 12, 2013 Mark L. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Once upon a time, a fellow Christian young man, age 20 or so, like me, invited me to go witnessing in the downtown area where I live. We ran into a young lady who was reading Neale Donald Walsch's then-popular Conversations with God, some of the worst claptrap ever to proceed from a printing press. I won't give specifics, but as I began to speak my partner began to feel uncomfortable with my approach. Deeper than that, he disagreed with the doctrine behind it. And he felt the necessity to say so ...more
Oct 24, 2016 Craig rated it liked it
Shelves: seminary
For Apologetics class.
Patrick S.
Jan 28, 2013 Patrick S. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I had a lot of fun with this book. About a year ago, I really came down on the side of presuppositionalism and have studied the approach, see if it was useful against two of the leading atheistic books (God Is Not Great and The God Delusion), and now I wanted to match it up against four other views of apologetics. I will try to not go into too much detail here as I think the book is an important read for developing an apologetic standpoint.

The book follows the 1)"model of Approach X is presented
Clark Goble
Jul 06, 2012 Clark Goble rated it really liked it
Cowan’s purpose in presenting his Five Views on Apologetics is to provide the reader with a “side by side” view of the varying apologetic methodologies so that one may make up their own mind as to which method is correct (Cowan, page 8). Cowan classifies the apologetic methodologies into five separate categories; classical, evidential, cumulative, presuppositional and reformed epistemology. The editor then attempts to accomplish his self-assumed task by allowing a contributor who represents each ...more
L. R. Bouligny Bouligny
This edition in the series of “views” books focuses on the subject of apologetics, and with the identical format as the others, gives each author a chance to state his position in 25-30 pages, while also allowing those holding differing views to punch holes in the author’s arguments. While I believe these debate formats can be helpful, I found this particular book to be somewhat discouraging. But, before I share my grievances, I will share what I thought was helpful.
This book was great for givi
This comes as review from a Presuppositionalist. This is a good book when it comes to seeing how the leading Christian apologist would go about articulating their respect school of apologetics, and their critiques of the other schools. The editor Steven Cowan is to be commended in the introduction of giving a brief sypnosis of what each views are, for those who might not be familiar with the meta-apologetics debate.

In the first chapter by Classical apologist William Lane Craig, I was taken abac
Josiah DeGraaf
Nov 29, 2015 Josiah DeGraaf rated it really liked it
There were several really good parts about this book. First, I generally really like multi-perspectival books like this one. Second, Cowan clearly did a good job in picking his authors; while he could have picked extreme representatives for each side, he seemed to do a fantastic job of picking really nuanced and balanced authors who both represented their side and also didn't take it to unfortunate extremes. So all of this made this a rather stimulating and engaging read. A couple of thoughts on ...more
Adam T Calvert
Nov 24, 2009 Adam T Calvert rated it liked it
Shelves: apologetics
It's tough for me to rate this book. I don't know how else to say it other than this: I didn't like this book, but I'm glad I have it.

If you get through the horrible misrepresentations of other views, the logical fallacies throughout the book, and the overall avoidance of addressing the topic from a Biblical mindset, then you're left with a somewhat decent reference on certain Christian views on the theory of how to properly defend the faith. But getting through all that can be the tough part.

Jacob Aitken
Feb 26, 2012 Jacob Aitken rated it liked it
So who won this debate? Nobody, because they were all equally annoying, perhaps excepting John Frame.

1. Bill Craig's footnotes were far more interesting than his actual essay. Craig nicely summarizes Alvin Plantinga's Warrant Trilogy, which summaries are actually quote helpful for the apologete. Unfortunately for Craig, they do nothing to advance his essay.

2. Kelly James Clark, while having the most caustic tone, has the most intriguing essay. While occasionally verging on “Plantinga-wors
Luis A R Branco
Jan 04, 2014 Luis A R Branco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lidos-em-2013
In this book, Steven B. Cowan presents different views on apologetics to examine the 'how-to' of apologetics, putting five prominent views under the microscope: Classical, Evidential, Presuppositional, Reformed Epistemology, and Cumulative Case. The entire text is very interesting and exciting, specially for offering a forum allowing the contributors for the diverse viewpoints to interact, providing the reader the opportunity to compare and contrast different ways of 'doing' apologetics. The tex ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: wts, apologetics
Helpful for understanding the way people of different apologetics schools view each other and how they relate their apologetical approach to the others, but this won't be very helpful for those who want to learn how to do apologetics, and it also won't necessarily help people who have never been introduced to each of these viewpoints understand them fully. For example, I think Reformed Epistemology is not really understood in the best way through Kelly's contribution or his exchange with Frame. ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pastors, theology students
Five Views on Apologetics - Five scholars debate 5 different approaches to doing apologetics - classical, evidentialism, cumulative case, presuppositionalism, reformed epistemology. Each methodology is presented, followed by responses, both favourable and critical, from each of the other contributors. A debate summary (written by others) draws out the differences, similarities and implications of the five approaches. The main value of this book lies in the exploration of the respective roles of ...more
Frankie Della Torre
Nov 11, 2013 Frankie Della Torre rated it really liked it
5 Views on apologetics provides an introductory discussion into the realms of religious epistemology, the nature of the Holy Spirit's witness, the necessity of evidence for belief, and other topics. I found Kelly James Clark's chapter ("Reformed Epistemology") to be the most interesting; namely because evidentialism is most common. I walked away from this book feeling like I understood each approach and could defend each of them.

Ultimately, I think that each of these approaches can be found inf
Jan 16, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
A useful overview of different apologetic methodologies, unfortunately there is no author representing presuppositional apologetics since Frame's view is eclectic mixing presuppositional apologetics with Classical apologetics such as arguing that you can use the Transcendental argument along with classical arguments for the existence of God, but that undermines the presuppositional method altogether for the sake of pragmatism. James White would have been a better candidate to represent the presu ...more
Mar 19, 2016 Rick rated it really liked it
This is not a book for the casual audience. At many points it virtually requires a working knowledge of some rather esoteric issues, not all of which I possess. Also, some of the other reviews of this book reveal that many readers were not looking for help in honing their own apologetic methods or broadening their own understanding, but for ammunition to use in countering the methods of others or to buttress their own previously established views. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. But there is ...more
Justin Bailey
Mar 11, 2016 Justin Bailey rated it it was ok
Books like these are wonderful in theory (let's have each person explain their position and then respond to the other views! what could be simpler?), but often disappointing in execution (oh, wait, we actually agree on most things? then what are we doing again?) This collection is valuable in surfacing some of the key questions in developing apologetic methodology, but the schools of thought have so much overlap that the water ends up quite turbid. It might have worked better to ask each of the ...more
Sep 13, 2007 David rated it liked it
This book claims to present five views on apologetics but as Dr. David Rim so aptly points out it would be more appropriately titled "1.5 Views on Apologetics". The book has three apologists who in essence for an evidential approach to apologetics, then a presuppositionalist who seems strangely open to evidential apologetics and finally a man who argues for the inadequacy of argument (in reality Clark's essay is not quite this logically incoherent but it certainly doesn't leave you wanting to be ...more
Joe Valenti
Sep 02, 2013 Joe Valenti rated it really liked it
Shelves: apologetics
The Counterpoints series by Zondervan are a great group of books that help one understand the complete gamut of the arguments over a specific area in evangelicalism. This book does not disappoint. Craig, Habermas, Frame, Clark, and Feinberg offer a great overview and heated argument in the area of apologetic systems. Christians may not know that there are multiple ways to approach apologetic though we all default to something. Worth the read and should be on the bookshelf of every serious apolog ...more
Cho Yim
Sep 02, 2014 Cho Yim rated it liked it
Good overview of the 5 systems/method of apologetics. Little difficult if it's your first book on apologetics and the different systems. Would help to have a general overview of each system before you start reading. Definitely a slower read because it is hard to comprehend at first. Make sure you read the responses to each system because they often clarify points made by the system author and give a more lucid picture of what the system actually is. Very good resource to have on apologetics. Jus ...more
Hank Pharis
Jul 02, 2015 Hank Pharis rated it it was ok
Like most of the "views" books this is very helpful in helping us to understand the issues and diverse approaches to apologetics. And like most of these books there is not a clear "winner" here. It seems to me that there is definite truth in the presuppositional approach. And yet the Bible does use evidences to defend the faith as well. Thus some kind of combination of approaches seems best to me.
Jun 15, 2009 Nathaniel rated it liked it
five views of apologetics gives five different ways of engaging with the topic of the existence of God in Christianity. The most disappointing aspect of this book is that each authors opinions are not all that different from each other, so the reader does not get the full sense of each individual argument and view point. The book does show it's strength in giving many different avenues in approaching conversation concerning Christian theism.

I would not recommend this book.
Steve Shuford
Jun 04, 2008 Steve Shuford rated it liked it
I am currently reading this book for my apologetics class, and it speaks about the five most common ways to defend the faith. What I like about it is the format - it provides a common view written by a theologian and the other 4 critique the stated view. What I would have liked, however, is if it spoke more to the layperson - they make an attempt, but it is not effective enough in my view. I am learning a lot from it, however, and think that it is a good book.
Dec 12, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it
a good-read for the apologist interested in apologetic methodology. The book lays out the five common forms via essays written by leaders in each category promoting and critiquing each methodology. After reading this book I found a mix of methodologies available to target an apologetic contact to be the best approach. Leaning towards the classical approach, I especially enjoyed Craig's contribution.
Richard Minor
May 31, 2014 Richard Minor rated it liked it
This is a good book to read for an introduction to the different ways of doing apologetics. The essays, with the exception of 1 of the 4 in my opinion, are well written and compelling cases for their method.

It is not, as has been suggested, a book on evangelism. This is apologetics, a defense of the faith. Sometimes the two go hand in hand, but they are different.
Darby Hughes
Apr 29, 2015 Darby Hughes rated it liked it
Informative, but this book mainly made me realize I'm not that interested in apologetical methodologies - just in apologetical arguments and evidences.

It seemed to me that each of the views had its strengths and advantages - and weaknesses.

If you are looking for a detailed explanation of the differences between methodologies, you'll find that.
G Walker
Jun 04, 2013 G Walker rated it it was ok
Frame has some helpful observations as does Clark. Frame has done better work elsewhere - and I fear some of his nuance was/is lost on most readers... overall though at least some model of Van Tilianism gets presented here and that is the only reason it gets two stars.
Mayowa Adebiyi
Mar 11, 2014 Mayowa Adebiyi rated it really liked it
Debate style. Method stated by contributor followed by 4 rebuttals. Each method gets a fair treatment, all writers are lead experts including William Lane Craig who apparently puts the fear of God in non-theists.
Dizzying, if you're already convinced on one method, be prepared to be shaken.
Zeke Vas
Jul 01, 2010 Zeke Vas rated it really liked it
Shelves: apologetics
I love these perspective books. It really cleared up a lot of things I had confused about methodology.
Garrett Cash
If you're a hardcore apologetics fan like me who likes to read endless debates on apologetic methodology then you will eat this stuff up like I did. Not for the faint of heart.
Jeffrey Backlin
Mar 15, 2014 Jeffrey Backlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: apologetics, debate
Great discussion and debate on method of apologetics.
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Steven B. Cowan (M.Div.; Ph.D.) is the Jim Young Professor of Religion and Associate Professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana College in Pineville, La.
More about Steven B. Cowan...

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