Shelves: christian , , own My advice to the reader: As with any apologetics piece, this handbook contains theory and philosophy galore. Be prepared to spend some time with it. However, those looking for faults within the arguments will find as many as they want. Catholics and Protestants alike will find the majority of this apologetics handbook useful; only the last chapter deals with the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. I recommend this for any curious person looking to understand more about the logic of Christianity. It is an excellent compilation of the main topics of Christian apologetics.
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Like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Handbook of Christian Apologetics can be described as a "reference text. And both can be read from cover to cover; in fact, I would encourage that.
However, there are obvious differences. The Catechism is a straightforward exposition of the teachings of the faith and it answers the question, What are the beliefs of a Catholic?
For its part the Handbook is "Apologetics" that is, a defense of faith using human reason not saying one is sorry. In it Peter Kreeft and Fr. Ronald K. Tacelli, S. They begin with the premise that every criticism of Christianity can be answered on the basis of reason. Kreeft and Tacelli write from within the great Christian tradition, what C. Lewis called "Mere Christianity," the central body of doctrines held by the vast majority of Christians throughout the ages.
A Baptist, a Pentecostal, an Orthodox, a Methodist as well as a Catholic will be encouraged by the clear, reasoned defense they give of our central beliefs. On the other hand, the person who considers those doctrines outmoded or "up for grabs" will find a strong challenge in this book. The do not ignore or "explain away" the hard teachings. Perhaps the most difficult for modern man is hell.
If it has been a while since you have thought about the possibility of damnation, you would be well advised to read that chapter. I also recommend the chapter to pastors who fall into the trap of thinking our main purpose is to help people get along with each other or feel OK about themselves. In fact, the entire book, far from being a dry treatise, is really a call to conversion and to meditate on the great mysteries of the faith, in a word to pray.
In fact that is clearly the goal because reason by itself can only remove obstacles, not give one faith. It is one thing to know God exists and quite another to believe in Him. The latter involves risking everything. But reason can show it is a good risk, a much better one than for example investing ones life savings in Microsoft ten years ago. I often find works like Handbook a stronger invitation to prayer than many devotional manuals.
I recommend it for Lenten and Easter reading. While I am at it, let me also put in a plug for a briefer work by Peter Kreeft, A Shorter Summa which presents in a most readable format key sections from the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas.
It is available both in English and Spanish as well as on audio tape. Their toll free number is for credit card orders or Catholic Answers has tracts responding to common questions of Evangelicals such as why we have statues, why we go to confession to a priest, pray to Mary, etc.
Handbook of Christian Apologetics
Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith by Peter Kreeft
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Handbook of Christian Apologetics