The Top 3 Apologetics Books Christian Philosophers Say You Should Read

Over the course of a month or so, I asked a number of Christian philosophers what 3 books they recommend Christians with an interest in apologetics read. The results have actually been really interesting! I’ve collated the results below. At the end of the post, I’ve listed the top 3 books recommended by all respondents.

The list is in alphabetical order (by surname). Though there are a couple exceptions here and there, most on this list hold Ph.D.’s in philosophy (or something similar). It’s likely you’ll encounter a name you haven’t heard before. Also important: I did not restrict the answers they gave to works written by others.

It’s taken quite a bit of work, but all of the books have been hyperlinked for your purchasing convenience (as have their websites). Enjoy!

Ben Arbour

  1. The Bible – God & Man
  2. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  3. Reasonable Faith – William Lane Craig

David Baggett

  1. Reasonable Faith – William Lane Craig
  2. Love Your God with All Your Mind – J. P. Moreland
  3. Making Sense of God – Tim Keller

Erik Baldwin

  1. Where the Conflict Really Lies – Alvin Plantinga
  2. Knowledge of God – Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley
  3. Is There a God? – Richard Swinburne

Luke Barnes

  1. Modern Science and Ancient Faith – Stephen Barr
  2. Miracles – C. S. Lewis
  3. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel

Kelly James Clark

  1. Reason for the Hope Within – Michael J. Murray
  2. Five Views on Apologetics – Stephen Cowan
  3. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion – David Hume

Nevin Climenhaga

  1. Is There a God? – Richard Swinburne
  2. A View of the Evidences of Christianity – William Paley
  3. Evil and the God of Love – John Hick

Paul Copan

  1. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview – William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland
  2. Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
  3. The Reason for God – Tim Keller

William Lane Craig

  1. On Guard – William Lane Craig
  2. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  3. Jesus Under Fire – Michael J. Wilkins

Dustin Crummett

  1. The Existence of God – Richard Swinburne
  2. The Resurrection of God Incarnate – Richard Swinburne
  3. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God – Marilyn McCord Adams

Douglas Groothuis

  1. The Universe Next Door – James Sire
  2. On Guard – William Lane Craig
  3. The God Question – J. P. Moreland

Mark D. Linville

  1. Orthodoxy – G. K. Chesterton
  2. The Everlasting Man – G. K. Chesterton
  3. The Abolition of Man – C. S. Lewis

Timothy McGrew

  1. A View of the Evidences of Christianity – William Paley
  2. Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings Both of the Old and New Testament: An Argument of Their Veracity – John James Blunt
  3. Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis

Tyler McNabb

  1. Where the Conflict Really Lies – Alvin Plantinga
  2. Knowledge of God – Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley
  3. Is There a God? – Richard Swinburne

Calum Miller

  1. The Prodigal God – Tim Keller
  2. The Existence of God – Richard Swinburne
  3. The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – Tim and Lydia McGrew

Glenn Peoples

  1. The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition – Paul Eddy and Greg Boyd
  2. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony – Richard Bauckham
  3. Real Ethics: Reconsidering the Foundations of Morality – John Rist

Josh Rasmussen

  1. Humble Apologetics: Defending the Faith Today – John G. Stackhouse Jr.
  2. Reason for the Hope Within – Michael J. Murray
  3. Christian Apologetics – Norman Geisler

Randal Rauser

  1. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition – Gordon D. Fee
  2. Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz
  3. The Hiddenness Argument – J. L. Schellenberg

Jerry Walls

  1. Is There a God? – Richard Swinburne
  2. Debating Christian Theism – J. P. Moreland, et al.
  3. God Is Great, God Is Good – William Lane Craig & Chad Meister

Peter S. Williams

  1. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  2. On Guard – William Lane Craig
  3. The Universe Upstairs – Merve Jones

Peter van Inwagen

Dr. van Inwagen’s response was a bit different from the rest. He recommended literally anything from N. T. Wright or Rodney Stark, saying “they’re all good.” I’ve included one of each of their works below. He also declined to comment on which works in philosophy are best. He also gets five.

  1. The Resurrection of the Son of God – N. T. Wright
  2. The Victory of Reason – Rodney Stark
  3. Redating the New Testament – John A. T. Robinson
  4. The Priority of John – John A. T. Robinson
  5. Modern Physics and Ancient Faith – Stephen Barr

Dr. Anonymous

  1. The Reason for God – Tim Keller
  2. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
  3. Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis

Top 3

3rd Place (3 Votes)

On Guard – William Lane Craig

“Renowned scholar William Lane Craig offers a readable, rich training manual for defending the Christian faith.

“This concise guide is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help Christians stand their ground and defend their faith with reason and precision. In his engaging style, Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God’s existence, defends the historicity of Jesus’ personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn’t work. Along the way, he shares his story of following God’s call in his own life.

“This one-stop, how-to-defend-your-faith manual will equip Christians to advance faith conversations deliberately, applying straightforward, cool-headed arguments. They will discover not just what they believe, but why they believe—and how being on guard with the truth has the power to change lives forever.”

2nd Place (4 Votes)

Is There a God? – Richard Swinburne

“In this compelling new edition, Richard Swinburne, one of the most distinguished philosophers of religion today, argues that contrary to the claims of Richard Dawkins and others, science actually provides good grounds for belief in God. Why is there a universe at all? Why is there any life on Earth? How is it that discoverable scientific laws operate in the universe? Swinburne uses scientific reasoning to argue that the best answers to these questions are given by the existence of God. The picture of the universe that science gives us is completed by God. This updated edition features a new, stronger argument as to why theism does–and materialism does not–provide a very simple ultimate explanation of the world. And Swinburne also now examines the idea of the possible existence of many other universes, and its relevance to his arguments from the fine-tuning of our universe to the existence of God. Powerful, modern, and accessible, Is There a God? is must reading for anyone interested in an intelligent and approachable defense of the existence of God.”

1st Place (5 Votes)

The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel

“Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God?

“Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields.

“Strobel challenges them with questions like, How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

“Winner of the Gold Medallion Book Award and twice nominated for the Christian Book of the Year Award, Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.

“The new edition includes scores of revisions and additions, including updated material on archaeological and manuscript discoveries, fresh recommendations for further study, and an interview with the author that tells dramatic stories about the book’s impact, provides behind-the-scenes information, and responds to critiques of the book by skeptics. As The Case for Christ and its ancillary resources approach 10 million copies in print, this updated edition will prove even more valuable to contemporary readers.”

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jim parker
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jim parker

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion – David Hume is a sustained argument against a supernatural worldview and argues strongly against miracles. i am confused why it is listed in a catalog of apologetics books. in one sense it is a good book….if this is the best anti-miraculous case that can be made, then christians are in pretty good shape.

Kattupalli shadrach
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Kattupalli shadrach

We want need your books
But I am doing God’s work in S.India.

John Loftus
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John Loftus

These are mostly evangelical books, probably because you asked mostly evangelicals. I wonder how many liberals would recommend works by Karen Armstrong, John F. Haught, and Robert Wright, or Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, and John Hick?

Jeff Gambill
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Jeff Gambill

The basis for authority held in any Christian view comes from one of the following means: (1) Rationalism or Humanism = Man’s thinking is the source of all authority. Man is considered to be above everything, or at the center of everything, thus the source of authority in man, or man’s reasoning. Liberal theology believes the Bible is not the inspired word of God. Higher criticism rejects the authority of the Bible, and places man (or themselves) as the authority over the Bible, rather than the Bible having authority over them. (2) Mysticism = means authority is the Bible plus… Read more »

Yoon
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Yoon

I’m wondering why a liberal would recommend Barth, considering Barth reacted against modern liberalism.

John Loftus
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John Loftus

Yoon, you fail to realize yesterdays liberals are today’s conservatives. Barth was considered a liberal when I wrote my master’s thesis in 1982 on his doctrine if the word of God.

http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2012/12/the-new-evangelical-orthodoxy.html?m=1

John Loftus
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John Loftus

My first book ranked equally well on the atheist side in one list:

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=3545

Philip Rand
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Philip Rand

Boy John Loftus…..

You sure are going to hate being in heaven, that is for sure (once saved always saved… one cannot lose ones justification…. one can just lose ones sanctification….

D Smith
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D Smith

It looks as though all of these apologetics books, good as they may be, fail to take in the presuppositions every has about the existence of God, the goodness of God, the person/divinity of Jesus Christ, etc. Spiritual things are spiritually understood. Jesus said to the rich man in hell that, even if one were to return from the dead, they wouldn’t believe his message. I think there should be a balance of apologetics resources that would include Cornelius VanTil, Greg Bahnsen, Scott Oliphant, Richard Pratt, to name but a few.

Barry
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Barry

Good call, Bahnsen is highly underrated.

Philip Rand
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Philip Rand

D Smith The point Christ was making was that the “evidence” contained in scripture was stronger. Ergo, if one does not understand scriptural evidence one will not accept any evidence. Christ’s message here is correct. For if one studies the entire Biblical corpus one is led to the startling conclusion that such a corpus satisfies totally the constraints of formal science (using the Craig Theorem for example) could only have come from an external source, i.e. outside of time. Clearly, such a conclusion may appear startling but that is the result using an information-physics approach to scripture. The Bible is… Read more »

Philip Rand
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Philip Rand

Perhaps, an interesting companion to the Lee Strobel book (a journalist) would be another book (again by a journalist) called “The End of Science” by John Horgan….

Here is a quick overview (by himself) of how he believes the thesis of “The End of Science” has held up since its first publication….

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/was-i-wrong-about-8220-the-end-of-science-8221/

Philip Rand
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Philip Rand

As Richard Feynman once stated:

“There is nothing left to discover in physics… one can only discover America once.”

Something the LHC is beginning to “discover”.

John Schricker
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John Schricker

I’m surprised that the Bible was only mentioned once. Shouldn’t it be the #1 source to refer to, when doing Christian apologetics?

John Chaoss
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John Chaoss

I need a reasoned explanation of what the Bible says. It isn’t anti biblical ie why God says such & such. Apologetics is good for Christians in sanctification & being able to uplift each other. No amount of God knowledge will save someone unless the Holy Spirit is working.

AC
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AC

You should of asked presuppositionalists. as well.

Philip Rand
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Philip Rand

Cameron

I anticipated you would not appreciate a post “critical” of apologetics… however, my authority is:

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ. “(Colossians 2:8)

gary
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gary

Notice that not one book from the Bible is on this list of recommended books.

Why is it that an all-knowing, all-powerful God needs so many human “experts” to explain in clearer terms what he obviously did not clearly and simply convey in the 66 books of the Bible!

R Rey longoria
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R Rey longoria

I’m an avid apologetics reader and have read most of the books recommended here. However, I was very surprised not seeing I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. Of all the apologetic books I’ve been reading since 1999 I found this book worth its weight in gold. It is by far one of the easiest book to understand and is extremely packed with so much valuable information anyone can share in their daily witnesses that I found myself reading this book, not once or twice like other apologetic books, but seven times… Read more »

Kelly
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Kelly

This is an interesting read. I find it interesting today in apologetics. Apologetics is knowing Who (Jesus) we believe in, and why we believe in Him. (Jesus) In most churches, discipleship is lacking, and most Christians do not know what they believe or how to share the gospel message. This list had good resources, no doubt. What is also lacking in a lot of believers lives is knowing how to study the Bible, which is foundational in faith and apologetics. I also believe many Christians are not sound on the essentials of the Christian faith, and need help in maturing… Read more »