Some recommendations for basic apologetics materials

Some recommendations for basic apologetics materials May 12, 2015

A reader writes:

I wanted to drop you a note to tell you that, while you and I disagree vigorously about capital punishment, I appreciate very much your apologetic writings.

For instance, I’m sending this one to a friend that I’m particularly frustrated by, since I seem unable to articulate a “meta” argument, instead getting caught in the weeds of a hundred different doctrinal tiffs.

I’ve been looking for a good, general purpose apologetic that is non-polemical, concise, but aimed at an Evangelical such as my friend, of the “rock band” come-as-you-are contemporary variety, who nonetheless is serious about her faith and has a fairly standard traditional, Ravi Zacharias Evangelical upbringing, including anti-Catholic biases.

Anyway, I thought you might appreciate kudos, even if from a notorious dissenter and heretic as myself. 😉

God bless, and please pray for me.

My general recommendation, for a starting place, (and not because I wrote it, but because the issue is foundational to all other conversations) is my By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition. Until you’ve settled Sacred Tradition and opened the door to listening to the fullness of the Tradition and not just the bits you like, it’s hard to proceed with other conversations.

After that, there’s all kinds of stuff to read, depending on how you need to scratch where your friend itches. If they just want an overview, Peter Kreeft’s Fundamentals of the Faith is good. Scott Hahn is great for a Catholic intro to reading the Bible with the mind of the Church, as well as for doing speculative theology in an orthodox and creative way (the two are not mutually exclusive).  Steve Ray has done good work on the papacy. For Mary issues, I recommend my own Mary, Mother of the Son. If they are puzzled by the way in which the Church uses the various senses of Scripture, I would also toss in my Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did.

That’s probably sufficient for now. But there’s boatloads more where that came from and many if not all of the typical questions can be addressed by referring them to the copious amount of material at places like Catholic Answers.

If you or your friend have any more questions, please feel free to write me! God bless your work in the Vineyard through our Lord Jesus Christ!

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