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New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics


W. C. Campbell-Jack and Gavin J. McGrath with C. Stephen Evans, eds., New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 779 pages, ISBN 9780830824519.

The first thing that should strike readers of this one-volume dictionary is the breadth of denominational and theological representation of the contributors. Editors C. Campbell-Jack and Gavin McGrath have amassed a truly broad array of perspectives to address the issues regarding contemporary apologetics. In so doing, they have enabled denominationally and theologically distinctive perspectives to be addressed by a theologian from that particular denomination or theological position, which allows the topics to be discussed from an insider perspective, and not an outsider perspective. Pneuma Review readers will find this extremely important in the coverage of topics dear to the collective heart of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. For example, the entry on the role of the Holy Spirit in Apologetics was written by G. A. Cole from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and the article on Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity was written W. K. Kay who is the director of the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at the University of Wales.

As far as one-volume dictionaries and encyclopedias go, this volume produced by IVP ranks within the upper 5%. This is a must-have resource for students, pastors, Sunday School teachers and laypersons. Moreover, it is a must-have resource for any Christian who wishes to understand their Christian faith more fully, as well as for those who wish to develop a rational explanation of the Christian faith in the context of today’s complex and ever-changing world. This dictionary is filled-to-the-brim with hundreds of articles that cover the key topics, historic figures and contemporary issues relating to the items of importance within Christian apologetics.

The dictionary is divided into two parts: Part One offers a series of six introductory essays that set the framework for the dictionary, examining the importance of apologetics in light of theological, historical and cultural concerns. Part Two builds from there to present specific and pointed articles on individuals, ideas, and institutions that are crucial for understanding the Christian worldview today.

If one doubts the necessity and importance of engaging Christian apologetics today, after reading through the six introductory articles, one will find it to be true that not only is Christian apologetics important today, but also is it one of—if not the—most important areas of Christian discourse today. All of the essays and articles are written by leading Christian philosophers and theologians. Together, the articles and essays within this volume present an accurate and orthodox response to issues facing Christianity today, and as such this one-volume dictionary is an indispensable resource for Christians living in today’s pluralistic age. Moreover, this one-volume dictionary does a startlingly good job of balancing between accessibility and depth of information, providing at all times a handy bibliography in which to pursue the conversation further, if desired. A must-have book indeed.

Reviewed by Bradford McCall


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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2008

About the Author: Bradford L. McCall, B.S. in Biology (Georgia Southwestern St. University, 2000), M.Div. (Asbury Theological Seminary, 2005), grew up on a cotton farm in south Georgia. A graduate student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Bradford has particular interest in teleology, causation and early modern philosophy.

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