Christian Apologetics in the Marketplace of Ideas. – A Review


Title: A Thought-Provoking Journey into Christian Apologetics




In “Christian Apologetics in the Marketplace of Ideas,” author Jack Kettler takes readers on a captivating journey through Christian apologetics. His insightful book's balanced approach and comprehensive analysis make it a must-read for believers and skeptics alike. Through meticulous research and thoughtful arguments, Kettler masterfully presents the case for Christianity, engaging with the marketplace of ideas in a remarkable manner. Kettler’s apologetic method is known as presuppositionalism. Sometimes this is referred to as worldview apologetics.   


Engaging and Comprehensive Arguments:


One of the standout features of Kettler's work is his ability to present complex ideas clearly and concisely. He skillfully addresses the most challenging and prevalent objections to Christianity, providing credible and well-researched responses that engage even the most ardent critics. Throughout the book, he balances theological depth with philosophical insights, providing readers with a comprehensive and thought-provoking exploration of apologetics.


Furthermore, Kettler adeptly incorporates a wide range of disciplines into his apologetic arguments. He draws from philosophy, science, history, and theology, skillfully weaving these threads together to construct a compelling case for the truth of Christianity. Kettler addresses the challenges and objections that arise in the marketplace of ideas.  


One of the greatest strengths of Kettler's work is his ability to navigate complex topics with clarity and precision. He breaks down profound concepts in a way that is accessible to both the seasoned theologian and the curious seeker of truth. By employing a logical and systematic approach, he builds a strong foundational argument for the validity of the Christian faith while responding to contemporary objections.


The author also impressively weaves various disciplines, including philosophy, and biblical studies, to support his assertions. This approach adds depth to his arguments, enhancing the overall credibility of his apologetic framework. Kettler exposes contradictions in the logic of atheism.


One example is:


“There is no God, says the atheist absolutely. The atheists have no basis for claiming absolutes, therefore, he is involved in a self-refuting contradiction. In addition, the atheist’s assertion is a universal negative and impossible to prove in terms of how it is advanced by the atheist. One cannot prove a general broad claim that is a ‘negative’ claim. Since the atheist is finite, he cannot really be sure of his assertion, which requires infinite knowledge.” 


An example of some of the material that one will encounter in the book is by Cornelius Van Til, a Dutch-American reformed philosopher and theologian credited with originating presuppositional apologetics.


The book is replete with valuable like the following from Van Til explaining the psychology of unbelief:


“Agnosticism is, in the first place, psychologically self-contradictory upon its own assumptions. Agnosticism wants to hold that it is reasonable to refrain from thorough epistemological speculations because they cannot lead to anything. But in order to assume this attitude, agnosticism has itself made the most tremendous intellectual assertion that could be made about ultimate things. In the second place, agnosticism is epistemologically self-contradictory on its own assumptions because its claim to make no assertion about ultimate reality rests upon a most comprehensive assertion about ultimate reality ... the alternative is not between saying something about ultimate reality or not saying anything about it, but that the alternative is rather between saying one thing about it or another. Every human being, as a matter of fact, says something about ultimate reality.”


“It should be noted that those who claim to say nothing about ultimate reality not only do say something about it just as well as everybody else, but they have assumed for themselves the responsibility of saying one definite thing about ultimate reality. They have assumed the responsibility of excluding God. We have seen again that a God who is to come in afterward is no God at all. Agnosticism cannot say that it is open-minded on the question of the nature of ultimate reality. It is absolutely closed-minded on the subject. It has one view that it cannot, unless its own assumption be denied, exchange for another. It has started with the assumption of the non-existence of God and must end with it. Its so-called open-minded attitude is therefore a closed-minded attitude. The agnostic must be open-minded and closed-minded at the same time. And this is not only a psychological self-contradiction, but an epistemological self-contradiction. It amounts to affirmation and denial at the same time. Accordingly, they cancel out one another, if there is cancellation power in them. . .”


“Incidentally, we may point out that, in addition to being psychologically and epistemologically self-contradictory, the agnostic is morally self-contradictory. His contention was that he is very humble, and for that reason unwilling to pretend to know anything about ultimate matters. Yet he has by implication made a universal statement about reality. He therefore not only claims to know as much as the theist knows, but he claims to know much more. More than that, he not only claims to know much more than the theist, but he claims to know more than the theist’s God. He has boldly set bare possibility above the theist’s God and is quite willing to test the consequences of his action. It is thus that the hubris of which the Greeks spoke so much, and upon which they invoked the wrath of the gods, appears in new and seeming innocent garb.” – Van Til.


The book is full of concise arguments that demolish atheism, such as the following:


“When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary. The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes.” – Greg Bahnsen.


Moreover, the book is a gold mine of relevant quotations such as:


“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it? … Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying; it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” – C.S. Lewis.


In conclusion, Jack Kettler's “Christian Apologetics in the Marketplace of Ideas” is an impressive and insightful work that merits praise. With its extensive research and relevance in today's cultural climate, it is an essential resource for anyone interested in apologetics. Kettler's approach, combined with his emphasis on engaging in the marketplace of ideas, challenges and equips Christians to declare and share their faith confidently. This book is highly recommended to believers, skeptics, and seekers alike. It is a valuable contribution to apologetics and a compelling exploration of the Christian worldview. Moreover, the reader will come away after reading the book with a faith-building appreciation of the impenetrable strength of the Christian theistic worldview.


End of the book review. *


“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)


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“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife, Marea, attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.


* Written with the assistance of ChatGPT and perfected with Grammarly