An apologetics course is often reserved for seminary training. However, all Christians need to know how to defend their faith against the attacks of the unbelieving culture and provide a cogent critique of alternative worldviews. This is why Christian high schools should teach Apologetics & Worldview as a capstone course for graduating seniors. Though apologetics and worldview can be split into two classes, I believe these subjects go hand-in-hand. If you want to defend the Christian faith, you need to know competing worldviews.
Once students have surveyed the entire Bible and studied systematic theology (9th–11th grade), they are ready for Apologetics & Worldview. What books should be used for this course? There are many apologetics books out there, but the best introduction to the subject is Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief by John Frame. This is a new edition of the formerly titled Apologetics to the Glory of God.
There are different approaches to apologetic method, and this dictates which book a teacher will want to use. John Frame is a presuppositionalist in the Van Tillian tradition. This means Frame believes Christianity is necessary for all truth, and even our arguments for God require that we presuppose Christianity. For example, our use of reason to argue for God’s existence requires that logic exists and that we have minds to understand it—all of which come from God (this is a form of the transcendental argument). There is no basis for such reason in an atheistic worldview.
Presuppositionalism often gets a bad rap, but Frame defends this methodology well. Frame uses all sorts of arguments for Christianity within his presuppositional framework, and he often ends up using the same arguments as an evidentialist or classical apologist, such as the philosophical arguments for God’s existence (cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments). Frame’s book will therefore familiarize students with a wide range of apologetic arguments. He even spends two chapters on the problem of evil.
Frame’s book will provide an excellent introduction to apologetics. If a teacher wants to supplement Frame, there are several directions to take the course. One may want to examine modern challenges to the faith, such as the reliability of Scripture, evolutionary theory, pluralism, and the charge of retrograde morality. Tim Keller’s The Reason for God is a good resource here (though I would look elsewhere for evolution). One may also want to study cults and false religions, such as Islam, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults is a good work to consult. And of course, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is a classic. Lewis has his flaws, but this book is well worth reading even in our day.
One way to aid the study of apologetics is to examine other worldviews. Once students are done with Frame’s book and have a good overview of apologetics, it is helpful to understand the competing worldviews of our modern age. Though not everyone subscribes to a “religion,” all people have a way of viewing the world. That is, all people have some view of human origins, the purpose of life, morality, and what happens after death. A good book to survey such worldviews is The Universe Next Door by James Sire.
This book has chapters on Christianity, deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism, eastern pantheism, new age spirituality, postmodernism, and Islam. It is written for the college level and is therefore not always an easy read. But it is probably the best book of its kind.
Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth is another excellent resource on worldview. This book primarily refutes naturalism and its foundation of Darwinian evolution. But it is also a cultural critique of the modern American church. This book is a good supplement to The Universe Next Door if there is time left in the course.