This summer I have had the privilege of assisting my dear friend and fellow lay apologist, Josh Wagner, in a weekly Apologetics Q&A forum at Falls Creek. I am honored to work alongside such an able and articulate apologist! While mom life prevents me from joining every week, the weeks I have participated have been full of rich, rewarding dialogue and meaty questions from inquisitive students, parents, pastors and youth pastors alike.
To give you a taste of the topics typically discussed, questions range from Apologetics to Theology, from the existence of God to the nature of sin, from the age of the earth to LGBTQ+ issues, from suffering and pain to pop culture. We’ve discussed how to use the latest Marvel movies as a springboard for Gospel conversation, and we’ve addressed questions of sharing the Gospel with an unsaved friend or child with love, compassion and humility.
Last week, a vibrant and eager audience asked probing questions and took copious notes. It brings me so much joy to help answer questions with which I myself have struggled. The truths God has taught me aren’t mine, and I love spreading the treasure of understanding!
I noticed that this week in particular, book recommendations flew left and right. And at the end of our session, several people asked me to compile a book list of some of my favorite Apologetics works.
While I am still drawing up a longer and more comprehensive list, the list below covers the 10 of the most influential works in my journey to date. Some are Apologetics works proper, while others are works of memoir, philosophy or theology. Although the list is limited and the descriptions brief, I would be happy to expand on any title you find intriguing. Drop a comment if you’d like to hear more about how/why I found a particular work beneficial!
Anchored (middle high school) – With my introduction to Apologetics, my faith gains its first intellectual foundation.
- Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, was my first exposure to Apologetics, Theology, the moral argument for God, and C.S. Lewis’s nonfiction work.
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler, laid a comprehensive foundation for Christianity’s foremost truth claims at an accessible high school level.
The Unexpected Journey (late high school) – My naïve disdain for college is displaced by an eager desire for higher education, as I began to glimpse its potential for the Kingdom of God.
- Love Your God With All Your Mind, by J.P. Moreland, wrecked my proud anti-intellectualism and planted in its place a vision of learning for the Kingdom’s sake.
- Meno, by Plato, launched me on a quest to seek wisdom and virtue through beauty, goodness and truth. I studied this book with the insightful guidance of mentors at the Wheatstone Academy, a pivotal youth camp in late high school that taught me critical lessons of Christian adulthood.
- A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken, motivated me to attend college through an imaginative vision for education: the “dreaming spires” of Oxford, the hearty laugh and joyous friendship of C.S. Lewis, the graceful, curving arch of a stained-glass window, cobbled streets, old books, and deep discussion of profound questions of God and life with friends over a hearty meal and a crackling fire.
Discovering Hidden Treasure (early college) – I gain precious spiritual insights regarding the nature of God and of happiness.
- Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius, deepened Scriptural truths by revealing how genuine happiness is found in God.
- Meditations on First Philosophy, by Descartes, introduced me to the ontological argument for Theism and grew my faith by demonstrating not merely that God exists, but that His character must necessarily be the standard for justice, goodness, beauty and truth.
The Unexpected Return (middle college to present day) – I realize my “childish” love of stories need not be abandoned – instead, stories can crucially aid in both Gospel advancement and spiritual growth.
- Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton, first introduced me to imaginative Apologetics. By illustrating Christian principles with gripping metaphors, Chesterton helped re-enchant my faith and infuse with beauty my understanding of the Christian life.
- Apologetics & The Christian Imagination, by Holly Ordway, opened my mind to understand imagination’s critical importance for Apologetics.
- Culture Making, by Andy Crouch, revealed a robust theology of culture and a practical framework of influencing culture for Christ through engagement and creative contribution, rather than simplistic or dismissive condemnation. Fun fact: In his autobiographical song “Non-Fiction”, Lecrae points to this book as highly influential on his own process as creative artist!
As some of you may know, I commence my Master’s degree in Christian Apologetics this fall at Houston Baptist University. My primary goal is to help equip you with the necessary resources to ground, cultivate and strengthen your faith.
So, if you’d like a book recommendation, or if you’d like to grab coffee and discuss questions of faith, please do reach out. I would love to hear from you! And I would be delighted to hear what books have most influenced you. Which have most strengthened your spiritual walk?
Thanks for the read, and Soli Deo Gloria!