History of Christian Apologetics – APOL 520

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A survey of the history of Christian apologetics. The course will offer a contextualized study of key apologists in the history of Christianity, including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, William Paley, B. B. Warfield, and C. S. Lewis. The study will focus upon the contribution of each apologist to Christian thought.




Studies of how Christians have explained and defended their beliefs and behavior in various historical and cultural contexts will help prepare modern Christians to do the same in their own religiously diverse world. These studies will analyze how Christians have responded to accusations and heretical ideas within specific contexts with a view toward effectively sharing the truth of the gospel throughout the modern world.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Summarize the key arguments and developments from the time of the Apostolic Church to the present day.
  2. Identify the key personalities who led the church and contributed to its apologetic development from its founding to the present day.
  3. Integrate the social, historical, and political contexts in which the apologists developed their arguments from the Church’s founding to the present day.
  4. Develop a key apologetic argument or response, taking into account the development of the argument or response throughout Christian history.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (MLO: A, B)

Journal (3)

The student will keep a journal of his or her research which explains in detail the type of research undertaken, the sources used, provisional conclusions reached, and questions arising from the research. The writing style must be informal, and there is no minimal word count. (MLO: D)

Research Paper (MLO: C, D)

Part 1

The student will prepare a 300-word document which includes the following: the focused area of the paper, a starting bibliography of 5 titles, and a list of issues to be addressed.

Part 2

The student will prepare a document which includes the following: a working thesis for the paper; a description of the argument of the paper; a final outline for the paper; and a final bibliography containing at least 12 sources.

Part 3

The student will write a 3,600-word research-based paper of at leas 3,600 words in current Turabian format that focuses on one of the following topics: the ontological argument; God, evil, and suffering; or the reality of hell. The paper must include at least 12 sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.

Exams (4)

Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the modules/weeks in which it is assigned. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes; contain 25–27 multiple-choice, true/false, and short answer questions; and have a 30-minute time limit. (MLO: A, B)