History of Christian Apologetics – APOL 520

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 01/26/2022

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.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

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. Analyze key Christian apologetic writings throughout the history of the church.
  2. Explain the historical and cultural contexts in which each key writing originated.
  3. Recognize logical fallacies within the key writings as well as the accusations and heresies to which the writings were responding.
  4. Propose helpful points of discussion for modern Christians based on the key writings.
  5. Identify timeless principles of biblically-based Christian faith, which are present in both historical and modern contexts.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. 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. (MLOs: A, B, C, D)

Research Paper: Topic and Focus Selection Assignment

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.

Research Paper: Crafting the Argument Assignment

The student will prepare a 400-word 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.

Research Paper: Final Paper Assignment

The student will write a 3,600-word research-based paper 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. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E)

Each quiz will cover the Learn 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 60-minute time limit. (MLOs: A, B, C)