Review of Morey’s A Christian Handbook for Defending the Faith

By John Frame

 

Associate Profes­sor

 

Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa.

 

[Originally published in The Presbyterian Journal (Feb. 20, 1980)14-15. PAGE 14 / THE PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL / FEBRUARY 20, 1980.]

 

A CHRISTIAN HANDBOOK FOR DEFEND­ING THE FAITH, by Robert A. Morey. Pres­byterian and Reformed Publ. Co., Phillips-burg, N.J. Paper, 45 pp. $1.50.
 
Apologetics, the defense of the Chris­tian faith, is often presented in a high­ly technical, difficult, learned sort of language; but if every Christian is re­sponsible to answer those asking rea­sons for his hope (I Pet. 3:15), then there is a great need for apologetics of a more popular sort. Morey, a young Baptist pastor of Reformed convic­tion, seeks in this booklet to present something simple enough for average high school and college students, busi­nessmen and housewives.

Because of its concise outline form, the book includes a very large amount of material for its size. The author generally succeeds in getting it into nontechnical language, though stylis­tically he often lapses into awkward­ness.

He begins with a commendable sec­tion on the spiritual qualifications of the apologist, a subject which deserves more attention in our circles. He ends with a remarkably broad survey of the Christian world- and life-view as it applies to ethics, art, history, psychol­ogy and marriage, contrasting it with non-Christian approaches. Naturally, he doesn’t go into these matters in depth, but his points are well-chosen. This would be excellent material to share with someone who thinks Chris­tianity is only for Sunday worship.

The least adequate part of the book is his discussion of basic principles and methods of apologetics. Morey distinguishes here most unclearly be­tween “evidential” and “presuppositional” approaches, and he never even tells us clearly where he stands on these matters. Likewise, the relations between presuppositions, the law of contradiction and verification are left quite obscure.

There is nothing new here. The book is highly dependent on Schaeffer, somewhat less so on Clark, Rushdoony and Van Til. It contains a great many unargued assertions. 

Therefore, it will not be of much value to those already familiar with the field or to those for whom Morey’s statements are initially implausi­ble. Still, the book does present, in fairly simple terms, an accurate and surprisingly broad picture of Chris­tianity as a world-view, and thus may be of use to someone.