Every Thought Captive, A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth by Richard L. Pratt, Jr

The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society sums up this book well: “Richard Pratt has written a manual to help ordinary people engage in apologetics along the lines of Van Til’s approach.  In the process he has translated the philosophical terminology of Van Tillian apologetics into everyday language…both sound and stimulating.”

Pratt has little use for evidential apologetics (pp. 72-80) believing that such arguments are unproductive.  He opts instead for Van Tillian’s presuppostionalism (pp. 81-98).  The four closing chapters provide specific biblical defenses against common objections by unbelievers.  He suggests two broad approaches—an argument by truth and an argument by folly, both based on Proverbs 26:5.  The argument by truth has three steps:

  1. The Christian should admit his answers rest on his commitment to Christ.
  2. Evidences from Scripture should be given.
  3. The unbeliever is shown that his rejections of these evidences is due to his commitment to independence (that is, he is his own authority).

Arguments by folly also has three steps:

  1. The unbeliever should be shown that his rejection of truth rests on his assumption of his own authority, which cannot be justified.
  2. The specific objections he has are self-defeating.
  3. The Christian should demonstrate to the unbeliever that his positions are futile because of his commitment to independence. He must be challenged to forsake his commitment to independence.

Every Thought Captive is a helpful distilment of Van Tillian apologetics written in understandable language—something Van Til was never accused of.

Every Thought Captive, A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth by Richard L. Pratt, Jr. (New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1979), 152 pp. + vi, Paper $8.30

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel


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