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Online · School of Divinity · Theological Studies

History of Christian Apologetics

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

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 Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Dulles, Avery Cardinal. A History of Apologetics. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005.

Edgar, William, and K. Scott Oliphint, eds. Christian Apologetics Past and Present, vol. 1. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009.

Edgar, William, and K. Scott Oliphint, eds.. Christian Apologetics Past and Present, vol. 2. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

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)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (3 at 75 pts ea)


Journal (3 at 50 pts ea)


Research Paper

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3




Exams (4 at 75 pts ea)





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


APOL 520

Textbooks: Dulles, A History of Apologetics (2005).

Edgar & Oliphint, Christian Apologetics Past and Present, vol. 1 (2009).

Edgar & Oliphint, Christian Apologetics Past and Present, vol. 2 (2011).


Reading & Study




Dulles: ch. 1

Edgar & Oliphint (2009): Selected Readings

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Dulles: ch. 2

Edgar & Oliphint (2009): Selected Readings

1 presentation

Exam 1



Dulles: ch. 3

Edgar & Oliphint (2009): Selected Readings

1 presentation

Journal 1

Research Paper – Part 1




Dulles: Review ch. 3

Edgar & Oliphint (2009): Selected Readings

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

Exam 2




Dulles: ch. 4

Edgar & Oliphint (2011): Selected Readings

1 presentation

Journal 2

Research Paper – Part 2




Dulles: ch. 5

Edgar & Oliphint (2011): Selected Readings

1 presentation

Exam 3



Dulles: ch. 6

Edgar & Oliphint (2011): Selected Readings

1 presentation

DB Forum 3

Journal 3




Dulles: ch. 7

Edgar & Oliphint (2011): Selected Readings

2 presentations

Research Paper – Part 3

Exam 4





DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.