Review of Richard Pratt’s “Every Thought Captive”


[Another short review of an Apologetics book] What a breath of fresh air!  I thought Pratt did an excellent job at communicating his view on apologetics, and while I might not agree with everything he said, I respect him for thinking things through enough to be as clear as he was.  It takes a lot more work, I believe, to be clear, than to just write in a way that only you can understand; so in his field, I think Pratt has risen to heights none of his predecessors had.
Pratt’s start with II Corinthians 10:5 was excellent (p. ix), and he really, from an exegetical point of view, can get a lot more mileage off of that verse than starting off in 1 Peter 3:15 (although he does do that in the first chapter – p. 1).  But even Pratt’s treatment of 1 Peter 3:15 was a lot more contextually sensitive than any other Apologist I have read – even acknowledging that they [the believers] would be giving an answer to a question asked (p. 5).
It is clear that Pratt separates Apologetics and Evangelism (p. 8) as he sees Apologetics, it, “will make our evangelism more effective” (p. 8).  Also, “in apologetics we offer to the unbeliever the choice of salvation or judgment, even as we do in evangelism” (p. 82).  Pratt cites Paul in this distinction, stating that Paul made the Gospel “a vital part, if not the climax” of his apologetic before King Agrippa (p. 82).  But I would beg to differ.  I really do not think that Paul would have made any distinction in any portion of his “defense” as not sharing the gospel.  For what are we defending if not the very truth of the gospel itself?  Without the gospel, there would be no defense.  Pratt makes a false dichotomy here, and I believe it is a dichotomy that is made by every “Apologist” because they made a role that really is not biblical.  Paul did not view himself as an “Apologist” but rather as an apostle; even more basic, he viewed himself as a Christian, a follower of Christ.  Paul preached Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:23), yes that included “defense” as it were, but it was part of the whole preaching.  What really is the Gospel, if not begging people, reasoning with people to be reconciled to God?  I believe the ship is off-kilter if we think that defense is somehow separate from the gospel.  I realize Pratt has his reasons for separating the two (he explains why on p. 83), but I do not think he is being biblical, but rather has turned practical (because people misuse the concepts, he has made a distinction), and that is not acceptable. We should look to the Word, and not come with our preconceived notions about some sort of system, we should come praying that God will teach us, and mold us into His likeness, in accordance with His will.
Another difficulty I had with the book is Pratt’s seeming dismissal of using evidences to share the Gospel citing Peter, because Peter did not say, “the tomb is empty” but rather went to the Old Testament to prove who Jesus was.  But Paul actually did go to evidences, eye-witness accounts.  And even though Pratt knows this (p. 88), he writes off a method used by Little, that the Bible used (p. 78).  But then later, Pratt comes around and uses the very same method (p. 88)!  In being a Presuppositionalist, Pratt has I think blinded himself to his own contradiction.  He’s fighting a battle that should not be going on.  Hopefully, with books like Nathan Busenitz’ (Reasons We Believe) this will begin to cease.

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