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Book review: The Battle Belongs to the Lord by K. Scott Oliphint

Monday November 18, 2013 19:48

Oliphint, K. Scott. (2003) The battle belongs to the Lord. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing 206p


The purpose of this book is to demonstrate the power of scripture in defending the Christian faith. In the introduction, Oliphint quotes 1 Samuel 17:47 to remind us that when we witness to people and defend the faith, the battle ultimately is the Lords.


There is a spiritual battle going on the defence of the faith. There is no neutral ground. We must fight this battle with God’s weapons – the revealed Word of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This must be done in the meekness and gentleness of Christ Himself.


Oliphint continues with a helpful discussion of Romans 1:18-21 and shows its important implication for apologetics. Paul makes it clear that all humanity knows God but they suppress this knowledge by their sin. This is an important apologetic insight. When we defend the faith, we speak to people who are not ignorant of our God. Paul says in this passage that God’s attributes are clearly seen. Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God ad the sky proclaims His handiwork. Therefore we know from scripture that the unbeliever puts on a mask (sin) to hide the truth God has revealed to him in creation.


Hence we must use persuasion. Because humans are made in the image of God, there is truth within him that God has graciously given him. We appeal to that truth the unbeliever already knows. This can lead into a clear gospel presentation. Oliphint includes a helpful discussion on how Paul used persuasion when preaching to the pagans in Acts 17.


The book contains two appendixes:

  • Appendix 1 shows the relationship between apologetics and the Holy Spirit. Oliphint writes, “The Holy Spirit is, in the end, the apologist. As we meet the challenges that come, He glorifies Christ by taking His Word, as we speak, and convicting some of sin, righteousness, and judgement. He speaks in that Word, and, when He sees fit, He testifies to the hearts of some, who then turn and follow Christ – and join His battle!” 
  • Appendix 2 is a list of scripture passages that give valuable insight into apologetics.


The book includes study questions at the end of each chapter making it ideal for group or personal study. There are also helpful insights throughout the book showing how to link apologetics with evangelism.


This is a fine introduction to Christian apologetics.