This listing gives you the cream of the crop for what to read from the Classics. Put a cherry on top and enjoy.

  • Dr. Timothy J. McGrew, Fl. 21st century.
  • Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, 1931- .
  • David Nelson, 1793-1844.
  • David Simpson, 1745-1799.
  • Ambrose Serle, 1742-1812.
  • Thomas Scott, 1747-1821. Scott's additions to works recommended by Serle.
  • James Patrick Holding, Fl. 21st century. Tekton Ministries.
    Timothy J. McGrew

    Timothy J. McGrew, Professor and Chairman (2005-2009), Department of Philosophy, Western Michigan University. Curator, Library of Historical Apologetics. Listing from

    Items marked with an asterisk (*) are available online in Google books or other sources. Items marked with a dagger (†) are works by adversaries of Christianity.


    Conversational Apologetics

    General Bible and Historical Background

    Basic Reading Skills in Apologetics

    Positive Biblical Apologetics: Minimal Facts Argument

    Positive Biblical Apologetics: Eyewitness Testimony Argument

    Positive General Apologetics: Orientation

    Positive General Apologetics: The Kalam Argument

    Positive General Apologetics: The Origin of Life

    Intelligent Design

    The Moral Argument

    The Challenge of Naturalistic Science

    The Problem of Evil

    The Objection to Miracles

    Defensive General Apologetics: Other General Objections

    Defensive Biblical Apologetics

    John Warwick Montgomery

    John Warwick Montgomery, Director, International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism & Human Rights, Strasbourg, France, recommends the following for his curriculum:

    The Apologetical Task Today

    Historical Apologetics

    Scientific Apologetics

    Cultural (including Literary Apologetics)

    Philosophical Apologetics

    Legal Apologetics

    Biblical Authority Today

    Non-Christian Religions, Sects and Cults

    Apologetics and Human Rights

    David Nelson

  • David Nelson, in The Cause and Cure of Infidelity: including a notice of the author's unbelief and the means of his rescue. 2d stereotype ed., corrected by the author. New York: American Tract Society, c1841. pp. 155-158, had these recommendations for reading:


    Recapitulation of the powerful remedy.-Books on the evidences of Christianity are but little read in our nation.

    Some of the reasons why this is so, it would be well to observe.

    1. Many who are inclined to unbelief, whose doubts are enough to paralyze their energies in seeking conversion, are not confirmed sceptics. They do not call themselves infidels. They do not know the name of these authors, or that many of the books exist. They do not inquire, and those who never were thus annoyed themselves, suspect none of infidelity, but the bitter declaimors against the Bible.

    2. These books are little read, for few of them are in circulation. Inquire in an ordinary village for ten such authors, and you will not be able to find them. The minister perhaps may have one or two. These few are not much read for the following reasons. Perhaps here is a man who has prevailed on an unbeliever to read a certain volume. He finishes it and informs his Christian friends that he is more encompassed in cloud than he was before. They are disheartened, and he is not benefited. They perhaps ask another to read the same work, hoping to see a happy result in the second case. The man, perhaps, looks into the book occasionally, and lays it down, takes it up again, and thinks it hard to comprehend--thinks it does not touch the points which perplex him. He lays it down again, the world presses, his business harasses, amusements divert; and after some months, they find he has not read, and they lose all hope in the case. After meeting a few similar results, they believe that Almighty power could save, but they have little confidence in means. If soldiers of the cross had a full assortment of truthful volumes, and were to make a prayerful effort, they would meet cases where unbelieving friends and neighbours could be induced to read six or eight volumes; and perhaps repeat a part of the research. In these instances they would scarcely ever find one (if ever,) who would still dispute the message of high heaven. They would meet those who would refuse, and those who would only half perform; but one case of a soul snatched from the gulf, would repay all the labour. We might here name some who have written on the evidences of Christianity, so that out of the list some six or ten may be asked after by any inquirer. From the following list, it is a matter of comparative indifference which is selected, so that enough is chosen and read, until the subject is mastered. It is strangely true, that these books are not known to Christians. The few that are in circulation, are scattered and invisible. Enough of them can rarely be found together to inform extensively the mind and heart disposed to cavil. The following books are a few out of the many which are more than worth the cost of possession.

    Evidences of Christianity, by Grotius. The Truth of the Christian Religion here

    Paley's Evidences of Christianity -- Part 1 here; Part 2 here

    Alexander's Evidences. Evidences of the authenticity, inspiration, and canonical authority of the Holy Scriptures -- here

    Faber's Difficulties of Infidelity -- here

    Locke's Evidences of Christianity. The Reasonableness of Christianity -- here

    Addison's do. do. Evidences of the Christian Religion here

    Campbell's do. do. The authenticity of the Gospel-history justified: and the truth of the Christian revelation demonstrated, from the laws and constitution of human nature. In two volumes Edinburgh, 1759. 2 vols. Vol. 1 here and Vol. 2 here

    Sherlock's do. do. The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus -- here

    Lyttleton's do. do. Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of Paul -- here

    Le Clerc's do. do. Five Letters Concerning the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures -- here

    West's do. do. Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection -- here

    Douglass' do. do. The criterion: or, miracles examined, with a view to expose the pretensions of pagans and Papists -- here

    Leslie's do. do. Truth of Christianity -- here

    Lardner's do. do. The Credibility of the Gospels -- ZIP archive here

    Newton on Prophecy. Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John. In two parts. -- here

    Stackhouse's History of the Bible. History of the Holy Bible -- Part 1 here; Part 2 here

    Scott's Family Bible.

    Horne's Introduction, Vol. I. -- here

    Porteus' Evidences of Christianity. Summary of Principle Evidences here

    Beattie's do. do. Evidences of the Christian Religion here

    Soame Jenyns' do. A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion here

    Jones' do. do. The Scholar Armed, Part 1 here and Part 2 here

    Burnet's do. do. A treatise concerning the truth of the Christian religion -- here

    Watson's Apology. An Apology for Christianity, vs Edward Gibbon here

    An Apology for the Bible here

    Jews' Letters to Voltaire. Guenee, Antoine -- Letters of Certain Jews to Voltaire -- here

    Prideaux's Connections. The Old and New Testament connected, in the history of the Jews and neighbouring nations. Edinburgh, 1799. Vol. 1 here; Vol. 2 here; Vol. 3 here; Vol. 4 here

    Horae Paulinae. Truth of the Scriptural History of St. Paul here

    Paley's Natural Theology. Natural Theology here

    Shuckford's Connections. The sacred and prophane history of the world connected, from the creation of the world to the dissolution of the Assyrian empire. London, 1731. 2 vols. Vol. 1 here, Vol. 2 here

    The reason why many, on beginning to read the advocates for Christianity, sink deeper into the mire of their infidelity, is worthy of our notice. It is intimately connected with the transaction of the garden and the forbidden fruit. The author who writes on the Evidences of Christianity begins, very commonly, to overturn the cavils and sophisms of unbelievers; such as he has heard urged, or such as are often made. The young reader perhaps never heard these objections urged against our religion. (He certainly never did hear or see the one half of those in use.) He did not know that they existed. As soon as he sees them on the page of the Christian writer, for the purpose of refutation, the objection seizes the powers of his soul! The answer he does not receive; he cannot notice! Such is the nature of fallen man. This is true of those who would be glad to believe the Book of God. Darkness has for their souls a superior attraction. It is not until he reads the work the second or the third time that he begins to observe the quibble less, and the answer more.

  • David Simpson

    David Simpson, in his A Plea for Religion, and the Sacred Writings: Addressed to the Disciples of Thomas Paine, made these recommendations:

    (5) "Watson's Apology for Christianity, and his Apology for the Bible, are admirably calculated to remove a considerable number of difficulties attending the records of our salvation.

    Horne's Letters on Infidelity are wisely suited to the same purpose. But he who is able and willing to examine thoroughly the grounds of his religion, should have recourse to Butler's Analogy of Religion, a work well adapted to give satisfaction to inquiring minds, upon the most important of all subjects, religion.

    Grotius on the Truth of Christianity, is an excellent little work.

    Doddridge's Three Sermons, on the Evidences of Christianity, seem better suited to the understandings of common readers than almost any other.

    Lardner's Credibility; Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4; Jones's New and Full Method for settling the canonical authority of the New Testament Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3; and Paley's View of the Evidences of Christianity; are all works of high reputation.

    Beattie's Evidences of the Christian Religion, Volume 1, Volume 2, is a valuable small work.

    Baxter on the Truth of Christianity, is not to be answered.

    Edwards on the Authority, Style, and Perfection of Scripture, is very valuable.

    —Gildon's Deist's Manual

    —Kidder's Demonstration of the Messias

    —Stillingfleet's Origines Sacrae, Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Hartley on the Truth of the Christian Religion

    —Bryant on the Authenticity of the Scriptures

    —Jortin on the Truth of the Christian Religion

    —Delany's Revelation Examined with Candour, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3

    —Paschal's Thoughts on Religion

    —Young's Night Thoughts, and Centaur not Fabulous

    —Ditton on the Resurrection

    Cure of DeismVolume 1, Volume 2.

    —Foster's Usefulness, Truth, and Excellency of the Christian Revelation

    —Clark's Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation

    —Lally's Principles of the Christian Religion, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3

    —Paley's Horae Paulinae

    —Squire's Indifference for Religion inexcusable

    —Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity

    —Murray's Evidences of the Jewish and Christian Revelations

    —Chandler's Plain Reasons for being a Christian

    —Addison on the Truth of Christianity

    —Watson's Two Sermons and Charge

    —Syke's Essay upon the Truth of the Christian Religion

    —Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses. Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Gregory Sharpe's Two Arguments in Defence of Christianity, Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Leslie's Short Method with Jews and Deists

    —Berkley's Minute Philosopher

    —Randolph's View of our Saviour's Ministry, Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Clayton's Vindication of the Histories of the Old and New Testament

    —Bell's Inquiry into the Divine Missions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ

    Lively Oracles by the Author of the Whole Duty of Man

    —Boyle on the Style of Holy Scripture

    —Macknight on the Gospel-actions as probable

    —West on the Resurrection

    —Littleton on the Conversion of Paul

    —La Pluche on the Truth of the Gospel, Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Socinus's Argument for the Authority of the Holy Scripture

    —Chandler's Defence of Christianity

    —Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, Volume 1, Volume 2

    —Priestley's Evidence of Revealed Religion—These are all works of reputation. Several of them are unanswerable, and all contain more or less matter upon the truth of the Scriptures, that is useful and important.

    There is another work which I would recommend to the common reader, because it is so plain, satisfactory, and concise: Jenning's Appeal to Reason and Common Sense for the Truth of the Holy Scriptures.

    To these may be added Leland's Deistical Writers, Volume 1, Volume 2 —Leslie's Truth of Christianity Demonstrated—and Taylor's Moral Demonstration that the Religion of Jesus Christ is from God. Writings on these subjects of universal importance are very numerous, and it is impossible they can be too much so. It may be questioned whether any objection whatsoever has been made to the great truths of religion and the Sacred Writings, which has not been fairly and honestly answered in one or another of the above authors. But no writer has taken so much pains to state and answer objections to the Scriptures as Stackhouse in his History of the Bible, [Volume 1 and Volume 2]. If the serious reader find himself oppressed with difficulties, he should apply to that work, where he will find them exhibited at length, with such answers as are satisfactory.

    "It may be recommended to the serious reader to add Knox's Christian Philosophy, where he will find the internal evidence of christianity insisted on at length. That work, however, does not appear to me to be altogether unexceptionable, though highly valuable. He sets the external and internal evidence of the gospel too much in opposition one to the other. And there is an asperity and superciliousness in his expressions, which ill become the subject on which he writes. It will however do much good by calling the public attention to inward religion.

    "The purity of the gospel is discussed at length in Newcome's Observations on our Lord's Conduct; Hunter's Observations of the History of Jesus Christ, Volume 1, Volume 2; and Harwood's Life of Christ."-- pp. 122-123.

    (9) "Reasonable deists cannot but become Christians, where the gospel shines." These several passages of the sacred writings account sufficiently for the infidelity of our several deistical writers. Bolingbroke, Voltaire, Gibbon, Paine, and most others, of whom I have had knowledge, seem to have been destitute of the proper state of mind for the investigation of religious truth.

    "From several conversations, which it has been my chance to have with unbelievers, I have learned, that ignorance of the nature of our religion, and a disinclination to study both it and its evidence, are to be reckoned among the chief causes of infidelity."

    Allix's Reflection upon the books of the Holy Scripture, contain a large number of valuable thoughts, and should be read in opposition to all the flimsy objections of the above deists. Kett's Sermons sufficiently invalidate the sophistry of Gibbon. Much satisfactory light has lately been thrown upon the Plagues of Egypt, by Bryant. The Old Testament has been defended against the attacks of Paine by David Levi, a learned Jew, with considerable ability. But of all single books, none is equal to the admirable Course of Lectures by Doddridge [Vol. 1 , 513pp. and Vol. 2, 547 pp.]; a work which no inquisitive Christian should be without in his library.

    Ambrose Serle, Thomas Scott et al.

    Ambrose Serle, in his The Christian Remembrancer, or Short Reflections upon the faith, life, and conduct, of a real Christian. [One line from II Timothy]. Philadelphia: William Young, 1795 edition, in "To the public."--pp. 279-282; includes a list of books recommended "both on patriotic and religious principles."

    JOHN EWING, D.D. Pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; and Provest of the University.

    JAMES SPROAT, D. D. Collegiate Minister of the 2d Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.

    ROBERT SMITH, D. D. Minister of the Gospel, Pequea.

    ASHBEL GREEN, D.D.Collegiate Minister of the 2d Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.

    JOHN B. SMITH. A.M. Minister of the 3d Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.


    In this country, where opinions are everywhere freely circulated upon all subjects, and where there is a great diversity of sentiments respecting Religion ; it is of the utmost consequence to the cause of truth, to promote a taste for reading the works of judicious and practical writers, upon the important doctrines of the gospel.

    Diligent inquiry, and strict investigation into the principles of religion, are ever favourable to its progress and power upon the mind. The gospel invites, nay demands examination -- and the more we enquire into its evidences, and inform ourselves of its contents with a conscientious design to practice its duties, the more shall we be confirmed in our belief of its divine original; and the more shall we feel its beneficial and meliorating effects upon our conduct in life. Hence it has been often found in experience, that when a general attention to the searching of the Scriptures, and to the reading of those writings which are most evangelical in their spirit, has prevailed in various places; there, living, practical religion has been restored to a flourishing state:--and again, where men have been most diligent in the exercise of the duties of piety, there, a zeal and taste for pure and peculiarly evangelical principles, has ever revived and prevailed. It would, therefore, give us great pleasure, as ministers of the gospel, and be a happy presage of the increase and stability of the church of Christ in this country, to see such a disposition generally prevail.

    Many books, remarkable for their evangelical principles, and experimental method of treating religious subjects, have been published by the learned and pious reformers of the church, and their successors in the ministry, which, although some of them are rather obsolete in the language, and not very fashionable in their arrangement of the several parts, contain those peculiar doctrines of grace, those scriptural truths, which have been frequently blessed with a Divine influence to produce happy revolutions in favour of real piety; to shake the empire of sin and licentiousness; and to establish the kingdom of our blessed Saviour.—Several such have appeared in the last and present age, written with a genuine spirit of piety, plainness, and simplicity, which have been crowned with a remarkable success.

    We are happy to find, that the demand for these seems to increase of late, in various and distant parts of this country; and that, by the laudable exertions of some of the printers in America, who have published a great variety of practical works, and several editions of the Bible, this demand is likely to be supplied with convenience to the people, and on as reasonable terms as they can be imported from Europe. We, therefore, take the liberty to recommend the following books, published in this country, to the esteem and perusal of our countrymen, both on patriotic and religious principles; and hope they will prove of eminent usefulness to the pious of all denominations, who may be able to procure them.

    Thomas Scott, in his A Vindication of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and of the doctrines contained in them: being an answer to the two parts of Mr. T. Paine's Age of Reason, offers this:

    The publisher of this American edition of the foregoing work, knows not that he can better fill these remaining pages of the sheet, than by inserting a recommendation of books annexed to "The Christian Remembrancer" lately published in Philadelphia. It is as follows; "We, take the liberty to recommend the following books, published in this country, to the esteem and perusal of our countrymen, both on patriotic and religious principles; and hope they will prove of eminent usefulness to the pious of all denominations, who may be able to procure them."

    We would further beg leave to recommend a few of the practical writers, whose works have not yet been republished here. Such as

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