Making the Case for Faith
N.T. Wright (HarperSanFrancisco: Mar. 14, 2006), 256 pages.
Why do we expect justice? Why do we crave spirituality? Why are we attracted to beauty? Why are relationships often so painful? And how will the world be made right? These are not simply perennial questions all generations must struggle with, but, according to N. T. Wright, are the very echoes of a voice we dimly perceive but deeply long to hear. In fact, these questions take us to the heart of who God is and what He wants from us. For two thousand years, Christianity has claimed to solve these mysteries, and this renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop shows that it still can today. Not since C. S. Lewis's classic summary of the faith, Mere Christianity, has such a wise and thorough scholar taken the time to explain to anyone who wants to know what Christianity really is and how it is practiced. Wright makes the case for Christian faith from the ground up, assuming that the reader has no knowledge of (and perhaps even some aversion to) religion in general and Christianity in particular. Simply Christian walks the reader through the Christian faith step by step and question by question. With simple yet exciting and accessible prose, Wright challenges skeptics by offering explanations for even the toughest doubt-filled dilemmas, leaving believers with a reason for renewed faith. For anyone who wants to travel beyond the controversies that can obscure what the Christian faith really stands for, this simple book is the perfect vehicle for that journey. ~ Product Description
James W. Sire (InterVarsity: Mar 2006), 205 pages.
You gave it your best shot. You made the best case you knew how, and your friend still wasn't persuaded to follow Christ. Why is it that solid, rational arguments for the Christian faith often fail? For over fifty years James Sire, noted author and public defender of the Christian faith, has asked himself that question. Sometimes, of course, the arguments themselves just aren't that good. How can we make them better? Sometimes the problem has to do with us and not the arguments. Our arrogance, aggressiveness or cleverness gets in the way, or we misread our audience. Sometimes the problem lies with the hearers. Their worldview or moral blindness keeps them from hearing and understanding the truth. With wisdom borne of both formal and informal experience, Sire grapples with these issues and offers practical insight into making a more persuasive case for Christ. Includes an annotated bibliography of resources for framing effective arguments. ~ Product Description
Kenneth Richard Samples (Baker Publishing Group: Jul 2004), 288 pages.
It can be difficult to answer questions about the Christian faith-even for Christians who regularly read their Bibles and attend church. What can they say to a skeptic who questions Christian doctrine or truth claims? What about young Christians who want answers to their tough questions? Without a Doubt covers questions on everything from the doctrine of the incarnation to religious pluralism, from evolution to moral relativism, with rational answers for even the most stubborn skeptic. Chapters contain charts, relevant biblical texts, and outlines to help readers grasp key ideas relevant to proclaiming the gospel to an unbeliever or discussing doctrine with another Christian. ~ Product Description
Gregory A. Boyd, Edward K. Boyd (FaithWorks: March 25, 2004), 192 pages.
Edward Boyd's agnosticism rested "not ... too much on any positive position ... but rather on a host of negative ones" about Christianity. In an attempt to address these negative issues, his son Greg, a professor of theology, asked his father, a strong-willed, highly intelligent, and stubborn 70-year-old, to enter into a correspondence in which "all of their cards would be laid on the table." Greg would give his father the opportunity to raise all his objections to the veracity of Christianity, and Greg would "answer these objections as well as give positive grounds for holding to the Christian faith." Three years and more than 30 letters later, Letters from a Skeptic was published and Edward Boyd came to accept Christ. During his journey, he and his son hash through such topics as why the world is so full of suffering; why an all-powerful God needs prayer; how you can believe in someone who rose from the dead; and how another man's death can pardon others. Despite their brutal honesty, both men exhibit respect and love toward one another as they address these volatile subjects.
Lee Strobel (Zondervan: Feb 2004)
Strobel, a former journalist for the Chicago Tribune, affirms that Christ really did die on the cross, and not just faint from exhaustion; that he experienced a bodily, and not just a spiritual, resurrection; and that he was seen alive after his death. In journalistic style, he interviews several experts like Gary Habermas, corrects inaccuracies (the nails would have been driven through Jesus' wrists, we learn, and not his palms) and tells stories. But at its heart, this is an editorial rather than a journalistic account, as Strobel most definitely has an opinion and wants readers to share his own pilgrimage from doubt to rock-solid faith. ~ Publishers Weekly
Douglas Groothuis (Wadsworth: June 2002), 96 pages.
Anyone with any mathematical background will have undoubtedly heard of Pascal. His contributions to mathematics are well noted. Groothuis, who is exceptionally familiar with the philosophical work of Pascal, has done an admirable job in a short space of introducing the reader to Pascal the man, mathematician, inventor, and philosopher. The first four chapters lay out the historical background needed to understand Pascal and his work. Chapter 5 introduces the Pensees, the fragments of a grand work that was unfortunately left unfinished by Pascal's early death. Chapter 6 describes the rejection, in the Pensees, of arguing for God's existence from natural theology, the accepted apologetic of the day. Groothuis begins the next chapter by explaining Pascal's apologetic in that he "aimed to spark a philosophical and existential crisis in his readers that would be resolvable only by Christian revelation" (50). Groothuis explores two of Pascal's ideas, "deposed royalty" and his controversial "Wager". Groothuis helps those not familiar with or only passingly familiar with these two topics, as well as the Pensees, to better understand Pascal's thinking and intent. Groothuis' extensive work and expertise on Pascal shines through in this work. Anyone interested in being introduced to the genius of Pascal will find the time they spend reading this book to be well rewarded. ~ John M. Switzer at Amazon.com
Paul Copan (Baker Books: Nov 1, 2001), 240 pages.
In our relativistic society, Christians more than ever are bombarded by tough questions about their faith. Author Paul Copan has observed that many of these questions emerge as "anti-truth claims" that are part of today's skeptical mind-set. Christians defending their faith often hear slogans and questions such as: It's all relative; Everything is one with the Divine, all else is illusion; The Gospels contradict each other; Why would a good God create hell? This book provides incisive answers to slogans related to truth and reality; theism, pantheism/Eastern religion, and naturalism; and doctrinal issues such as the incarnation and truth of Scripture. Each of the twenty-two chapters provides succinct answers and summary points for countering the arguments. Copan's book is accessible for all Christians who want to defend the plausibility of Christianity in the marketplace of ideas. It also includes helpful summary sections, additional resources, and additional documentation in the endnotes for review and discussion.
C. S. Lewis (Harper SanFrancisco: Feb 2001), 304 pages.
This book by CS Lewis was probably his most philosophical work. As such, it is not a light read at all and would probably prove difficult for beginners who have not been exposed to heavily philosophical material. But for those who want a highly intellectual philosophical discussion of the possibility of miracles, this book is certainly worthy of one's attention. There are a number of strengths to this book which continue to make the book solidly relevant better than forty years after the revised edition came out. Lewis cuts to the heart of the matter very quickly in asserting that rejection of miracles apriori is a common attitude that at its core, is anti-intellectual. Attempts to base rejection of miracles on probabilities, as Hume tried to do, are philosophically untenable and require a betrayal of basic realities that are universally accepted. Lewis then systematically dismantles the worldview that tends to most cradle apriori miracle rejection, naturalism. He compellingly shows that naturalism is a worldview that cannot stand up to philosophical scrutiny. Key to Lewis's presentation is his argument that naturalism can be demonstrated to be false in its complete rejection of supernaturalism merely by the reality of reason. Logic and reason of the mind, by themselves, are supernatural acts that cannot be explained or accounted for in nature, as naturalism demands. Supernaturalism, according to Lewis is not only possible, but pervasive since the act of logical thinking itself is supernatural in origin. ~ J.F. Foster at Amazon.com
Lee Strobel (Zondervan: Oct 1, 2000), 304 pages.
Ex-newspaperman Strobel's Christian apologetics read like feature interviews in the religion pages rather than a theological treatise. To knock down what he calls "the Big Eight" roadblocks to faith, he questions experts about them rather than logically bulldozing his way to solutions. He grills Catholic lay philosopher Peter Kreeft about the problem of evil, Indian-born evangelist Ravi Zacharias about Christian exclusivism, historian John Woodbridge about oppression in the name of Christ, and other authorities about the truth of miracles, God's callousness in the Hebrew Bible, the justice of Hell, the challenge of evolution, and the struggle with persistent doubt. Kreeft and Woodbridge are Strobel's least doctrinaire interlocutors. The others, staunch evangelicals all, may interest fewer readers, though Zacharias on the exclusivisms of the other major religions touches on matters Americans too rarely hear discussed. ~ Ray Olson for Booklist
Michael J. Murray, ed. (Eerdmans: December 1, 1998), 429 pages.
This book should be required reading for every thinking Christian. The articles are very engaging and informative. Each contributor deals with a certain philosophical and/or theological issue from the problem of evil to divine action and human freedom. It is a compilation of some of the choice young Christian philosophers and apologists currently writing and researching. This title is a fresh assessment of some fairly thorny issues that have been discussed for centuries. Michael J. Murray (co-editor with Eleonore Stump for the book titled Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions) is the editor, while great thinkers such as Alvin Plantinga (who wrote the forward), J.P. Moreland (Scaling the Secular City), William J. Wainwright (editor of Faith and Philosophy), and Kelly James Clark (Return to Reason) endorse the book. While the book anticipates that the reader already has a background knowledge in the areas covered, nonetheless, each article is so well articulated that the reader will either gain a better understanding or be able to develop a data base to launch them into further investigation. Thus, this work is a must for anyone interested in the areas of Philosophy of Religion and Christian Apologetics. ~ T.B. Vick at Amazon.com