Biblical Apologetics, Advancing and Defending the Gospel of Christ by Clifford B. McManis

McManis believes that the five traditional apologetical approaches (classical, evidential, cumulative case, Reformed and presuppositional) make major mistakes. Each approach attempts to defend the Christian faith by largely ignoring the Bible and offering philosophical answers instead. Even presuppositionism, with which McManis identifies, tends to be mostly philosophical rather than biblical. Therefore the author provides a sixth view which he calls “biblical apologetics.” He writes, “In the following pages I propose that apologetics needs to be explained from a biblical perspective, not a philosophical one” (p.28). He defines biblical apologetics as the “biblical mandate for every Christian to advance and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ…exposing and subjecting all contrary beliefs to Christ’s revelations as found in Scripture” (p.29). Throughout the book McManis exposes in great detail what he sees as flaws in the five major apologetical views, offering numerous quotes from key apologetics within each system. He especially dislikes...

Against the Gods, The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament,by John D. Currid, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 153 pp., paper $17.99

One of the strongest criticisms facing biblical Christianity today is that much of Scripture, especially Old Testament stories, is borrowed from ancient accounts found in pagan mythologies. Since there are numerous narratives within ancient Near East studies that are very similar to biblical stories (e.g. creation, the flood, the exodus), it is now accepted by secular and liberal scholarship that the authors of Scripture merely borrowed these myths and invented a Jewish monotheistic storyline (pp. 22-23). In other words, biblical accounts of those stories are just as mythical as pagan accounts. Many evangelical scholars are drifting in this general direction as well, claiming that the Old Testament stories are “firmly rooted in the worldview of its time” (p. 23 – Peter Enns). As a result John Walton states, “The early accounts of Genesis are ‘culturally descriptive rather than revealed truth.’” This leads Currid to conclude, “Many evangelical Old Testament...

Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews

In recent times the so-called “new atheists,” most notably Richard Dawkins, have launched an aggressive attack on the existence of God in general and the God of the Bible in particular.  In books such as Dawkins’ The God Delusion, the “new atheists” have taken their agenda to the masses with a popular writing style that is both winsome and distortive.  Wrapping their arguments in scientific concepts outside the realm of most people’s expertise, they have been able to shake the faith of many and make their conclusions appear indisputable.  It is within this context that we wholeheartedly welcome Who Made God?  Edgar Andrews is himself a highly regarded scientist, often serving as an expert witness in court cases in Great Britain, USA and Canada, and even has had the opportunity of formal debate with Richard Dawkins.  He is a man who understands science and is not deceived by high-sounding...

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Strobel was for many years an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.  He was converted after carefully examining the evidence for the claims of Christ as found in Scripture and subsequently became a minister.  In The Case for Christ, he uses his investigative training and skills to lead his readers through the same spiritual journey that he traveled some twenty years ago. The author’s methodology was to interview some thirteen scholars and authorities over a two year span.  He endeavored to match the best evangelical thinkers in each field under his study.  The result is a highly readable and reliable manual which presents documented evidence, from the reliability of the biblical texts to archaeology to the historicity of Jesus to the resurrection.  Many questions posed by the skeptics are given excellent answers and resources for further study and therefore, The Case for Christ is helpful to the Christian needing...

Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias

In a pluralistic society all religions are equally true.  Zacharias claims that this is an impossibility because the various religions do not give the same answers to the vital issues and questions which confront life.  When these issues are thoroughly worked out, it is discovered that Jesus Christ is unique—He is not like other gods, nor is His message the same as other religions. To demonstrate this thesis Zacharias considers six questions that Jesus answered differently from all other major religious.  Jesus’ answers prove His uniqueness but, more than that, they provide evidence for His claims.  The questions deal with: • The false claim of pluralism.• The true claims of Christ.• The purpose of life.• Troublesome concerns such as pain and evil.• The role of our presuppositions.• The inroads of Eastern religions into the Western world. Zacharias defends the Christian faith primarily from the accounts found in the Gospels and then contrasts these findings with...

The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel

The Case for the Real Jesus is Lee Strobel’s follow-up to his excellent 1998 book The Case for Christ.  This volume seeks to answer some of the more recent objections to Christianity popularized largely through the internet, novels such as The DaVinci Code and new aggressive forms of atheism.  Skeptics, taking advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of many, have been able to plant seeds of doubt in and occasionally shipwreck the faith of some through unsubstantiated claims, poor but impressive sounding scholarship, and distortion of the truth.  Strobel attempts to counteract these attacks on Christianity through the same methodology as in his previous book: interview the best conservative Christian scholars on the subjects of their expertise.  The result is most gratifying as the myths, rumors, misrepresentations and false claims melt away quickly when exposed to the light of truth. This volume deals with six major challenges to Jesus...

The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller has pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan since 1989. In the course of twenty years in New York, Keller has encountered many skeptics who vocalized sincere concerns about the Christian faith. The Reason for Goddescribes Keller’s approach to handling the most pressing questions of our time, especially those of young people. The first half of the book deals with what Keller believes to be the seven biggest objective doubts about Christianity: exclusivity, suffering, absolute truth claims, injustice, judgment and hell, science in opposition to Scripture, and literal interpretation of the Bible. The second half of the book is devoted to examining the arguments underlying Christian beliefs. Through use of personal conversations and careful reasoning, Keller not only provides helpful answers to good questions, he also demonstrates for us how to dialogue with those who have rejected biblical teachings. There is much to commend about The Reason for...

A Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

Craig was for many years a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he taught apologetics. This book is a product of those classes and, as such, is a weightier apologetic work than many would desire. But for those up to the task A Reasonable Faith offers a gold mine of information. Craig defines apologetics as “a theological discipline that tries to answer the question, what rational defense can be given for the Christian faith?” By this definition Craig certainly delivers as he gives a rational defense for faith, man, God, creation, Scripture and Christ. The book sketches the historical development and discussion concerning each of these topics as well as recent arguments. For example, the old “Jesus is either a liar, lunatic or Lord” was cutting edge two hundred years ago. But since 1835 the battle shifted to legend, i.e., are the events found in the Gospels myths...

Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? by James K. A. Smith

For a basic understanding of postmodernism, and its affect upon the church, you could not do much better than this little volume. Smith rightly traces postmodernity to three French philosophers, Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault, then summarizes, illustrates (through literature and film) and clarifies what they really are saying. He then “takes these philosophers to church” to see how their ideas are playing out, especially in the emergent church movement. It should be understood that Smith is sympathetic to the emergent church although he believes much tweaking needs to be done. He actually proposes a middle ground between conservative Christianity, which he views as modern, and the emerging church, which he feels is in danger of being shaped by the postmodern culture much as the seeker-sensitive church was/is shaped by modernity (pp. 123-126). This middle ground Smith labels “Radical Orthodoxy.” Radical Orthodoxy would adopt many postmodern philosophies, yet be “thickly...

Truth Decay by Douglas Groothuis

This is an absolutely marvelous defense of truth in our age of postmodernity. Groothuis cuts right through the rhetoric and pierces the very heart of postmodernists, both outside and within the evangelical church. He deals well with both the philosophical – the elite who challenge objective truth, and the practical – the filtering down of these concepts into the lives of Christians. He ably shows how postmodernism is the foundation for the market-driven approach to church life. And he exposes forces such as television for their part in the popularizing of these ideas. There were only two areas for concern and caution, which I found in Truth Decay. In chapter 10 Groothuis makes his case for objective beauty. While I enjoyed reading and considering his views, I believe that he was reaching considerably, and in no way proved his case to any but those already in agreement. Of far...