Aug 18, 2010

Beyond Opinion - A Book Review

Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We DefendRecently I received a copy of "Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend" from Thomas Nelson Publishers to review.  This is a weighty volume of essays designed to equip Christians to understand the biggest objections to the Christian faith and equip them to accurately defend and live our faith and apologetic in Jesus Christ.  Zacharias possesses one of the greatest minds in the Christian faith.  He is the main author and editor of this volume of essays.  He has also compiled some of the most brilliant scholars to contribute to this volume including Alister McGrath, John Lennox, and Sam Solomon.
If you are looking for light, easy reading about how faith is like a butterfly or how to have "your best life now", stay away from this book.  This is a book about apologetics.  It is a book designed to address the real and hard issues about Christianity in the current culture.  The first section of the book is designed to give the reader and in-depth perspective of the challenges presented by postmodernism, Atheism, Islam, Science, the growth in Eastern Religions, and the cultural divide with today's younger generation.  Issues such as the authority and accuracy of Scripture, the Bible and naturalism, and the rise in atheism since 9/11 are tackled on deeper levels.  The second section seeks to address "the questions behind the questions" which are the real issues that underlay many objections to the Christian faith.  Zacharias does an excellent job of addressing the age-old issue of the gospel and evil and suffering.  Michael Ramsden does a thorough job of addressing the objection that personal faith has nothing to do with truth or reality.  His chapter equips the reader to engage in "conversational apologetics" by presenting some of the often asked questions about faith and Christian experience.

As I wrote earlier, this is not light Christian reading.  However, it may well be one of the most important books in print.  History will eventually record the impact that Ravi Zacharias and his ministry have had on expanding the gospel into the difficult areas of the world and culture.  Many Christians will never read a book like this because "It's too hard to read" and that is to our shame.  Ultimately, we must be able to articulate a faith to the culture around us that is "beyond" our opinions and personal experiences and actually addresses the intellectual concerns that philosophy, atheism, and pain have actually brought.  I believe that if more Christians were to pick up this book and push through the challenges addressed that we would see more opportunities for the gospel around us.  Apologetics is not an issue that we as Christians should push to the periphery to be addressed by scholars and philosophers only.  It is being obedient to Peter's admonition to "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."  How can we defend with respect if we don't know the real questions people are asking?  Pick up a copy of Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend, find a quiet place to read it, and buckle your seat-belt.

I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”