The Christian Story As Our Deep Longing: a book review

Christianity is good news. But how is it good news for us? Philosopher Gregory Ganssle says the Christian Story is the answer to our deepest desires. In Our Deepest Desires: How the Christian Story Fulfills Human Aspirations, Ganssle describes how the good news of Jesus Christ makes sense of our longings and fulfills our common, human desires. Ganssle (Ph.D., Syracuse) is professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Biola University and the author of several books of theistic philosophy and apologetics.

5182In part 1, Ganssle describes what the Christian story has to teach us about personhood, our purpose and meaning, and our capacity for relationships. In part 2, Ganssle claims that Christianity answers our deep expectation for moral goodness. Part 3 explores how beauty points us toward God. In Part 4, Ganssle delves into what the Christian Story has to offer us by way freedom (and how it relates to Christian truth and hope).

As Ganssle explores each of these longings, in turn, he contrasts how the Christian story describes reality, with atheistic and materialistic stories and ways they answer these questions of desire. He differentiates the Christian faith from materialistic Darwinism, existentialism, utilitarianism, and thinkers like Bertrand Russell, Fredrick Nietzche, the New Atheists, etc. Ganssle does this all, with an accessible conversational tone, full of personal anecdotes and pop-cultural references.

IVP Academic classified this book as “RELIGION/Christian Theology/Apologetics”(back cover).  I think the ordering of these is essentially correct. Ganssle offers thoughts about the value of Christianity which I think will be instructive and beneficial, primarily for Christians as we think through a Christian understanding of reality, and what difference this makes for our lives. Ganssle explores more the ‘why Christians believe,’ than the ‘what’ Christians believe. This doesn’t mean what Ganssle says is solely subjective, but his emphasis is on the lived benefits of the Christianity—how it gives us meaning and a purpose and the ways it illuminates the true, the good and the beautiful and brings us hope and freedom.

This emphasis on the ‘why’ more than the ‘what,’ characterizes how Ganssle handles the Christian story. Ganssle uses ‘the Christian Story’ as shorthand for what Christians believe about the nature of reality. Ganssle doesn’t explore the narrative of scripture in great detail, though he does note along the way: creation, the fall, redemption, and consummation. Most of Ganssle’s Scriptural references are drawn from the New Testament (though he does reference Genesis 1-3, and, Psalm 19:3). Missing from his Christian Story is both the story of Israel and the Church’s story.  However, he is not telling us all of the what, but why the Christian Story answers our deep desires. 

As an apologetic, Ganssle doesn’t offer any ‘knock-down arguments,’ but his contrasting of worldviews highlights the ways in which Christianity speaks meaningfully to human longing. Ganssle notes in his introduction “If you recognize your own deep values in what I discuss, you may see that, indeed, Christianity makes a good deal of sense” (13). Seekers who are interested and exploring what the Christian story has to offer may find Ganssle’s answers compelling. The committed atheist will not find these brief reflections as persuasive. But I think one of the most valuable things about apologetic works, is that they show clear thinking and a rational basis for faith for those who are drawn into the Christian story or are staring back from the other side of conversion and wonder if they thought stuff through the issues well enough. To that end, Ganssle describes cogently how the gospel is good news, fulfills our deepest longings. That is pretty valuable.

I would recommend this book for believers and seeking-unbelievers who are exploring, or at least open to, Christianity and are curious as to what the Christian faith has to offer.  I give this book four stars. ★★★★

Notice of material connection, I received a copy of this book from IVP Academic in exchange for my honest review.

Foolishly Persuaded: a book review

We live in a time in which our culture vacillates between the material world and the spiritual-but-not-religious. Everywhere you look there is either New Atheism or New Age spirituality, evidentialist scientific rationalism or postmodern relativism. Os Guinness points out that the time is ripe for apologetic engagement but  first we must recapture the lost art of Christian persuasion (16-17). In Fool’s Talk he gives an account of where we are at this cultural moment and what it would look like for Christians to engage the culture persuasively and winsomely.

Guinness’s first three chapters make the case for Christian persuasion, while chapters four through twelve give shape to the type of persuasion he is advocating for. In chapter one he urges us to allow our talk to be shaped by the cross (which is foolishness to those who are perishing), and states “Christian persuasion must always take account of the human capacity for reason and the primacy of the human heart” (27). Throughout the book he continues to argue for persuasion of both  the heart and the mind, in language which speaks meaningfully to unbelievers.  In chapter two, he eschews an over-emphasis on communication or marketing techniques, saying, ‘Christian persuasion is cross talk, not clever talk’ (39). He takes his cues on persuasive speech from the Bible, mostly Jesus and the prophets. Chapter three  argues for the vital role of apologetics in Christian speech (Guinness after all, is an apologist), and the need to engage with  a passionate intellect. Humorously, Guinness calls Balaam’s ass the patron saint of apologists for the vital role it played in saving Balaam by stopping him in his tracks(60).

In chapter four unfolds what he means by Fool’s Talk–subversion of the ‘vaunted wisdom, strength and superiority of the world through the cross'(72). He showcases how the gospel provides ‘the most hopeful and humorous view of life in world history’ (with a little help from thinkers like Erasmus, Chesterton, Reinhold Niebuhr and Peter Berger and more). Chapter five examines the ‘anatomy of unbelief.’ Guinness diagnoses the way unbelief stems from a willful abuse of truth, deliberate acts of exploitation and inversion of the truth, deception and self-deception (84-9).  He profiles how distractions keep unbelievers from seeing the consequences of their belief systems.

Chapter six unpacks what Guinness calls ‘prophetic subversion,’–engaging unbelievers beliefs by turning the tables on them. Guinness says, “all thoughts can be thought, but not all thoughts lived” (115)and argues for an apologetic which reveals the pitfalls of unbelief (following things through to see where their ideas lead).  Helping others see the full consequences of their position involves engaging with them in their language rather than just saying the gospel louder, slower and in a tone-deaf way. Here Guinness helps us see our way through to engaging others, be he  counsels graciousness and care (121). People are not consistently rational and we should take care to speak to the areas where they feel the inconsistencies in their worldview. This requires both gentleness and discernment.

Chapter seven profiles moments in the lives of several converts and what caused them to see the cracks in their worldview.  Chapter eight explores how to speak persuasively with others through reframing the issues, raising questions, telling stories or dramatizing their predicament. A key biblical story which  illustrates persuasive talk is Nathan’s confrontation of David about his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. Chapter nine addresses tone of conversation and the trap of always ‘having to be right.’ Chapter ten tackles the problem of Christian hypocrisy (the ‘what about you’ boomerang’) and chapter eleven profiles religious revisionists within the church who have forsaken the gospel (he isn’t particularly friendly to Episcopalians on this score). In chapter twelve Guinness unfolds his method: raise questions, give answers, give evidence and provide a chance for commitment.

Admittedly this book was a slow burn for me. It really wasn’t compelled until part way through Turning the Tables (chapter five); however Guinness is somewhat of an elderstatesman among Christian apologists and an astute cultural critic. He points a way foreword for Christians to engage in compelling, creative persuasion and synthesizing the insights of other great apologists and Christian thinkers before him. There is a lot of meat that the above summary skips over. I don’t think there is a better resource which comprehensively provides rules of engagement for those who want to share their faith with unbelievers. I have a couple qualms about his tone when profiling those he disagrees with but appreciate his message. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in seeing unbelievers come to saving hope through Christ. There is sage advice on how to communicate good news winsomely to hearts and minds. I give this five stars: ★★★★★

Note: I received this book from InterVarsity Press in exchange for my honest review.

An Amusing Apologetics Book? a book review

I like Christian apologetics book as much as the next guy which means not a whole lot. I do like the idea of them. A reasoned, rational defense of Christian truth is a great idea–something that answers questions and addresses difficulties can be very helpful. But let’s be honest, most apologetic works suffer from  some serious defects. A few are overly simple and don’t really offer more than trite answers to tough questions. Some books are just dry and boring. Rare is an apologetics book that answers questions well while remaining entertaining.

The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist or: the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments by Andy Bannister is both highly entertaining and thoughtful. Bannister is the Canadian Director for RZIM.  Hailing from the UK, his prose is full of  British wit, humorous asides and puns. It is rare to read a book where the footnotes are this funny. Bannister takes on the rhetoric of the so-called New Atheists, exposing  bad argumentation, false claims, overstatements made by these antagonistic unbelievers. Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and the Derek Zoolander of New Atheists, Sam Harris, are all skewered by Bannister’s masterful wit. He also endeared himself to me by taking several cheap shots at the Toronto Maple Leafs (the NHL team in his adopted city). I haven’t read an apologetic book this entertaining since Randal Rauser’s The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetics Rabbit Trails. 

Each chapter begins with a humorous story (most often a bit fiction) which highlights significant issues with these Atheist’s arguments. Bannister then goes on to make some serious points about :what constitutes a good argument, the saneness of Christian belief, the reason why not all gods are the same, the problem with psychological arguments against God, why religion doesn’t poison everything, the limits of science’s explanatory power, the necessity of God to underscore morality and meaning, why everyone has faith and our reliable knowledge of Jesus. I doubt seriously he would win many converts from died-in-the-wool-atheists, but Bannister certainly demonstrates the warrant for Christian belief.

Bannister focuses on the New Atheists, though some of what he writes applies to ‘Old Atheism’ as well (he peppers his prose with occasional references to Bertrand Russel and others).  What sets the New Atheists apart from the old, is the vitriol they direct at religion and faith. They don’t describe religious people as wrong or misguided. They see us as evil. While their arguments against God are not always the most philosophically sophisticated, I’ve spent enough time on college campuses to hear Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris described as intellectual heroes from bright young people. Bannister does a good job of showing some of the places where their arguments are more flash than substance.

However this book doesn’t tackle every issue. One of the stickier points for some unbelievers is God’s track record. Atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens point to the Canaanite Conquest and some troublesome stories in the Bible and posit that the God of the Bible is a ‘moral monster.’  Bannister doesn’t explore this issue or theodicy (the problem of evil) in any great depth and yet I think that this is the major issue for many people today.  This signals the limits of this volume. A skeptic may follow and appreciate Bannister’s points and still come away with their principle objections untouched.

But for an entertaining and thoughtful romp and critique of New Atheism this is well worth reading. I give it four stars.

Notice of Material Connection: I received this book from Monarch Books and Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.

Summa Contra Moroni: a book review

I was asked several months ago by a ministry colleagu if I had any resources on Mormonism. I really didn’t, other than perhaps a chapter in an overview of world religions. It is interesting that I have a number of resources  on Atheism and the grower secularism in our country. Yet we’ve come much closer to electing a committed Mormon as president than we ever have electing a confirmed Atheist. The evangelical Liberty University has had Glenn Beck deliver a commencement address where he took time to describe his experience of faith as a Mormon. Evangelicals are used to cooperating with Mormons on moral issues (i.e. Abortion, traditional marriage) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has major and growing influence on all aspects of our culture. However their vision of God, humanity, the Bible, salvation, and revelation are different from orthodox expressions of the Christian faith

Mormonism 101: Examining the Religion of the Latter Day Saints is not, as the title implies, a simple overview of basic Mormon beliefs, though that is certainly included. It is a book about how basic Mormon beliefs are wrong and are incompatible with biblical Faith. Authors Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson of the Mormonism Research Ministry have dedicated their lives to engaging Mormons in conversation about the tenants of their faith from an Evangelical Christian perspective. Because they know Mormonism as a dynamic faith led by a living prophet and president, their case against Mormonism makes generous use of documentary evidence, drawn especially from leaders who are central to the Mormon faith.

McKeever and Johnsons book gives a comprehensive overview of Mormonism. They examine the LDS concept of God (the Father, Jesus, and the Trinity),  Mormon anthropology (Human preexistence, the secondary state, the fall and apostasy), their scriptures, their concept of salvation, their ordinances and temple practices, and their concept (and content) of Revelation.  I appreciated how carefully they built their case on documentary evidence (with extensive endnotes at the end of each chapter). Their purpose in writing, is to be a resource for non-Mormons as they engage in conversation with Mormons.

In general, I agree with their theological convictions and their take on Mormonism. I am an Evangelical pastor and while I respect Mormons for their lifestyle and commitment to mission, I think their concept of God, Jesus and Humanity is deeply flawed and their teachings are problematic. Nevertheless I have trouble with the tone of this book.

When I was in college I remember extended conversations on faith I had with a couple of Muslims. They carried little booklets with them with titles like How to Answer a Bible Thumper which rehearsed the contradictions in the Bible (from a Muslim perspective). Mostly, they demonstrated misunderstanding of my faith, having observed it from the outside. I wonder if there is a similar dynamic related to this book. This is not a sympathetic take on Mormonism. Not even a sympathetic-critical take. This is a critical look at where Mormonism is wrong and occasionally the authors tone bothered me and definitely would bother me if I was a Mormon reader.

That caveat aside, for my purposes, I think this is a helpful resource to have around and will likely refer to when I’m next In conversation with a Mormon. In several places, it helped me clear up some of my own misconceptions of Mormon beliefs and I think it is on point on many of the issues (especially the Mormon concept of God and humanity. I give this four stars.

Notice of material connection: I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review.

Doubt Has Its Limits: a book review

Some people think faith is about swallowing Christian truth claims full-sale and never doubting again, ever.  As the saying goes, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it). However when you become a Christian, you aren’t really supposed to leave your brain in the front closet.  We need our minds to help us think through problems, wrestle with ideas and to be able to discern truth properly.  Faith and doubt work together to help us press into God’s truth and experience al that God has in store for us.

Christina M. H. Powell is a person who knows well the tension between doubt and faith. In her day job she is a Harvard educated  biomedical research scientist conducting research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is also an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.  When asked if she has ever questioned her faith, she answers, “Sure I question my faith, but I also question my doubts” (17).  Faith takes us into a realm beyond human reason, but Powell knows professionally and personally there is real value in doubt.

So in Questioning Your Doubts: A Harvard PhD Explores Challenges to Faith she showcases the value and limits of doubt. In three sections, she unfolds some of her own faith journey and struggles and how she has resolved them, both as a scientist and as a person of faith.

In part I, she begins by ‘thinking through doubts.’ In chapter one, she takes up Isaac Newton’s challenge to ‘build more bridges than walls’ (17-8).  Rather than seeing doubt and scientific inquiry as antithetical to ‘real faith,’ Powell sees the value of science, doubt and inquiry for examining and exploring our world and weighing evidence. Faith takes us beyond on the realm of  measurable evidence and experience toward hope and expectation. Powell would have have us doubt and investigate even in the midst of faith  because both science and faith have important things to teach us (29). Chapter two explores deeper the ‘interplay of influences’ between faith and facts. As a scientist and a believer Powell has a keen eye for aspects of each that have shaped her calling and experience (48). Chapter three and four describes the value of doubt and questioning for discernment and growing in knowledge and understanding.

Part two explores the sources of doubt. Chapter five describes the limits of human reason. Sometimes doubts arise because are ability to reason and read the evidence only takes us so far (we see through a glass dimly). Sometimes we doubt because are questions remain unanswered (chapter six). Still doubts are not always intellectual. Sometimes our doubt is born out of real-life-pain (Why would a good God let this happen?) or disillusionment (why is the church so hypocritical?). Powell gives good strategies on how to hold out faith in the face of tragedy and how God uses disillusionment in our hearts to turn us into agents of change (chapters seven and eight, respectively).

Part three speaks about resolving doubts, not in the sense of getting an answer to every question, but in making your peace with them. Chapter nine talks about the authentic journey. Rather than trying to stuff doubts down, Powell shows that there is real power in honestly wrestling with them. In Chapter ten she talks about ‘retracing the path’ and the reality that a ‘reason’ for something is not always apparent in the moment. Sometimes we see God’s hand most clearly  in hindsight.  Finally Powell closes where she began with a passioned plea to ‘build bridges’ between faith and science:

I remain confident that the key to a greater understanding between scientists and minsters will come from making connections. If pastors reach out to scientists within their congregations to learn more about their work, then science might not feel so intimidating.  If scientists share how they integrate their faith and their profession with seminary students, then the next generation of pastors will be better equipped to minister to those with technological backgrounds. The friendships that form between individual scientists and individual ministers will become the bridge betwen the two professions. With mutual respect in place, dialogue will become much easier. (192-3).

What the above summary doesn’t fully reveal is how much Christina Powell shares her own journey: existential crises, discernment, clarifying her sense of call and making peace between science and faith. This book is not a detached, abstract ‘thought experiment,’ but describes her own journey of faith (and doubt) and offers the insights she has gained. She weaves together her own story with biblical reflections and insights on faith and science.

I think that pleasantly surprised me about this book. When I picked it up, I thought it was a new book on apologetics. It is that, but it is also is a book for Christians to how to better think through their faith. This will certainly be helpful for new college students (sometimes youth graduate church when they graduate high school because they were never given tools to think through their faith). But I think it can also be useful for deepening a conversation in church on the relationship between faith and doubt, God and nature, the scientific method and Revelation. As a pastor, I appreciate Powell’s challenge to be a better bridge builder and commend it to you.  I give this book five stars: ★★★★★

Thank you to InterVarsity Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Get on Board: a book review

If you were to stand on the platform at Grand Central Station, ready to board a train, it would be reasonable to ask, “Where will this train take me?” Hopefully we would know the answer before we board and end up somewhere we didn’t intend. Abdu Murray’s Grand Central Question has in mind a similar range of questions as he probes three major worldviews and their critical concerns.  He examines the assumptions of secular humanism, pantheism (or new age eclecticism?) and Islam and he sees a ‘Grand Central Question’ at the center of each of these worldviews.  Murray himself is a convert to Christianity from Islam. He brings to the apologetic task, a lawyer’s mind, astute at weighing and analyzing the evidence.

So what are the ‘Grand Central Questions’ for each of these worldviews? In part I of his book, Murray describes how secular humanists question what ‘provides us with intrinsic value or objective purpose?’ For the secular humanity each person is the sole arbitrator for issues of morality and purpose (though many would also look to the common good). Murray examines the claims of secular humanists, both those of the New Atheists and kinder, gentler secular humanists. He affirms their belief in humankind’s intrinsic value, but sees the real answer to secular humanist questions resides in Jesus who’s incarnation and death on a Roman cross demonstrate how precious humanity is in God’s eyes (112). He also argues that God provides the basis for objective morality.

The Grand Central Question which Eastern Spiritualities attempt to answer is the problem of pain and suffering. This is true of the panethestic religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, but it is also true of the new spiritualities of Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. But the answer to suffering provided by each of these are some version of the great escape. To become one with everything means to be released from the wheel of suffering and to be united with the Divine universe. In the Christian tradition, God did act decisively to bring humanity into union with Himself, but Creator remains seperate from creation. We are invited into a dynamic relationship with God and like, Jesus enter into the suffering of our world.

Finally Murray examines Islam. As this is the faith system that Murray was raised in, it is not surprising that this is the most detailed section of his book. Murray claims the Grand Central Question of  Islam is ‘how are we to come to grips with God’s greatness in a way that satisfies our mind’s God-given  rational capacity and our soul’s realization that what is worthy of worship is that which is beyond us? (170)’ For Muslims the greatest of Allah is codified in reciting the Takbir: Allahu Akbar (God is Greater).  Murray examines the philosophical claims that Muslims have against Christianity (i.e. a corrupt scripture, Trinitarian theology equals idolatry, Jesus only ‘appeared to die,’ etc). In each case he shows how each of the claims of Islam undermine God’s greatness. He argues that if God great (as Muslims and Christian’s both believe) than he could certainly preserve his own gospel, his greatness is manifest in Trinity, and His Great Mercy is shown in Christ’s incarnation.

Murray is thoughtful and fair in his engagement with other worldviews, even as he argues tenaciously for Christian belief. My favorite part of the book was the prologue. Here, Murray recounts a story of a conversation he had with a Muslim in a hospitable room. They walked through many of the standard objections to Christian belief (from a Muslim perspective). Then Murray asked his interlocutor a personal question, “What would happen to you if you did become a Christian? What would your kids think or do?” (15). The man told Murray he’d be disowned (16). That act of naming the cost for truth, changed the tenor of their discussion up to that point. Murray encourages us to likewise ask questions of people from other worldviews, and to listen for (and ask) about the peculiar cost that they would have to pay to become a Christian. He also encourages us to ask why we should pay the cost for Truth (24-7)

Thus the prologue orients you to Murray’s apologetic approach. He has attempted in these pages to listen well to what these competing worldviews are saying but finds God’s own story of redemption most compelling. He demonstrates how Jesus is the answer to the Grand Central Question. I appreciate how christocentric his Apologetic is! So many apologists answer secular humanism by demonstrating the rationality of theism. Murray does this, but he points to the Christian story–Christ’s incarnation and death as the proof in the pudding. Likewise he points New-Agers and Muslims to Jesus. This is great approach!

I liked this book and recommend it for Christians and non-Christians alike. I am sure that secular humanists, pantheists and Muslims will not always find Murray’s reasoning compelling, but it will ignite an interesting discussion about what the real answer to the ‘grand central question’ is. I give this book four stars: ★★★★


True Reason and the New Atheist: a book review

The New Atheists declaim God and religion as outmoded and evil. To them, faith is not reasonable but an irrational hypothesis with dire consequences for the human race. Belief in God has underwrote henious crimes against humanity: the fall of the two towers, the crusades, etc. And so the New Atheists describe themselves as the ‘party of reason’ chooses to ground their convictions in empirical, material evidence. But is the New Atheism a reasonable alternative to Christian truth?  Which is reasonable alternative?

In True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism, Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer have gathered together over a dozen Christian apologists in order to answer two questions: (1) Do the New Atheists reason well? (2) Do Christians fare any better. Contributors include John Snowstreet, Tom Gilson, Carson Weitnauer, William Lane Craig, Chuck Edwards, David Marshall, Lenny Esposito, David Wood, Peter Grice, Timothy McGrew, Samuel Youngs, Sean McDowell, John DePoe, Randall Hardman, Matthew Flannagan, and Glenn Sunshine.

Of the so-called ‘four horsemen of the New Atheism,’ True Reason interacts most with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. The late Christopher Hitchens is referenced but his arguments are not focused on in a substantial way (though the God question is now more firmly settled for him). Daniel Dennett is barely mentioned (except in the notes) but several New Atheist lesser lights are referenced (i.e. Loftus, RIchard Carrier, etc.).  Dawkins and Harris remain highly visible and influential figures who tout atheism’s rationality and the unreasonableness of faith. It makes sense for these authors to focus here.

The multi-author approach allows for an interdisciplinary answer to New Atheist claims. Logic, cosmology, ethics, and history are drawn on by various authors to show that the New Atheist answers arevastly overly simple. A close analysis of Dawkins and Harris’s arguments show how much of their rhetoric rests on rhetoric rather than reason and they are guilty of fuzzy logic in a number of respects (Chapters by Chuck Edwards and Tom Gilson are particularly good on this score).

I think that these apologists (as a group) make a good case for the reasonableness of Christian belief and point out flaws in  the New Atheist perspective. I am a Christian, so perhaps biased in my assessment here, but I do think that this book illustrates well that some of what New Atheists call ‘reason’ is not reason, and some aspects of Christian belief that they dismiss as unreasonable, has a rational basis. This doesn’t mean that all Christians are reasonable and all New Atheists are not. What they do show, is that the religion criticized by Harris and Dawkins is a bit of a strawman.

Having done college ministry at a secular university, I knew several students who were enamored with the likes of Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris. I think this is an important contribution to dismantling the foundations of the New Atheism. Christians who are unsure of the reasonableness of their faith, will be encouraged and strengthened by these arguments and will find a quick reference to some of the thorny apologetic questions from their secular, non-Christian friends. This is a great resource.

While this book answers difficult questions, I wish that there was more pastoral sensitivity in places. I don’t mean that the authors are insensitive and uncaring, but this volume stays focused on the topic of reason where a more holistic approach may get at the heart of some the New Atheist issues. If we acknowledge that many of the New Atheist claims aren’t ‘reasonable’ but represent an emotional appeal, we begin to see these arguments for what they are. When Hitchens or Harris talk about the evil of 9-11 and blame religious belief, they speak out of a profound sense of woundedness, anger and bitterness for the injustice of it.  I applaud the focus on thinking well and understanding the reason for our faith–there is far too much flabby thinking about God; however a holistic response to the new atheists needs to deal directly with this anger and bitterness (not just show that blaming God is false causation). I think this is what is missing in some of the essays.

But there are essays in here that deal with some of the thorny issues: the existence of evil, Christian historic response to slavery, the ‘Canaanite genocide,’ etc. I think being able to answer these questions as they come up is important, and so I think this book is a great resource to have on hand.  I give True Reason four stars for presenting well the reasonableness of Christian truth with philosophical acumen.

Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.