In a world saturated with skepticism and doubt, there remains few books that are more important and helpful than Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw. This conservative trio seeks to critically examine the claims of one of today’s leading skeptics, Bart D. Ehrman, and provide a rational defense of biblical Christianity and the reliability of the Bible. The result has given Christian leaders one of the most noteworthy books for equipping the church to engage the culture in recent times.
The book is comprised of five chapters. Each chapter seeks to tackle Ehrman’s challenges to Christianity or the Bible one by one. Chapter one, “Is God Immoral because He allows suffering?” begins the conversation with a look at several of Ehrman’s claims arising out of his book God’s Problem. Köstenberger, Bock, and Chatraw address claims such as “the Bible’s explanation of suffering and evil are not satisfying” and “the God of the Bible is immoral, and therefore, he doesn’t exist.” The interaction of the authors is well suited for those wrestling with such claims and helpful and informative for those who don’t but are engaging with those who do. Chapter two, “Is the Bible full of irresolvable contradictions?” addresses an onslaught of common attacks on the unity of the Bible.
Chapter three, “Are the biblical manuscripts corrupt?” does an excellent job getting to the heart of Ehrman’s skepticism and examining how his skeptical presupposition flavor his reading of the evidence. Chapter four, “Were there many Christianities?” dismantles Ehrman’s repackaging of the Bauer Thesis. This is familiar ground for the authors, especially Köstenberger who authored The Orthodoxy of Heresy (Crossway, 2010) with Michael J. Kruger. Chapter five, “Are many New Testament documents forged?” the issue of authorship is addressed, and done so with a keen awareness of the underlying issues that bolster the skeptical claims of Ehrman and others. This final chapter is among the most beneficial for those familiar with the conversations that take place in the public sphere.
There are a number of helpful features of this book that make it especially useful for Christian leaders and those seeking to assist others to engage better with skeptical challenges to the Bible. For example, each chapter concludes with a handful of discussion questions to facilitate group reflection. Moreover, each chapter opens with a brief list of the claims addressed within the chapter, and the chapter proceeds to address each claim one by one. This organization is especially helpful for quick reference. Speaking of quick reference, the book concludes with a glossary of terms, a quick response section, and a general index. The quick response section provides short answers to each of the claims treated more fully in the chapter—an indispensable addition to an already useful book.
Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw is a book that deserves a spot on the bookshelf of all serious students of the Bible. Those who engage with culture and have yet to engage with this book are likely ill-equipped for such task. Köstenberger, Bock, and Chatraw have provided a clear, concise, and calculated resource that will strengthen your faith and equip you to present truth in a culture of doubt. It comes highly recommended!!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 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.