Review: No God but One

27840555Nabeel Qureshi is a New York Times best-selling author and an internationally recognized speaker. Qureshi received an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, an MA in Religion from Duke University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in New Testament studies at Oxford University. Qureshi is well-known Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. It was here that he recounted much of the story of his faith conversion from Islam to Christianity. Now, in this much anticipated sequel, Qureshi provides readers with an outline of the evidence that ultimately moved his heart away from Allah and towards Jesus.

No God But One: Allah or Jesus? addresses the major questions at the interface of Islam and Christianity. The book is divided into ten specific questions: (1) Sharia or Gospel? (2) Tawhid or the Trinity? (3) Muhammad or Jesus? (4) The Quran or the Bible? (5) Jihad or the Crusades? (6) Did Jesus die on the cross? (7) Did Jesus rise from the dead? (8) Did Jesus claim to be God? (9) Is Muhammad a Prophet of God? (10) Is the Quran the word of God? The breadth of coverage is impressive and the reader will certainly benefit from Qureshi’s lucid writing.

While Qureshi doesn’t address every concerning issue related to the Muslim/Christian dialogue, he does cover most of the major issues the reader should be familiar with in the conversation if they are approaching this book with questions. Not to mention, this book is slightly narratival in scope, and thus, Qureshi is primarily concerned with walking the reader through the theological and historical questions that ultimately persuaded him to faith in Christ. This is a benefit for the target audience. Qureshi is engaging and careful in his presentation, and he does well to balance need-to-know information without getting “too academic.” This will be considered both a strength and a weakness for most readers—a strength in that Qureshi has provided an introduction that requires little intellectual taxation and will be useful for ministry; a weakness in that a popular level book of this caliber will ultimately leave some readers left wanting.

No God But One: Allah or Jesus? by Nabeel Qureshi is a much anticipated sequel that offers the reader an honest appraisal of some of the major questions that continue to linger at the interface of Islam and Christianity. Qureshi is lucid and informative without being overbearing and overly academic. It is clear that Qureshi has sincerely wrestled with these questions before bringing the reader into the journey. While Qureshi clearly affirms a Christian bias given his faith journey, if you are looking for an honest and balanced introduction to the Muslim/Christian dialogue from a somewhat autobiographical perspective, Nabeel Qureshi’s No God But One: Allah or Jesus? is a book I would highly recommend engaging.

Review: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

148102Together with the disciplines of biblical studies and theology, philosophy is widely recognized as an indispensable model for constructing a Christian worldview. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview accompanies the reality of this statement to the examination room. What is accomplished by such scrutiny? The result is this definitive introduction by two of the most qualified voices in contemporary Christian philosophy, J. P. Moreland, and William Lane Craig.

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview is divided into six major sections: (1) Introduction, (2) Epistemology, (3) Metaphysics, (4) Philosophy of Science, (5) Ethics, and (6) Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Theology. Each section (apart from the introductory section) contains a number of important chapters. Throughout the book, the reader will discover a number of charts and diagrams to help illustrate the concepts being discussed. Keywords are also bolded to help readers recognize their importance in context, and each chapter ends with a summary and a checklist of terms and concepts. Moreland and Craig close the volume with a “further reading” bibliography specific for each chapter and a few indexes. However, what is missing from this volume, in my opinion, is the inclusion of chapter summary questions and a glossary of the terms and concepts used throughout the book. These additions would make the volume more accessible for classroom purposes and self-reflection.

I am admittedly not one with a deep interest in philosophy. I recognize its importance and enjoy its discussions, but I tend to spend more time in the world of biblical studies and other related disciplines than philosophy. That said, I found Moreland and Craig to be extremely accessible and clear in their presentation throughout, even in some of the complex areas of epistemology and metaphysics. However, it should also be noted that this is certainly a college-level (possibly even a graduate-level) philosophy textbook and it does anticipate the reader is at least vaguely familiar with its material. Moreland and Craig do well in guiding the novice reader, but there is truly only so much guidance that can be offered if significant ground is going to be covered, and significant ground is covered in this volume.

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig is a first-rate, one-stop reference work worth occupying the shelf space of any serious student of philosophy, theology, or apologetics. It’s not a resource that everyone will enjoy. But, for those who will, Moreland and Craig have provided a treasure-trove of philosophical riches that will effectively establish a foundation for the Christian worldview. 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.

Review: Truth in a Culture of Doubt

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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.

Review: Fool’s Talk

24043186Fool’s Talk: Rediscovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness is a well-timed reminder concerning the importance of persuasion in the proclamation of the Christian gospel. “We are all apologists now,” declares Guinness, “and we stand at the dawn of the grand age of human apologetics, or so some are saying because our wired world and our global era are a time when expressing, presenting, sharing, defending and selling ourselves have become a staple of everyday life for countless millions of people around the world, both Christians and others” (p. 15). It is here that Guinness boldly observes our time and context as the greatest opportunity for Christian proclamation since Jesus and the apostles, and thus, it is here that Guinness persuasively (pun intended) reorients the reader towards the heartbeat of apologetics found in the art of Christian persuasion.

Guinness guides the reader from beginning to end with noticeable expertise and experience in the field of Christian apologetics. However, for Guinness, Christian apologetics looks much different than the traditional approaches still used by many Christians today. Rather, the approach Guinness is keen to advocates is simple, cross-centered and cross-shaped persuasion. This is not a book for those seeking to catch up on the most recent apologetic techniques to be utilized in the workplace and beyond. It is a call to the Christian to put down the soulless crutch of technique alone and rediscover the all-encompassing power of the gospel of the cross. “Technique has its place,” as Guinness rightly acknowledges, “but it is time to challenge the imperialism of technique and keep technique in its place” (p. 46).

The art of Christian persuasion, then, is that which seeks to use the uppermost strengths of human reason and creativity in the defense of truth. Guinness describes the twofold reality of such persuasion as the apologists effort in, “Mustering all the powers of reason, logic, evidence and argument . . . [for] the task of answering every question, countering every objection, and dismantling false objections to the faith and to knowing God . . . Expressing the love and compassion of Jesus, and using eloquence, creativity, imagination, humor and irony . . . to pry open hearts and minds that, for a thousand reasons, had long grown resistant to God’s great grace, so that it could shine in like the sun” (p. 253). This is the art of Christian persuasion, the heartbeat of Christian apologetics, and the rediscovered platform of gospel-centered proclamation that Guinness commends to his readers.

Fool’s Talk: Rediscovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness is nothing short of a classic. Guinness is remarkably warmhearted in his exhortation and criticism of the present-day landscape of Christian apologetics, and his alternative approach is refreshingly biblical. “We are all apologists now,” and yet, as Guinness explains, “many of us have yet to rise to the challenge of a way of apologetics that is as profound as the good news we announce” (p. 16). It is here that Guinness has delivered a book that will both encourage your heart and reignite your soul for the task of Christian apologetics—namely, the art of Christian persuasion. If you are looking for an apologetic book that will alter the way that you interact with the world around you for the sake of the gospel, and reorient your heart towards the proper means of such interaction, then this is a book that you will do well to read. 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.