Beyond Opinion is a collection of writings by different authors that deal with a variety of apologetic issues of the Christian faith. These issues are divided into four general sections which make it easier to access for future reference. And I believe that is exactly what this book is, a reference book. This is a book that you could use to prepare conversations you may have with a Muslim, an atheist, someone who believes in science to prove existence and to aid in response to those who question how a loving God would allow evil and suffering in the world, just to name a few. This book is academic in nature and very heady. And that should be expected since defending our faith with unbelievers is mainly intellectual in nature. It is a book that could very easily be used in an apologetics class to facilitate discussion. In the last section Ravi writes that as well as being intellectual we must also live our faith. He gives a quote from a non-believer who questioned whether our new birth was truly a supernatural act. The question was this, "If this conversion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians I know?" After reading this book you shouldn't need to have that question asked of you. Disclaimer - I received this resource free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Sneeze book review blogger program. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.
Not exhaustive, but well considered and written. This is a great "ground floor" text for the apologetics newcomer. My teenage son is also reading this book, to great advantage. If you have teens; this book will be valuable in providing some tools for them to address often asked questions of skeptical classmates and instructors.
If you want a significant resource to help you better share and defend your Christian faith, "Beyond Opinion" is the book you need to add to your bookshelf.
When I first started reading the book, I didn't think that would be my final conclusion. But the book, compiled by distinguished Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias (who did some of the writing and was joined by noted members of his international ministry), is loaded with skill-building knowledge for the Christian who wants to win people rather than arguments.
Initially, I thought it rather arrogant of Zacharias to write in the introduction, "This may not be a 'read-through' book that can be absorbed in a single sitting. But I suggest to you it is a 'must-read' book for our times ..." but I soon discovered Zacharias was right on both counts (even if he did "say so" himself!).
Getting into the book is slow going. I found the early chapters to be so laden with foundational information it seemed as if the writer was cutting corners to contain the chapters. That made for a choppy read, almost as if the work was the result of a poor edit job.
However --- and fortunately for that "however" --- the remainder of the book smoothed out into a readable flow chalk full of great insights about sharing and defending the Christian faith. These insights do not make for light reading. The material Zacharias and his co-writers present is the real, heavy-duty content of apologetics ranging from how to help the non-believer who has genuine questions about Christianity, to defending against the "enemies" who try their best to destroy our faith.
It is precisely because "Beyond Opinion" (published by Thomas Nelson) is not just another light-weight book on apologetics that I highly recommend it. The writers pull out all the "big words" and intellectual terms in the material they present, yet manage to provide readers of various backgrounds knowledge and insights understandable for anyone ranging from the new Christian to the experienced church leader.
If you're serious about sharing your Christian, faith, this is a serious resource that can better help you do that.
Alright, so Ravi Zacharias is the compiling editor, not the actual "author", but he did write a couple of the sections, and the other authors are on his staff at RZIM. Zacharias opens the book with an Introduction that effectively lays out the need for such a book. Beyond Opinion is a collection of articles on practical apologetics.
This is not the stuff that people go flocking to read, but rather the stuff that people prefer to defer to the experts. The point Zacharias makes in the introduction is that effective apologetics isn't just for the experts, but that the non-expert (i.e. the rest of us) instead needs "to connect with the questioner at a personal level." The stated purpose of the book is "to encourage and challenge the non-expert to feel comfortable talking about the Gospel without feeling the burden of needing a high level of philosophical training." He admits that it's not easy reading, but makes a compelling point that it is necessary reading given the times in which we live.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."