Once again William Lane Craig has published a helpful resource to answer difficult questions challenging the Christian faith. As a high school teacher, I highly recommend this book for those students who have serious inquiries regarding the Christian faith. Additionally I would commend this book for high school graduates heading off to universities. "A Reasonable Response" is a valuable tool for older teens and young adults wrestling with questions on their faith journey.
"A Reasonable Response" is a very intriguing, insightful, and instructional book on apologetics. Those who are already familiar with Dr. Craig's workâ€”and especially his ministry websiteâ€”may have already encountered some of these topics and Dr. Craig's responses to them, but this book is not meant to simply give you Dr. Craig's answers to the questions presentedâ€”it is also designed to teach you how he answers questions, which is perhaps the most useful aspect of the book. In some of Dr. Craig's responses, a highlighted box can be found that pulls back the curtain on Dr. Craig's strategy for answering that particular question. That feature alone makes this a valuable book, even if one is already familiar with the answers that Dr. Craig offers.
The book is in a similar format to Lee Strobel's "Case for_" series in that it is organized around specific questions and answers. The content of "Response" tends to be on a higher philosophical plane than the "Case for_" books, and thus it will likely appeal to a slightly different audience. Anyone who is brand new to the study of apologetics may find this book to be tough sledding in some places, particularly since the questioners may refer to arguments made by others without any further explanation of those arguments. Those who are more familiar with the subject, however, will find this book to be a very welcome and valuable addition to their library.
Though the subject matter is challenging, the book itself is very user-friendly. A long introductory section discusses such matters as the usefulness of questions in spiritual growth and practical matters regarding how to derive the most benefit from the book. Each major division in the book contains its own brief introduction that functions like an abstract in a scholarly paperâ€”it allows you to get the gist of what you're about to read before you read it.
The book covers a wide range of philosophical and theological topics, all of which Dr. Craig is well-equipped to address. But lest one think that the discussions are all theoretical with little practical application, the book also includes questions on such imminently practical concerns as protecting oneself from spiritual failure, facing rejection as a follower of Christ, preparing for marriage, and maintaining physical stamina (Dr. Craig writes from personal experience as one who suffers from a chronic disease which affects his muscles). Those who are interested in questions about God's sovereignty and man's responsibility will be particularly interested in the questions addressing Molinism and its concept of middle knowledge.
All in all, this book is a valuable resource for those who are actively engaged in Christian apologetics or those who are seeking philosophically rigorous answers to intellectual doubts about Christianity. Whether one agrees with Dr. Craig's answers or not, he will leave an impression with you like that of C. S. Lewisâ€”"he makes you sure, whatever you believe, that religion accepted or rejected means something extremely serious, demanding the entire energy of mind (Harper's, quoted on the cover of "The Problem of Pain," HarperCollins edition 2001.)
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
This is not the kind of book on apologetics I was expecting. I was expecting, based on the promotion of the book, answers to questions non-Christians ask.
But that is not the case. Many, if not most, of the questions included here are from Christians. Many questions refer to arguments Craig has made, either in print (books or articles), debates, or something like that. Many of the questions originate from a misunderstanding of something previously published by Craig. Many of the answers given clarify and defend the soundness of arguments found elsewhere in Craig's works. Some of the questions asked are two pages long, one is nearly three pages long (138-141) and another four (242-246), so these are not simple questions. Some of Craig's answers are seven or eight pages long so, again, not simple issues.
In order to appreciate this book, the reader must be familiar with apologetic methods, the rules of logic, the arguments of Plantinga (such as his theory of religious knowledge), positivism, metaphysical necessity, different theories of ethics, and so on.
This is a book for people who do apologetics, study apologetics, write about apologetics, compare apologetic methods, and want to understand the nuances of apologetics. It is for people who want to understand how Craig answers questions and his use of logic. It is not a book for the average layman who wants to know how to talk across the fence to the unsaved neighbor next door.
That being said, there are some questions that would be beneficial for the general layman, such as the question dealing with how we can know the gospels are reliable. (99) Another concerns the extra-biblical sources support Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. (110) The best way to approach the book is to skim the questions and stop at ones that are of particular interest.
The questions are divided into six sections: questions about knowing and believing what is real, about God, about origins and meaning of life, about afterlife and evil, about Jesus and being His disciple, and about issues of Christian practice. In the introductory comments to each section is a list of resources divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. There is also an Appendix at the end with helps for using the book in a small group setting.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.