Sam Storms' "Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions" is a very accessible book with topics ranging from the inerrancy of God's Word to the practice of tithing. Although the twenty-five questions are far from comprehensive, Storms raises many intriguing questions that Christians may have asked from time to time. Instead of randomly picking the topics, Storms has attempted to focus on some specific areas so that related chapters can build upon each other's arguments. For example, chapters 11-14 are about Satan and demons while chapters 18-20 are related to miraculous gifts and Spirit baptism. One of the strengths of this book is how Storms is upfront about his own view on the topics. Most authors that I have read try to steer clear of providing any insight on how he or she personally views the issue. Perhaps this could be attributed to Storms' motivation to make this book accessible to the layperson and his own pastoral background. Nevertheless, the author always provides a brief overview of the major perspectives that have been offered throughout church history. Acknowledging the short length of the book, Storms also offers helpful footnotes and suggestions for further reading on the topic.
The book is not hard to read and the topics discussed do pop up once in a while during my conversations with Christians and unbelievers. Storms' writing style is concise and avoids using technical terms beyond the knowledge of most Christians. My main motivation for reading this book was not only to find out the final answer that Storms puts forward but to also learn how to approach these issues biblically. Storms uses numerous Scriptural references to build his arguments and allows the reader to see how he arrives at his own viewpoint. The chapter that I found most intriguing was Chapter 18 "Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?" which is interesting for me as I come from a cessationist background. Being a continuationist, Storms argues that there is no concrete evidence in the Bible for the cessation of miraculous gifts. His arguments were convincing and provoked me to investigate this subject more. I also appreciate the fact that Storms always ends on a pastoral note in each chapter by linking the answer he gives to the Christian life. Instead of merely analyzing facts, Storms invites readers to delve deeper into understanding the character of God and His Word which should inform our answers to any questions that we may have. I recommend this book for Christians in all walks of life as the answers that Storms provides are sound and biblical. Even if one does not agree with his conclusions, this book is a great entry point to understanding more on these complex issues.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.
I love the overall idea of this book and that you can have a resource that easily identifies the answers to some of the most difficult questions that Christians struggle with. The topics range from deep philosophical questions such as "Will people be condemned for not believing in Jesus though they've never heard His name?" to lighter topics such as "Will there be sex in heaven?" Rather than detail everything that the writer knows about a particular topic, Storms simplifies the answer and keeps the information succinct. Even though I may not agree with every answer given, I appreciate the attempt to provide an easy fact-based reference.
I can easily see how this could become a whole series of books, since this book is only able to scratch the surface of some of the most difficult questions for Christians.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.