In an interview with Christianity Today in 2012, Ed Stetzer shared that according to LifeWay research among young adults who had attended church regularly for at least a year in high school, 70% stop attending regularly for at least a year between ages 18-22. However, 35% of these had returned to attending twice a month or more by the time they were surveyed for the study. This means that about 4 out of 10 kids leave the church and NEVER RETURN.
Here is how leading experts describe our church kids today: They are unarmed and incapable of defending their faith. They possess a faith that cannot withstand the scrutiny of trials or intellectual questions. They have a shallow belief system. They lack a robust faith. They havent learned how to think. They are embarrassingly ignorant of our faith.
Truth Matters is written directly to this audience, arming them with well-reasoned responses to the accusations that are most likely to appear in their lives, either as upcoming lecture notes and test questions or as inner qualms and questions. Things like: What gives the Bible any authority or credibility? Where is God in a world full of suffering? Why should Christianity be any more believable than any other religious system? And many, many more.
Easy to read yet loaded with meat and substance, this book is a level-headed reaction to those who equate Christian faith with blind faith, even those whose subtle or stated goal is to separate students from their religious traditions. Readers will discover the kind of historical information and thinking skills that build a sturdy backbone of confidence in high schoolers and young adults, making them able to defend by reasoned faith what the Bible claims as truth.
Loosely organized around the theological skepticism of New York Times bestselling author (and southern college educator) Bart Ehrman, this jam-packed counterclaim is a book that parents will want to buy for their kids, a book that youth and student leaders will want to work through one-on-one and in discipleship groupsa book that could prove a lifesaver for young minds and hearts everywhere.
Andreas J. Köstenberger (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is senior research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Darrell L. Bock (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is executive director of Cultural Engagement and senior research professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Josh Chatraw (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the pastor of preaching and students at First Baptist Church in Dublin, Georgia as well as adjunct professor at Brewton-Parker College, Zambia International Bible College, and Liberty University.
What I love about this book is that it is both intellectually responsible and imminently readable. I anticipate it becoming one of my most recommended resources, both for students struggling with challenges to their faith as well as seekers asking honest questions.
-J. D. Greear
There has been a need for this book to be written for a long time. I'm thrilled to see it finally in print! Truth Matters offers cogent responses to some of the most common objections against Christianity. I will be recommending this book to students for a long time.
Today is the era of the aggressive but often misinformed atheist. Misunderstandings and half-truths abound about how we got the Bible, how well preserved it is, whether or not it is full of contradictions, whether the resurrection is credible, and more. Kostenberger, Bock and Chatraw set the record straight in a way that ordinary people can readily understand. Must reading for anyone with questions about these and related subjects or who knows anyone with questions about them!
-Craig L. Blomberg,
We will soon be packing her bags, loading the car, and driving our 18-year-old daughter to a major state university known for its liberalism, in a city known for "keeping it weird," at a time when truth is being redefined! I was going to ask Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw if I could send them with her, but now that they have written this book, I will send it instead. These three are a rarity: top notch scholars with a heart for real people and a style that is eminently accessible. This latest work came just in time for me, and for you, and your kids too!
Bent Tree Fellowship, Carrolton, Texas
Truth Matters should be on every college freshman's reading list. The authors square off with today's leading skeptics of Christianity, offering convincing counter arguments in an easy-to-read style. Although written for college students, the book's rich content makes it an excellent resource for adults of all ages as they encounter questions about the trustworthiness of the Bible and the truthfulness of Christianity.
-Lynn H. Cohick,
For too long our churches have crossed their fingers and sent their youth off to Lion's Den University offering little more than encouragements to hold on to a "blind faith" and to simply ignore the arguments of non-Christian professors. "What do they know?" I remember hearing. Well, the honest answer is, "A lot!" This book is a welcome help for students who would rather have a reasoned faith than a blind one--a faith that seeks to face with confidence, rather than ignore in fear, the hard questions posed by professors, peers, or even their own doubts. With honesty, humility, and winsomeness, the authors help us to see the overlooked complexities behind the often simplistic arguments against our faith, giving us permission to pull our fingers from our ears AND still have faith in Christ. An excellent resource for my students (and their parents, pastors, and younger siblings too)!
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christopher Newport University
This is a very timely book. Over the last few years, a number of critical scholars, including Bart Ehrman, have attacked the historicity and reliability of the New Testament and have made claims that simply cannot be supported by the evidence. This book sets the records straight. In a fashion that is both scholarly and accessible, the authors have provided a tremendous resource for the church.
-Michael J. Kruger ,
Reformed Theological Seminary
After fifteen years ministering to the millennial generation and their families, one thing has remained constant: the need to logically and practically prepare students to respond to views opposing Christianity and the Bible. Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw have provided an accessible and practical guide of strong arguments for the Christian faith and successfully counter popular arguments against orthodox Christianity. Get this book for your teenager, your college student, or your minister to students. Their faith may depend on it.
Sentral Church, Oklahoma City
Truth Matters is a wonderfully accessible, yet in-depth reply to some of the most common criticisms of Christianity that contemporary culture launches our way. The authors are fair and even-handed in the way they portray Bart Ehrmann, yet offer insightful critique of both his views and the spirit of skepticism that he represents. This is a very useful work for followers of Jesus at any age, but particularly high school and college students.
-Scott B. Rae,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Steeped in the soup of postmodernism's insidious skepticism, our youth and young adults are floundering in their commitments to God. Recent renewed attacks on the veracity and reliability of the Bible and its message have shipwrecked the faith of many Christians who are ill-equipped to stand their ground and defend their beliefs. Truth Matters delivers a scholarly response to these challenges and provides the believer with reasoned arguments to effectively counter the onslaught they are facing today. In a very readable format, Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw have provided the information necessary "to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you."
Dallas Theological Seminary
Truth-telling about the Bible matters, especially in an increasingly post-modern and cynical culture, binging on spin-doctoring about all subjects imaginable. Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw have done us all a great service in providing some straightforward answers to the usual hard questions people ask about the Bible. Especially helpful in a biblically illiterate culture is their treatment of the usual things trotted out by pundits who seek to demonstrate that the Bible is riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and just plain myths. As it turns out, that is not the truth about the Truth.
-Ben Witherington, III,
Asbury Theological Seminary