To believe in God must we believe against reason? Not on your life! Sometimes many of us feel at a loss to answer the tough questions that the world can throw our way. We believe but sometimes can't quite grasp the way to explain what our hearts know to be true. On the other hand, there are some out there who want to believe but are not quite sure what to think. In either case, this fine volume by Norman Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe and published by Bethany House will be of immense help.
The design of the book is ideal in that you could grasp its contents if this were your first time to wrestle with these issues while the widely-read Bible student will love it too. The book is laid out in addressing the 10 most challenging objections you will hear. Things like does real truth exist or is it just what is truth to you. The idea of relative truth has done incredible damage to our society. Beyond just saying it is wrong, learn here just how pathetically illogical the whole concept is.
He covers beautifully in the next 3 chapters the challenges involving the existence of God. I assure you the intellectuals of our day don't have a corner on the market of logic on these issues. In fact, you might find them fully bankrupt when you finish reading here.
When you get settled on the reality that God simply must exist, then there are challenges on if the God of the Bible is the true God. He explains carefully and guides us to Christ. Whether the issue be the trustworthiness of the biblical manuscripts, or the existence of miracles, or the Resurrection, he guides us with the skilled hands of a master worker.
I've enjoyed reading Mr. Geisler since I was a freshman in a public university. He meant a great deal to me then, and he still has his touch. I love it and highly recommend this book.
I received this book free from the publisher. 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.
This newest book, Reasons for Belief, Mr. Geisler joins up with Patty Tunnicliffe to give easy-to-understand answers to 10 essential questions. This is what is stated on the cover. Actually there are 10 challenges from critics that are answered in this book:
1. Real Truth does not exist. Truth is just truth to you. (I love how he talks about this one!)
2. God does not exist
3. If God exists, He isn't necessarily the God of the Bible
4. Miracles don't happen
5. The New Testament's many errors make it unreliable. It's more like a collection of myths and legends.
6. Jesus never claimed to be God
7. Jesus didn't prove He is God
8. Jesus did not rise from the dead
9. The Bible isn't the only true religious book
10. Christianity is too narrow. There are many ways to God besides Jesus
I'm sure you've heard some if not all of these statements against the truth of God, Jesus and the Bible. If you weren't sure how to answer, then this book is for you! Even if you feel you did have an answer, this book may show you another way to answer.
Let's live out 1 Peter 3:15:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...
Reason's for Belief by Dr. Norman Geisler and Mrs. Tunnicliffe is a book I am very blessed to own.
Dr. Geisler starts this book with the most critical of questions, "Why are you a Christian?" This is the question we most need to know how to answer.
All apologetics will come into play as we answer this question. And this is a question we are all being asked often, in many different ways. "So, do you believe that, about the Bible? Why?" "How do you know that Jesus really died...and rose from the dead?"
Reason's for Belief is dedicated to helping us form a defense for Christianity in our own minds and then give this defense to others, as 1 Peter 3:15 commands.
The words we use, "evidence" "Truth" and "give a defense" are courtroom terms...and the claims of Christ are on trial.
This book moves logically through ten questions. Evidence is presented, facts are evaluated. As we investigate, God's Fingerprints are found to be all over both the Universe and Holy Scripture, and they match the fingerprints of his Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
In this book, we explore the difference between anti-theism, deism, pantheism, and Theism, and then the differences between the three major Theistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
We learn about the reliability of the New Testament, and the preservation of these eyewitness accounts.
Then we look into the words and life of Jesus- did this Man claim plainly to be God? Yes. And...was He? Yes. The answer is Yes.
There are wonderful charts in this book that illustrate ideas for us. One of my favorites was If God Came, What Would We Expect? This chart compared what we would expect with what we found in Jesus Christ.
We would expect God to come into this world differently. He did. Jesus was born of a Virgin.
We would expect Him to have power over disease and death. Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead.
We would expect Him to have eternal, lasting influence. Jesus has changed the world. Splitting Time itself into BC and AD, offering Salvation to men.
We look at The Cross, and we see a Man who truly died. He did not swoon or faint. He bled and wept and gasped and died. And He was wrapped in linen cloths laid in the Tomb.
And then we read about the Resurrection. Testified to by the Scriptures, and Proclaimed by the men who saw the Living Lord, the Resurrection happened in a space time moment in History and was carefully recorded in New Testament documents. We can believe it.
And Believing in the One who was resurrected, we can be Saved.
There is a fine chart that compares the Life of Jesus with the Life of other religious leaders. Jesus is the Sinless Man, the Man who healed and restored with His miracles, the Man who fulfilled specific prophecy, and the Man who died and Lives again.
He is God in Flesh, and the Only Way to Heaven and fellowship with God.
The end of this book helps us write out our defense of Christianity and practice presenting it, testifying before a curious world what reasons we have for belief.
So why I am I Christian? I am a Christian because God is, and He is not silent. He created us, and we know it. We live in an incredibly designed world that reduces men to gasps of wonder and whispers of prayer when they view a human baby and a whirl of the Milky Way.
The DNA you are living with right now is the information this God wrote to design your life and body. You are, as C S Lewis said, a Vast and Complex Universe of Wonder.
And you are not just a body, awesome as it is. As Mr. Lewis said, You are a Soul, You have a Body. You know God made you, you know you will answer to Him. You live with a moral code in you that He programmed.
God is Holy, Perfect in Righteousness, Creator of a perfect world where His Good Will was done.
We rebelled and now seek darkness instead of Light.
We have fallen into sin, beginning with Adam and Eve.
We live now in a cursed, painful, broken world of rebels against a Holy God.
That is not the last word, however.
Through His Son, who came to earth and died on the Cross, bearing our sins in His body, and rising from the grave alive, we can be forgiven of our sins and born again into the family of God. Scripture is our witness of these things and is the Word of God. Jesus is a Real Man, not an idea or a system, a Living Man more real than I am. And someday the world will be restored and the Knowledge of the Glory of God will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea.
I will be leaving a wide margin on what I just wrote, because LORD willing I will grow in wisdom and knowledge and find clearer ways of expressing these truths. I am grateful to Mrs. Tunnicliffe and Dr. Geisler for stimulating this discussion. The recommended sites in the appendix include Hugh Ross's Old Earth website, which I do not endorse.
I have been praying about doing this review the last few days because I really don`t have a way to describe the way this book pulled me in and opened my eyes to truths I already knew about the Lord but had never considered in such a black and white way. I love how this book laid things out in such a simple format, true and false, with back up to both ways of thinking and the many easy to read comparison charts throughout the book.
The only thing I can complain about is that the book title says that it is answering ten essential questions and though it does answer questions it flows in and out and forward and backwards in a manner that doesn`t seem to answer each question individually but rather each question is answered throughout the books entirety as more evidence is presented.
The book starts by asking you quite simply what would you say to someone who wanted to know why you are a Christian. I don`t feel that this question is ever really answered. I would have to hand this book over to a person who is asking me this question and explain that I believe that the historical documents etc that create the Biblical teachings are true and I don`t feel that the question could be answered in a simple way without having to debate or argue my points (or the books points) to a non-believer.
I do feel that this book does elaborate on my reasons and it answers questions but the answers can be rather lengthy and outside of a theological conversation or debate the person asking me why I believe in God would be rather confused.
As an example I will refer to one of my friends. She is a Muslim and she is from Afghanistan, I assisted in teaching her English. As she prayed each day etc she had no clue really WHY she prayed but she knew it was an important aspect of daily life (except when she had her time of month, then she was not supposed to pray) when she asked me about Christianity she understood Jesus because they consider him to be a prophet, which the book touches on. Then she understood the "Holy Ghost" but in her new to English Islamic state of mind she could NOT wrap her mind around Christianity being a monotheistic faith when we pray to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. To her this meant we had three Gods as there were three separate versions of Him.
This book in no way aided me in finding a way to explain to her how God is three but also only one entity. I do believe this book will help a new believer or even someone who has a good comprehension of what Christianity is about but if they do not have a good understanding of English or the Ã¢â¬Ëconcept' of the Trinity they will be just as lost as they were before reading it, if not more so. My familiarity with the Bible and Christianity allowed me to benefit from this book in ways that I believe most Ã¢â¬Ënewbies' would struggle with.
That said, Christianity is confusing as all religions are. Though the title (at least for me) was misleading I do recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning further about the foundation of Christianity, our beliefs and WHY we believe. I do not feel it would be helpful to most conversations.
I did not find anything in this book that I felt was false or untrue, which to me, means the authors were/are well aware of what they are speaking about and that they likely "practice what they preach"!
I first met Norman Geisler in April 1974 when I entered my first seminary course at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The course was "Introduction to Apologetics". Reasons For Belief covers much of the same material in that course; though in a much more readable format.
Geisler's latest book is both valuable and readable. It serves as a valuable resource to both the lay reader and the ministerial professional. The book addresses "10 Essential" issues:
Why Are You a Christian?
Real Truth Does Not Exist. Ã¢â¬ËTruth' is just truth to you.
God does not exist (Part 1)
God does not exist (Part 2)
If God exists, He isn't necessarily the God of the Bible
Miracles don't happen
The New Testament's many errors make it unreliable. It's more like a collection of myths and legends
Is Jesus God? (Part 1)
Is Jesus God? (Part 2)
Jesus did not rise from the dead
The Bible isn't the only true religious book
Christianity is too narrow. There are many ways to God besides Jesus
What does the evidence mean for me?
A number of factors give this book significant value. The authors knowledge of the field is first - he has spent more than 40 years developing the material. The book, being primarily a monograph, also include a variety of charts and diagrams that help the reader understand the Geisler's message. Finally, the final chapter makes this text stand out - in that it address both the academic questions listed above, but also assisting the reader in applying it to his or her own life.
Though read for the purpose of writing this review, the book was well worth the time I spent reading it over the last two weeks. It comes with a strong recommendation.
This review is based on a free copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.