Monday, July 15, 2013

"Reasons to Believe" by Norman Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe: A Review

There is no doubt that Christianity and the sacred text that defines it is under daily assault. To the average Christian it may feel as if the questions are too difficult, the answers are too obscure, and evidence for the faith is lacking. In their book Reasons for Belief: Easy-to-Understand Answers to 10 Essential Questions, authors Norman Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe set out to serve the average believer in giving them answers to the many challenges to Christianity and the logic and evidence to support them.

This book seeks to be both ammunition for the believer and a dagger for the skeptic. The ten questions include the existence of God (does He exist?), the reliability of Scripture, the historicity of the resurrection, the exclusive claims of Jesus, the deity of Jesus, miracles, and other common objections to Christianity.

As the subtitle of the book suggests, its main audience is not academics. Geisler, well known for some of his academic writings in various fields, and his co-author offer to provide basic answers and evidence to the average Christian. This means that at times the book is oversimplistic to those who already know these basic answers. For example, the authors argue that archeology supports the Old Testament. That much, for the most part is true. To support this claim they suggest, among other things, that the discovery of Jericho verifies the Joshua account. However, to the academic and scholar such an answer is not good enough. The early claim that the walls of Jericho appear to have fallen from the inside out, instead of outside in, is questionable.

This is not a criticism, but an important point for the reader to understand before diving into its many helpful pages. Understanding the books audience also explains why the authors spend more time on some things and overlook other answers. For example, the authors dedicate two chapters to the question of God's existence and rightfully so. If it can be established that God does not exist or that Deism is valid, then Christianity falls. As a result, the authors walk the reader through various evidences and arguments for the existence of God. They highlight the Cosmological, the Teleological, and the Moral arguments. Absent is, among other arguments, is the Ontological argument. But then again, have you ever tried to explain the Ontological Argument for the existence of God to someone for the first time?

Overall, this is a helpful book. The authors offer more than just a book with simple answers but go out of their way to guide the reader and to provide the reader with easy-to-understand charts, graphs, illustrations, and examples to make the concepts easier to grasp. This is a helpful resource for those who do not possess these basic answers to some of the most often-used challenges to the Christian faith. As a pastor I would recommend it to most in my congregation.

Christianity is a historic faith built on events of history. Therefore we need credible answers for our many critics. Geisler and Tunnicliffe provide them.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House for the purpose of this review.

For more from Bethany House:
"Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day" by Dr. Daryl Aaron: A Review

"Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day" by Garry R. Norman: A Review 
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