Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Review: Beyond Opinion

Up next from Booksneeze: Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias.  Well, it's primarily by Ravi Zacharias.  There are other contributors, but he's the general editor, so he gets both credit and blame for the whole work.  Here's what it looks like:

Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend

(Just a note: this book is a re-issue, originally published in 2008.  I didn't read it then.)

There is much talk today about being Christians in the midst of a multi-cultural and pluralistic world.  Some of the talk comes from within the family of faith, some from outside, and it raises good questions.  What are those questions?

Well, there are questions like: "Why is there evil?" or "How can Christians claim that their God is the only right one?"  Within the church, we ask similar questions, like "How can I insist I'm right? Is that not disrespectful?"

Unfortunately, we in the American church aren't generally well-equipped to answer these questions.  Over the years, the ease of cultural Christianity has dulled the sharpness of our minds, the ability to formulate coherent explanations of our faith and defenses of it.  Moreover, as we're faced with these questions, our answers have too often been long on talk and short on action.  We've professed a belief in a life-changing God without changed lives.

Enter the efforts of Ravi Zacharias with Beyond Opinion.  This is not simply another textbook on apologetics, nor is it a basic list of evidences for our faith.  This is, instead, a collection of essays that address specific topics.  They are written by a variety of theologians, many that are involved with Zacharias' ministry group.  Some of these names were familiar to me, others I've never heard of.

As to the content of this work:  this is not light reading.  There is a great deal here to digest, and much to consider.  The arguments and ideas are well presented.  The order, to me, is logical.

The difficulty with this book arises with accessibility.  It's a challenge to write a book that deals with philosophy and theology and not go over a few people's heads.  And this is not to take away from those people's intellect.  Theology is a science, after all, and just as you wouldn't expect to lightly read a forensics textbook, you are not going to grab this off the shelf for casual summer reading.

That's not to say it shouldn't be read.  Nor that the casual reader shouldn't stretch themselves to tackle it.  Rather, I would encourage you to read this, and be prepared to ask a few questions.

This is well worth your time.



Remember to read Disclosures! so you know that I received the book for free in exchange for a review through Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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