Book Review: Reasons For Belief

Reasons For Belief: Easy-to-Understand Answers to 10 Essential Questions, by Norman L. Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe

[Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.]

In reading this book, I could not help comparing it to another book on Christian apologetics that I have recently read, God’s Not Dead [1], which is not particularly fair to this book because while it is a solid work of apologetics, it is not quite as appealing to me personally. There are a great many similarities between the two books–both of them are directed both to believers seeking to provide a rational ground for the Christian faith and both are also directed at skeptics to give an answer for the rationality of the Christian worldview. Both even utilize the same sources at times, quoting the same historians and the same standard apologetics works, and even at times the same skeptics. Both books also answer the same questions, albeit in different ways.

This particular book is organized in a systematic fashion (which makes sense, since the named author of this work is also the author of a noted set of books on systematic theology, a subject of some personal interest to me). This is the second book I have read and reviewed by the author [2] and it comes from the same strong Evangelical standpoint, which gives it some notable strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, the general gist of the book is easy to agree with and something that Christians in general would support (unless they are part of the groups labeled as ‘cultists’ by the rather close-minded author, who takes frequent time to hammer Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses on various questions about Christ and the Bible). The book is organized with an introduction, eleven chapters that answer ten basic questions of belief in order from general arguments for the existence of God and miracles to more specific arguments on the reliability of scripture and the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvaiton.

The book as a whole is written in a very logical fashion. If one is thinking about the “Greek” way of viewing God and scripture, this book would be a pretty solid example of a rational, logical, bare-bones work written very bluntly and simply and with a lot of syllogisms. Though the material is written to support a rational defense for the Christian faith (specifically as it is defined by American evangelical Protestants), it is not written in a language that is difficult to understand; indeed it is a simply and straightforwardly written book which lives up to its subtitle of being easy-to-understand. At the very least, it was a book that was written almost too simply for me, and one that appears to be directed to an somewhat older audience that cares a great deal what Oprah thinks and not a great deal what the ‘new atheists’ believe. In short, it is clear that I am not part of the intended audience of this book, which would appear to be somewhat less educated evangelicals who are amenable to logic without desiring nuance.

Though most of this book is quite excellent and systematic in its approach, there are a few glaring weaknesses of this work. First, the authors bring to the table a lot of unproven, unbiblical, and unexamined assumptions about God and belief that are simply passed off as true without evidence. For example, the author makes several logical jumps when talking about the nature of God, making false dilemmas concerning the nature of God as well as the plan of God concerning redeemed human beings, failing to take into account that believers will be adopted into God’s family and become clothed with immortailty and being as Christ is (and being worshipped by unbelievers) without being eternal in the sense that God and Jesus Christ are eternal. Likewise, the author makes certain claims about the nature of God as well as heaven and hell without proving these beliefs from scripture. If you share the worldview of the author, you are likely not to mind, but if you do not share the evangelical worldview, there are definitely loose bricks that reduce the credibility of some of the author’s claims, even if the book is solid overall. Still, this while this book is a solid and useful work in apologetics, it is likely to offend anyone who is not an evangelical because of its assumptions and its rather confrontational attitude towards others within the general camp of Christians.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/book-review-gods-not-dead/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/book-review-the-big-book-of-bible-difficulties/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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14 Responses to Book Review: Reasons For Belief

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