Friday, August 29, 2008

Too Many Books, Too Little Time and Brain Power

Seems that I have been reading a lot of books simultaneously lately, and kind of an eclectic blend of material. I picked up Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation a couple weeks ago and have been occasionally reading bits of it. Really gives some good insights into my parent's generation, my dad being one of those who fought in WWII as a very young man. More thoughts on that book later, maybe. I've also been reading through a great little book called Christ is All: The Piety of Horatius Bonar. Never read any of Bonar's work before, but I love his style and language, not to mention the content. A great collection of short snippets of his prodigious writings. Again, sometime I will share a few of those.

But the most surprising book I've read lately, almost straight through in a day or so, has been a small volume I got at T4G named If You Could Ask God One Question, by Paul Williams and Barry Cooper. I had no intention of reading it any time soon until I saw a brief review by Dan Phillips that intrigued me. The book is clearly geared to non-Christians, but is a very good exercise in apologetics for the majority of us that aren't academics or scholars. The premise is very good - what question would you ask God is you were able to ask just one and get an answer? The questions range from "If you're really there, why don't you prove it?", to "All good people go to heaven, right?", to "Isn't faith just a psychological crutch?", and even to "Why do you allow suffering?" and "Why do you hate sex?" All of them honest, everyday questions that non-believers have about God and Jesus Christ and Christianity in general. And for all these questions, the authors go directly to the Scriptures, the person of Christ and the Gospel of Christ for the answers. But they do so in a way that is very engaging and even somewhat entertaining. In short, a great model for all of us who have a hard time engaging in answers to these kinds of questions, who are not always ready to give a defense (Gr. apologia) for the hope that is within us.

In fact, as I've been reading this book I am considering developing a Sunday School class around it. Something like "Everyday Apologetics." Using the questions and the model of this book to frame some teaching on the importance of having a ready answer, how to answer authoritatively but lovingly, and how to bridge from apologetic discussion to clearly communicating the Gospel and it's implications for the person. I think this is a very real need is our churches today.

If you want to find out more about this book, and the whole ministry behind it called Christianity Explored, check them out on the web.

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