Book review: Reasonable Faith

June 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm 4 comments

Reasonable Faith I’ve been wanting to read one of William Lane Craig’s (numerous) books for a long time, but hadn’t gotten around to it until last week when I was house sitting and spotted Reasonable Faith on the homeowners’ bookshelf. As it turns out, the book is an excellent general defense of Christianity.

Craig, a prolific author and well-respected theologian and philosopher of religion, writes from a relatively conservative scholarly perspective. In eight chapters, he covers such topics as the relationship between faith and reason, the existence of God, the problem of miracles, Jesus’ divinity, and the resurrection. There’s a good chapter on the absurdity of life without God, and Craig Blomberg, an authority on the New Testament, contributes a worthwhile chapter on the reliability of the NT documents.

One of the best aspects of Craig’s approach is his strong historical focus. Each chapter begins with a survey of historical approaches to the issue in question, helping readers understand the various approaches to that particular issue over time. This sense of historical development is missing in many apologetic works, but it adds significantly to the reader’s understanding of why the apologetic landscape of today is as it is.

The book is not all history, though, and Craig does an ample job of assessing the various historical perspectives and then arguing his own view. In some chapters, the assessment gets rather complicated, and someone like me who, for example, doesn’t already have a pretty good understanding of cosmology, physics, and the various theories within the scientific community on the origin of the universe should plan on reading the chapter on the existence of God a couple times.

Still, while the book is written on a somewhat scholarly level, Craig is a good writer and explains concepts in clear, accessible prose. Each chapter finishes with a short section on practical application with comments on how to use the information in evangelism.

I’ve yet to read the last chapter (the homeowners came back before I finished the book), but I’ve already ordered my own copy so I can catch the end. Reasonable Faith is worth the read, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Craig’s books.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sam  |  June 14, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Sounds interesting. I haven’t read any books in this vein yet (arguing for Christianity).

    Btw, ‘The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable?’ by FF Bruce is a great little book on the historicity of the NT documents if you’re interested.

    Reply
  • 2. Jamie  |  June 14, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    am: I have Bruce’s book and read it last summer (or the summer before–can’t remember). It is indeed good, although it always worries me reading older books, as I’m afraid they’re out of date. From what I’ve read, though, Bruce’s book is still pretty relevant. I also liked “Jesus Under Fire,” which is a collection of essays in response to the Jesus Seminar. It’s a bit broader in focus than Bruce’s book, but it’s more recent.

    Reply
  • 3. Craig Blomberg  |  June 15, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for the kind words, Jamie. And congratulations on your recent degree. What will you be doing next, do you know yet? I’m glad that Bill’s book, and my chapter, are still helping people. I’m amazed that it stays in print after 13 years or so, selling several hundred copies a year (just)! Blessings on you and your blog!

    Reply
  • 4. Jamie  |  June 21, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Dr. Blomberg:

    Thanks for the comment on my blog–I did not expect feedback from one of the authors himself! (I apologize for the delay in responding; my dearly beloved cat passed away over the weekend and I lost all my energy for blogging activities for several days.)

    It’s funny you asked about my plans now. I want to go on to grad school this fall, but I have had a terrible time deciding what school to choose. I was offered a good scholarship for the philosophy of religion program at Denver Seminary and almost wound up there, which I understand is your own territory. I know you’re in a slightly different field than I’m interested in, but a major reason I applied to Denver Seminary was because I liked what I had heard about you and what I had read of your work. So I’m thrilled that you stopped by my blog. As it turns out, I think I’m going to end up at Andrews University in Michigan for various reasons, but I came very close to being in Colorado.

    Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. I appreciate the work you do, and I am disappointed that I won’t have the opportunity to take classes from you!

    God bless,

    Jamie

    Reply

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Profile

profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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