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Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World

Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World [Kindle Edition]

Andreas Köstenberger , Darrell Bock , Josh Chatraw

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Product Description

Product Description

In an interview with Christianity Today in 2012, Ed Stetzer shared that according to LifeWay research among young adults who had attended church regularly for at least a year in high school, 70% stop attending regularly for at least a year between ages 18-22. However, 35% of these had returned to attending twice a month or more by the time they were surveyed for the study. This means that about 4 out of 10 kids leave the church and NEVER RETURN.

Here is how leading experts describe our church kids today: They are unarmed and incapable of defending their faith. They possess a faith that cannot withstand the scrutiny of trials or intellectual questions. They have a shallow belief system. They lack a robust faith. They haven’t learned how to think. They are embarrassingly ignorant of our faith.

Truth Matters is written directly to this audience, arming them with well-reasoned responses to the accusations that are most likely to appear in their lives, either as upcoming lecture notes and test questions or as inner qualms and questions. Things like: What gives the Bible any authority or credibility? Where is God in a world full of suffering? Why should Christianity be any more believable than any other religious system? And many, many more.

Easy to read yet loaded with meat and substance, this book is a level-headed reaction to those who equate Christian faith with “blind faith,” even those whose subtle or stated goal is to separate students from their religious traditions. Readers will discover the kind of historical information and thinking skills that build a sturdy backbone of confidence in high schoolers and young adults, making them able to defend by “reasoned faith” what the Bible claims as truth.

Loosely organized around the theological skepticism of New York Times bestselling author (and southern college educator) Bart Ehrman, this jam-packed counterclaim is a book that parents will want to buy for their kids, a book that youth and student leaders will want to work through one-on-one and in discipleship groups—a book that could prove a lifesaver for young minds and hearts everywhere.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3825 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1433682265
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (12 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,021 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell rolled into one. 11 April 2014
By D. Robert Pease - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
When everywhere I turn the world seems to scream I'm an idiot for believing in this thing called Christianity, it's important for me to read books like this every once in a while. The authors present a clear, well thought out case, for why we can be "reasonably" sure we haven't given up our lives to a lie by following what the Bible says to be true about Jesus and his ministry on Earth. They stand toe to toe with Bart Ehrman, "one of the leading voices attacking the reliability of the Christian faith" and in my mind, Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw come out on top. The book gave me valuable tools to understand why I believe what I believe, and to know that my faith isn't blind, but based on well supported arguments. Of interest was the fact that the very day I finished the book I heard an interview with Dr. Ehrman on PBS, and discovered he was, in fact, a very well spoken and convincing authority on his subject. The only problem was the whole interview seemed to be filled with nothing more than conjecture.

I highly recommend this book for young people graduating high school, or in college. Or anyone who needs a little assurance every now and again that they can have confidence that their faith in Christ is founded on solid, historical evidence.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars geared toward young people, accessible and relevant 3 Mar 2014
By Jennifer Guo - Published on
Loosely arranged around the ideas Bart Ehrman is popularizing, Truth Matters was written to call high school students and young college students beyond Sunday School platitudes and to equip students, parents, and ministry leaders to think about and respond intelligently and biblically to the most common objections to Christianity.

"What do you do when the Bible goes from being the answer to being the question? How can you discuss its contents when its contents are being questioned as made up or having nothing to do with what really happened? How can you begin to develop a confident faith in such a confusing world? Oh, and one other reason: because the Barth Ehrmans of this world are waiting for you. Whether you attend college or not, his philosophy is popular in our culture, and it will undermine your faith as a Christian if you are not prepared" (xiv)

This book addresses:
- theodicy (the problem of evil and suffering)
- the canonization and transmission of the Bible (Why these books and not others? How can we be confident of our Bibles when we don’t have the original autographs?)
- evidences for the resurrection of Christ
- how we can know that the Christian faith as we know it traces back to Christ and his apostles, against the idea that there were many competing forms of Christianity but ours was the one that “won”, while all other forms were squelched.

I read this book because it was written by two superstar New Testament scholars that I really like. But the honest truth is that before reading this book, I was not sure if it is a necessary addition to the overcrowded genre of apologetics. I’m happy to report in the affirmative. This book is rather unique in its niche. First, it’s specifically geared toward youth and young college students. Everything this book addresses is presented in the context of the experience of a college student, whether in class with an Erhman-esque professor, in dorm room chats with a skeptical friend, etc. It is extremely relevant and relatable for a college-bound youth or student in college, written in an engaging, conversational tone.

Secondly, this book is loosely structured around ideas made popular by Ehrman and cites a lot of his work. This is a good move because of how influential Ehrman and his ideas are, especially in the secular university context. Even if you have never heard of him, chances are you’ve encountered his ideas through the media, non-Christian friends, etc. In their own right Kostenberger and Bock have the scholarly weight to contend with Ehrman’s assertions; but they also cite world-class scholars who have done significant work related to the New Testament and early Christianity, such as Richard Bauckham.

I think Truth Matters should be given to every graduating high school senior. It would also make a great book for a youth group series, since it’s a small book with a mere seven chapters that includes discussion questions at the end of every chapter.

*Excerpted from the review on my blog. Check out the full review for anecdotes about my personal experience with Ehrman as a college student, as well as a first-hand encounter with one of the authors of this book.[...]
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next "More Than a Carpenter" 22 Feb 2014
By David Schroeder - Published on
An outstanding read about defending your faith. I was thankful how the authors addressed the biggest questions of our faith today. I highly recommend this for a young student, parent, a youth leader, or ministry leader trying to equip younger Christians in their faith.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tool for College Students 6 May 2014
By Michael C. Boling - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are many skeptics today who have garnered a voice, a soapbox if you will against the truth presented in the pages of Scripture. A skeptic who has developed quite the following in recent years is Bart Ehrman. Despite being the product of a Christian rooted advanced education, Ehrman has made it his goal to demonstrate the failure of Christianity and the Bible in general in meeting even the most basic logical points of persuasion. Recognizing the influence of Ehrman on the minds of college youth, Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw have written an excellent book called Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World that provides salient responses to the attacks on Scripture posited by Ehrman and his followers.

Perhaps the best part of this book is the manner in which the authors chose to write meaning the material is very accessible and targeted directly to their audience, namely college aged youth. While there are numerous apologetics books on the market, few provide their arguments in such a manner provides the reader, again in this case, influential college youth, with the tools they need to combat the plethora of professors that have made it their aim to discredit Scripture. Instead of taking the approach of engaging a lengthy array of apologetics related topics, the authors instead focus on six core issues upon which skeptics often focus their venomous attacks: 1) Does God exist and does He care about humanity; 2) How did we get our Bible; 3) Is the Bible filled with errors; 4) Can I trust the Bible given it is a copy of a copy; 5) Who decided the various matters of the faith; and 6) Is the resurrection of Jesus a factual historical event?

Each chapter presents an argument made by Bart Ehrman and a purposeful reasoned response to that accusation. For example, in the chapter called “Let’s Make a Bible”, the authors engage Ehrman’s question as to why some books made it into the accepted canon and others did not. Since the intention of such a question by Ehrman is to plant the idea that it was a proverbial luck of the draw how the canon came into being, the authors discuss a number of the rejected Gnostic books, clearly demonstrating the consistent approach taken by the early church regarding what books would be accepted and what books would be rejected. They rightly note “The books of the biblical canon showed themselves to be special and came to be widely read and circulated over a vast region of the early church. This is a level of circulation those other gospels never attained.” Thus, the accusation given by Ehrman that it was strong armed tactics along with a number of books being included that are replete with forgeries written by “illiterate peasants” is proven to be at best false and completely based on false pretenses.

Another excellent chapter was on the supposed contradictions stated by skeptics to be found throughout the biblical corpus. Ehrman has made a career out of trying to state that since the Bible is so full of copying errors, we cannot trust Scripture as anything more than a collection of well intentioned yet unreliable moral stories. The authors of Truth Matters literally destroy that argument aptly commenting in response to the skeptical approach of Ehrman that “No other writing has withstood and survived so many investigations into its authenticity – which is all well and good. Bring it on! But how truly amazing and indicative of God, rather than creating some mystical Word that exists in some unknown, unworldly realm of communication all by itself, he chose instead to use normal men, writing in normal ways, operating within the normal rules and customs of their day.” In other words, the sheer pile of manuscripts of Scripture available for review and research added to the short time frame of those manuscripts from the original autographs when compared to other respected ancient writings puts Scripture in a class by itself thus making these types of arguments by Ehrman sheer insanity. If anything, the authors clearly demonstrate the inconsistency by skeptics when they affirm the validity of other ancient manuscripts that are not even close to what scholars have on hand for Scripture.

It was also excellent to see this book address perhaps the most important element of Christianity that comes under attack, namely the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Ehrman and other skeptics often try and state that the resurrection was nothing more than a story that happened to catch on among the masses also presenting a number of so-called theories that explain away the resurrection event. In response to those statements and theories, the authors of Truth Matters effectively engage those false theories, demonstrating the reality and historical facticity of the resurrection. They aptly discuss each of the main theories given by skeptics noting in the end “Like it or not the most reasonable story is the one declared as fact in our Bibles. And the fact that it’s supernatural shouldn’t disqualify it from consideration, not unless you’re simply biased from accepting a position that shatters the far reaches of the five senses.”

I highly recommend this book as a resource to hand to any high school graduate about ready to enter the land of skepticism that is most of the college and university campuses across the United States and quite frankly across the globe. This book will arm those about ready to enter the fray with sound and logical arguments against the rather derelict arguments presented by those with a bone to pick against the Bible. The material in this book is manageable to read while maintaining a robust presentation of truth that will arm the reader with the real truth behind the fact that Scripture and the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith are rooted in truth, the truth of God and His Word.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, concise read... 17 Mar 2014
By W. Nelson - Published on
A great (and very quick) overview/rebuttal of/to the most popular objections to the Bible's authenticity and integrity of the origins of the Christian tradition.

The popular Church in the West has busied itself with content-free praise choruses and Jezzus Existentialism for far too long. That dereliction of duty is coming home to roost when young Christians -- fresh out of youth church -- have absolutely no answer to writers like Bart Ehrman. This book is a remedial course on what should be common knowledge to all Christians: why we bother with creeds, where our theology originates, and the robust nature of the received text. If you spent your formative years introverted on "how Jesus is speaking to you today," singing simple-minded praise choruses, and thinking that confessing the Apostle's creed and studying Apologetics was code for "Judaising" -- this book is definitely for you.

Christians might be playing with their faith, but the other team is not. We need more books like this.
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