- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Crossway USA(Good News Publishers) Main Account; First edition (16 Oct. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433503158
- ISBN-13: 978-1433503153
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 731,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Defending Your Faith Paperback – 16 Oct 2009
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About the Author
R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Apologetics refers to rational arguments for or justification of something. Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics not only makes a strong reasoned case that, at its core, Christianity is cogent, but it uses the same approach to reveal how other worldviews are inherently irrational. These feats are accomplished by establishing basic principles of epistemology, working through points and counter-points that scrutinize worldviews, tackling how we discern God’s existence, and then discriminating how we can trust the Bible. What the Christian believer is left with is a strong logical foundation that he or she can build upon when asked to defend Biblical truth. This equips them with the tools they need to make a strong, objective case for Christianity as commanded by Scripture. What a non-believer is left with is a basic working knowledge of how alternative worldviews often violate logic, and how science and faith are perfectly compatible. Truly, what is not compatible is science and the fallacious version of Christianity that is depicted in culture-at-large.
Throughout the book, Sproul does chart a course through philosophical history to reveal how objections to the Christian faith have developed over time. Particular emphasis is given to David Hume and Immanuel Kant. What the reader will find is that many “modern” objections aren’t modern at all and have been vigorously addressed in the past.
Readers should keep in mind that this book delivers on what it says: that it is an introduction to apologetics. So yes, there are more comprehensive books that will go into much greater detail on philosophical and Scriptural matters. Regardless, this book sets your apologetic compass so you will always feel assured that you are heading in the right direction.
As expected, this book is written in simple (not simplistic) language and is very easy to read. While Sproul deals with some very heavy topics, he manages to make everything very digestible. In my personal opinion, Dr. R. C. Sproul is the greatest Bible teacher alive today, so my review is not going to be totally objective. That being said, reading any book by R. C. Sproul will add value to your working knowledge of God and the Bible. I believe this book will benefit all Christians tremendously and anyone involved in teaching the Word, evangelizing, or ministering to others must read Defending Your Faith.
The book sets out to achieve two main goals: demonstrate that one does not have to be irrational to believe in a powerful, supernatural, and invisible entity, and that the Bible is an accurate source of knowledge on matters both historical, spiritual, and cosmic, including the specific characteristics of this higher being.
Sproul lays outs a solid case for the existence of a being of immense power with attributes far beyond our own and shows how one can reach this belief through observation of the real world and logic. I found a few parts of this argument to be either incomplete, incorrect, or simply too confusing for me to understand (I wish I could list examples, but I'd have to repeat the entire argument here to meaningfully explain my issue with it, and this review is far too long as is), and therefor don't agree that the purely logical argument presented in this book is firm proof that an omnipotent God MUST exist. He certainly demonstrates that something like the Christian god is logically POSSIBLE, but as far as I can comprehend he does not rule out that an unthinking force most people would be justified as labeling "higher physics" is the highest power in reality; yet neither of these two choices is more inherently rational or supported by modern knowledge and observations than the other. He is NOT saying that anybody who believes in god is rational or that their arguments are solid, and in fact points out the irrationality of some common pro-god arguments or beliefs.
What most reviewers will likely have trouble with is Sproul's continual assertion that all non-theists (not simply atheists) are inherently biased AGAINST the existence of a perfect higher being, and therefor anyone who does not agree with Christianity is intellectually dishonest. Thankfully his core arguments exist independently from this belief; if theists are expected to endure Richard Dawkins' condescending tone in The God Delusion, non-theists should be able to see past this claim to the relevant points.
In short, he succeeds in backing the claim that one does not have to be ignorant, foolish, or divorced from Science and Reason to believe in God with a capital G.
As for his second goal, his logic is much tighter and easier to follow, with the significant caveat that he does not prove the collection of writings known as the Christian Bible are historically accurate and authoritative, but uses it as an opening premise. He makes occasional references to other sources when explaining how accurate Scripture is, but still one has to mostly take his word for it if this book is the only information a person has available. Admittedly, there is no easy and succinct way to verifiably state archeology as a whole confirms or denies Biblical claims, or whether modern texts are the same as the original writings. Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell is likely the closest one can get on EITHER side of the argument, and that book is essentially a massive bibliography with summaries. So in this particular case while I do not hold this missing link in Sproul's argument against his rationality, I cannot honestly say that, strictly within the bounds of this book, he completes an airtight argument. IF the Bible is as accurate as he claims, THEN his logic very powerfully argues that a higher entity not only exists, but that it is in line with the central tenets of modern conservative Christianity.
Overall, while there are holes in his arguments, I still give this book 4 stars for anybody who is interested in philosophy, rationality or metaphysics. Even if one disagrees with all of his end conclusions, the 4 Principles of Knowledge in section 2 in of themselves are worth a read.
It is possible for a person to read this book and still walk away disbelieving that God exists, but it is equally ridiculous to walk away and conclude that Mars doesn't exist. Most people will say that Mars does exist. Some people read about Mars. Some people have seen pictures of Mars. Some people don't care about Mars. But for anyone to say that Mars doesn't exist, it would simply be absurd. The wise reader will correctly conclude, based on evidence and rational thinking, that God exists, the Holy Bible is reliable, and Jesus Christ reflects the very character of God himself.