“A Great Application of 1 Peter 3:15”: Book Review by David P. Craig
One of the most famous verses in the Bible used in the field of apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). In apologetics when a person “defends” the faith of Christianity it’s easy to get “defensive” when arguing with someone of another opinion. The beauty of this book is that Craig and Gorra are able to give the finest evidences for the Christian faith and answer the biggest objections to Christianity and do so while “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
Craig and Gorra are not only a gifted apologists, but loving evangelists and truly demonstrate how the gospel can be the center piece of all evidence with reference to offensive evidences as well as defending attacks on the Christian faith.
The six sections of this helpful book in answering difficult questions are as follows: (1) Questions on Knowing and Believing What Is Real – questions such as: Does Knowledge require certainty?; What is the criterion for a good argument?; Is there such a thing as objective truth?; and Is the price of biblical errancy too high to pay? (2) Questions About God – such as: Is a Maximally Great Being Possible?; Is Trinity Monotheism Orthodox?; and In What Sense Is God a “Simple Being”? (3) Questions about Origins and the Meaning of Life – like the following: Must the Cause of the Universe Be Personal?; Is there a contradiction in God’s creation of time?; Is life absurd without God?; and Is Scientism Self-refuting? (4) Questions about the Afterlife and Evil – like: Does creation benefit the lost?; Do the damned in Hell accrue further punishment?; and Was the slaughter of the Canaanites an act of “Divine Genocide”? (5) Questions about Jesus Christ and Being His Disciple: What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?; Can one justifiably infer Jesus’ resurrection on the basis of the empirical evidence?; and What does it mean to have a personal relationship with God? (6) Questions about Issues of Christian Practice – such as: Do we live in a Postmodern Society?; How might we think about a Christian marrying a non-Christian?; and “Can someone be a “Christian Homosexual?”
Also of immense help are the three appendixes which include: (1) Tips on using the book for small group study; (2) Fostering question-asking and answer-seeking environments; (3) Civility guidelines for (online) “third places.”
Perhaps nobody will agree with 100% of the answers given, or be totally convinced of all the evidence or answers provided. However, anyone reading this book will benefit richly from it. The myriad of questions addressed by both believers and non-believers are answered cogently and practically. I will return to this book again and again as a virtual encyclopedia of great answers to great questions on the Christian faith. You will learn from these seasoned apologists how to “always be prepared to make a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” and you will be guided in how to do this “with gentleness and respect.”