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Book Review on William Lane Craig’s and Joseph E. Gorra’s A Reasonable Response

“A Great Application of 1 Peter 3:15”: Book Review by David P. Craig

ARR Craig and Gorra

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.”

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Book Review: New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason L. Archer Jr.

The author – Gleason L. Archer Jr., (1916-2004 – B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University; B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; L.L.B., Suffolk Law School) was a biblical scholar, theologian, educator, and author. He served as an assistant pastor of Park Street Church in Boston from 1945 to 1948. He was a Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary for 16 years, teaching New Testament, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic. From 1965 to 1986 he served as a Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He became an emeritus faculty member in 1989. He also served for many years as a minister of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The remainder of his life was spent researching, writing, and lecturing.

Legend has it, (I have not been able to verify whether this is 100% true or not) that he was so gifted in languages that for fun (and as a challenge) he would study the Bible in a different language every year to continue to grow and develop mentally.

Archer served as one of the 50 original translators of the NASB published in 1971. He also worked on the team which translated the NIV Bible published in 1978. I give this introduction, because many people are not familiar with Archer (unfortunately), but he was a brilliant Christian scholar who could have excelled as a lawyer (his father was the founder and president of Suffolk Law School), and chose to use his exceptional gifts to defend the inerrancy and integrity of the Scriptures over the span of his entire adult life. I would say that along with Bruce Waltke and Walter Kaiser Jr., he was one of the most elite and influential Old Testament Evangelical Scholars at the end of the Twentieth Century.

As for this book – it’s simply outstanding. It covers all the thorny issues from Genesis to Revelation in biblical order, and considers questions from the cultural, linguistic, and authorial intent of each passage considered. Of all the books I have on questions, and Bible answers, this is the one I turn to the most. It is extremely thorough and will increase anyone’s’ belief in the supernatural authorship of the sixty-six books in the Protestant Canon. It is definitely a “must have” for any interpreter/student/teacher of the Bible, or an apologist for the Christian faith.

 

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