By Jody Matheson
To call Reasons for Faith: Making a Case for the Christian Faith a resource book would not give it the praise that it deserves. This collection of essays goes beyond a teaching tool. The written word of many of the 25 authors collected is both readable and easily understood.
The editors, Norman L. Geisler and Chad V. Meister, collaborate to create a collection for apologists with a twofold purpose: as an effective tool for Christians and seekers alike; and to honour Bob Passantino and Gretchen Passantino Colburn.
In the first regard, Reasons for Faith is full of practical examples. The different writing styles of the many authors keep the reading and pace of the collection interesting with emotion, passion, and intellectual depth. It is easy to understand and appreciate the evidence presented. It is a near impossible task to summarize the depth of evidence presented in the 400+ pages of Reasons for Faith.
The book is broken into four categories. Part One starts by examining the two questions: What is apologetics and why do we need it? The verse in 1 Peter 3:15 is highlighted in this area, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (NIV)
Part Two explores cultural and theological issues that have a strong influence on the issues of today. Postmodernism, Separation of Church and State, Abortion, and Research Cloning are just a few of the topics covered in this section.
Part Three moves into defending Christian theism, looking at a number of arguments including cosmological, Design, and Transcendental. I really enjoyed the essay by Richard G. Howe regarding the New Testament, Jesus Christ, and The Da Vinci Code, but this hot topic was not as relevant by the time of this printing. There will always be challenges, and when The Da Vinci Code left the limelight, The Secret jumped right in. Another fad or fiction is waiting in the wings. Despite this criticism, it does act as a reminder to the importance of a book like this: having the strength of conviction and understanding of your faith to be able to defend it with gentleness and respect.
Finally, Part Four of the book has a great series of essays on World Religious Movements dealing with the issues of Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Witchcraft, Hindus and Satanists. Wide ranging, and worldly relevant for the Christian witness in todays neighbourhoods.
As to the second part of the book, there is often mention of Bob and Gretchen Passantino. I was not familiar with the work of these two people before reading accounts of their work in one chapter of the book. It certainly gave me the desire to reach for a benchmark set by a great in the apologetic movement. But my focus when reading this book was on the scriptural reasoning for the case for the Christian faith, and the testimony toward these two people seemed almost out of place. I believe that the collection on its own is a testimony to the movement that Bob and Gretchen Passantino worked so hard towards; the glory of which they would want to have placed on their Lord and Saviour.
This book does just that, as the editors do more than provide the reasons for faith. The manner that they set out to achieve these results is of particular importance, as the verse that their manifest is built from requires their response to be with gentleness and respect. It is a common theme, and one that allows the reader to be fully engaged.
This book will be one that you will put in a handy place, using it often. Additionally, the essay authors use the footnotes to direct the readers to examine further evidence. Be warned, this will be a hard book to put down.
About the editors : Norman L. Geisler is author or coauthor of over sixty books and hundreds of articles. Dr. Geisler holds a B.A. and M.A. from Wheaton College, a Th.B. from William Tyndale College, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University in Chicago. He has taught at the college and graduate level for over forty-eight years.
Chad V. Meister is Director of Philosophy at Bethel College (Indiana) and Vice President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has written or edited a number of books including Building Belief: Constructing Faith from the Ground Up (Baker) and The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, coedited with Paul Copan.
Authors included in collection (in alphabetical order): Francis J. Beckwith, E. Calvin Beisner, Sean Choi, Winfried Corduan, Miguel Angel Endara, Norman L. Geisler, R. Douglas Geivett, Alan W. Gomes, Douglas Groothuis, Gary Habermas, David J. Hesselgrave, H. Wayne House, Richard G. Howe, Scott Klusendorf, Louis Markos, Josh McDowell, Chad V. Meister, Mark Mittelberg, John Warwick Montgomery, J. P. Moreland, Eric Pement, Ron Rhodes, Jon Trott, Jim Valentine, Kurt Van Gorden.
Jody challenges himself and others to own their Faith. A father of two from Canada, Jody works as a producer and on-air entertainer for a local newspaper website. Eh?