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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: "Truth Matters" by Darrell Bock, Josh Chatraw, Andreas J. Köstenberger

Net Galley Review
Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World
Darrell Bock, Josh Chatraw, Andreas J. Köstenberger
B&H Publishing Group
One LifeWay Plaza
Nashville, TN. 37234
www.bhpublishinggroup.com
ISBN:  9781433682261; $12.99, March 2014.
Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael Philliber for Deus Misereatur.

It happens all over the country. Our kids finally grow up and head off to college. In the midst of the mind-numbing academic load, they pick out a few electives that should be simple enough to manage and make the scholastic weight less burdensome. So they happily pick a religious studies course or an introduction to the New Testament, thinking this ought to be a breeze. But not too many days into the new class they are confronted with a professor whose program is intended to stretch and shake them; but sometimes it is calculated to subvert their faith. The presentations come packaged with what appear to be overwhelming evidences, irrefutable facts, reasonable arguments, and erudite details. After a while our kids, under this deluge, begin to question the authenticity of the faith they have been raised with, and start to wonder whether or not they’ve been duped by their parents and churches into some kind of superstitious bigotry. To help fortify these teenagers and twenty-somethings, Darrell Bock, Josh Chatraw, Andreas J. Köstenberger have recently written and published their new 208 page paperback, “Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World.” This very readable work is written for High Schoolers and young college students, and brilliantly shows that our faith is not a whistling-in-the-dark kind of wistfulness, but a reasonable faith with reasonable answers.
The approach that Bock, Chatraw and Köstenberger take is very realistic, making it extremely helpful. They bring to the reader a real, live, flesh-and-bones skeptical New Testament scholar who is heavily published, sought after by media talking heads, and who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Bart Ehrman. A quick Google search will immediately show how far-reaching and wide-spread he is. Without being mean-spirited, the authors present Ehrman’s skeptical assertions, and then investigate his presuppositions, challenge his selective “facts,” and lay before the reader intelligent explanations as to why our belief in Jesus and trust of the Scripture is reasonable. Their purpose for taking this approach is not really about Bart Ehrman as much as it is about the truthfulness and reasonableness of the Christian faith, and the God we believe in. They present Ehrman, though, as an example of what we will meet in our society; “( . . . ) the Bart 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” (xvi).
To aid the reader in being prepared, “Truth Matters” works its way through seven easy-to-grasp chapters, with each chapter covering a specific claim Ehrman makes. The book travels through these allegations: that the God we Christians believe in seems to not care about evil and suffering; the Bible was put together to suit an agenda; the Bible is basically a forgery and therefore isn’t God’s word; it is filled with contradictions and can’t be trusted; we cannot trust our present New Testament since we don’t have the original material; the Christian faith is the concoction of politicians and pastors who pulled it all together several hundred years after Jesus; and that the tomb was empty for some other reason than the one Christians claim.
Once a specific assertion is charted out, then the authors start asking probing questions, guiding the reader to delve into the cynical presuppositions which lay, usually unspoken, behind the allegation. Next, they walk through the evidences that are often ignored or skewed, showing that there are very good reasons for rejecting the skeptical claims and continuing to trust the Scriptures and Jesus as he is presented in the Gospel. The authors do not side-step the issues raised, but skillfully and competently tackle them in such a way as to bolster the fact that our faith is a reasoned and reasonable faith.
“Truth Matters” is a book that should find its way into every Christian’s hand, especially those who are already in college or about to be. Parents could easily read this with their teenagers, youth ministers with the kids in their youth groups, and Bible Class teachers with their private school students. I enthusiastically recommend this book!

Thanks to Net Galley and B & H Publishing Group for the electronic copy of this book used for this review.
{As always, feel free to post of publish this review; and please give credit where credit is due. Mike}

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