Book Review: Mere Apologetics by Alister E. McGrath

An Outstanding Primer on Apologetics to Post Moderns

What C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” was to “Moderns” this book is a very helpful primer in how to communicate and build foundational bridges of truth leading to the gospel in a postmodern context. Tim Keller’s book “The Reason for God” would be the 21st equivalent of Lewis’ aforementioned book – addressing post moderns, rather than moderns. In McGrath’s book we have a bridge building handbook of sorts in how to show post moderns that the Christian ship is safe to board and sail in troubled waters and land on islands of truth in this journey of life.

Dr. McGrath shows how apologetics has changed over the years, what remains the same, and what we can learn from the biblical and historical apologists as they have cogently articulated the faith in their own cultural milieus, as we seek to reach post moderns in the 21st century with the unchanging gospel. He makes an excellent case for the fact that we need many approaches as we address the differing mind-sets of those we encounter with the gospel – just as Jesus, Paul, Peter, Jonathan Edwards, and C.S. Lewis did in their times. He then gives numerous examples from our own times in how we can dialogue and build bridges with the “new atheists” and others to pave a way for the gospel.

Throughout the book McGrath weaves in and out of discussions applying the benefits of apologetics as a precursor to evangelism. Perhaps the best description of this aspect of the book is noted in chapter five where he writes, “Yet conversion is ultimately the task of evangelism. Apologetics is about preparing the way for such conversion by showing that it makes sense to believe in God. It’s about clearing away rubble and debris in the path of evangelism. We may not be able to prove—in the absolute sense of the word—that there is a God. But we can certainly show that it is entirely reasonable to believe that such a God exists, in that it makes more sense of life, history, and experience than anything else—and then we can invite someone to respond to this loving God and trust this God’s promises.”

McGrath has written cogently, concisely, and lovingly in this outstanding handbook of how we can build bridges with our hearers to pave a way for the gospel, and how we can do this successfully where God has placed us in an ever changing world of ideas, with a never changing gospel. I highly recommend this book as a resource that Christian apologists can benefit from for years to come with an amazing array of helpful examples of how to tackle the issues of our day defensively, offensively, and most importantly with gentleness and respect so that it may benefit our hearers and give them a reason for our hope in Christ.

Book Review: The Cross Is Not Enough by Ross Clifford & Philip Johnson

The Cross Only Has Meaning Because of the Empty Tomb

 As a pastor for over twenty-four years now, I am amazed at how fresh and new and exciting the depths of my understanding of the gospel keep getting – largely due to books like this one. This insightful book offers a very refreshing and much needed look at the necessity of a paradigm shift in our thinking through the lenses of the resurrection rather than through the cross as the appropriate symbol of the church in today’s world. In this book the authors make the very effective case that the resurrection is the lynchpin upon which Christianity stands or falls: without it – there is no atonement for sin, no justification by faith alone, no empowerment for living a holistic life, and no basis for ethics, spiritual growth, human rights, and missions.

One of the most important contributions this book makes is how they cogently and with convincing evidences show how a theology of the resurrection was in the thoughts and heart of the worldview of the most missional Christian of all time – the apostle Paul. The authors also demonstrate how resurrection theology is present in all of Biblical revelation. This book is not so much a case for the evidence of the resurrection, but a case for the necessity and reality of our belief and application of the ramifications of the resurrection for all of life.

I immensely enjoyed this book and will be adding it to an increasing list of books that I will be reading on a yearly basis to remind me of the importance of the resurrection lenses through which I should be seeing all of life each and every day – until Jesus returns – of course, made possible because of His literal bodily resurrection from the dead. As a result of my reading of this book I believe and feel even more empowered and equipped to live out and share the past, present, and future realities of the gospel consisting of the death, burial, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ the Lord.

Book Review: Turning Mountains into Molehills By Warren W. Wiersbe

How To Turn Your Mountains Into Molehills

 This concise devotional by the prolific writer Warren W. Wiersbe consists of 30 short devotionals (one for each day of the month) originally aired over “Songs in the Night” – the radio broadcasts of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago.

I have read through this book several times over the years. It is especially good to read when you are battling discouragement, depression, or going through some kind of adversity. Each chapter stands alone and is full of Biblical principles, insights, and applications for helping you turn your own personal mountains into molehills by being reminded of God’s power, sovereignty, and love for you in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you will get this book and be encouraged as I have so many times over the years. I highly recommend it as a treasury of reminders of God’s love for you, and how He always works out everything for our good and His glory.

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