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Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative…

Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian… (edition 2012)

by Kenneth Boa, Robert M. Bowman Jr.

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Title:Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith
Authors:Kenneth Boa
Other authors:Robert M. Bowman Jr.
Info:IVP Books (2012), Paperback, 658 pages
Collections:Your library (inactive)

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Faith Has Its Reasons : An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity by Kenneth D. Boa



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Apologetics is such a broad and contested field — a field deeply tied to the view of theology (specifically salvation, or soteriology). Because of this, it’s hard to find a single volume that will clearly explain each of the four primary approaches to apologetics, including a solid view of the history and thinkers in each camp, an analysis of how the system works, and a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each view. Yet this is especially what Faith Has It’s Reasons does.

The authors begin with a general overview of the history of apologetics, starting with the first apologists just after the founding of the Church. They include Paul in this category, given his participation in what is generally seen as one of the foundational texts for apologists within the Scriptures, Acts 17. They also include Luke and John as two other apologists within the writings of the Apostles, since both of these writers claim an apologetic task for their work.

While building this definition, they also build a set of questions through which to understand each of the different apologetic methods, including bringing the strengths and weaknesses of each system to the fore, where they can be analyzed and discussed in a forthright manner. The six questions they pose to each system are:

Why should we believe in the Bible?
Don’t all religions lead to God?
How do we know that God exists?
If God exists, why does he permit evil?
Aren’t the miracles of the Bible spiritual myths and legends and not literal fact?
Why should I believe what Christians claim about Jesus?

The authors then proceed to work through the history, approaches, and finally strengths of weaknesses of each apologetic method. As an example, consider the process they undertake in the first section of the book, which deals with Classical Apologetics. They begin by outlining the history of the Classical method, which includes some of the best known luminaries of the apologetics field, including C.S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft. The authors conclusions are that Classical apologetic’s strengths are it’s affirmation of the universal application of reason, it’s raising the problem of worldviews and how they relate to our understanding of facts, and its ability to find common ground with non-Christians. They counter these strengths with three weaknesses: Classical Apologetics can overestimate the power of reason, rely on theistic arguments of debated validity, and it doesn’t deal with personal dimensions of knowledge and belief.

Throughout each section, helpful charts are provided as a quick reference of the primary people involved in each movement, their differences, the strengths of each system, and the weaknesses of each system. Each section also includes a “just so” fictional discussion between non-Christians and a representative of that view. While these are “just so stories,” they are still helpful in showing how someone might apply the apologetic method being described in the real world.

Finally, in the last section, the authors undertake what they consider to be the primary aim of their work, to propose an integrative apologetic system. They do not claim the status of a “fifth system,” for their work, but rather point out that great thinkers throughout time have used various methods in different situations — that we should draw from the strength of each system in order to overcome the weaknesses of the others, to build a solid set of tools. While such a combination of systems will still have its limits, it allows us to address different people in different situations with an appropriate response.

Apologetics, in the end, will not convince people to believe in Christianity. On the other hand, having the best possible reasoning behind faith, and the best possible answers for people in different life situations, answers which might ultimately combine to help that person overcome unbelief, is a good goal for every Christian to reach for.

This book does an admirable job of providing a solid foundation for thinking about apologetics. ( )
  RussWhite | Nov 10, 2012 |
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