Book Plunge: Truth Matters

What do I think of this work by Darrell Bock, Andreas Kostenberger, and Josh Chatraw? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I recently got a copy in the mail of this book that I was told was written for college students or even high school students. That way, they would be prepared for what they would encounter in college. The main one that the writers want to prepare students for is someone like Bart Ehrman, who is probably the most common go-to person for skeptics of the Christian faith on Biblical matters. (Except somehow of course for “Did Jesus Exist?” Many internet atheists hold the opinion that Ehrman dropped the ball on that one.”)

The writers write to someone who has never really considered these kinds of deep questions before. There is a concern they have to make sure that the position of Ehrman is not seen as the only position there is. This is important since Ehrman usually makes it out that his position is the position of scholarship, despite their being numerous scholars who disagree. Of course, it’s easy to just write them off as “biased” or “not mainstream” even though Ehrman himself has a bias as we all do and these positions that are held by his opponents are indeed mainstream and held by a sizable number of scholars.

There is also a section on dealing with the problem of evil since Ehrman makes a case in “God’s Problem” about how the problem of evil is the best evidence against the existence of God. While I do agree with that aspect, I don’t think that Ehrman makes the case.

It’s also important to point out that Ehrman does indeed not give the whole story. The student who goes into the classroom of Ehrman or someone like him should be prepared to examine both sides of the evidence and too often, that just isn’t really allowed. A good teacher will present not just his views, but also the best reasons against his views and the best scholarship against those views. Of course, he is allowed to say what side he comes down on, but let’s make sure that the opposite side is presented in the best possible light.

Overall, this is an excellent book to prepare, but I do wish there had been a couple of changes. First, I don’t recall anywhere in the book where apologetics was even named. I am sure this must be intentional for some reason, but I wish it had been so the student who wanted to know more could have an idea of what it is he was looking for.

Also, while it’s good to help those preparing for college, nowadays, we must go younger and I hope future works are going to address that. We need to have ways of dealing with internet atheism for our youth, such as ideas that Jesus never even existed or that the story of Jesus is based on pagan myths that the early Christians copied. I understand a future work is in the works and I hope that in that one, that the writers will address objections largely held by internet atheists.

Still, I would be glad to place this in the hands of someone about to go to college. I just would hope they’d realize that what I gave them is the start of their intellectual diet. It is not the conclusion of it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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3 Responses to “Book Plunge: Truth Matters”

  1. tildeb Says:

    A good teacher will present not just his views, but also the best reasons against his views and the best scholarship against those views.

    I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in university classes but it’s my experience that the best teachers present the best questions and teach people why these questions matter. Learning how to ask these kinds of questions is what a good education is all about… not regurgitating some teacher’s personal views to be defended by cherry-picked scholarship.

    If something is true, it should be able to stand on its own merit and be available to everyone who wants to look at why it is so. Reading a pre-colleg or university book to prepare defenses against good questions seems to me to be an admission that such help is required, that the ideas being defended require something more than being true and being accessible to everyone. I think that’s a pretty good indication that what’s being defended should be held to a much higher degree of skepticism and that’s the way an educated mind would come at such an offering..

    • apologianick Says:

      I have no problem with asking questions. I have a problem with a classroom being a pulpit where the other side cannot dialogue and where a one-sided case is presented. Of course a professor comes down on one side, but he should seek to bring forward the best objections against his view. If I was a Christian professor, I’d care more about my students being able to think on their own rather than agreeing with me.

      But as for if something is true, this seems an unbelievable claim. Could the same have been said about heliocentrism? If it’s true, it won’t really need defending. Any idea needs defending. The reason Christianity does is it’s not simple. It’s a complex worldview and the reason books are written to educate is because the church fails to do so.

  2. Stephen Bedard Says:

    Reblogged this on Hope's Reason.

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