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4.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0830827358
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press|
Release data : September, 2004
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Boring, but informative
This book has everything a fundamentalist could ever dream of in terms of nailing down what Christianity is all about... but could it be any more boring? I think not. No wonder my friend turned atheist after reading this book. Any religion this bland would be a turn off.
A Festschrift for Dr. Geisler - A Great Resource for the Rest of Us
This book is a festschrift honoring Dr. Norman Geisler, with twenty chapters representing a variety of subjects written by his colleagues. Chapters include:
1) Knowing Christianity is True by Thomas & Richard Howe
2) Defending the Defense of the Faith by Craig Hazen
3) Tactics by Greg Koukl
4) The Kalam Cosmological Argument by Doug Geivett
5) An Information-Theoretic Design Argument by Bill Dembski
6) A Thomistic Cosmological Argument by David Beck
7) A Moral Argument by Paul Copan
8) The Ontological Argument by William Lane Craig
9) The Christology of Jesus Revisited by Ben Witherington III
10) Miracles by Winfried Corduan
11) The Case for Christ's Resurrection by Gary Habermas
12) The Problem of Evil by Ron Nash
13) Physicalism, Naturalism and the Nature of Human Persons by JP Moreland
14) Facing the Challenge of Postmodernism by Doug Groothuis
15) Legislating Morality by Michael Bauman
16) Darwin, Design & the Public Schools by Frank Beckwith
17) Religious Pluralism and Christian Exclusivism by David Clark
18) Eastern Thought by Ravi Zacharias
19) Mormonism by Carl Mosser & Paul Owen
20) Islam by Abdul Saleeb
Frank Beckwith, Bill Craig and JP Moreland provide introductions for the various sections of the book and Josh McDowell wrote the Forward.
While some of the sections are more difficult than others, I think the average Christian will be able to use this book effectively. It's an awesome resource!
Good essays, but nothing too original
I was (and remain) somewhat torn about what to rate this book. On the one hand, as far as a quick reference guide to the apologetics landscape, with fairly well-written essays, this is a good book, and deserves perhaps 4 stars. As a festschrift to Norman Geisler on the other hand, it doesn't do its job very well. There are NO tie-ins, notes or reflections by Geisler, and indeed really the only reason one knows its a tribute at all is because it asserts it in a couple places, has a brief introductory note by Josh McDowell, and at the end of the book has a small summary of Geislers publications and educational history. In this instance I would give it two stars. This is hardly "for Norman Geisler" so much as it is a collection of apologetics essays loosley associated with one another only by the fact that they are all apologetics essays, all the authors fall roughly into the conservative-evangelical spectrum of the issues, and that they (obviously) physically occur in a single volume. I am not the biggest Geisler "fan" out there, but the man surely, despite how much you or I agree or disagree with him, surely deserved a more specific (festschrift-ier?) tribute than this.
As far as the actual materials themselves, despite the essays being fairly good introductory essays (and I emphasize introductory, this isn't an in depth text on the various issues) overall there is very little "new" material here. I felt that, along with another reviewer, the essays didn't necessarily reflect their respective author's best works. If you really want to get into a topic, this is not the book to do it with. Go read Dembski's "Intelligent Design" or Craig's "Cosmological Argument," or Habermas' various books on the Resurrection (or N.T. Wrights massive book on the topic, for that matter). And, again as another author pointed out, there were some strange essay choices amongst the participants. William Lane Craig, apparently sick of writing about the Kalaam Argument (my conjecture, of course) for some reason writes on the Ontological argument (for the most part focusing on Alvin PLantinga's modal-logic version) while R. Douglas Geivett writes on Kalaam. Don't get me wrong, both did decent jobs, but its just odd that a man who has spent the majority of his career becoming an expert in the field of cosmological arguments would suddenly alter essay choices.
So, as I said at the beginning, I was somewhat torn with what to rate the book, and decided that a middle of the road grade was about what it deserved. In summary its a good book if you want a quick essay on a particular apologetic topic and are unfamiliar with it, but overall it really offers nothing that hasn't been put forward by the authors in their other publications, and does so in a less detailed manner. Moreover, Geisler fans will undoubtedly be dissapointed that this is his festschrift, when it feels more like they were publishing a collection of apologetic essays anyway, and just tagged "tribute to Norman Geisler" onto it. In the stead of this book, unless you are just getting started in the field of apologetics, I would recommend reading the books by the respective essayists. It might take more time, but you will most likely enjoy it more, and learn WAY more than you would here. If you are simply looking for a quick "reference" guide to apologetics, I would recommend either Geisler's own Encyclopedia of Apologetics, or, more so, the newly published "New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics" (also offered on Amazon), which has multiple well respective contributors, and is far more broad than this book.