Contending with Christianity’s Critics (A Review)


Want quick answers to objections the New Atheists, Bart Ehrman and Open Theists bring against Christianity?

Then  is your book.

Now, William Lane Craig [editor and contributor] says the book is both accessible and apologetically cutting-edge.

While I’ll concede cutting-edge, I have to resist “accessible.”

I’ll show you what I mean in a minute.

Here’s the deal: Contending is made up of 18 essays divided into three categories: The Existence of God, Jesus of History and Coherence of Christian Doctrine.

What follows is a SHORT review of each essay. Nano-reviews, if you will.

Dawkin’s Delusion

In under 3 pages Craig demonstrates that Richard Dawkin’s doesn’t have “a very serious argument against God’s existence.” Instead, he’s got an invalid syllogism.

At Home in the Multi-Verse

All I have to say is that James Daniel Sinclair lost me  at sentence one. Go figure.

Confronting Naturalism: The Argument from Reason

Victor Reppert’s argument in a nutshell: Meaning is ambiguous if naturalism is true. However, meaning is NOT ambiguous. Thus, naturalism is false.

Belief in God: A Trick of Our Brain?

Psychological experiments about a God-sense hardwired in our brain simply demonstrate what we already know: We’ve got an instinct for God.

The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism

Mark D. Linville starts his essay like this: “Darwin’s account of the origins of human morality is at once elegant, ingenious and woefully inadequate.” He then defends that thesis in 16 pages of playful, Rob Powellesque language.

Darwin’s Best Argument Against God’s Existence

Gregory Ganssle uses four counter-features to show that Dawkin’s best argument–that features of this life fit a naturalistic explanation better than a theistic one–simply doesn’t deliver.

Criteria for The Gospel’s Authenticity

When positive evidence accumulates…and one affirms a universe open to miracles…the Gospel’s authenticity is strongly attested. That’s Robert Stein’s argument.

Jesus the Seer

Ben Witherington makes an exquisite case for Jesus’ self-understanding as God by exploring his use of the phrase “Son of Man.” Must read.

The Resurrection of Jesus Time Line

Gary Habermas works back from the composition of the Gospels to Paul’s conversion to show that Jesus’ bodily record was taught as early as 30 AD. In other words: It’s always been a creed with the church.

How Scholars Fabricate Jesus

Craig Evans argues that the scholarly track record with respect to the use of extra-canonical gospels is embarrassing. Take note, Crossan.

How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament

Dan Wallace takes Misquoting Jesus to task, stating the author [Bart Ehrman] esteems provocative positions over honesty, excitement over boredom.

Who Did Jesus Think He Was?

Michael Wilkins makes a plain-Jane case that Jesus knew he was God. The only innovation appears to be Wilkin’s use of Peter’s messianic proclamation as a test case.

The Coherence of Theism

Taliaferro and Marty look at six specific attributes of God and their seamless interaction to prove God simply makes sense.

Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder?

Paul Copan makes a case for a simple understanding of the Trinity–yet with room for mystery and worship.

Did God Become a Jew?

Copan next argues that it’s NOT absurd to think about God becoming man. One way he does this is by warning us to start with the Scriptures–not Greek philosophy–when we talk about the Incarnation.

Dostoevsky, Woody Allen and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution

Christopher Hitchens complains that Jesus’ death as vicarious atonement makes zero sense. Steve Porter’s essay will fix that.

Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way

Very creative case for hell by Stuart Goetz based on libertarian free will, life plans and ultimate-good-seeking decisions. C. S. Lewis would be proud.

What Does God Know? The Problems with Open Theism

David Hunt tells us that open theism doesn’t have a scriptural advantage over classical theism because it fails four truth tests.

As you might’ve noticed, Richard Dawkin’s and Co. and their ideas get a lot of work. That’s intentional.

Thus, if you want answers to this new wave of objections to Christianity,  is a good buy. You’ll be happy to foot the $14. I was.

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