Item description for On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig...
Overview This concise guide is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help Christians stand their ground and defend their faith with reason and precision. In his engaging style, Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God?s existence, defends the historicity of Jesus? personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn?t work. Along the way, he shares his story of following God?s call in his own life.
This one-stop, how-to-defend-your-faith manual will equip Christians to advance faith conversations deliberately, applying straightforward, cool-headed arguments. They will discover not just what they believe, but why they believe - and how being on guard with the truth has the power to change lives forever.
Renowned scholar William Lane Craig offers a readable, rich training manual for defending the Christian faith. This concise guide is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help Christians stand their ground and defend their faith with reason and precision. In his engaging style, Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God's existence, defends the historicity of Jesus' personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn't work. Along the way, he shares his story of following God's call in his own life. This one-stop, how-to-defend-your-faith manual will equip Christians to advance faith conversations deliberately, applying straightforward, cool-headed arguments. They will discover not just "what "they believe, but "why "they believe--and how being on guard with the truth has the power to change lives forever.
Citations And Professional Reviews On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 03/01/2010 page 20
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Studio: David C. Cook
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 7" Height: 0.9" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2010
Publisher David C. Cook
ISBN 1434764885 ISBN13 9781434764881
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More About William Lane Craig
William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England; DTheol, University of Munich) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, and at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He has authored or edited over thirty books and is the founder of ReasonableFaith.org, a web-based apologetics ministry.
William Lane Craig currently resides in the state of California. William Lane Craig was born in 1949 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, USA Catholic University of Louva.
William Lane Craig has published or released items in the following series...
This book is AMAZING and really gives great insight into Christian Apologetics. I HIGHLY reccommend this book to anyone with questions about faith or belief in God.
Can Apologetics Be Interesting And Understandable...Or Is That Just My Bias Showing? May 14, 2010
When a world class philosopher writes a book, you would think the approach to the book would involve sound logic. Right? Well, that is the case with "On Guard" by William Lane Craig. "On Guard" is a well reasoned approach to apologetics.
The material is presented in such a way that each subject lays the foundation for the next subject, moving from the existence of God to a more specific case for Christianity, and concluding with a relevant question in our culture: "Is Jesus the Only Way to God?" And, of course, in each subject the position which Dr. Craig defends is supported with sound, convincing, helpful, logical arguments.
William Lane Craig is a terrific communicator and he is able to write about deep subject matter in an understandable and, even, interesting manner. This is an outstanding skill and it is not one that all Christian apologetic writers possess. (Believe me, I've fallen into comatose states while reading many of these types of books. In fact, I got a little sleepy just writing that sentence.) "On Guard" is written with a lay audience in mind, but don't take that to mean that it is unchallenging. There is helpful material in this book even for those who've done a good bit of reading in the field of apologetics.
"On Guard" is more personal than most of Dr. Craig's works that are intended for a more scholarly audience and he includes what he calls a "Personal Interlude" a couple of times in the course of the book. I found the personal interludes to be interesting. (But then again, I'm one of Dr. Craig's close personal friends...on Facebook, so perhaps that's my just my bias showing.)
One of the endorsements for the book comes from J.P. Moreland (who's a pretty sharp thinker, himself) and he writes that Dr. Craig, "is simply the finest Christian apologist of the last half century, and his academic work justifies ranking him among the top 1 percent of practicing philosophers in the Western world." Pretty good.
The Bible says: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1Peter3:15. If you take that challenge seriously, then this book would be well worth your time.
Dan Marler Oak Lawn, IL
A Master Defends Christianity at an Approachable Level May 8, 2010
Apologetics is the discipline of defending Christianity as true, rational, and pertinent to life. The apologist may be a philosopher, historian, theologian, or a practitioner of some other intellectual discipline. However, in the broadest sense, all Christians are commanded to have a reason for the hope within them, to offer this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), and to love God with all their minds (Matthew 22:37-38; see also Romans 12:1-2). Jesus defended his views through argument (see three examples of this in Matthew 22), as did the Apostle Paul throughout the Book of Acts (see especially his speech to the Athenians in Acts 17). (I defend the claim that Jesus was a philosopher and apologist in On Jesus [Wadsworth, 2002]).
Learning apologetics (first from Francis Schaeffer) transformed me from an intellectually insecure and timid Christian into a thinker who had found confidence and certainty in the challenging world of ideas. All Christians need this kind of confidence and should receive the exhortation that the Apostle Paul gave to his disciple Timothy, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). While I have learned much from many apologists, William Lane Craig work's has been formative for me in many respects. As a respected philosopher who often writes at the highest intellectual levels in academic journals and books, Craig has, through his long and fruitful career (which includes debating influential atheists and other non-Christians), also offered apologetics at a more popular (but always intellectually serious) level. With On Guard, Craig distills and simplifies work available in other books (such as Reasonable Faith and God: A Debate Between a Christian an a Atheist) in order to present a thorough defense of Christianity. While taking the reader fairly deep into apologetic arguments, the book does not presume much knowledge of philosophy. To keep the reader's interest, it uses charts and graphics--but not to excess. The book is also punctuated by two "personal interludes" in which Craig presents his own "journey to faith."
In ten chapters, Craig explains the nature and purpose of apologetics, the significance of God's existence for the meaning of life, why the existence of the universe is best explained by God, how the universe reveals God's design, and how the existence of morality is best explained by God as its source. He also takes up the problem of suffering, and the identity of Jesus as God Incarnate and as raised from the dead. The final chapter asks, "Is Jesus the Only Way to God?" and addresses the claim that Christianity is too exclusive and harsh (consigning unbelievers to hell). While presented in a rather popular form, Craig does not cut any corners, and he gives ample documentation where needed.
While I disagree with Craig's strategy at a few points (particularly on religious exclusivism and the problem of evil), the book deserves high praise as a complete, readable, and compelling defense of Christianity. While Craig uses the design inference to defend the fine-tuning of the universe for human life (given its unlikely combination of constants, proportions, and laws), he fails to use this argument to infer design at the biological level, as do the proponents of Intelligent Design such as William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, and Michael Behe. But this is a small complaint given the overall excellence of this work, which I highly recommend to who are all interested in apologetics at the beginning to intermediate level. After reading On Guard, one will want to explore Craig's more advanced works, as well as writings by J.P. Moreland, Paul Copan, Winfried Corduan, Norman Geisler, Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and other philosophical apologists. Nothing less than the rational defense of eternal truth is at stake.
Class Teachers Look Out: Exagerated Claims and Poor Citations May 7, 2010
Let me first say that I am a huge Bill Craig fan. His work has saved my spiritual bacon many times and I've also gone to several of his debates (have two pictures with him) and have donated to his organization.
I give this book a poor rating as a book, not so much for the arguments given, which are fairly standard for Dr. Craig. Things to like about the book include readability. I'm a slow reader and I could easily plow through a chapter in about 30 minutes. There is also a bonus chapter on how to defend that Christ is the only way to salvation, and differentiating the intellectual versus emotional reasons people have for rejecting the doctrine. Some who are not biblical inerrantists may not welcome this chapter, thus limiting the appeal of this book over Reasonable Faith in some circles. Fortunately, the book does have questions for discussion in the margin, unlike RF, which means you can use it for a group discussion without having to buy workbooks or print off seperate sheets.
And keep in mind, this book is designed to boil down RF, written on the "graduate" student level, and make it more "accessible" to the common church goer. After all, who really wants to spend the extra time and cost to clean up the brain matter from unsuspecting soccer mom's who chose to read straight through RF? Those kind of casualities just don't look good for the church.
The reason I give this book such a poor review is that scholars are frequently quoted and, aside from giving their names, there is no citation to tell us the work and page number. For instance, the quote from Roger Penrose on the odds of the initial conditions of the universe being a low entropy state (10^10^123) on page 196. This alone would be enough to fail any high school student's research paper. Why should Bill not receive an "F" for this? And how would it really help equip a would-be apologist to quote a scholar to someone only to have the listener say, "I don't believe that is true. Where can I look it up?...Oh, I see, Dr. Craig said so. He was probably just quoting one of his fundamentalist buddies who did some fuzzy math." If we can't check his work, we can't confirm the evidence.
Secondly, and maybe this is just me, but Dr. Craig seems to use more sweeping claims in this book, or at least more than usual. Instead of "Probably" or "most" we read more "We know" or "all" comments about what scholars say or various truth claims. One quote that causes me to question that Dr. Craig even wrote all of this material himself is the following:
"All historians agree that the gospels were written down and circulated during the first generation after the events, while the eyewitnesses were still alive" (191).
First, he should have said "virtually" all, since there are plenty of random quacks out there who are absurdly skeptical. But, two, this isn't even "virtually" true. You'd be lucky if half of historians would accept this claim. The mainstream view is that Mark was written around 70CE (40 years after the cross), with New Testament and extrabiblical evidence being agreed upon that Peter, Paul, James the Lord's brother, and the apostle James dying in the 60s CE or earlier. You would have a hard time getting even most historians to agree that the "eyewitnesses" of the events recorded in the gospels were alive at the time Mark was written, let alone Matthew and Luke (which mainstream scholars date to the 80s CE) and John (95CE). Truly, I doubt that Dr. Craig would make such an assertion. No credit is given in the book to additional authors, unless "The Team" written in tiny font on the back of the cover page just above "cover design" refers to such contributors. I emailed the reasonable faith team about it but have received no response.
The chapters on philosophical arguments are straightforward enough to use without external evidence, but particularly the chapter on "Who was Jesus?" will likely be found not well explained enough for the common person to use in apologetics. You would need the more careful explanation of the "criterion of authenticity" and such found in the fuller work (RF) for it really to be practical.
I'll assume this is all Dr. Craig's writing or at least approved by him, but I truly don't know why he would want his name on it.
Learning to Defend Your Faith May 3, 2010
Do you know how to defend your faith? What do you say when someone asks you why you believe in God? Do you ever worry that someone will ask you a question about your faith that you can't answer? On Guard, Defending Your Faith With Reason and Precision by author Dr. William Lane Craig answers many of these kinds of questions and more. The book is very thorough, covering such topics as:
* Why did the universe begin?
* Can we be good without God?
* Why is does a just God allow suffering?
* Who was Jesus and did He rise from the dead?
* Is Jesus the only way to God?
These are just a few of the subjects touched on in this book that reads like a manual. He begins with a premise, for example: "Everything that exists has an explanation of it's existence". Then he breaks the premise down from the atheist's point of view. The atheist says, "Based on this premise, God must have an explanation of His existence." With each objection presented, the author has an answer and he is so detailed in his answer that atheists will look foolish for their continued objections. Dr. Craig has even given the reader a way to have an answer ready for any question an unbeliever might bring your way, making this a book that would be valuable for any Christian to have on their shelves.
Included in the book are illustrations and sidebars that provide the reader with memorizable steps to defend their faith and stand their ground. The arguments Dr. Craig presents are sound and while at times I found my head swimming with the information provided, I know that I will read this book again and again, because it isn't based just on biblical evidence, rather it is based on common sense. And as each objection comes forth from the other side, Dr. Craig tears it down with sound reasoning.
If you don't know why you believe, by the time you finish this book you will.