Item description for Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith by Kenneth Boa & Robert M. Bowman...
Overview An accessible but thorough primer on apologetics.
Publishers Description Ever since the apostle Paul addressed the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in Athens, relating the Christian worldview to a non-Christian world has been a challenge. And despite Peter's charge to be "ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15), most Christian laypeople have left apologetics the defense of the faith to the ecclesiastical "pros." Faith Has Its Reasons is a study of four different models of how apologetics should be done, an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and a proposal for integrating the best insights of each.Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman have assembled a wealth of information about what Christians believe and how to present that faith to an unbelieving world. Remarkable both in its depth of content and ease of accessibility, Faith Has Its Reasons gives Christian laypeople the tools to address such critical questions as: Why is belief in God rational despite the prevalence of evil in the world? What facts support the church's testimony that Jesus rose from the dead? Can we be certain Christianity is true? How can our faith in Christ be based on something more secure than our own understanding without descending into an irrational emotionalism?
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 2 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2006
Publisher AUTHENTIC BOOKS
ISBN 1932805346 ISBN13 9781932805345
Availability 0 units.
More About Kenneth Boa & Robert M. Bowman
Kenneth Boa is a writer, teacher, speaker, and mentor. He writes a free monthly teaching letter called Reflections and is the author of several books, including Conformed to His Image, Faith Has its Reasons, Handbook to Prayer, Handbook to Leadership, and A Taste of the Classics. Boa is president of Reflections Ministries and holds a BS from Case Institute of Technology, a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, a PhD from New York University, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford in England. Learn more at www.kenboa.org. John Turner has studied theology, psychology, and philosophy, earning an undergraduate degree from Pacific Christian College and a ThM from Bear Valley Bible Institute. Having served churches in California, Maryland and Texas, Mr. Turner is now the president of Faith 2.0 Ministries.
Kenneth Boa currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
Kenneth Boa has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith?
Reasons and Resources... Apr 9, 2007
Faith Has Its Reasons (FHIR), a book not of apologetics, but about apologetics, discusses four different apologetic styles: Classical, Evidentialist, Reformed, and Fideist. Quick to point out that no apologist adheres to exclusively one, the book nevertheless presents them linearly with an attempt at intregation toward its end.
With studies of noted apologists, patterned analysis, and frank discussion of strengths and weaknesses, FHIR is extremely educational for those who read, but have not mastered, the art of Christian defense. Prior to FHIR, I moved from apologetic to apologetic without considering the origins, development, or particular applications. I now have much more to ponder than merely the case any apology presents.
If FHIR suffers, it suffers from an overly simplistic attempt at role play. Each apologetic approach is accompanied by a dialog of an adherent and two unbelievers. While the adherent certainly applies the apologetic represented, the response of the unbelievers and the setting in which they respond is hardly real-world. Indeed, it comes across as somewhat naive.
These dialogs, however, are but minor portions of a major resource and should not, by any means, alter its worth. FHIR informs, challenges, and seeks to champion the integration of apologetic styles to increase their effectiveness and range. Professional apologists can judge the success of the book's stated objective, but as a mere apology reader, I found it exceeds expectations. 5 stars.
A good metapologetic, but not great for beginners Feb 21, 2003
This book bills itself as a handbook of apologetics, and at times it seems like a textbook. In the end, though, I think the authors would agree that it is (to use a word from the book) a metapologetic: it is about apologetics rather than an example or even a summary of apologetics.
The authors divide apologetics into 4 broad classes: The classical (which uses deductive logic); the Evidential (which uses inductive proofs); the Reformed (which relies on Transcendental arguments; and the Fideist (which uses indirect arguments and may not be an apologetic at all). The authors are quick to point out that few people fit neatly into any one category. In the final section of the book, they attempt to move toward an integrated approach that capitalizes on the strength of each model.
I would have gotten more out of the book if they had given more thorough examples of how these various apologetic systems work. How do evidentialists use history to argue for the probability of Christ's Resurrection? How do writers like Van Til avoid logic in making the Transcendental argument? These are questions that aren't addressed directly in the book. This isn't a criticism, but I make the point in case others are looking for a more descriptive approach to various apologetic systems.
To my mind, the end of the book is the weakest part. The attempt to integrate the approaches is interesting, and I agree that different apologetics will resonate better with different people. However, I think the authors go too far in trying to pinpoint which method--even which Gospel account--will best apply to certain types of people. I was surprised to discover the NFs (in the famous personality test) respond better to Mark's Gospel--I'm an NF, and I find Mark the account that resonates least with me. Maybe I'm an unusual NF, or maybe the authors were just pushing their theories a bit too far. I think it's probably the latter.
In any case, I think this is a good book, but it's probably more useful to people who have some background in apologetic thought than to beginners.
An apologetic methodology Sep 2, 2002
The apostle Peter was very clear when he said that we are to have an answer for everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15-16). However, he didn't give us specifics of how we were to go about giving these answers, so Christians have taken it upon themselves to create different systems of methodology in order to follow the commands of Jesus (Matt. 29:19-20) and the apostles (Jude 3; 1 John 4:1).
The reason why I like "Faith Has Its Reasons" is that the authors make it very difficult to see where their biases lie. They cover the major ways apologetics is practiced (classical, evidential, Reformed, fideistic, and integrative) and give reasons used by its adherents to support their particular positions. What's interesting to me is how, in so many cases, I was able to agree with plenty presented in each position. It seems very clear to me that those from the different camps are (were) dedicated Christians who read the same Bible I do and worship the same God and Jesus. It's just that we don't quite see eye-to-eye on the exact process of how we are to "have an answer."
It should be pointed out that there is little difference between classical/evidential (the authors even point to William Lane Craig as a hybrid of the two positions) and Reformed/fideistic. When I went to seminary, I was taught that much of the conflict came between Carnell and Van Til; while that might be too simplified, the disagreement these men had really seems to be a dividing line between what could easily be lumped into two camps rather than five.
I'm not sure that this book will change the way you view apologetics, but it certainly will give you a clearer understanding of why, say, a Reformed thinker might shudder when someone says Geisler or Aquinas. It will help you understand the reaons why there is disagreement about how apologetics ought to be done. An excellent index that can be used to find certain thinkers and see where they belong is another strong feature of the book.
As for me, I tend to lean toward the classical/evidential system because it's the way I live. Regardless of a person's disagreement with me or the fact that one's presuppositions against Christianity may keep him from ever believing, I believe that Isaiah 1:18 as well as the systematic arguments demonstrated by the apostles (I immediately think of Paul in Acts 17) beckons me to present the evidence as best I know how to persuade as many as called unto God. (As a friend of mine says, "We are only in sales; God is in production.") I also know that presuppostionalism tends to lend itself to a specator sort of syndrome. A recent example is a debate in San Diego last spring between a presuppositionalist and an atheist. The Christian get "blown out of the water" because he dodged the atheist's arguments and rested his case with hardly a blow. True apologetics means having to go where some Christians may fear to tread (especially in this politically correct age we live in) and get some dirt under our fingernails in order to present truth. It is through this type of apologetics where people who otherwise would have never known God became dedicated Christians (McDowell and Craig are two, off the top of my head).
Needless to say, "Faith Has Its Reasons" will be staying close by on my bookshelf as a ready-reference tool. I highly recommend it for those Christians who are willing to think outside the box.
For What it Does, it is the best Contemporary Work in Print Aug 26, 2002
Boa and Bowman have put together a lengthy survey on apologetic methods within Christianity. In the process, they have surpassed all other comparative apologetic works by cogently and thoroughly examining apologetic methods and the great thinkers who have subscribed to the various methods.
This book is extremely useful for a number of reasons. It's obvious strength is its thorough treatment of four major apologetic methods; classical, evidential, presuppositional, and fideist. This book is the best in print in dispassionately presenting each view, its strengths and weaknesses, and how each view interacts with various apologetic issues and objections. The reader will gain a solid working knowledge of apologetic school of thought to reflect upon and possibly incorporate in their own approach to apologetics.
Second, this book provides one of the best summary level examinations of many prominent Christian thinkers throughout church history. Anybody who wants a good summary treatment on the thinking of folks like Pascal, Kierkegaard, Van Til, Clark, Kuyper, Barth, Craig, Plantinga, Geisler, Aquinas, and many others will find it here.
Third, their demonstration of how each apologetic system interacts with key issues such as science, theology, the Bible, Jesus Christ, etc is very informative. I found these examinations to be very insightful, since it impressed upon me the reality that evangelical Christianity is not at all monolithic in how it views the relationship of apologetics to these vital issues. Through this diversity of thought, I have found my own approach to apologetics expanded and challenged in a very healthy way.
Lastly, the authors truly invoke a spirit of Christian love throughout this book. The authors clearly hold to the view that great Christians can and have held to each apologetical method, and the authors have properly resisted any attempt to use apologetical method as a litmus test to judge the level of anyone's Christian walk. This is very refreshing, and is definitely a step in the right direction. While properly pointing out where certain thinkers in each camp have strayed from acceptable evangelicalism (Barth and his errant view of Scripture, Pinnock and his god of limited omniscience, etc), they affirm the value of each apologetic method and the thinkers who hold to each view.
At the end of the book, the authors attempt an integration of each method which I found helpful and balanced. The authors properly note that pure integration may not be possible, and might not be desirable either. I felt that the biggest strength of their integration approach was the belief that each apologetic method is useful for reaching certain people who hold certain objections or presuppositions, and that these apologetic approaches can be integrated somewhat with certain methods being more emphasized than others based upon the beliefs and views of the person we are in dialogue with.
The only weakness of the book is that while it does attempt to deal with tangible objections such as in the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the problem of evil, readers who are looking for comprehensive apologetic responses to these issues may not be satisfied by what's here. This is a book that deals with apologetic method, and while it does show how each method generally responds to these kind of objections and issues, the reader will not really find a systematic treatment here, although I should stress that what is covered in these areas is very helpful.
But since this is not really the thrust of the book, I do not see it as a weakness of the book worthy of demoting the 5 star rating I've given it. This is a thoroughly researched book which in my view, presents the best contemporary treatment of apologetic methods in a spirit of Christian love that will hopefully serve as a model for further development of respectful apologetic method in the future. A well done book that is highly recommended.
The Apologetic Buffet, If You Will Feb 5, 2002
This is a very nice reference text. A must for any serious apologist or, for that matter, anyone who simply loves to read apologetics texts.
The text is mapped out in such a way that it divides the various apologetic 'tasks' into 4 areas or parts. First, apologetics as 'proof.' Second, apologetics as 'defense.' Third, apologetics as 'offense.' And fourth, apologetics as 'persuasion.' Each part carries its own weight when dealing with certain areas or aspects of the task of apologetics. For instance, apologetics as 'proof' takes various thinkers, approaches, and worldviews and delineates them in detail for the reader. Further, a thinker is given, say, B.B. Warfield, his thoughts, writings, and methods are examined and exposited, and then his approach is described and demonstrated for the reader. This is the trend in all four parts.
The authors also cover the role of philosophy in apologetics, which I might add, is a very important role. Thank you for its inclusion, this makes for an important read. Moreover, once all the various thinkers/scholars are examined, the authors take their reader to what is called the 'integrated approach.' It seems interesting that the integrative approach is applied predominantly by/to reformers or those who adhere to what is known in philosophical circles as reformed epistemology. Nonetheless, this approach is examined along with its adherents.
Finally, the book also includes a few very nice extra features such as apologetic web sites, a further study section, lists of tables and charts, a name index, subject index and Scripture index. I have enjoyed reading this text, and it should be pointed out that it is written in a style of a reference text, so the reader can read 'at' it if the intent is to find a particular thing, or the text can be read from cover to cover. Either way, the book makes for good reading, I highly recommend this text.