Wright's book does two things: (1) it condenses his own understanding of who Jesus is into something actually readable by a lay-person (the more thoro...moreWright's book does two things: (1) it condenses his own understanding of who Jesus is into something actually readable by a lay-person (the more thorough books are Jesus and the Victory of God and The Resurrection of the Son of God, both multi-hundred page books; there is also a somewhat shorter book called The Challenge of Jesus) and (2) it critiques three recent attempted reconstructions of the historical Jesus - which turns his book into something of an extended review of three other books (by A. N. Wilson, Barbara Theiring, and John Shelby Spong).
In Wright's typically whimsical prose, his critique is all at once charming, humorous, and scathing! Putting the two elements of the book together, it turns into a fairly good defense of a more "traditional" portrait of Jesus (i.e. affirming his messianic identity and bodily resurrection).
Incidentally, while I read a lot of Wright, I don't agree with him on multiple fronts, including his general take on Paul. But I have few qualms with this book. If you're interested in reading something on "the historical Jesus," this isn't a bad place to start.(less)
This is a fresh and helpful book that explores the basic contours of the Christian faith. Rebecca Pippert explores the human condition by showing that...moreThis is a fresh and helpful book that explores the basic contours of the Christian faith. Rebecca Pippert explores the human condition by showing that the problem in the world lies in our own hearts (chapter 1). We're not okay (chapter 2), neither are we in charge (chapter 3). The problem is that we worship the wrong things (chapter 4). Only God can satisfy our deepest longings - the brokenness of our lives results from seeking that satisfaction in other things - relationships, wealth, sex, pleasure, status, etc. This idolatrous worship is sin (chapter 5) The answer to our woes is found in the gospel: the story of Jesus crucified and risen (chapters 6-7). When we respond to the gospel in honest confession and a life of genuine repentance, we are changed (chapter 8). The Christian life is an appropriation of the gospel, as live the cross in humble denial of self (chapter 9) and live the resurrection in joyful hope (chapter 10).
This is really an amazing book because it speaks with such poignancy to the human heart. Mrs. Pippert did not become a Christian until she was a young adult, and only after much struggle and wrestling with difficult philosophical questions. She addresses these questions carefully in this book, illustrating them with numerous conversations, anecdotes, and striking quotations from literature, philosophy, and psychology. Though I've been a Christian for many years, I found this book very moving and helpful.
I would especially recommend this as a book to give to your non-Christian friends. It is not a coercive book, but a thoughtful engagement with issues that most human beings face - loneliness, emptiness, suffering, despair - from a distinctly Christian perspective. This is a book that could be life-changing for you or someone you love.(less)
This short book (108 pages) is an informative guide to the challenge of the New Atheists and their challenge to Christian theism. Mohler targets the "...moreThis short book (108 pages) is an informative guide to the challenge of the New Atheists and their challenge to Christian theism. Mohler targets the "four horsemen of the New Atheism" - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.
Chapter one briefly surveys the history of atheism and situates the new atheism within secularism.
Chapter two is the most helpful chapter of the book; it discusses New Atheism's assault on Theism by giving thumbnail sketches of the "four horsemen,"then pointing out eight common features of their assault on theism: (1) The New Atheism is marked by an unprecedented new boldness; (2) There is a clear and specific rejection of the Christian God of the Bible; (3) The New Atheists explicitly reject Jesus Christ; (4) The New Atheism is specifically grounded in scientific argument; (5) The New Atheism is new in its refusal to tolerate moderate and liberal forms of belief; (6) The New Atheism attacks toleration; (7) The New Atheists have begun to question the right of parents to inculcate belief in their own children; and (8) The New Atheists argue that religion itself must be eliminated to preserve human freedom.
Chapters three and four discuss the defense of theism poised against by the New Atheists by various theologians and philosophers, including Alistair McGrath, Alvin Plantiga, Tina Beattie, and John F. Haught. While agreeing with some points of their arguments (especially McGrath and Plantiga), Mohler's primary criticism is that these responses represent various levels of accomodation. In contrast, Mohler argues that "Evangelical Christians simply cannot surrender biblical authority, propositional revelation, and biblical theism in order to meet the various challenges presented to us in the twenty-first century" (102). There are only two alternatives, atheism or biblical, Christian theism.
Unfortunately, this book does not itself present an argument for biblical theism. The book doesn't deliver on its subtitle, "a Christian confronts the New Atheists," for there isn't much confrontation with, and no detailed argumentation against, the New Atheists. That was disappointing. Readers who want thoughtful engagement with the New Atheists will have go elsewhere. (I'd suggest Timothy Keller's The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.)