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To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview Hardcover – September 16, 2004
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To Everyone an Answer is intentionally an accessible and readable book. Its thorough name, subject, and Scripture indexes are helpful study aids. Clergy and students will likely benefit most from this book. Doubtless, informed laity, and of course, curious non-Christians will find it informative as well. (Tony Richie, The Pneuma Review, Spring 2009)
"Written specifically for students, it intends to supply them with the background and materials to defend their faith in a culturally and religiously plural world . . . Thorough overview of all the most important issues." (Missiology, January 2006)
"The practical nature of these essays makes the book useful to the preacher as well as to the academic apologist . . . seminary students ought to purchase [it]" (Faith & Mission, Volume 22, Issue 3)
About the Author
Francis J. Beckwith (PhD, Fordham University) is professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he is also a fellow and faculty associate in the Institute for Studies of Religion. He was the 2008-2009 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture and was a 2002-2003 Madison Research Fellow in Politics at Princeton University, where he has served since 2003 as a member of the James Madison Society. Beckwith is the author of numerous books such as Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic; Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice; Law, Darwinism & Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design and Do the Right Thing: Readings in Applied Ethics and Social Philosophy. His articles have been published in a number of academic journals across a variety of disciplines, including Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, International Philosophical Quarterly, Public Affairs Quarterly, Social Theory & Practice, American Journal of Jurisprudence, Journal of Medical Ethics, San Diego Law Review, Nevada Law Journal, Journal of Social Philosophy, Philosophia Christi and Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. Beckwith has been a speaker for numerous Christian ministries (both Protestant and Catholic) throughout his career, including Summit Ministries and the Catholic Apologetics Academy, where he has served on their faculties since 1996 and 2013 respectively. He and his wife, Frankie, live in Woodway, Texas.
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Thus, this collection of apologetics essays by friends and colleagues.
Those I've read so far will certainly cause me over time to read all of these. Especially blessed with Carl Mosser's and Paul Owen's on "Mormonism" and especially the insights on their problems with the Trinity, as well as Abdul Saleeb (who co-authored volume on Islam with Geisler) on Islam. Both provide additional worldview and theological insights which would aid any of us in our outreach to these false theologies.
Excellent defense of apologetics written by Craig Hazen. This well done essay will help any who think apologetics has no right or task in our outreach.
Impressive grouping of Christian apologists such as: Dembski, Craig, Ben Witherinton III, Zacharias. Worth the invest to read.
I especially enjoyed the chapter, Facing the Challenge of Postmodernism where Douglas Groothuis aptly pointed out many of the internal inconsistencies of much postmodern thought. I thought that chapter on Darwin, Design, and Public Schools didn't fit in well with the book because the goal shifted from providing evidence for true claims about reality to parsing court decisions related to teaching intelligent design in public schools.
The book is consistant with Dr. Geisler's evidentialist apologetic method and serves as a helpful introduction to the key arguments for the existence of God and the response to the challenges to the Christian faith.
With 20 chapters, each ranging from 10 to 26 pages in length, 'To Everyone an Answer' is a very readable and helpful work on comtemporary Apologetics, and the defense of the Christian worldview.
While challenging and informative to the more seasoned, apologetics aficionado, it is also relatively accessible to the apologetics neophyte.
'To Everyone an Answer' is divided into five sections, with 3-5 essays per heading. The sections are as follows:
1) Faith, Reason and the Necessity of Apologetics
2) God's Existence
3) Christ and Miracles
4) Philisophical and Cultural Challenges to Christian Faith
5) Religious Challenges to Christian Faith
Each section begins with a brief introduction by one of the three general editors (Beckwith, Craig and Moreland), who, like Dr. Geisler, ought to be regarded as among the most influential Christian thinkers of our time.
While I thoroughly enjoyed all of the essays, I particularly appreciated the contributions of Ronald Nash (The Problem of Evil) and Doug Groothuis (Facing the Challenge of Postmodernism).
Regarding the former, Dr. Nash's 20 page essay covered a remarkable amount of material on the subject that many apologists/ philosophers regard as 'the most serious intellectual obstacle that stands between people and religious faith' (pp 203).
Nash begins his essay by stressing the importance of "worldview thinking", when evaluating the so-called 'problem of evil'. He states, "once people understand that both Christianity and its adversaries...are world-views, they will be in a better position to judge the relative merits of the total Christian system". (pp 204)
Next, after providing a sketch of the 'problem', he draws the important and necessary distinction between the 'theoretical vs. the personal problem of evil'. He rightly observes that, "when someone is troubled by aspects of the theoretical or philosophical problem of evil, the assistance of a good philosopher or apologist may help. But when we are confronted by the personal problem of evil, what we may need is a wise and caring friend, pastor or counselor". (pp 208) Or, as W.L. Craig has said in another context, "the intellectual problem of evil is the realm of the philosopher, while the personal problem of evil is the realm of the counselor".
After considering some alternatives to the Christian worldview (pp 209-213), Nash examines two versions of the 'problem of evil', namely the 'deductive version' and the 'inductive version', or what other thinkers have described, respectively, as the 'logical vs. probabalistic' versions of the problem of evil.
Concerning the former, Dr. Nash argues, following Plantinga, that there is no logical inconsistency or contradiction in the statements "God exists" and "evil exists". Echoing Plantinga, Nash observes, "All that is required to prove our list of propositions is logically CONSISTENT is to add a new proposition that is logically POSSIBLE..."
Here Nash appeals to 'possible world' reasoning, as exemplified in contemporary analytic philosophy, arguing that, as long as it is even POSSIBLE that "God had a good reason for creating a world that contains evil" (even if this proposition turns out to be false), then the so-called deductive (or logical) version of the problem of evil is defeated....and that definitively! (pp 215)
With regard to the 'inductive version' (which argues that, although theism may not be NECESSARILY or LOGICALLY false, it is, nonetheless, PROBABLY false), Nash makes, what I regard to be, a very important, tactical point, namely, that (in arguing for the existence of 'gratuitous' or 'meaningless' evil) the atheist bears the burden of proof!
Nash asks (with tongue-in-cheek), "How did the theist get stuck with the burden of proof? After all, he was simply minding his own business as he went about the task of believing in God and living in the world. Suddenly he is told that unless he can show that none of the evils in the world are gratuitous, belief in the existence of God must be judged to be unreasonble" (pp 219). He concludes by pointing out that "it is not at all clear that the theist has the burden of proof in this matter".
Dr. Nash wraps up his chapter by evaluating 'evil' in the framework of the Christian worldview. Here he considers two passages of Scripture, Romans 8:28 and Romans 8:18, respectively.
When properly understood in context, the biblical notion that "All things work together for good TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE" and "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us", the 'problem of evil' is no longer so serious a problem.
Although space (and time) prohibits me from saying nearly as much about Dr. Groothuis' chapter on postmodernism, I absolutely reccomend it to anyone looking to gain a better understanding of this important philosophical challenge.
Here I will simply quote the final paragraph of his essay (as it sums up quite nicely the preceding 15 pages of the chapter), "Postmodernism's rejection of the classical and biblical views of truth, rationality and language is not a fitting tonic to intellectual arrogance. Instead it shackles the intellect in a prison with no windows open to objective reality. While Christian witness must be savvy concerning the realities of the postmodern condition in order to make the historic Christian message understandable and pertinent to denizens of the contemporary world, this does not mean that we should become postmodernists in the process" (pp. 253).
Finally, and on a personal note, if I might dare to pose a single criticism of this excellent volume, I would have liked to have seen some of the contributors mention Dr. Geisler a bit more in their essays. Perhaps a few personal reflections? Perhaps a few more words about how Dr. Geisler has inspired/ influenced them? After all, this was a festschrift to honor Dr. Geisler's 50+ year legacy. Still, this is simply my personal reflection as a layman, and one who is not at all intimate with the nature and character of festschriftim.