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Valuable as a reminder and a reference resource. Get this and the updated edition for a full view.
on November 1, 2015
Moreland's thesis is simple: Christianity and thus Christian belief is (A) cogent, (B) aligns itself with historical and observable truth, and (C) imminently intellectually and reasonably defensible and as such Christians need to be able to present their faith intellectually in purposeful and structured reasons to those who would challenge that faith. (In short, a definition of I Peter 3:15.) Why, then, has contemporary Christianity and the vast throng of so-called Christians in today's western Church shied away from and given up on public and interpersonal espousals of a reasoned defense? Why have Christians shrunk away from intellectual and philosophical arguments for the faith.
Moreland (with input from Dallas Willard) addresses these questions and outlines reasons for this lack and even distrust of intellectual engagement and the shift to belief as merely a heart (or feeling) option of belief. He also presents his case for being able to give an intellectual defense of the faith and reminds readers that for hundreds of years a primary reason that the faith spread was because of the feasibility of the faith in conjunction with the adherent's living in obedience and demonstrating the delicious fruits of their faith. Along the way he takes brief moments to share some instances of his using some philosophic arguing to defend the faith and gives an extremely brief primer on logic and argument there from. Lastly he discusses how the organization of believers especially within churches can structure their fellowship to stimulate and develop minds toward the goals of intellectual defense and accountability.
The presentation of the material may feel a little thin to some readers looking for a heavily in-depth and structured defense of the faith but that isn't the purpose of the book. Others who may be reading this material and aren't already students of philosophy may find the task a little daunting. But the book is written more almost as a treatise on the need to get back to intellectual profundity and engagement within the larger Christian culture. This is a good book for Christian leaders and active church members who wish to take seriously the call for developing their minds in active service to the Lord Jesus Christ.
[For those interested the book is broken down as follows: Part 1: Why the mind matters in Christianity; Chapter 1: How we lost the Christian mind and why we must recover it; C2: Sketching a biblical portrait of the life of the mind; C3: The mind's role in spiritual transformation; Part 2: How to develop a mature Christian mind; C4: Harassing the hobgoblins of the Christian mind; C5: Clearing the cobwebs from my mental attic; Part 3: What a mature Christian mind looks like; C6: Evangelism and the Christian mind; C7: Apologetic reasoning and the Christian mind; C8: Worship, Fellowship, and the Christian mind; C9: Vocation and an integrated Christian worldview; Part 4: Guaranteeing a future for the Christian mind; C10: Recapturing the intellectual life in the Church; Appendix I: Intellectual resources; Appendix II: Sources for integration. PLEASE ALSO NOTE that there is an updated version of this book with at least more content and perhaps some significant structural editing but some of the content has been removed.] One thing that I would love to see is Moreland debate the likes of a Penn Jillette, someone who is an avowed atheist and delights in challenging and belittling supposedly Christian people's faiths in public forums such as on television. And I'd love to see it on TV. Now that would be something.