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Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe Paperback – December 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite contributions from high-profile writers such as Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell and Peter Kreeft, this anthology adds nothing to the age-old genre of Christian apologetics. It opens with essays defending both truth and theism against postmodern atheists, and eventually moves to specifically Christian teachings: "Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God," "Why I Believe Jesus Is the Messiah and Son of God," and "Why I Have Chosen to Follow Christ." Some essays, such as J.P. Moreland's autobiographical discussion of his choice to follow Jesus, are stirring. Others are dull and predictable: Barry Leventhal (Southern Evangelical Seminary), for example, tediously rehearses the Old Testament prophecies that he believes Jesus fulfilled. As a collection, the book is unbalanced. There are, for instance, too many contributions from some writers; editor Geisler offers two essays, as does Liberty University's Gary Habermas. Given the abundance of Christian "leading thinkers," one wishes the editors had been a bit more imaginative and included a greater diversity of voices. Particularly troubling is the total absence of female contributors. In an era in which many women leave the evangelical churches for spiritual homes more friendly to feminism, this book would have been strengthened immeasurably by an essay or two by leading women thinkers explaining why they, too, believe. This disappointing collection of apologetic essays will send readers scurrying back to Cardinal Newman and other bolder, more invigorating defenses of the faith.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Divided into six parts, this book presents 16 separately authored chapters on such topics as "Why I Believe in Miracles" and "Why I Have Chosen To Follow Christ." These are not just personal testimonies; each of these well-written chapters engages antireligious assumptions found in today's culture and education. As such, each offers thought-provoking ideas even for those who may disagree. The "leading thinkers" promised in the subtitle, however, turn out to be a group of evangelical professors, many with seminary connections. Few of these names will be familiar to anyone outside of the evangelical community. Contributions from a broad range of Christian thinkers would have widened the book's appeal while strengthening its point. Recommended for public libraries. C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Revised and Expanded ed. edition (December 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080106712X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801067129
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Johnson on June 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Too many Christians "feel" that the exercise of the mind is not important when it comes to the Christian faith. How wrong these believers are! In this day of easy-believism, where the intellect is forsaken for a spiritual diet of cotton candy and bon bons, it is refreshing to know that there are important Christian apologists who make it a point to write thinking pieces such as "Why I Am a Christian." Indeed, Jesus Himself said that we are to worship God with our whole heart, soul, MIND, and strength.
Although I don't remember seeing if the editors, Geisler and Hoffman, were attempting to respond to Russell's "Why I Am Not A Christian," this book certainly serves as a lob back to the atheist's court. Included in the book are essays on truth, God, miracles, the Bible, Jesus, and evil and suffering. Taking some of the better apologists who have already written on the topic at hand, the book's top two strengths were:
* William Lane Craig's chapter 4 entitled "Why I believe God exists." Using the same arguments that he used in a Willow Creek debate against an atheist in the early 1990s--Kalam, Design, and the Moral arguments--Craig's chapter is solid and is a good reference to utilize when determining strong rational arguments for the Christian faith. I think the following chapter by Geisler was very redundant and not as clear as Craig's. It would have been good had the editor perhaps narrowed his chapter since he commissioned Craig to work with the cosmological and teleological arguments.
* Although he offered very little new material, Barry Leventhal's chapter on Jesus as the Messiah was enjoyable to read. The chapter was well-laid out, fully supported, and summarized its points better than perhaps any other chapter in the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This collection represents the best essays on apologetics, a must read for any person serious on Christian faith. If one thinks that there are no new ideas from these essays, he/she might have overlooked that these essays are deep rooted in the rich apologetics tradition and built on previous scholarly research, so any reader can get a quick overview on what arguments have been put forth for the topic discussed. Having said that, the overviews are not overly simplified. They are really high quality review essays and intellectually stimulating. This book is a must unless you have read all the literature on apologetics written over the entire course human history.
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Format: Paperback
The revised, expanded edition of the classic WHY I AM A CHRISTIAN: LEADING THINKERS EXPLAIN WHY THEY BELIEVE addresses all the typical questions of modern Christian believers, from issues of belief in miracles, the existence of god, and the nature and purpose of suffering to the evidences and controversies posed by evolutionary theory. Contributors are expert witnesses for Christianity, from a mechanical engineer and lawyer to scientists, philosophers, former skeptics and atheists, and more. The result is a lively, diverse dialogue from many differing viewpoints: perfect for any Christian lending library or discussion group.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review only covers chapters 1-11 of the book. And (full disclosure) I am an evangelical Christian.

This book is a collection of essays describing various reasons to accept the Christian faith. The quality of the essays varies, but some include factual errors so great that I can’t recommend this book.

Chapters 1-2 assert that truth is objective and knowable. Chapter 3 teaches that belief in God is properly basic (i.e. atheists really know God exists). Chapters 4, 5, 8 present cosmological, teleological, moral arguments for the Christian God’s existence. Chapters 6 and 7 examine arguments from miracles (including the resurrection of Jesus). Chapters 9 and 10 address concerns that the Bible may not be historically or scientifically accurate. Chapter 11 claims that the weight of this evidence shows that the Bible is divinely inspired.

There were a few gems. Geisler's claim (Chapter 2) that truth is real and knowable is persuasive. Craig's treatment of the cosmological and teleological arguments are comprehensive (although certainly many philosophers would dispute his conclusions). Habermas (Chapter 7) treats the resurrection of Jesus in a way that may challenge some atheists (Chapter 7), and shows that the New Testament has been accurately preserved through history (Chapter 9).

However, other essays had serious problems. In Chapter 3, Budziszewski's idea that all atheists are deluded is accusatory at best, but he at least admits that atheists can argue similarly. Beckwith (Chapter 1) attacks only the simplest forms of relativism, and asserts that natural selection is a product of chance (something any high-school textbook will deny).
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Format: Hardcover
Why I am a Christian edited by Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman. As a subtitle of the book Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Six topics and sixteen subtopics are included in this book. Fourteen squarely focus on the theme of the book. The articles are focus on a particular subtopic. The first two subtopics: Why I Am Not a Moral Relativist & Why I Believe Truth is Real and Knowable is an argument for one truth. The rest of book is an argument that the Bible is the source of that truth and why I believe it to be so. This is a book for a student of some philosophy and logic, but one need not have studied it in college. Written by fourteen writers, one can tell that the topics were assigned by the editors and each writer knew what the previous writers wrote dealt with.

Part 2; Why I Believe in God
3 Why I Am not an Atheist written by J. Budzisewski
4 Why I Believe God Exists written by William Lane Crain
5 Why I Believe the God of the Bible Is the One True God written by Norman L. Geisler

If one accepts the first three arguments the rest of the argument should follow.

Part 3: Why I Believe in Miracles
6 Why I Believe in the Possibility of Miracles written by R. Douglas Geivett
7 Why I Believe the Miracles of Jesus Actually Happened written by Gary R. Haberness
8 Why I Believe in the Miracle of Devine Creation written by Hugh Ross

Truth is knowable; this is what is argued in the first part. The second part attempts to prove God exists and is the God described in the Bible. The third part is an argument for the belief in signs and wonders. It is an argument the God that exist is in control of all nature and the Human condition, except it is not.
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