How Do We Know God Exists?
John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tenn., 2008, ISBN 9780899577814, 108 pages, $7.99, softcover.
This study booklet is part of the Contenders Bible Study Series designed for studies on basic Christian doctrines in a group setting with 1 or 2 leaders and a dozen or so participants. The materials are structured for new believers or questioning unbelievers who want to know basic Christian truths. This series could prove useful for churches beginning or expanding outreach programs.
In this volume, Ankerberg and Burroughs address the question of God's existence, approaching the subject from cultural and biblical perspectives. The book is divided into six sections that examine and probe questions about God: 1) Is God really out there? 2) How can we know God is real? 3) What is God like? 4) Are miracles possible? 5) Is God involved in our lives today? And 6) How can we know God personally?
Two appendixes lead the reader to application. Appendix A outlines for an unbeliever how to begin a personal relationship with God. Appendix B encourages Christians to pray for those who do not yet believe.
Target: Small group leaders
Type: Core Doctrines / Bible Study
Take: Highly Recommended
Keep Going: Overcoming Doubts About Your Faith
Neil Martin, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, N.J., 2008, ISBN 9781596380875, 301 pages, $16.99, softcover
Neil Martin, a civic/industrial designer from London, was prompted to write this book as a result of a serious illness. At the age of 26, his successful career was put on hold when he suffered a collapsed lung and became unable to work. This caused him to wrestle with his Christian faith and ask how a good God could interrupt his "happy and successful" life. The answers God gave Him form the basis for this book and are shared here for the encouragement and instruction of others going through similar situations.
Five of Martin's six chapters address the following problems: 1) whether or not we should struggle with the Christian faith; 2) tackling struggles with belief in God; 3) tackling struggles with the authority of the Bible; 4) tackling struggles with sovereignty, responsibility and Jesus' divinity; and 5) tackling struggles with lack of assurance.
In each of these sections, the author addresses some core issues: 1) Christians face difficult questions that cannot always be answered; 2) Christians' feelings don't always keep pace with their faith; 3) Christians are sinners; 4) Christians live in non-Christian societies; and 5) Christians are affected by their temperament and circumstances and often forget to count their blessings.
The author's last chapter takes a different turn. Here, he concludes that Jesus satisfies the deepest longing of the human heart. He gives love, assurance, and confidence to those who are in Christ. The Lord far outshines the greatest brother, husband, or friend. He is the incomparable one who alone can give us the encouragement of Truth to stand.
Target: Doubting Believers
What in the World Is Going On?: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore
David Jeremiah, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tenn., ISBN 9780785228875, 2008, 257 pages, $22.99, hardcover.
David Jeremiah, longtime pastor and writer, has put together a thorough analysis of current happenings through the lens of biblical prophecy and come to some enlightening conclusions. He approaches prophecy from the premillennial, pretribulation perspective. Jeremiah emphasizes the prophet Daniel's heavenly visions that outline the history of the world in broad sweeps.
Jeremiah points out that several mighty kingdoms were prophesied to the world from Daniel's day until "the time of the end." Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome have all held sway and dissipated. Premillennial scholars believe the ancient Roman Empire will be revived, possibly through the current European Union. The "ten toes" of Daniel's vision, in the author's view, represent some incarnation of the E.U.
He goes on to suggest that Islam and oil may be the precipitating factors that prompts Satan's Antichrist to make a seven-year pact with Israel that guarantees her security. Jeremiah recaps various prophecies to show that this future leader of the revived Roman Empire will be a gifted, charismatic, persuasive leader whose purpose (though possibly hidden at first) will be to destroy Israel and attempt to thwart the plans of God for His coming kingdom.
Consistent with his perspective on the timeline of these events, the author points out the biblical teaching that certain events will transpire before the rise of Antichrist. Since the Rapture will occur before the Man of Sin is revealed, the author believes the Rapture of the Church may not be too distant.
While Jeremiah is at times very quick to tie somewhat vague prophecies to concrete current events and nations, his purpose in writing the book is to spur Christians to revival and evangelism by showing that the day of the Lord could very well be at hand.
Glen Jones/Justin Lonas
Type: Biblical Prophecy
Take: Highly Recommended
The Six Pillars of Biblical Power: A Key to Understanding and Sharing the Bible
John C. Rankin, Regal, Ventura, Calif., 2008, ISBN 9780830745654, 265 pages, $9.00, softcover.
Christian apologist and educator John C. Rankin recounts his journey among believers and unbelievers in presenting biblical truths. His "six pillars" are a condensation of the Gospel of grace and the principle of walking in the Spirit.
Rankin contends that the six pillars-1) the power to give, 2) the power to live in the light, 3) the power of informed choice, 4) the power to love hard questions, 5) the power to love enemies, and 6) the power to forgive-show believers how to live and share their faith. He also adds that, in his experience, these pillars generally make the Gospel more understandable and accessible to unbelievers, even those who oppose the message of truth.
The author applies these pillars of truth to the crucial issues of our time. He believes Christians need to face hard questions from unbelievers, not in a tone of condemnation, but in love and informed choice.
He cites numerous meetings he has conducted in unbelievers' "territory". Rankin says that he purposes not to win an argument, but to present biblical truth with informed scholarship. Citing examples from the Old Testament, he sums up his philosophy as follows; "Yahweh has always shown love to his enemies throughout Scripture, but there is a limit to His willingness to let them pollute the lives of others" (p.229). Today's apologists, he says, need to face unbelievers with their destructive teachings.
Take: Highly Recommended