Book Review by
Assaults on the historicity of Christianity abound in the current age. The modern bookstore and college campus are two of the major fronts of these assaults. “Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World” deals primarily with the latter, though it also serves to equip trips into the former. From the opening chapter addressing the claims of Bart Ehrman through the following seven chapters, the authors address some of the major popular objections to Christianity.
First, let’s take a look at the authors. Andreas Köstenberger is professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Darrell Bock is professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. Josh Chatraw is a pastor of preaching and students at First Baptist Church in Dublin, Ga. All have earned doctorates in their fields, so the work here is not simplistic refutations.
Second, let’s take a look at the material. Overall, “Truth Matters” presents apologetic material in an expected manner. Each chapter poses a major question and then provides an expanded answer for that question. As an example, one chapter deals with the origins of the New Testament canon by posing the question, “Who picked these books, and where’d they come from?” This chapter then provides answers regarding the canonization of Scripture based in history.
Third, let’s take a look at the presentation. The inclusion of Chatraw shines through in the presentation of the material. While I am certain that Köstenberger and Bock are effective communicators, including a pastor who regularly works with students has helped keep the material easy to digest. The authors use theological terms, as is appropriate, but do not overload the reader with jargon. This puts the material at a reasonable reading level.
Fourth, let’s take a look at the usefulness. “Truth Matters” should certainly be part of a senior high study curriculum for your youth group. If it’s too much for them to read and consider, then your discipleship program needs to step up a notch anyway. It’s also a valuable addition to an adult or collegiate study group. I would suggest a particular value to mature, longtime church attenders who may not realize the questions that their own families or co-workers are actually asking.
Fifth, let’s take a look at the value. In bulk, and even not in bulk, the cost of “Truth Matters” is reasonable for a well-constructed hardcover. It delivers on the promise of providing clear answers in order to understand the Christian faith.
Doug Hibbard is pastor of First Baptist Church in Almyra.