Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologeticsby Paul Copan, William Lane Craig Published 01 Apr 2012
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Come Let Us Reason is the third book in a series on modern Christian apologetics that began with the popular Passionate Conviction and Contending with Christianity’s Critics. The nineteen essays here raise classical philosophical questions in fresh ways, address contemporary challenges for the church, and will deepen the thinking of the next generation of apologists. Packed with dynamic topical discussions and informed by the latest scholarship, the book’s major sections are:
• Apologetics, Culture, and the Kingdom of God
• The God Question • The Gospels and the Historical Jesus
• Ancient Israel and Other Religions
• Christian Uniqueness and the World’s Religions
Contributors include J. P. Moreland (“Four Degrees of Postmodernism”), William Lane Craig (“Objections So Bad That I Couldn’t Have Made Them Up”), Gary R. Habermas (“How to Respond When God Gives You the Silent Treatment”), Craig Keener (“Gospel Truth: The Historical Reliability of the Gospels”), and Paul Copan (“Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery?”).
"Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics" Reviews
I really enjoyed this title, but in the same breath, I've read other books on apologetics that I found were to be way more in depth on a single topic.
This title features a variety of different authors writing articles, and while the topics covered were well done, I found it a little disjointing - there were segments that talked about other religions, others that talked about some of the supposed moral issues in the bible (the slaughter of the caananites, the bible's supposed endorsement of slavery) and others about the authorship of certain biblical texts. Honestly, I think this was a good introduction to some of the common arguments against Christianity, however I think that I'd be happier picking up a title that focused on one of the aspects rather than getting a sampler from a variety of sources. However, if you're on the fence as to which title you should pick up, a variety of topics might pique further interest into either that writer or the topic.
I will say though, if you're a non-believer, you might find some of the explanations a bit too open to interpretation as a means to justify things that we find abhorrent (for instance; the chapter on slavery shows that the word was ebrem, denoting a bond servant who had rights and a code to be treated a certain way, in addition to being freed after a given time of servitude). However, I find reading these titles from time to time helps me place some of the historical culture into better context. If you're interested in the book, I say go out and pick up a title, I would recommend William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith, and get to something like this once you're a little better versed in apologetics.
Come Let Us Reason is a collection of essays written by several prominent apologetic scholars who have made an impact in various fields. Come Let Us Reason, co-edited by Paul Copan and William Lane Craig (giants in their own right), serves as a compendium of resources which will help the Christian to defend his or her faith.
The book is comprised of five sections. The first section discusses the impact of apologetics in the modern culture. The first chapter penned by Gregory E. Ganssle discusses the means by which the gospel connects to society. Ganssle has titled the article “Making the Gospel Connection: An Essay Concerning Applied Apologetics.” Ganssle’s article does two things: discusses the nature of apologetics, showing that it is the responsibility of all believers; and he explains some of the tools that helps one understand the calling (Copan & Craig, CLUR, 3). The Diagnostic and Engel Scales are most helpful. J. P. Moreland also contributes to this section, writing about the four degrees of postmodernism; which he defines as “ontic, alethic, epistemic, and axiological/religious” (Copan & Craig, CLUR, 17). Toni Allen contributes a piece describing the woman’s role in apologetics. In my humble opinion, I think that women need to stop writing about women doing apologetics and just simply do it. No disrespect to Allen intended. Mary Jo Sharp, also a contributor of the book, does just that. My advice for female apologists would be to become the best apologist you can become and serve as an example for other aspiring female apologists.
The second section discusses the existence of God and issues surrounding theology proper. William Lane Craig begins the section by discussing some of the most absurd objections he has encountered to the kalam cosmological argument. The essay is laid out in a top-10 format. The next chapter is well worth the price of the book alone. Liberty professor and resurrection expert, Gary Habermas writes on the silence of God. While the chapter is brief (only 13 pages long), the conclusion is powerful! It is so powerful that you must read it for yourself. I’ll leave you with this—the silence of God is not what you think it is. Robert B. Stewart continues the section with a piece that describes the problem of naturalism by evaluating the worldview by five criteria: “1) coherence, 2) correlation, 3) comprehensiveness, 4) consistency, and 5) commitment” (Copan & Craig, CLUR, 81). Stewart finds that naturalism fails in all five categories.
The third section discusses the historicity of Jesus and the reliability of the New Testament. Craig S. Keener begins the section by discussing the historical reliability of the Gospels, arguing that the Gospels fit well within the scope of ancient biographies and are quite reliable when one considers the level of skill that ancients had in memorizing material and even writing some things down. E. Randolph Richards then defends the authenticity of the Pauline letters by describing the approach that amanuenses played in writing letters for individuals of antiquity. The ancient writing style was much different as there were co-writers of letters: the author and the secretary(ies) involved in the process. This explains the apparent differences that critical scholars claim exists in the various letters of Paul. Michael Licona then defends the resurrection of Jesus against Bart Ehrman’s red herrings. Mary Jo Sharp then defends the story of Jesus against the claim that it was a fictionalized adaptation of pagan myths. Mark W. Foreman closes the section as he challenges that “parallelomania” of the Zeitgeist movie.
The fourth section discusses ancient Israel’s religion compared to other ancient religions. Richard S. Hess argues that the Israelites did not claim Yahweh to have a wife as some critics postulate. Matthew Flannagan discusses the controversial command of God to commit genocide, or at least as some claim God does, arguing that the terminology is hyperbolic (Copan & Craig, eds, CLUR, 248) and not necessarily literal. Paul Copan then describes the slavery practices of antiquity and shows that it is not the same as the practices of the American antebellum period. Copan argues that the practice was a work debt-servanthood practice in which the worker was released every seven years.
The fifth and final section discusses the uniqueness of Christianity as compared to other world religions. Michael H. Edens discusses the origins and apparent discrepancies of the Qur’an. Barbara Pemberton ends the section and the book arguing that modern inclusive movements look amazingly similar to Hinduism.
Come Let Us Reason is well organized and well-written. The book covers some of the more major objections modern Christians encounter. I thought the top-7 chapters of the book were Habermas’s piece on the silence of God, Keener’s chapter on the Gospels’ reliability, Richard’s essay on Greco-Roman letter writing, Licona’s paper on Ehrman’s red herrings, Copan’s chapter on Old Testament slavery, Stewart’s critique of naturalism, and Sharp’s defense for the uniqueness of Christianity.
While most of the chapters were solid, a few were not as strong. I was not as impressed with Allen’s chapter. While I understand that there needs to be an emphasis on women taking a role in apologetics, I am not so sure this was the appropriate avenue. I was far more impressed with Sharp’s actual practice of apologetics in action. While Hess’s chapter was good, I didn’t get as much out of his piece as I did others. I am not so sure that the charge that Yahweh supposedly had a wife is a major objection that the Christian defender would face. A defense of Judaism’s uniqueness in the ancient near east would have been a better piece for Hess to write and would have fit the overall flow of the book much better.
Both the seasoned apologist and the apologetic newbie will benefit from this book. The book covers the major areas that the apologist will need to grasp in order to adequately defend one’s faith.
I give this book 5 stars all the way.
Essays debunking copy-cat theory, Jesus and sun- gods are worthy the whole book. Internet atheist keeping using it as a challenge to Christianity, apologist given a good tool to answer this challenge. The 10 worst objections to kalam cosmology argument were so weak but Craig did a wonderful job :)
Since the first century, the church has been involved in one way or another in the ministry of apologetics. Within the last few decades, as atheists have seemed to ramp up their religious efforts to discredit and eradicate the belief in God and Christianity more specifically, Christians have ramped up their apologetical focus with matching intensity.
Among the many contemporary apologists Paul Copan, current president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and William Lane Craig, perhaps the most well-known and active Christian apologists debater, have teamed up to edit a series of books that seek to address many of the contemporary issues within Christian apologetics. Passionate Conviction: Contemporary Discourses on Christian Apologetics and Contending With Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors were the precursors to the third book in the series Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. All three books are edited by Copan and Craig and each with different contributors.
As the subtitle indicates the book is a collection of essays (sixteen in all) which focus on the areas of apologetics and culture, God, the historical Jesus and New Testament reliability, Ancient Israel and ANE religions and Christianity and other religions such as Islam. Since there is no one theme that is developed throughout the book this review will provide some general thoughts on the book overall with some comments on specific chapters.
First, while the ministry of apologetics throughout Christian history has been dominated by men, this book features two women contributors and one chapter by Toni Allen (a man) dedicated to understanding how to train women in apologetics. While many of the contributors many not believe in women pastors I venture to say that most if not all are welcoming to women teachers and theologians within theological institutions and religious studies programs at various Christian and secular schools. Personally I think this is fine and good. The chapter by Allen is unique and one that would serve pastors and women ministry leaders well in learning how to better train women theologically.
Second, in the third part on the historical Jesus and the reliability of the New Testament, the reader can see the far reaching and deeply entrenched effects the vast work of Bart Ehrman has had on these studies. Almost every contributor in this section interacts with him. The various contributors do a great job pointing out the smoke and mirrors in front of the hollow claims and arguments Ehrman makes. Also in the third section is a well written chapter by Mark W. Foreman in which he breaks apart the claims of the popular Zeitgeist documentary written and produced in 2007 by Peter Joseph. The essential claim of Joseph is that Christianity as a religion is nothing more than a copycat from other religions. Foreman breaks down the main claims of the film and demonstrates why most scholars have abandoned the copycat apologetic against Christianity.
Finally, as is clear, this book is an apologetics book, but a point of significance that can often be missed in books like this is the far reaching nature of apologetics that a book like this demonstrates. What I mean is, while many people have a more simple view of apologetics as the defense and proclamation of Christianity, this book, and others like it, show the reader that apologetics encompasses a defense of all of Scripture. Apologetics is more than just a defense for creation out of nothing or the historical reliability of the death and resurrection accounts in the NT. In its most broadest sense, apologetics is a defense of the entire canon of Scripture and all things contained therein. This is a sobering thought as we realize how much content we as Christians are responsible for defending. None of us can know it all but we must be willing to learn more and stretch ourselves for the sake of the lost.
Come Let Us Reason Together is a great collection of recent essays on various apologetic issues. There are no pat answers here. There is great respect for the Scriptures and for the God who inspired them. I don’t expect this book to have too broad a reading but for those who venture to dig in it will prove rewarding.
Another solid contribution by B&H to apologetics (this is the third in the series edited by Paul Copan and William Lane Craig). As with all edited volumes, the individual essays are of differing quality and value, but on the whole, this is an accessible and valuable volume. The authors engage some of the most important issues that the contemporary church faces. The essays explain the issue, work through its significance, and provide solid biblical and philosophical teaching that will equip the thinking Christian.
Great collection of scholarly works
I found the collection of essays in this book to be a great contribution to the body of scholarly work supporting the Christian faith. I enjoyed the depth and the sense of fairness to the opposing view and will definitely recommend to others.