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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Reasons for my Hope - Benno van den Toren

Reasons for my Hope: Responding to Non-Christian Friends
Benno van den Toren
Monarch, 2010
ISBN 978 1 85424 863 3
175 pp, pbk, £7.99

Publisher's webpage here
Book depository

It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction of sin and regeneration. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit uses us to reach others and this book will enable us to be more faithful and reasoned witnesses.

Van den Toren looks not only at answers to difficult questions such as suffering, relativism, the uniqueness of Christ and belief and knowledge, he provides keys to understand where people are coming from. He looks behind the questions to the motivating force behind them. This is important - we need to know why and just what people are asking. For example, the tough question: 'How can we believe in a loving God when there is so much suffering?' Is it an intellectual question; is it a desire to understand or make sense of one's personal suffering, or it it a 'dog's bone' question - one to gnaw upon to distract from the real issues? The approach and response for each will be very different.

He doesn't provide pat answers, but helps the reader think through the issues. His aim is to provoke and enable true dialogue between Christians and non-Christians. This is no manual for propaganda or advertising of the Christian faith.

Each chapter explores a key question and has brief summary points interspersed with questions for group discussion at the end of each chapter.

The book concludes with a list of further reading - there were some notable omissions, eg Roy Clouser's Knowing with the Heart and Tim Keller's The Reason for God.

There are many books on apologetics, but this, to my mind, is one of the best.

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