We are excited to have just taken delivery of the following new-release for kids and tweens – just in time for Christmas!
Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true. In Cold-Case Christianity young readers are drawn into the thrill of high-stakes investigation and taught“how to think, not just what to think”.
This is a children’s version of the bestselling bookCold-Case Christianitywhere detective Jim Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website (coldcasechristianityforkids.com) where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids follows the same chapter sequence as the adult version of the same book, so parents and children can discuss and explore the evidence together, chapter by chapter.
As of today there are 54 reviews for this new release on Amazon.com – with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars– that’s quite impressive!
We would love to see these getting into Christmas stockings across New Zealand – so we have put together a special bundle deal ofBOTH the adult version of this book(which is an easy ready also suitable for teens)AND the kids version forjust $39FREIGHT FREE if you order before Christmas!
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One of the most frustrating things about new atheists is their use of slogans, rather than arguments, to convince people to listen to them. This book comprehensively shows how their position is not reasonable and rational simply because they say so. Nor can they make Christianity irrational by fiat.
True Reason starts by documenting some of the major arguments used by new atheists like Dawkins and Harris, and assesses them for the qualities new atheism claims to embody: reason, logic, rationality, scientific investigation and so on. This is an inspired way to open the book. It is humorous, because it hold Dawkins’ and Harris’ own arguments (even their own words) up to the bar they themselves have set, and shows how comically short they fall; but it is also serious, because from the very outset it leaves no room for doubt that the image of intelligent, carefully-researched opposition to religion which they project is a pure sham.
Subsequent chapters step us progressively through the various ways in which metaphysical naturalism—the foundational assumption of new atheism—undermines itself; before moving us into various new atheist critiques of Christianity itself, to show how and why these fail, and what the truth of the matter actually is. Each chapter is an essay by an individual apologist, and each is strong in its own right—however, because they are separate papers arranged topically, occasionally I felt like the book meandered a little and repeated itself unnecessarily. This is not a serious drawback, especially if you just want to brush up on one or two topics instead of reading it beginning to end; but it’s worth mentioning for people who are looking for something more systematic.
Perhaps because I like systematic approaches so much, David Wood’s chapter on the explanatory emptiness of naturalism (chapter 8) particularly stood out to me. I found it noteworthy because it dissects all of the ways in which naturalism fails to justify the scientific enterprise itself, starting with the existence of the universe, and moving very logically all the way through to the existence of consciousness. It was an excellent summary of the major arguments against naturalism, and lucidly demonstrated the staggering cumulative case new atheists have to overcome to even lay any claim on rationality whatsoever (let alone gain a monopoly!)
However, the whole book is a powerful summary of the major arguments against the new atheist worldview; the major ways in which they misrepresent or falsely attack Christianity; and several of the more powerful arguments for the truth of the Christian worldview. It is an excellent book for Christians who are new to apologetics and want a single primer that will offer well-rounded instruction on all the issues they’re likely to face against atheists. But it will be equally helpful to experienced apologists who want a quick-reference manual to keep on hand for future debates. Although I would not strictly endorse everything in it (for instance, I think Matt Flannagan overstates the case against taking the extermination of the Canaanites literally), it is an exceptional resource for understanding how irrational and implausible new atheism is compared to Christianity.
Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem comes out next month. Edited by Heath A Thomas, Jeremy Evans, and Paul Copan, the book offers a constructive response to the issue of divine judgment and religious violence by drawing upon biblical, ethical, philosophical and theological insights. We’re excited to see the collection of essays also includes a chapter co-written by New Zealand theologian and philosopher Matthew Flannagan (you can read his chapter online here).
Here’s the full description:
The challenge of a seemingly genocidal God who commands ruthless warfare has bewildered Bible readers for generations. The theme of divine war is not limited to the Old Testament historical books, however. It is also prevalent in the prophets and wisdom literature as well. Still it doesn’t stop. The New Testament book of Revelation, too, is full of such imagery. Our questions multiply.
Why does God apparently tell Joshua to wipe out whole cities, tribes or nations?
Is this yet another example of dogmatic religious conviction breeding violence?
Did these texts help inspire or justify the Crusades?
What impact do they have on Christian morality and just war theories today?
How does divine warfare fit with Christ’s call to “turn the other cheek”?
Why does Paul employ warfare imagery in his letters?
Do these texts warrant questioning the overall trustworthiness of the Bible?
These controversial yet theologically vital issues call for thorough interpretation, especially given a long history of misinterpretation and misappropriaton of these texts. This book does more, however. A range of expert contributors engage in a multidisciplinary approach that considers the issue from a variety of perspectives: biblical, ethical, philosophical and theological.
While the writers recognize that such a difficult and delicate topic cannot be resolved in a simplistic manner, the different threads of this book weave together a satisfying tapestry. Ultimately we find in the overarching biblical narrative a picture of divine redemption that shows the place of divine war in the salvific movement of God.
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“. . . A Shot of Faith to the Head takes the best tools of top-notch apologetics and philosophy and puts them in the hands of every believer. Even better, it’s easy and fun to read, winsome, witty, filled with sharp thinking, and well-researched. As a professor and pastor, I’ll be assigning this book in my apologetics courses and would recommend it to every Christian. It displays strategic answers to questions and objections every Christian has encountered.” – Justin Holcomb, pastor, Mars Hill Church and adjunct professor of theology, Reformed Theological Seminary.
“To our shame, the response of Christians to challenges to our faith can often be dismissive, shallow, defensive, or disrespectful. On the other hand, we can err too much on the side of tolerance for error when truth is under siege. In Inerrancy and Worldview, Vern Poythress shows us how to be neither fools nor cowards. Through intelligent, informed, insightful, and respectful engagement, key foundational faith defeaters taught in many disciplines at every secular university are explained and critiqued from a biblical perspective. Poythress challenges the challenges to biblical belief at the root of their assumptions. We are left with a solid basis and defense of the Christian way of thinking. Inerrancy and Worldview should be required reading for all who want to think more deeply about their faith and defend it within a skeptical culture.” – Erik Thoennes, Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; Pastor, Grace Evangelical Free Church, La Mirada, California
“The New Atheists are certainly vocal, but are they also reasonable? In this remarkably accessible book, David Glass exposes their frequent failure to understand what they attack, meticulously assesses their arguments, and then goes beyond critique to present a many-sided positive case – scientific, historical, and philosophical – for Christian theism. No other work on this subject combines such wide scope with such consistently high quality.’ – Timothy McGrew, Professor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University; Director, The Library of Historical Apologetics
In Why Jesus?, the popular apologist examines humanity’s deep spiritual hungers and the common solutions presented by mass-marketed leaders of pop spirituality (Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, and so on). Ravi Zacharias exposes the empty promises of those who peddle spiritual advice at the expense of careful thinking and experiential wisdom. The book shows why issues of exclusivity, authority, and relevance are always pertinent to conversations about spirituality, and ends with a plea for people to understand Jesus as Truth. – Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources and author of Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope.
Whatever your views on his theology, it’s hard to deny the fact that N.T. Wright presents theology in a gripping and fascinating way. Whether he is addressing the nature of heaven in Surprised by Hope or the attractiveness of the Christian life in Simply Christian, Wright finds it impossible to write a boring sentence. One of the most influential and prolific New Testament scholars of our day, the Anglican theologian is gifted at distilling oceans of Biblical scholarship into vivid, clear, and understandable prose. His latest book Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, brings all that technical expertise to bear in presenting a compelling new picture of who Jesus was and how we should relate to him today.
Wright maintains that many Christians have minimized and misunderstood Jesus’ story. As a result, the kingdom of God has been reduced to private piety, the victory of the cross to comfort for the conscience, and Easter to a happy, escapist ending after a sad, dark tale. While piety, conscience, and ultimate happiness are important, Wright argues these things are not nearly as important as Jesus himself. In Simply Jesus, Wright takes us back to the Gospels and to Jesus’s public career, his accomplishments, his death, resurrection and ascension. In investigating these events and their meaning, Wright intends to reveal a Jesus who is larger, more disturbing, and more urgent than we ever imagined.
The goal of Simply Jesus is to challenge the faith of Christians and invite them to ponder afresh what “following Jesus” might entail. Wright maintains that the identity of Jesus is hugely important in every area – not only our personal lives and our religion, but also in political life and human endeavors such as worldview, culture, justice, beauty, ecology, friendship, scholarship, and sex. He writes:
[pk_box width=”600″ align=”center” text_align=”left”]”Christian worship declares that Jesus is Lord and that therefore, by strong implication, nobody else is. What’s more, it doesn’t just declare it as something to be believed, like the fact that the sun is hot or the sea wet. It commits the worshipper to allegiance, to following this Jesus, to being shaped and directed by him. Worshipping the God we see in Jesus orients our whole being, our imagination, our will, our hopes, and our fears away from the world where Mars, Mammon, and Aphrodite (violence, money, and sex) make absolute demands and punish anyone who resists. It orients us instead to a world in which love is stronger than death, the poor are promised the kingdom, and chastity (whether married or single) reflects the holiness and faithfulness of God himself. Acclaiming Jesus as Lord plants a flag that supersedes the flags of the nations, however so “free” or “democratic” they may be. It challenges both the tyrants who think they are, in effect, divine and the “secular democracies” that have effectively become, if not divine, at least ecclesial: that is, communities that are trying to do and be what the church was supposed to do and be, but without recourse to the one who sustains the church’s life. Worship creates—or should create, if it is allowed to be truly itself—a community that marches to a different beat, that keeps in step with a different Lord.”[/pk_box]
The church has a desperate need for Bible scholars who are able to retell the story of Jesus in a way that rouses hearts and quickens consciences where they have become dull to the good news. No doubt there will be some quibbles with Wright’s portrait and we may not agree with how he frames every theological idea, but that said, Simply Jesus looks to be a good book to help readers rediscover Jesus and a life in which “following Jesus” makes sense.
Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters is available from Amazon and Christianbook.com.
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Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking. Readers will be reminded that “the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart.”
I highly recommend reading or listening to this book.
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Edited by William Edgar and Scott Oliphint, the reader collects important texts in the history of apologetics from the Reformation to the present. The volume is divided into four parts: (1) The Reformation, Post-Reformation (Protestant), and Catholic Reformation; (2) Modernity and the Challenge of Reason; (3) The Global Era: Christian Faith and a Changing World; (4) Issues Today and Tomorrow.
At Crossway Books you can read the sample pages, which include the table of contents, introduction, and the first chapter.
It’s a 700-page hardcover. Each section contains a general introduction, with an additional preface to each apologist and their primary material. Each source text is then followed by questions for reflection or group discussion. This is a handy resource. With the current revival of interest in apologetics, it behooves us to understand the historical context of the discipline and how our fathers in the faith responded to the intellectual challenges facing them.
Here are the endorsements:
“The texts here assembled are ‘classics’—not in the sense that they answer all legitimate questions about Christianity, but that, when they were written, they made their readers think hard about the faith, and that they continue to do so today. This is a most worthy collection.”
-Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
“Understanding apologetics as explicating, affirming, and vindicating Christianity in the face of uncertainty and skepticism, Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best primary sources to introduce us to this ongoing task. Their work fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of the prominent defenders of our faith.”
-J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College; author, Knowing God
“This series on the classical traditions of Christian apologetics is, to my knowledge, unmatched in basic compendia. It will equip and encourage thoughtful Christians to develop equally compelling defenses of the faith in our post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic, post-Postmodern era where global interdependencies plunge many into new varieties of suspicion, contempt, and hostility that demand reasonable and faith-filled encounter, dialogue, and debate.”
-Max L. Stackhouse, De Vries Professor of Theology and Public Life Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary
“In an age of historical amnesia such as ours, nothing could be more helpful than to know how the church, in its long march through time, has addressed the opponents of Christian faith. This collection is superbly done and will bring much needed wisdom to our own times.”
-David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
“Bill Edgar, one of evangelicalism’s most valued scholars and apologists, has given us in this work with Scott Oliphint; a classic destined to be used for generations. I highly recommend it to all who are called to defend the faith.”
-Charles Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
“For years I have wanted a collection of primary sources in apologetics to use in my classes. Now we have an excellent one. Editors Edgar and Oliphint have made good choices in the selections used. A number of them are fascinating pieces rarely considered today, but very timely.”
-John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
Volume 1 (which traces apologetics from the early church to 1500) is also available on Amazon and Crossway.
Carolyn Weber talks to Trevin Wax about her new book Surprised by Oxford, a memoir describing how she became a Christian during her time at Oxford University.
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G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it.” He was right; there is nothing more basic to humanity than the desire to unriddle the mystery of life. Life’s Biggest Questionsis a new book intended to help readers do exactly that.
Written by Erik Thoennes, a pastor and professor of theology at Biola University, the book raises sixteen fundamental questions (e.g. Does God exist? What is God like? Who is Jesus? What is a human being?) and offers snappy but Biblically solid answers in response. Less than 200 pages in length, the book’s strength is its readability and clarity – distilling complicated doctrines of the Christian faith into easily accessible chapters. The book also contains several charts and illustrative material to make the information easy to digest and with questions for application and discussion at the conclusion of each chapter, Life’s Biggest Questionsis an ideal resource for small groups.
Because the book is primarily an introduction to theological questions rather than apologetic questions (e.g. Is faith opposed to evidence? Are miracles possible? Why can’t Christianity be true for you, and Buddhism true for me?) the book wouldn’t be my first choice to put into the hands of a skeptic or someone who is grappling with objections to Christianity. However, for new Christians or those who have had some exposure to Christianity and want to know more, or even mature Christians who are looking for concise ways to talk about what they believe, this book is a valuable resource.
You can find out more about the book here (including a sample of the first three chapters). To hear Erik Thoennes talk about the book, you can listen to his interview with Greg Koukl on the Stand To Reason radio program here (skip to 01:54:01 for the interview).
Here are some endorsements of the book:
“It is refreshing to see a book that addresses our deepest concerns from a distinctively theological perspective. Professor Thoennes is a master communicator, and Life’s Biggest Questions is marked by an accessible, interesting style. The book is filled with content and distinctively characterized by repeated examples of practical application. It is a fun read and would make an excellent text for a course in theology or Christian worldview.” -J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
“Helpful, concise, accessible: this book will provide clarity and conviction for those looking for answers to the big questions.” -Josh Moody, Senior Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois; author, The God-Centered Life: Insights from Jonathan Edwards
“Socrates’ well-known statement, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living,’ is an entirely appropriate start to Life’s Biggest Questions. Stepping outside of one’s day-to-day existence to reflect on the big-picture questions is understandable and commendable. This book clearly, concisely, and thoughtfully presents answers from an evangelical Christian perspective. Thoennes is not only able to articulate Christian theology and history, but also help readers think through the implications for their own lives.” -Heather Campbell, vice president, Atheist Coalition of San Diego
“Dr. Thoennes is a masterful teacher. With biblical precision and profound understanding, he comes to grips with the most often asked questions about the gospel. The beauty of following Christ comes through with such clarity that the reader will want to fall in love with Jesus all over again.” -Robert E. Coleman, Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and Discipleship, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Few sentences have had as great an impact on evangelicalism in the late twentieth century than the opening of Mark Noll’s 1994 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. “The scandal of the evangelical mind,” he wrote, “is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” For many, the book was a wake-up call to the anti-intellectualism of the church and the state of evangelical scholarship.
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An individual confronted with the vast diversity of religious beliefs and practices in the world has four possible ways of making sense of this situation. The first is naturalism, the position that all religious beliefs are merely the product of human projection and therefore false. The second is pluralism, the idea that there is a single ultimate religious reality and all religious traditions are actually different ways of experiencing or interpreting this reality. The third option is inclusivism, the position that there is one religion that offers the most effective path to salvation, but others outside this religion can somehow be saved or liberated. The final option is exclusivism, the idea that one religion is exclusively true and the doctrines of other religions are false when they conflict with this religion.
For the Christian, believing anything less than exclusivism would seem to contradict the clear teaching of Christ. Yet, today, this position is not popular. To endorse one religion over others is considered arbitrary, irrational, unjustified, even oppressive and imperialistic.
In a new book released last month, Joseph Kim seeks to defend Christian exclusivism against these charges. Reformed Epistemology and the Problem of Religious Diversity interacts with Alvin Plantinga’s proper function account of warrant and shows why mutually exclusive religious beliefs do not serve as defeaters for Christian belief. Kim, a former lecturer in philosophy and business ethics at the University of California and Arizona State University, argues that the Christian exclusivist need not give up her Christian belief when faced with the problem of religious diversity even when she is unable to give an argument for the truth of Christian belief to those that disagree.
For those looking for a solid defense of Christian belief and a good introduction to the central issues that connect contemporary epistemology and the philosophy of religion, this looks like a book to seriously consider.
Below are the table of contents and some of the endorsements:
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Copyright 2020 | Thinking Matters New Zealand Foundation
Thinking Matters is a ministry encouraging New Zealand Christians to explore WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it, so they can engage culture and present the Christian faith both gracefully and persuasively.
We do this through training in apologetics, worldview, culture, and evangelism.