Every year I teach a week-long intensive course on Apologetics at the Atlanta Bible College (apologetics is the field that provides reasons for the faith, cf. 1 Peter 3.15). Over the years, I have struggled and struggled to find decent textbooks to assign my students. I have tried several but they either have huge holes in their argumentation or else they only address one small aspect of the overall picture. In fact, I have gone so far as making my own makeshift textbook out of articles and excerpts. Well, I’ve finally found a book that truly fits the bill.
Thanks to Dustin who first mentioned this book to me a while ago. Building Belief by Chad V. Meister competently handles everything from the nature of truth to reasons for believing Scripture is true. His book divides into the following nine chapters:
- Your Truth and My Truth: Why Can’t Everyone be Right?
- Clashing Worldviews: The Three “Isms”
- Theism, Atheism, and Pantheism: Which One Is True?
- The Fingerprints of God: On Finding Design throughout the “Just So” Universe
- In the Beginning…Bang!: Scientific and Philosophical Evidences for the Creation of the Universe
- Morality, Evil, and Religion: Are Right and Wrong Evidence for God?
- Divine Revelation: Has God Spoken to Humanity?
- The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
- Reaching the Peak: The Good News of the Kingdom of God
Meister rightly recognizes that the goal of apologetics is to share the gospel with people. Apologetics is like clearing the land and tilling it before planting seed. These days the evangelist has much pre-work to do before he or she can effectively present the gospel in a way that makes sense. Meister’s approach is explained with the following diagram. The Christian begins at the foundation of the pyramid, establishing the validity of truth before moving up to discuss worldviews (atheism, pantheism, and theism), etc.
Although the book did contain some theological inaccuracies here and there, overall it is the best apologetics manual I’ve encountered. It would be great for small church studies, home groups, and doubters of all ages.