The drawing is opened until Friday, January 28, 2011.
Introduction- About the Books
The Coffeehouse Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett with Moody Publishers is a series of three apologetics novellas, each tackling a different issue that most Christian students will struggle with during their college years. They are set in the modern day and portray real, believable students as they engage in genuine dialogue concerning three questions:
- Is the Bible True...Really?
- Who is Jesus...Really?
- Did the Resurrection Happen...Really? 
Is the Bible True...Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett is a unique apologetic resource because this short book succeeds in weaving an excellent, fast-paced fictional dialogue around a vast assortment of sound apologetic arguments for the reliability of scripture. Furthermore, this reader found the characters in the story, regardless of their worldview, to be accurately presented and likable. No matter what one's convictions may be, readers will have no problem finding a character that they can relate to.
This reader also appreciated how the life of the mind and the role it plays in the Christian faith was spotlighted throughout the book. Not only are skeptical arguments dissected throughout, but Christians are also repeatedly challenged to understand what they believe and why they believe it.
Nick, a freshmen at Opal University, is sitting in his Religious Studies Class listening to his Professor, a well-known skeptic, present a lecture on the reliability of the New Testament. Suddenly, Nick begins to feel very uncomfortable about the material Dr. Peterson is presenting and he [Nick] is unprepared for what he is hearing. The content of his Professor's lecture certainly doesn't match-up with what Nick was taught by his Pastor growing up.
Dr. William Peterson, a renowned expert on ancient textual criticism, states:
"Here are the facts that leading scholars all across the country agree upon. We don't even have the words that these fundamentalist Christians tell us God inerrantly inspired. That's right. All we have are words copied by scribes- sometimes correctly but certainly not always. We have error-ridden copies that are centuries removed from the originals and different from them in thousands of ways" [p. 10].
Nick, like many well meaning Christians, decides that he must set the record straight and take a stand for Jesus. During class he declares, "That's not true! How dare you question God's Word...I accept it as the Word of God by faith!...Also, the Bible says, 'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that everyone will always be prepared to give an answer'...I experience the presence of Jesus in my life everyday..." [p. 11-12].
The professor, himself a former evangelical Christian, is patient with Nick and challenges him to give evidence that would contradict the professor's claims. Nick is unable to do so and so begins a personal struggle in Nick's life that his faith may or may not withstand.
Nick decides to turn to his former youth pastor for guidance and answers to the questions that are now beginning to plague him. However, much to his surprise, he finds that the youth pastor can offer him nothing but slogans and assurance that "all you need to have is faith." Meanwhile, Dr. Peterson seems to have real answers to real questions and even befriends Nick and his girlfriend!
By a few "chance" meetings, Nick befriends some tough minded followers of Jesus Christ who are about to demonstrate that perhaps Nick has only been hearing one side of the story.
The Core Arguments
McDowell and Sterrett do a great job in this book addressing many of the arguments that have been made popular on university campuses around the United States. Examples are as follows:
- Did Christianity Borrow from Pagan Mythology?
- What about the Zeitgeist video on youtube?
- When was the Old Testament and New Testament "put together?"
- What about Bart Ehrman and Misquoting Jesus?
- What about the "mistakes" in the Bible?
- What about the other gospels?
When I began reading this book, I was skeptical that the arguments therein would simply be repackaged arguments from McDowell's prior apologetic works; however, this is not the case. I was delighted to find that McDowell and Sterrett obviously have made it a point to interact with some of the best scholars in New Testament criticism today, past and present, throughout the text. Names such as William Lane Craig, Daniel Wallace, Bruce Metzger and John Warwick Montgomery as just some of the names that are referenced. Further, the arguments of New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman are accurately presented and soundly dealt with.
As mentioned before, this brief text succeeds in addressing numerous popular arguments made by the so-called Internet skeptics, as well as arguments put forth by many popular works today, such as the works of Robert Price and Bart Ehrman, who's arguments have persuaded many university students to doubt, or even give up, their Christian beliefs.
Those who would benefit from reading this book are:
- College students who want to bolster their faith or who may be doubting.
- Anyone who has questions about the reliability of Scripture and how we got our Bible today.
- Those troubled by the skeptical claims of Bart Ehrman, the Jesus Seminar, or Internet skeptics
- Anyone who enjoys a fun investigative story
Courage and Godspeed,
Note to Readers: We will be reviewing the next two books in this series and giving one of each away in the coming weeks so keep watching the blog for reviews and details! We appreciate your readership!