Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Is the Bible True...Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Win a Copy!: Moody Publishers has kindly provided a free copy of Is the Bible True...Really? for Truthbomb Apologetics to give away. All you have to do to enter the random drawing is to leave a comment on this post!

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? [1]
General Reflections

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.

The Story

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?
This reader was pleasantly surprised to find these topics dealt with in an in-depth, fair-minded manner.

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.

Conclusion

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
Is the Bible True...Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett is a treasure chest full of remarkably concise, easy-to-understand arguments for the reliability of Scripture. Regardless if you are a seeking skeptic, seasoned apologist, or a new believer, I strongly encourage you to read this book and be challenged.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resource:
1. http://www.theworldsbiggestcoffeehouse.com/book-series/series-overview/


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!

37 comments:

liftingshadows said...

I think is is true but still would like to have this!

elohimito said...

Looks like an awesome book. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Looks great! Looking forward to seeing a copy.
Lex

Chris said...

oooh...I love reading fun investigative studies!

CV said...

Looks like a great read! Thanks for the review. And thanks again for the link in the Arsenal to the Qur'an and the Resurrection. It has been most helpful!

God Bless,

erik said...

consider me entered!

Eddie Eddings said...

Sign me up! These kind of books you will never find in Kuwait. I do have an American address, if God decides I need it at this time. God bless you for your generosity.

John Bray said...

I would like to be entered in the contest. And I love your website.

JLmacrae said...

Sounds like a good book...look forward in getting a copy!

Darcy said...

I'd love to read it. Thanks.

timjlin said...

Thanks for the review. You have me interested in getting a copy. Thanks for the giveaway!

Ben said...

I would love to have the book. I deal with these arguments daily as a leader of a Christian group and bible study for non-believers on a secular university campus. I have dealt with the doubts myself and continue to seek truth.

Stephen said...

Sign me up!

Lavinia4truth said...

It sounds like a great book. My husband and I would be interested in reading it. Please enter my name as well. Thanks.

Russell said...

This book looks great! Sign me up!!

Thomas Louw said...

Sounds like a great book. The timing of this book is, well spot on.
The draw, like most are only for USA citizens.(I undersnad shipping is a problem)
But one question will this book be availble in South Africa?

BumBuls said...

Sounds like a great read

K-tribe said...

Thanks for the giveaway!! Pick Me!! Pick ME!! :-)

andy said...

I am a father of 3 and am motivated to become as learned an apologist as possible so that I may equip my kids with the knowledge to stand firm in their faith as they grow older and become exposed to more skepticism. This sounds like a great read!

Chasen said...

This sounds like a great book Chad. I received "How We Got the Bible" from Stand to Reason recently and this post has motivated me to make time to read it. Thanks and God bless!

NicoleTaylor said...

Would love to own this one! Thanks!

Clinton said...

Sign me up.

David said...

This sounds interesting... especially the fact that they have a variety of well-known Christian apologists presenting their arguments for Christ in this book.

Shelby Cade said...

I would like to add the book to my library. Sean McDowell is an up and coming apologist. Like father, like son.

I see how to get multiple comments now:-)

Fred said...

I would like to be entered in the drawing. Thanks!

Chad said...

Hello Thomas,

will this book be made available in South Africa?

I received the following information from my contact regarding your question-

"Christian Art is our exclusive distributor in South Africa and has seen these titles. They loved them and have ordered them. Should be there within 4 weeks."

Hope this answers your question and I want to thank everyone for the enthusiastic response and encouraging comments!

I will be giving away the first book at the end of the day tomorrow!

Godspeed

Rob said...

Sounds like a good book. I'd love a copy. Thanks for the review.

Neil said...

Enter me, i'll go...to the mail box to pick up my free copy. :)

Greg West said...

Thank you for the chance to win this book!

Anthony said...

A pioneer in popular apologetics: I'm interested in reading anything from McDowell.

RkBall said...

Count me in.

Chad said...

Hello Everyone,

First off, thank you for entering to win this great book.

The winner of our random drawing the 5th poster- CV!

Congratulations! He has been contacted!

Again, I want to thank each of you for entering and please watch the blog this week for a chance to win Who Is Jesus...Really? by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett!

Godspeed

Dave Sterrett said...

Thank you Chad for providing your post, review and giveaway! Nice blog! You do a really good job. Where is your ministry based?

Chad said...

Hello Mr. Sterrett,

Thank you for visiting the blog and for offering the encouraging comments!

Truthbomb is based in Williamsport, MD and is a ministry of Faith Christian Fellowship [www.explorefcf.com].

We are still growing, but have a small cell of people interested in apologetics at our church.

I have really enjoyed all three of these books! I also plan on reading your book Why Trust Jesus? in the future.

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment and for all your great work!

Godspeed

Wayne Ho said...

thank you for the review and giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I am starting a class on the reliability of the new testament and this would be a great book to include in the library.

nettiedm said...

I honestly believe this book will provide excellent arguments for the reliability of the Scripture. I also love other books by McDowell such as The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict as well as More Than a Carpenter (my personal favorite!). BTW, we totally recommend this book for skeptics, you can check out our recommendation here: http://booksforevangelism.org/is-the-bible-true-really-by-josh-mcdowell-and-dave-sterrett/ . God bless! :)