Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend

Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend

by Ravi Zacharias


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Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias

A definitive master work from the world's leading Christian apologist.

Respected apologist Ravi Zacharias was once sharing his faith with a Hindu when the man asked: "If the Christian faith is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians I know?" The question hit hard, and this book is an answer. Its purpose is to equip Christians everywhere to simultaneously defend the faith and be transformed by it into people of compassion.

In addition to writing several chapters himself, Ravi Zacharias brings together many of today's leading apologists and Christian teachers, including Alister McGrath and John Lennox, to address topics present in the very future of worldwide Christianity—from the process of spiritual transformation to the challenges posed by militant atheism and a resurgent Islam. Destined to become a classic, Beyond Opinion is a touchstone that will affect Christians around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849946530
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/10/2010
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 198,351
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ravi Zacharias is the founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He has received many honors in recognition of his writings and global impact and has authored or edited over twenty-five books, including Can Man Live Without God? and Jesus Among Other Gods. He and his wife, Margie, have been married for forty-five years and have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.

Read an Excerpt

Beyond Opinion

Living the Faith That We Defend
By Ravi Zacharias

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2007 Ravi Zacharias
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-3769-2

Chapter One

Postmodern Challenges to the Bible

Amy Orr-Ewing

The Bible is a controversial book that evokes both devotion and derision. It has inspired some of the greatest thinkers this world has ever known and attracted the hostility of others. It takes a central role in any study of Western civilization and touches the most unlikely of souls.

The Bible has also been the subject of wild predictions. In the eighteenth century, the French atheistic philosopher Voltaire predicted, "Another century and there will not be a Bible on earth!" What irony, then, that Voltaire's house later became the headquarters of the Bible Society, printing and distributing many thousands of Bibles.

In this chapter we will examine some of the current challenges to the Bible, and in particular, three challenges from the postmodern worldview. By its very nature the postmodern worldview is difficult to define, and some would resist calling it such. It is an eclectic movement, originating in aesthetics, architecture, and philosophy. A postmodern perspective is skeptical of any grounded theoretical perspectives. It rejects the certainties of modernism and approaches art, science, literature, and philosophy with a pessimistic, disillusioned outlook. Questioning the possibility of clear meaning or truth, this worldview is about discontinuity, suspicion of motive, and an acceptance of logical incoherence. As one scholar notes,

The postmodernist critique of science (for example) consists of two interrelated arguments, epistemological and ideological. Both are based on subjectivity. First, because of the subjectivity of the human object, anthropology, according to the epistemological argument cannot be a science; and in any event the subjectivity of the human subject precludes the possibility of science discovering objective truth. Second, since objectivity is an illusion, science according to the ideological argument, subverts oppressed groups, females, ethnics, third-world peoples.

In my experience as a Christian apologist, the postmodern skeptic raises numerous challenges to the Christian worldview and to the Bible in particular. These questions often focus on ideas of power and authority and fall into three basic categories:

1. Theoretical questions about textual authority

2. Historical questions about textual authority

3. Existential questions about textual authority

In this chapter, we will examine each of these three postmodern challenges to the Bible in more detail.

Theoretical Questions about Textual Authority

The postmodern suspicion of any claim to meaning or truth has a dramatic affect on the status of the word in both written and spoken form. We all remember President Clinton's now infamous statement, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is." This statement caused global shockwaves because the most powerful man in the world appeared to be questioning the very nature of language. Sadly, this example has not proved to be an aberration but rather an illustration of the tendency of our age.

In fact, the idea that there is no ultimate meaning in any text has become extremely powerful in a postmodern context, and it has enormous implications for any communication about the gospel. One literary theorist writes, "Literature ... by refusing to assign a 'secret,' an ultimate meaning, to the text (and to the world as text), liberates what may be called an anti-theological activity, an activity that is truly revolutionary since to refuse to fix meaning is, in the end, to refuse God."

Suspicion of Any Claim to Authority

The postmodern questioner is likely to operate from a base of suspicion and skepticism when presented with a text such as the Bible, which makes a clear claim to authoritative truth. This is not because the individual is particularly hostile toward the Christian or even the church, but rather because he or she has developed within a cultural context that suspects authority and rejects metanarrative (an overarching or transcendent view of the world). For instance, the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard argues that a postmodern outlook demands a "war on totality"—a fight against any claim to universal meaning. He does this most powerfully in The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, where he argues that this perspective is marked by an "incredulity towards meta-narratives."

Again, a metanarrative is a large-scale theory that seeks to make sense of the world, such as the onward and upward progress of the human race throughout history, the confidence that everything is explicable by science, or the possibility of absolute freedom. Lyotard argues that postmoderns have ceased to believe that narratives of this kind are useful for understanding reality. Instead, humans have become alert to difference and diversity, so that postmodernity is characterized by a plethora of micronarratives. Here Lyotard draws heavily on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and his idea that meaning is possible only within language games. In other words, different communities have different rules and principles that govern their discourse, and these do not necessarily translate across different groups. Thus meaning is possible only within a particular context or community, and truth should not be understood as transcending these barriers of diversity. When applied by the postmodern as a challenge to the Bible, this may express itself as a rejection that one truth (such as "Christ died for our sins") can be communicated, understood, and believed by all the diverse groups in the world.

Lyotard's suspicion of authority and denial of metanarrative in practice means that any worldview or framework of meaning that provides an overarching explanation of reality—like the Christian belief in the Bible as revealed truth—is attacked and rejected. As we have seen, this rejection applies equally to the modern myth of progress, the Enlightenment myth of rational beings discovering truth, as well as the Christian myth that God made human beings and reveals himself to them. So the postmodern perspective rejects the idea of the biblical text as revealed truth, as a book to be read and understood that communicates truth directly to us and provides us with a worldview from which to interpret reality.

The fundamental problem with this challenge to the Bible—this suspicion of authority and rejection of metanarrative—is that it is essentially inconsistent. That is, we soon discover when probing this denial of overarching stories that an exception is made for the overarching idea that there are no overarching ideas! Postmodern skeptics critique all worldviews except their own.

Authority as Power Play

After hearing a powerful preacher speaking to seven hundred people in a packed Oxford church, a student demanded to speak privately with him. In the preacher's study the young man tore into his host, shouting and swearing in anger at what he had heard. The main objection that the student raised was the fact that anyone would dare speak powerfully and persuasively about an idea. As a postmodern, he saw this kind of speaking as a malevolent force—an imposition of a truth claim on another person, an assault on the individual's autonomy, and something dangerous that ought to be resisted.

This classic postmodern challenge is often specifically directed at the Bible. The Bible is seen as a text that is used to take power over people's lives; its authority is seen as a power play exerted over the weak. The French thinker Michel Foucault spoke of an essential interplay between knowledge and power. Echoing Nietzsche's phrase "will to power," Foucault called any pursuit of truth a "will to knowledge" that arbitrarily establishes its own "truth." This "truth" is then imposed on others, thereby handing over power to the speaker or writer. So the human quest for knowledge is written off as the pursuit of power, and this power for Foucault and other postmoderns is embodied and expressed in institutionalized languages. He wrote, "Power produces knowledge.... There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations."

When applied to the Bible this challenge is a powerful one, for is not this religious text simply a tool in the hands of power-hungry individuals who use it to assert authority and strengthen their own hands? Of course the problem with this idea is that it falls into the same trap as many other postmodern challenges: it lacks self-awareness and self-consistency. After all, if Foucault really believed that language and the quest for knowledge through words can be reduced to a power play in the end, how could he communicate such ideas without using words and attempting to persuade us as well? Was he not simply exerting his authority and his considerable power over us? Didn't he become as power hungry as his opponents? Shouldn't Foucault's critique of Christian thought and the Bible be applied to his own ideas as well? When all is said and done, if he really believed his own philosophy, why didn't he remain silent?

Authority and the Question of Interpretation

These postmodern challenges to the authority of a text culminate in the ultimate relativist statement: "Isn't it all a matter of interpretation?" This statement sounds like a question, but in fact, when we examine it carefully, it is a truth claim. It is a claim that there is no one truth, no one clear message. Thus, even when we come to a so-called revealed or inspired text like the Bible, the claim is that there are many valid interpretations of a given text, hence absolute truth eludes us again.

The postmodern challenge I have heard on numerous occasions goes something like this: "You don't mean to say that you take the Bible literally, do you?" I love to answer with the words of a great Christian who was asked this question and reportedly replied, "The Bible says that Herod is a fox, but we don't think that means he had pointy ears and a bushy tail. It also mentions that Jesus is a door—which does not mean that he is flat, wooden, and swings on hinges."

This question of interpretation is raised by the postmodern in order to cast doubt on the possibility that real meaning is possible at all. The idea of the nonpossibility of clear meaning in a text was most powerfully argued by the postmodern thinker Jacques Derrida. Following Nietzsche, Derrida asserted that if God does not exist, then there is no foundation for language and words are not able to signify or present any given reality. He attacked the view that human statements are representations of the world as it actually is and denied that language could have fixed meaning connected to a fixed reality or that it has the capacity to convey definitive truth. If language has meaning, it causes people to search for "the transcendental signified" (some ultimate word or essence—such as God—truth or reality). Derrida argued that such ultimate things do not exist, yet when turned on its head, what his argument reveals is that in order for postmoderns to reject God, they have to undermine language itself.

After all, if no such "transcendental signified" exists, the meanings of words must arise purely out of their relationship with an immediate context. That is, words have no actual meaning—a word on a page or a word being heard only has the meaning that a reader or a hearer gives it. It does not itself carry any ultimate meaning because there is no God ("transcendental signified") to give ultimate meaning to words. Thus language becomes completely self-referential. Any written document is meaningless because if words cannot be carriers of meaning, and they have no ontological referent, they must derive their meaning solely from the hearer or the reader.

At a popular level, this is often expressed in a simple phrase like "It's all just a matter of interpretation." This is a clever challenge to the Bible and a serious objection to the very possibility of words as carriers of meaning. However, let us remember that this is only a problem if God does not exist. But surely if this were the case, we would not be able to assert his nonexistence using words!

Once again we find a postmodern challenge to the Bible that is not rigorous enough to stand up to its own scrutiny. This idea falls at the first hurdle since it is unable to be communicated or argued without the use of words. How can Derrida tell us that a transcendental signified does not exist and that words only have the meaning a particular reader or cultural context gives them—since he used words to tell us this and expected us to understand them, no matter our culture?

How Christians practice hermeneutics with real integrity is a question for a different book. How we interpret the Bible and uphold the word of truth in our generation is a challenge for any serious student of the Word of God. But before we get there, we must recognize these postmodern challenges to the theoretical possibility of meaning in any text and deal with them if we are to give a reason for the hope within to a postmodern skeptic.

Historical Questions about Textual Authority

Having examined some of the theoretical questions about textual authority that form part of the postmodern challenge to the Bible, we will now look at the growing number of historical questions about the text of the Bible. The increasing number of books being produced that claim to rival the Bible—whether they be treatises on little known gnostic gospels or rehashes of medieval forgeries—have caught the imagination of a skeptical public interested in conspiracy theories and the like. As we have noted, the postmodern attitude toward truth makes it increasingly difficult to challenge these rival books and reveal them for what they are. Furthermore, a central plank of postmodern thought with regard to history is that we cannot be certain about what happened in the past. As New Testament scholar E. P. Sanders puts it, "Historical events could not be verified even if we had a video recording."

This rejection of certainty with regard to history is part of a larger movement characterized by disillusionment with any kind of certainty. The philosopher Foucault argued that just like any other form of ideas, historical research can make no claim to be free of the perspectives and values of the historian and therefore to be neutral. He concluded that since the desire to know the past cannot come from a disinterested quest for truth, it must arise from a desire to control the past for some purpose or other. His conception of the will to power through knowledge emerges again, but now with regard to historical narratives. Again this logic failed to meet up to its own standard since Foucault did not subject his own thinking to this idea. Thus, we are left asking ourselves why he tried to dominate and control us with all of these words.

Alternatives to the Bible

Postmodern ideas about history challenge any authoritative version of the past given by the Bible as suspicious and founded in power play. Yet interestingly, the Bible is then compared to flimsy challenges of whacky alternative theories. For instance, the Gospel of Judas has been heralded by the Western media as a serious challenge to the Bible. Upon reading it, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, noted, "It's actually a fairly conventional book of its kind—and there were dozens like it around in the early centuries of the Church. People who weren't satisfied with the sort of thing the New Testament had to say spent quite a lot of energy trying to produce something which suited them better. They wanted Christian teaching to be a matter of exotic and mystical information, shared only with an in-group."

According to The Da Vinci Code, the church suppressed the real version of events that can be found in so-called gnostic gospels like the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas. These are, in fact, not gospels at all but rather collections of random sayings and stories put together to form a challenge to the first-century Christian gospels. Nevertheless, these sources were compiled and written much later than the canonical gospels, only exist in fragmentary form, and were rejected as specious at the time. Oddly, such facts do not dampen the zeal of theorists intent on casting suspicion on the authoritative versions attested by historical evidence and the witness of the church. This is all a part of the postmodern challenge that can be answered with historical data and a scholarly account of fourth-century Gnosticism. This challenge itself, though, should first be understood as being a product of the postmodern culture.


Excerpted from Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias Copyright © 2007 by Ravi Zacharias. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

An Apologetic for Apologetics Ravi Zacharias xi

Part 1 Giving an Answer

Section 1 Addressing the Difficult Questions

1 Postmodern Challenges to the Bible Amy Orr-Ewing 3

2 Challenges from Atheism Alister McGrath 21

3 Challenges from Youth Alison Thomas 40

4 Challenges from Islam Sam Soloman 60

5 Challenges from Eastern Religions L. T. Jeyachandran 79

6 Challenges from Science John Lennox 106

Section 2 Addressing the Questions behind the Questions

7 Conversational Apologetics Michael Ramsden 137

8 Broader Cultural and Philosophical Challenges Joe Boot 152

9 Existential Challenges of Evil and Suffering Ravi Zacharias 178

10 Cross-Cultural Challenges I'Ching Thomas 209

Part 2 Internalizing the Questions and Answers

11 The Trinity as a Paradigm for Spiritual Transformation L. T. Jeyachandran 231

12 The Role of Doubt and Persecution in Spiritual Transformation Stuart McAllister 253

13 Idolatry, Denial, and Self-Deception: Hearts on Pilgrimage through the Valleys Danielle DuRant 272

Part 3 Living Out the Answers

14 The Church's Role in Apologetics and the Development of the Mind Ravi Zacharias 303


Apologetics for Today Ravi Zacharias 331

About the Contributors 339

Notes 343

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Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Eliashib More than 1 year ago
This book absolutely blew my mind! Ravi Zacharias could have written this book and done a great job, but by being the editor he allowed people that knew the religion or philosophy best to write about it. For instance, Alister McGrath was an outspoken atheist hoping that Christians would die or fall off the face of the planet and he wrote a great article on the Challenges Christians face with Atheism. This book is split into three and a half sections that not only give the overlaying issue, but the underlying issues as well. Section One addresses the difficult questions. These are challenges from different people from different walks of life. We see challenges from the Postmodern Movement, Atheism, Youth, Islam, Eastern Religions and Science and the challenges are answered well and not with straw men arguments. Section Two A addresses the questions behind the questions. This section not only addresses questions that are asked, but also answers why this question is asked. Section Two B addresses Internalizes other questions that are asked by Christians. Section Three is a labeled "Living out Apologetics" in which Zacharias points the reasons our apologetics need to be more than just words. Overall this book is great and is a must read for anyone wishing to study Apologetics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy Ravi's teaching, his writing is even better and this is entry level apologetic s, its great !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read for any Christian who wants to be informed and educated on beliefs of the Chrstian faith and those faiths that go agaist it.
WendyO3 More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias is a book of apologetics. This is all very new to me, including the term "apologetics". This book states that it will "equip you" to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have". This intrigued me, as so often I look at what my faith is based on. I also want to be able to have a strong and intellectual answer for my friends who question my faith, and especially their own faith. This book has many good points, but to be honest, it has taken me a long time to read it. Zacharias is incredibly intelligent, and writes in a way that I needed to be in a setting to really focus on his words, in order to really get going on the book. As a mom, Zacharias' statistics of how many college students lose their faith, and how our education system is becoming more discriminatory toward Christians really caught my attention. Zacharias examines cultural challenges, evil and suffering, the trinity, the role of doubt and idolatry among other topics in this book. It is a book that I will go back to for rereads, as I examine my faith base. Overall, this book is quite interesting and thought provoking. But as a life-long Christian, I think to my late mom as she pounded her fist on the table when I asked her about her faith..."I just know", she said. "I just know". This book was provided through Thomas Nelson Publishing, through Booksneeze.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ravi zacharias has an had amazing life he converted to christ as a younger person whean he had some struggles during his life and with his faith. 'beyond opinion' is a most remarkable book it offers many awnsers to the secular humanists from various groups that threaten christianity with many harsh questians and unfounded attacks. this inspirational page turner gives faith based groups the knowledge they need whean they are challenged by groups who want to harass church groups this is a publication that shows cults and athieism and secular humanism.this shows a great difinitive work that gives awnsers to questians unknown.
chiefrosy More than 1 year ago
Ravi Zacharias is one of the most intelligent, charismatic and Humble Apologist I have read and listened to. This book, "Beyond Opinion" is extremely well written. Ravi's approach in apologetics has certainly opened my eyes and helped me to take a look inside myself and question just why do I believe.This book addresses the questions and ideologies presented by the New Atheists, Postmodernist's, scientific arguments and compares other religions to Christ and Christianity and presents these truths in a way that will help those who want to engage in compassionate and informed discussions with people who are searching, wanting and need answers to their questions and doubts. I highly recommend this book and others written by Ravi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that should be read by all Christians. You will gain great insight into discipleship and apologetics. Instead of reading these reviews...please pick up the book and read it instead.
anovelreviewer More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias is a strong volume on the topic of apologetics. In Section One: Addressing the Difficult Questions, the author goes into great detail to address challenges against the Bible from five specific areas: atheism, youth, Islam, Eastern religions, and science. With the exception of youth, the majority of the groups included in this section have developed specific belief systems that are at odds with those of Christianity. Zacharias assembles a team of eleven contributors and presents their views of various topics. Nine are workers in his global ministry: Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). This book was my introduction to RZIM. When I read in the description that the focus of this book would be apologetics, I expected to read commentary that would prepare the reader to defend his faith. But the sub-title, Living the Faith We Defend, describes the true essence of the author's message. The examples a Christian sets as he lives the faith he defends can do so much more than any argument he could "win." My church's slogan lines up with this concept -- and exhorts members to be "living proof of a loving God to a watching world." Having internalized this slogan, it was easy to grasp the concept behind the sub-title. Consequently, my favorite chapter is entitled The Church's Role in Apologetics and the Development of the Mind, written by the author.
KS_Chew More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion is a great collection of apologetic essays by Ravi Zacharias and his team members of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). I have always enjoyed Ravi's blend of apologetics that not just only appeals to the minds, but to the hearts as well. As Ravi said, what angers many non-Christians about Christians is that while on one hand, the a believer is strongly condemning other's immoral life, the Christian's private life is no different from an non-believer. At least, the non-believer is more tolerant towards others - they give permission to others to make and set personal moral choices. The believer, on the contrary, would be charged with the problem of hypocrisy by virtue of his arrogance on the outside, while living a double-standard on the inside! In other words, apologetics is first seen before it is heard. This challenge is similarly alluded in Chapter 2, challenges from the post-modern youth. In the chapter on challenges from Islam (Chapter 4), I have learned much about the Islamic doctrine of takkiya, the doctrine of sanctioned deception, disguise and cover-up, in the name of advancing the course of Islam. This doctrine can be seen to have been very much played out during debates by the Muslim debaters. In the chapter on trinitarianism, it is also really fascinating to read how L.T. Jeyachandran approached this rather "abstract" subject on Trinitarianism and conceptualizes it into comprehensible lessons, although he does NOT simplify it. But more importantly, at the end of reading that chapter, he could actually persuade me as the reader from the position of seeing this subject of Trinity as a rather uncomfortable subject to be shunned away from whenever possible (especially in conversation with non-believers) to the position that in fact, trinitarianism is an ESSENTIAL or NECESSARY doctrine that must be embraced if we were to adequately give a wholistic answer to many challenging questions in apologetics. In summary, Beyond Opinion is packed with much needed information, and at the same time, it is a compelling book to move the readers to view apologetics as merely an intellectual exercise to giving a lived-out answers to those outside of the Christian faith.
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Scott-Gottreu More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion is a book about apologetics. The editors divided it into three sections. The first looks at the various questions that postmodernism, atheism, world religions and science have about Christianity. The second part looks at how we have to internalize both the questions and answers. They discuss how the Holy Spirit is the only one that brings transformation and how persecution and doubt can aid in that transformation. The final section discusses the believer's role in apologetics. I enjoyed this book. It didn't focus on one-size-fits-all arguments. Some of the chapters were very accessible and others leaned toward the academic side. They clearly presented the questions people are asking and gave guidelines on how to go about preparing to answer them. I appreciated that the authors continually pointed out that you can have all the right answers but without the power of the Holy Spirit, you'll just be a clanging cymbal. In the final chapter, Dr Zacharias made a great point. When you are talking with someone coming from a different worldview, you have to step into their mindset to understand how to talk to them, just as Paul did with the Athenians, Corinthians and the countless others he preached to.
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Thoughts_By_Padre_D More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion is a serious book about defending your faith. This book is quite weighty and can not be lightly read. It is extremely informative and thought provoking and it is set in the "Real World". Many, many questions are being raised all over the world about Christianity, and we must provide real and factual answers in a thoughtful way. This book goes above and beyond to answer many challenges by atheist, Muslims and society in general. Ravi hits a "Home-run" with this latest book. As always he is interesting, truthful, factual and Christ centered. It is the "text book" for anyone wanting to defend their faith in a real way. Any serious follower of Christ MUST read this one. Great for college students. Five Stars!
PastorJoe More than 1 year ago
"If this conversion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians?" Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend is Ravi Zacharias' answer to this question. If you know anything about Ravi Zacharias then you recognize that he is a leader in the field of Christian apologetics. He has proven his mastery of the scriptures, and of apologetics, once again in Beyond Opinion. This book is a thorough, provocative, and insightful guide into what Christians believe, and how those beliefs can be defended against some of the greatest challenges in our world today. In Beyond Opinion, Dr. Zacharias invites notable apologists, such as Stuart McAllister, Alister McGrath, Amy Orr-Ewing, Joe Boot, and others, to share their insight on such subjects as postmodernism, atheism, Islam, philosophy, evil and suffering, and other common challenges presented against Christianity. Together Dr. Zacharias and his team present a complete picture of modern apologetics, and challenge Christians to not only know what they believe, but to also live it daily. He suggests a new vision for 21st century apologetics. An apologetic governed by the desire to win people, and not arguments. This focus is emphasized throughout the book and in part two the reader is given guidance on conversational apologetics that they can use in standard conversation. I found this book to be very interesting, and educational. While it was written by scholars, it is at a level most can comprehend. It gives very practical and Biblical answers to tough questions, and shines light on relevant topics that Christians are facing every day. In a world where faith seems to be under attack, and God is becoming more and more subjective in the public sector, it is a blessing to have a clear and certain sound. Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend is a Clarion call in a chaotic world. I highly recommend it for any Christian who truly is interested in always being ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15) Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
KC2010 More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion is the latest book from leading apologist, Ravi Zacharias. In this book, different authors tackle different questions and topics to help the reader understand how to answer those who question the Christian faith. I found this book to be an excellent book filled with insight and knowledge. While some of the readings were a bit tedious, (it is apologetics so it gets wordy) when taken in small sections it was easy to get through. Some of the topics were ones that some people may face everyday and it gave a good general foundation as to why there are flaws in the theories that people constantly throw at Christians. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in defending their faith and who is looking to have a more firm footing when debating their faith. While it sometimes reads as a philosophy text book, it is well worth ones time and attention. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
kvbwrites More than 1 year ago
I've never read apologetics, by my friend raves about Zacharias, so I decided to pick this up. It's a little misleading in that Zacharias wrote very little of the book - most of it is written by members of his ministry. While I was originally disappointed in that, I ended up liking it. This is a collection of essays written by many people about the challenges to Christianity, such as Islam, Postmodernism, and even youth. While some of the essays were harder to read than others, because different people wrote different chapters, it was nice to find someone with whom I could connect. I found this book to be a nice introduction to apologetics (especially for someone who has never read them). The different topics and styles put everything into "smaller bites", so it was easy to chew and digest. A word of caution - because it is apologetics, it's wordy, so it can take a while to get through.
Donkey More than 1 year ago
This book doesn't just answer the questions, it urges us to live it out, live out the faith. And it does that by giving us examples, bible verses, and ways to do it---practically and spiritually, which is what non-believers are looking for in us---to practice what we preach. The style in this book is highly readable, though with a tendency of some of the contributers to stay on a subject for a little too long; overall, it's good. I highly recommend this to anyone who takes their faith seriously. I was given a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program; though the views expressed here are entirely my own. <>
mel71 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book through Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program. The book is a collection of essays by various authors. It is divided into three parts. Part One is titled Giving Answers and deals with challenges from different worldviews. I found the chapters dealing with challenges from Eastern Religions and challenges from science particularly helpful. Most chapters in this section dealt with issues I have read a little about previously but they all offered something new to think about. Part two was titled internalizing the questions and answers. This section contained the highlight of the book for me - the chapter on the trinity as a paradigm for spiritual transformation. Lots to think about in this chapter and I will definitely be going back for a reread. The third part, titled living out the answers deals with the church's role in apologetics. A point that came through strongly throughout the book is the need to seek understanding of what others actually believe first and the importance of living a life that is being transformed when we are seeking to share the gospel. In the conclusion Ravi Zacharius sums up with the reminder that the apologist is trying to win the person not the argument. "Tossing a verbal grenade down the chimney chute will not do" The book is not a really easy read but if you want something thought provoking I'd recommend it.
Valerie827 More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend Author and General Editor: Ravi Zacharias Looking for a brain stretcher? Or maybe a book that makes you rethink how you defend your faith? Or some practical advice on how to relate to an atheist or a Muslim when sharing the Gospel? Read this book. It was absolutely incredible. The author writes/compiles this book in answer to a question from a Hindu friend of his. The question was: "If this conversion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians I know?" I loved this book because it is practical. We always use Paul's sermon on Mars Hill as an example of starting where the other person is when presenting the Gospel to them. But how often are we told how to start where they are? Not very often. If ever. This book does that. It looks at several different beliefs and tries to give you a better understanding of their perspective so that you know where to start. The beliefs are: postmodernism, atheism, youth, Islam, Eastern religions, and science. The chapter on youth was interesting. In today's changing culture, we are presented with all new challenges from the youth of today. They are growing up in a very different world than we did, so we must approach them differently. There were also chapters on evil and suffering, doubt and persecution. It can be difficult to explain to an atheist why God allows evil and suffering in the world if He is so good. I may know, but I can't always express it as efficiently as I would like or need to. These chapters help you put those explanations into words. I was expecting this to be a quick read. I'm usually done with most books this size in about 2 weeks. Maybe 3 if I'm busy. I've been reading this for like 5 weeks now. Granted, I was a bit busy...what with moving to another state and all. But still. It was a deep read. Not something to speed read through. Not that this was a bad thing. It just made me think. I wanted to read it because it was so interesting, but I had to save it for times when I could really focus on what I was reading. And like I said, this is not a bad thing. It is a very good thing. There are too many books on this kind of subject that is far too easy to read through quickly. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has a friend from another religion that they are trying to share the Gospel with. It can give you some great insights into what they believe and where you need to start.
Real4Truth More than 1 year ago
Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias Are you a Christian who loves heady books that encourage you, bring you up to date about the many intellectual and cultural issues that are obstacles to people coming to Christ and have a deep affinity for apologetics? Then this book is for you. "Beyond Opinion" is a book that is not for the faint of mind. It is actually a book that is composed of brilliant essays with over ten different authors. And these are not just any authors; for we get essays from the most brilliant Christian minds of today, such as: Alister McGrath, Ravi Zacharias, Stuart McAllister, Joe Boot, John Lennox and many other astute Christian philosophers and theologians. The book deals with the many challenges to Christianity in our culture such as: Postmodernism, Atheism, Islam, Eastern Religions, Science, Challenges that our youth face today, Doubt, Evil and many other topics. I must admit that I do get suspicious of Christians black and white answers and responses to such complex issues in our society but this book has many wonderful nuggets to chew on and consider. Not only does the book help give us answers to these problems intellectually but also practically (most often found through our lives as they are surrendered to Christ). Of course the above hot topics are not dealt with exhaustively but I still think this is a must read!!! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."