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Popular apologist Mary Jo Sharp issues a personal challenge for sisters in Christ to approach their faith on an intellectual level, along with a compelling call for women's ministries to help women love God with their minds by incorporating apologetics into their programs.
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Defending the Faith is a challenge from Mary Jo Sharp for you and me personally -- "You are the Christian warriors who are missing-in-action on the battlefield of ideology" (pg. 16) ...but also specifically for the women' ministries in the church, the body of Christ -- "In this book, I am prosing a new approach to women's ministries that addresses the basic need of women to know the truth about God and thus to trust Him: the study of apologetics specifically for women so that they can learn the truth about God, believe in Him and live our their faith through their actions." (pg. 41) Because "we will only live out genuine faith when we truly believe in God. We will only truly believe in God when we know Him. We will only know Him as we intellectually engage at a deeper level the issues of His existence." (pg. 43 - However, I changed and emphasized some of the pronouns to make this quote more personal.) There is so much that is encouraging, inspiring, and informative in the chapters of this little book. 1. Reasons for knowing why you believe in God 2. How your beliefs affect your life 3. How your beliefs affect others 4. What you can do right now 5. What you can do in women's ministries 6. The importance of a woman's testimony Also there is a resources section at the end with suggested apologetics material from books to web sites. I partially like how under "Learning a Defense of the Christian Faith" she has the books divided in beginning, intermediate and advance. With that, we all can start where we are in our apologetics reading and grow from there, instead of picking up one random book that may intimidate us to quit! Sharp starts with what I believe to be a much needed reminder: "It was important for me to understand that God does not mind our questions. The stubborn, hardened heart that is unwilling to consider God is the one rebuked in Scripture--not the heart that questions." (pg. 14) She ends with "Ultimately, my reasoning for apologetics study is...because I desire to give God whatever glory I am able to with this life of mine." (pg. 132) Now you need to get the book to read all the in-between! Reading Defending the Faith was an "accident": meaning I actually didn't read the full title when I picked up, so I started reading it thinking it was an apologetics book. I felt like the ladies on page 62: I already see I need for apologetics and wanted more!! However, I'm glad I "accidentally" got this book - with a heart toward Christ and apologetics and perhaps God has a purpose for me now having this information also! :) Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.
How would you answer the following questions about your faith: Why do you believe in God? What are your reasons for thinking God is real and that the Bible is a reliable text inspired by God? "In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul says that if it is not absolutely true that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, then our faith in God is useless and we are giving false testimony (1 Corinthians 15:14-15). This is why we must be brutally honest with ourselves about what we believe and why: so that we can grow in our own faith in God and move toward maturity in Christ. You, as a person who professes God as the giver of all truth, should be asking yourself these questions before anyone else asks them of you. It is a matter of being responsible with your beliefs. However, let me be careful to say that you can have doubts and believe in God. Just because people have doubts about their faith doesn't mean they have to abandon ship. Doubts are not confirmation that a ship is sinking, but if you question the sturdiness of your vessel, would it not be wiser to examine its soundness before you simply leap into the sea? Even if you still do not have 100 percent confidence that the ship will stay afloat, you also do not have 100 percent confidence that it won't! Do you really need 100 percent confidence that the ship is secure to stay aboard? Would 10 percent, 20 percent, or 40 percent doubt in one's ship be reason enough to jump overboard? No, of course not! You only abandon ship once you are certain the ship is sinking, and as the gales and tempests of this life come, I contend that the more you study, the more you will find that no other ship but the mighty ark of our Christian faith will bear us safely through every challenge and storm. And if we have this confidence in our own faith, the more persuasive we will be as we thoughtfully interact with the ideas and questions of people from other belief systems." In the book, Defending the Faith by author Mary Jo Sharp, she takes a look at what is often times lacking within the church, a need for women to be taught how to defend their faith in a way that works for women. It is an honest look into what we need, as women, to help us not only be prepared to answer the questions above with honesty and confidence but how to grow and remain strong in our faith. If left to our own devices, we will simply limb along taking scripted responses from others as a simple way of providing the answers we hope are true to ourselves. This is a wonderful book that I would see could dramatically impact the ministry opportunities in the church, home and community because of the compassionate needs women have to help others in need. If we continue to work together to really provide a hard line study into growing our faith, studying what God's Word has to stay about things, we can not only answer questions asked of us but also coach those we interact with every day in those same areas. We are instructed as a church to provide that type of teaching within our body and community and I think Mary Jo does an exceptional job at not only showing us why it's necessary but also how to go about beginning the process. She definitely has inspired a fire in this reader's soul to provide my own answers to these questions above and many more. I received Defending the Faith by Mary Jo Sharp compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for a favorable review. This is a must needed subject for the churches, more so now than ever before and I would encourage church leaders and women in the ministry to pick up a copy to encourage this type of growth within the women of the church through small group and personal Bible Studies. I can only imagine how powerful this would be for any woman to have the upmost confidence in being able to defend her own faith in Jesus Christ to anyone who asks. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.