Beyond Opinion: living the faith we defend is an apologetic resource edited by Ravi Zacharias (see the Zacharias Trust). It is divided into three main sections: ‘Giving An Answer’, which looks at difficult questions posed against faith in God, as well as the ‘questions behind the questions’. This tackles areas such as postmodernism, atheism and scientific questions. The second part, ‘Internalising the Questions and Answers’, explores deeper issues of spiritual transformation and the third part, ‘Living Out the Answers’, addresses the role of the church.
This is not a book that you can read straight through, and it is difficult to encapsulate in a review. It took me a long time to absorb and digest the various themes and dilemmas presented here. With a range of contributors writing on various subjects, the book is a collection of voices and topics, all important to apologetics.
I found this book valuable, and challenging. As it wrestles with some quite hefty philosophical and scientific thinking at times, it can take some effort to grasp certain passages. However, I enjoyed the opportunity of familiarising myself with the thoughts and questions posed. The myriad of voices means that naturally a reader may appreciate one chapter more than another, depending on areas of interest or preference of writing style, but the change of tone can be helpful, especially after being immersed in a very complex subject.
The book resounds with the call of 1 Peter 3:15, the defining statement of apologetics, that Christ is set apart as Lord in our hearts, that we should always be ready to give an answer (Greek: apologia) for the hope we have and that we should do so with gentleness and respect.
This book is more meaty than milky. It is not an easy or quick read, and won’t be to everyone’s taste. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to think deeply about their faith, and longs to be able to explain it more fully. There were moments in my reading where I was deeply interested, amiably befuddled, greatly challenged and even, I believe, spoken to in a way I was not expecting, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I was provoked to think more deeply about my faith, ponder the incredible nature of God and examine my own attitudes and lifestyle.
More than that, it emphasises the need for us to live our answers, to reflect our faith in our actions and to be genuine disciples, demonstrating God’s love to all around us.