High school and college students are inundated everyday with challenges in their classrooms, from their peers and from a culture that opposes a biblical worldview. This often leads to students questioning their faith in a negative way, namely with an attitude of unbelief; rather than one to ask good questions of what they believe and why it matters. Often times in my experience this is because they are not taught to ask the right question which would help them to uncover the right answers. Asking good questions in my opinions is the byproduct of critical thinking skills that are often no longer taught in our schools anymore. Enter a new book Truth Matters Confidence Faith in a Confusing World by Drs. Andreas Kostenberger, Darrel Bock, and Josh Chatraw, a book that seeks to help young Christians understand that real questions about the Christian faith are not bad and can be helpful when asked with the goal of uncovering the truth about the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Along the way the authors aim to help students learn to ask good questions and defend their faith in the midst of a culture they inhabit that is largely suspicious even hostile to Christianity.
Truth Matters like several others works that have come out recently, seeks to engage Dr. Bart Ehrman, one of the leading voices attacking the reliability of the Christian faith. I remember sitting in a class on moral philosophy at a secular community college in the Seattle, Washington area. In this class the professor, a man with very liberal leanings espoused his view of morality and whatever topic he wanted to engage. Being that I’m a Christian, my friends often asked me why I didn’t try to engage him and argue with him. Part of me wanted to and part of me did not. I was young at this time and knew I could stand up and speak out. I wanted to be sure I had the right motivation for speaking up because I knew once I did I would be immediately challenged. One day I did speak up and engage the professor. He came over to me after a break in the class and leaned over to me and said, “Don’t you ever make me look like that in class.” To be honest I don’t remember what I even said to garner that response but I do remember the look on his face. This experience while not reminding me of Ehrman who I’ve never met and never read still reminded me of the incident at the community college those many years ago. It is the spirit of skepticism that holds religious beliefs in question with a view to deny them and even dismiss them as merely a bunch of fairy tales and myths.
Truth Matters looks at the nature of unbelief and why so many people are attracted to it in chapter one. In chapter two look at the question of whether God is near or far from man, and whether He cares. Chapter three looks at how the Bible came into being. Chapter four explores whether the Bible has contradictions or not. Chapter five examines the issue of the accuracy of the Bible. Chapter six looks at who determined what biblical Christianity is about. Chapter seven explores the resurrection of Christ. The book concludes exploring what a reasoned faith looks like.
I really enjoyed reading Truth Matters. As a high school student I was engaged in several ministries aimed at reaching my fellows students. When I graduated high school I went to a local community college up north and started Servants of Grace. During that time I was also involved in campus ministry as the campus student leader. All of this to say that I personally experience hostility towards the Christian faith both as a high school and a college student. Most of the objections are not new to me but rather old one’s that have been repackaged to reach more people with greater appeal. This is the point of this book to address those objections and meet a huge need to help students struggling with questions. There is nothing wrong with struggling with what you believe but as I indicated at the opening of this review, the question becomes what is your motivation for questioning. If one’s motivation in questioning is to question blindly in order to validate one’s perspective that isn’t honest questioning. If one is questioning what they believe to gain a better understanding of it with a view to build their faith in the Lord then that is earnest questioning.
Truth Matters aims to ask good questions which produce solid answers which is also why this is a solid resource that I highly recommend. We live in challenging times and high school and college student face difficult questions and decisions on every side. I’m thankful for The Truth Matters, a resource I believe will greatly help and aid high school and college students, along with those engaged in ministering to them to be able to help them learn how to ask good questions and receive good answers, all the while for the purpose that readers will be equipped to contend and defend the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. I highly recommend The Truth Matters and hope and pray it gains a wide and far reaching readership.
Authors: Andreas Kostenberger, Darrel Bock, and Josh Chatraw
Publisher: B&H (2014)
I received this for free from B&H book review program for this review. 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.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.