- February 2, 2012
- By Staff, Baptist Standard
Alex McFarland gives a quick overview of the skeptic whose goal was to overthrow the dogmas of all schools of religious knowledge. He shares the difference between the skeptic and the atheist. The author gives some practical advice such as "Be sure to listen before you speak" and "10 suggestions for handling questions about faith."
The second section of the book is a wealth of information to help understand and answer skeptics. McFarland divides skeptics into the following groups: educated, wounded, frightened, proud, orphaned, tolerant, sensual, seeking, syncretistic and honest skeptics. McFarland suggests what may have happened that caused each person's skepticism, as well as how to minister to this person. This section will be a great resource for concerned Christians.
McFarland adds a wonderful appendix consisting of five relevant subjects to give the serious Christian practical help to answer any skeptic and to reinforce his or her own faith. He gives a defense of Christianity with a strong focus on the Resurrection, adding facts about other religions and answers to common questions.
I have been blessed by 10 Answers for Skeptics and will keep it accessible in my library. I encourage you not just to read this book, but also put it to use as you help those who need to know Christ and understand his teachings.
Leo Smith, retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men
Authentic Church: True Spirituality in a Culture of Counterfeits by Vaughan Roberts (IVP)
In Authentic Church, Roberts provides a penetrating examination of the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians, urging modern Christians to be the authentic body of Christ by choosing the true spirituality of the gospel.
Roberts explores issues that troubled the Corinthian church—whether to eat meat offered to idols, how to deal with sexually licentious people who consorted with pagan temple prostitutes and whether to seek or reject spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy—and helps draw parallels for application today. He forcefully addresses idols such as materialism, careerism, narcissism, eroticism and hedonism.
Young readers, in particular, may find helpful the section on questions Christians should ask when making decisions about their behavior—questions about spiritual growth, the good of others and the glory of God. Some readers undoubtedly will take issue with Roberts' view on complementary gender roles and male headship, but disagreement at that point should not keep anyone from reading the rest of this valuable book and gleaning insights from it.
Ken Camp, managing editor
Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby (Baker)
The missionary, who served nine years in the Middle East, didn't wear a burqa but instead dressed modestly and wore the hejab or headscarf. Studying Arabic with a young Muslim woman opened doors to friendship, invitations and opportunities.
The American tells of gracious ladies taking off their burqas among other women to reveal beautiful clothes, fine jewels and lovely make-up. But she also explains that those women cannot attend weddings, their own or anyone else's, or most schools. They cannot choose husbands. Their babies cannot be delivered by male physicians, even if it means death. Many suffer at the hands of husbands or mothers-in-law. Shelby relates the story of a Muslim woman whose husband beat her severely—not because she visited with the writer, but because she walked nearby.
Although the names and specifics have been changed, the stories in Behind the Veils of Yemen are real, sensitive and compelling. Shelby's book is a must-read for anyone desiring to peek behind the veil of Islam to see a world in need of hope.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas