Coffey, Joe. Smooth Stones: Bringing Down the Giant Questions of Apologetics. Adelphi: Cruciform Press, 2011. 116 pp. $6.99. Purchase at Westminster Books.
Apologetics has become a hot-topic lately within Christian publishing and teaching. While I personally attribute this to a recent book by entitled Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, I also realize that there is a major deficiency in the church today with all Christians not really being able to defend their faith when unbelievers begin attacking.
Joe Coffey was one of the first to graduate Chuck Colson’s Centurions Program. He has a passion to share his faith with anyone who will listen and think critically about the claims of the Bible.
In less than 100 pages, and six chapters, Joe sets out to succinctly answer six questions. The questions move from God to His inspired Word, the Bible, and finally to the person of Christ. Each chapter is somewhere from 10-16 pages. The first chapter answers the question “is there a God?” It is in this chapter that the four questions of existence are spelled out for the reader: origin, destiny, purpose, and morality.
The answer to these four questions form the foundation of one’s worldview and Joe aptly shows how the Christian faith offers the best answer to all these questions. Throughout each chapter, Joe details the contradictions inherent in other worldviews and allows for the facts to speak for themselves.
He concludes his work with two chapters—a note to the unbeliever and a note to the believer. In the note to unbelievers, he offers an exhortation and a way to overcome the two main obstacles to faith in Christ: pain and power. In the note to believers, Coffey exhorts the believer to not rely on argument but to pray and allow for the Spirit of God to work in the life of the unbeliever.
As apologetic books are concerned, Smooth Stones is a concise introduction to the field of apologetics. It is the perfect book to whet one’s appetite and can also be used to begin his education in this massive field. The endnotes offer some decent suggestions on future resources though a recommended resources listing would have been ideal.
Still, for the young believer, Joe Coffey’s work will provide a sufficient and rudimentary understanding of how to answer some of the most common questions and charges against the Christian faith. His writing style is easily read and understood. Not using so much technical language helped greatly in this area.
Ultimately, the book is worth a read for anyone seeking a quick answer to some difficult questions. If one were to want to go much deeper than surface level and really wrestle with the philosophy underlying the various answers, they will need to look elsewhere; thus, the need for the recommended resources.
Regardless, I do recommend Smooth Stones for anyone wanting to begin learning about Christian apologetics.