September 22nd, 2008
Busenitz, Nathan. Reasons We Believe: 50 Lines of Evidence that Confirm the Christian Faith. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 224 pp. $14.99.
Introduction to Reasons We Believe
Nathan Busenitz is an associate pastor and assistant to John MacArthur at Grace Community Church. He also presides over the Shepherds’ Fellowship which is an online resource ministry for pastors and church leaders. He teaches at The Master’s Seminary where he is also pursuing his Th.D. in historical theology. He holds an M.Div and Th.M. from there as well.
The book itself is designed to solidify the believer’s faith insofar as an apologetic for the faith is concerned. Nathan relies heavily upon Scripture and only leaves the Bible as his main source when and where it is appropriate. The book can be read through cover-to-cover or it can be used as a resource tool for helping the believer to know what and why he believes what he does as well as present a clear and cogent argument when someone attacks his own faith.
Summary of Reasons We Believe
This is a difficult book to summarize and therefore I will not attempt to summarize it per se. Reasons We Believe is divided into six sections. The first section is more of an introduction to the contents of the book than a section of “reasons we believe.” Sections two through five are the “reasons we believe” sections. In each section, there are ten reasons why we believe _______ with a short introduction as to why it is important that this particular topic is discussed. The five main sections of the book are:
- Reasons We Believe in God
- Reasons We Believe in the Bible (Part I)
- Reasons We Believe in the Bible (Part II)
- Reasons We Believe in Jesus (Part I)
- Reasons We Believe in Jesus (Part II)
In a sense, Nathan Busenitz takes us from a general topic (God) to a specific Person (Jesus) in the course of this book. Each chapter in a section is no more than four pages which can be very beneficial in an environment of debate and/or discussion.
Critical Analysis of Reasons We Believe
Since the author relies so much on Scripture, this book would be a fantastic resource for new or young believers who are looking to solidify their faith. It might even be a resource to consider using for a discipleship style class. If used properly, it would cultivate a Berean style learning in the church for the young or new believer whereby they are searching the Scriptures to see just how true each line of evidence really is. As an aside, there are nine full pages of Scripture references in the index at the back of the book…in 8-point font.
The research behind the book is first-rate. There are 400+ footnotes throughout the book. This can serve as a guide for future reading or a guide in which to build an apologetics library. The footnotes are especially useful when doing research either for a discussion or a paper.
As with any apologetics book, it must be noted that one cannot argue another person into heaven. One must be careful when reading resources like this or else they will become head-strong and heart-weak. What I mean by that is that it is one thing to read a book like Reasons We Believe to bolster one’s faith. It is something entirely different to read in order that you may win more arguments.
The way the book is designed makes it an excellent resource to own. It is definitely a book that can be given away to others or used as a guide for discussion in a classroom setting or even a discipleship group. At $15.00, it is well worth your money to go out and purchase a book that is so scholarly and concise.