Book Review: Truth Matters by Andreas Köstenberger, Darrell Bock & Josh Chatraw
Author: Andreas Köstenberger, Darrell Bock & Josh Chatraw
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Reading Level: Leisure
“We know church kids today have real questions and often can’t defend their faith. Others are honestly seeking the truth.” (Backcover of Truth Matters)
The name Bart Ehrman was unfamiliar to many Christians not to long ago. It should not be any longer. And yet for some reason, the church continues to ship its children off to the great world of education without the necessary tools to face the critical evaluations being taught and propagated by one of the most prominent New Testament scholars today. The author of over 20 books (including many textbooks), Ehrman has become a celebrity in his teaching concerning the Christian Scriptures and textual criticism. Religion and literature professors around the country rely on his works and similar scholars to shake the foundations of the church’s children.
Though many Christian scholars have addressed Ehrman and liberal scholars like him, those works have remained at the academic level and not reach the mass popularity of the materials they seek to refute. With the help of multiple conservative New Testament scholars, Truth Matters hopes to rectify this. Written primarily for high school students and graduates, Truth Matters is a solid, albeit basic, introduction to the type of thinking necessary to understand and refute liberal arguments against God’s word.
Truth Matters covers the practical questions of why the liberal arguments are attractive (chapter 1), where the Bible came from (chapter 3), Biblical contradictions (chapter 4), how Orthodox theology was formed (chapter 6) and arguments for the resurrection (chapter 7). Because the level of material is an introduction some chapters are less profound in their content and presentation (e.g. chapters 6 & 7).
At its best, Truth Matters is a solid push back against the common perception that “church is a place for us to feel, to move…to sing, not so much to connect the dots between faith and intellect” (12). The authors are not arrogant and claim honestly “no one—conservative or liberal, Christian or agnostic—can prove the Bible is true (or not true) with 100 percent certainty” (15). The rest of their work speaks for itself as they ably present many crucial foundations for apologetics and textual criticism. In this vein, chapter 5’s introduction to manuscripts and textual criticism is by far the most valuable chapter and would likely educate many church laymen no matter their age.
In conclusion, Truth Matters is an excellent introduction book for understanding how to defend the Christian faith. Not without its faults, readers will be encouraged to continue their investigation and studies that Truth Matters might become a middle school-level material. For now it provides a short and valuable stepping block to restoring “reasoned faith” (12) to the church and its children.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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.”