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Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Review: If You Could Ask God One Question

Williams, Paul and Barry Cooper. If You Could Ask God One Question. Surrey: The Good Book Company, 2007. 127 pp.

This short paperback is designed to engage skeptics who have common objections to the Christian faith. The authors answer 12 frequent questions asked by skeptics. These are the 12 questions answered: If You’re Really There, God, Why On Earth Don’t You Prove It?; Isn’t the Bible Just a Bunch of Made-up Stories?; All Good People Got to Heaven?; If Jesus Really Was Your Son, How Come He Got Killed?; If I Can Be Forgiven Everything, Doesn’t That Mean I Can Do Whatever I Like?; How Can Anyone Be Sure There’s Life After Death?; What About Followers of Other Religions?; Isn’t Faith Just a Psychological Crutch?; Why Do You Allow Suffering?; Why Do You Hate Sex?;& Why Don’t You Just Do a Miracle?

The chapters range from 6 to 12 pages. So the book is not designed to exhaustively give every biblical evidence for each particular subject addressed, however the authors do give a concise and powerful argument from Scripture that will open the skeptics mind to what the Christian faith does claim about itself.

For example in chapter 10 titled, “Why Do You Allow Suffering,” the authors point out that if suffering really proved that God did not exist, how much worse of a reality would this create for us:

The conclusion is this: if we decide to reject God out of hand because of the suffering we see in this world, then we must come to terms with something far worse than suffering: meaningless suffering. Because without God, there is no justice, no future and no significance to human life. The very thought fills the writer of Ecclesiastes with horror: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless (p. 96).”

Then the authors point the reader to Jesus as God’s remedy to our suffering:

At the cross, we see a suffering God, suffering for his own people because he loves them and wants to free them from all suffering in eternity. All that remains for us to do, as Jesus told the crowd still bewildered by the loss of life at Siloam, is “repent”, or to put it another way, “turn back to God.” And those words were not spoken by someone seeking to frighten, intimidate or bully. Neither were they spoken by someone who does not know what it means to suffer. In fact, they were spoken by a man shortly to die on your behalf (p. 101).
This book could easily be expanded into an effective sermon series to address new Christians. Of course the book should be given out to skeptics that any Christian meets during the week. I am thinking about displaying copies of this book and a companion book titled, Christianity Explored in our church building, making them available to members and visitors. I highly recommend If You Could Ask God One Question.

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