Monday, June 23, 2014

Confident Faith, by Mark Mittelberg

Christians come to faith through a variety of paths.  And once they become believers, many Christians don't have a good grasp of how they got there and why they believe.  Mark Mittelberg wants to remedy that.  In Confident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your Belief, Mittelberg describes the paths to faith, and gives substantial reasons to believe in the claims of Christianity.

Mittelberg served for many years as evangelism director at Willow Creek Community Church, working with Bill Hybels, and works closely with Lee Stroble, of The Case for Christ fame.  These associations point to several characteristics of Mittelberg's writing: Confident Faith is solidly evangelical, evangelistic, accessible to the lay person, clearly written with logical reasoning, and sure to challenge and enrich new and old Christians alike.

It's really two books in one.  The first section describes six faith paths: relativistic, traditional, authoritarian, intuitive, mystical, and evidential.  Each has potential to bring someone to a knowledge of  Jesus, but the evidential faith path "best tests--and ultimately supports or undermines--all of the others." Whether tradition, a mystical experience, or an influential leader first introduced you to Christian faith, you must have a basis for the truth of what you believe.

Which leads to the second part, "Twenty Arrows of Truth," twenty ways that history, science, nature, and the Bible support the Christian message and point to the truth of the gospel.  Any one of these on their own makes a good case, but the twenty together provide a solid foundation for belief.  I picture several audiences for whom these chapters can be quite valuable: young people who have been raised going to church but who haven't spent much time considering the content of Christian claims; new Christians who have had a moving conversion experience but who have yet to grasp the historical and theological scope of the gospel; and skeptics who would say the Bible is full of fairy tales or who deny the existence of God.

Confident Faith is not a very original work.  Readers who have read a lot of books on apologetics or comparative theology might not find anything new here.  But I don't believe the market for this type of book can ever be to full.  Contrary to what modern skeptics might have us believe, it is not unreasonable to believe in the message of the Bible and to trust Jesus for salvation.  Confident Faith can be a huge help for Christians who can examine why they believe what they believe, and how they can "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Thanks to the Tyndale Blog Network for the complimentary review copy!

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