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Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: On Guard by William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig is considered to be one of the top Christian apologists alive today. So when he writes a book on apologetics, I expect it to be well-argued and -reasoned. However, I did not expect it to be so accessible to the average reader.

Yet On Guard, released this week by David C. Cook Publishers, is just that and a whole lot more. This book is ready-made for undergraduate classes, church small groups or any Christian looking for an introduction to the key arguments for Christianity.

While much of the content may not be new to the discussion, the format by which it is presented is one of the most appealing aspects of the book. There are wide margins on the pages perfect for note-taking. That is, when that space is not being used for definitions of key words and logical fallacies. There are also profiles of a number of the key thinkers along the way.

The chapters are presented in ascending logical order of the arguments, from "What difference does it make if God exists?" to "Is Jesus the only way to God?" Along the way he hits some of the most popular arguments today for God's existence: the moral argument, the design argument and the kalam cosmological argument, which Craig is especially well-known for modifying in his doctorate thesis.

If there is one weakness in the book, it is that it tries to be all things to all men. While the book is meant to be introductory, there are points when the content will simply be heavy lifting due to the subject matter at hand—despite the occasional single-panel cartoon thrown in. And the "Talk About It" questions seemingly geared for the small group are, in my humble opinion, more distracting than beneficial.

With only these few exceptions, William Lane Craig has written the perfect book as an introduction to Christian apologetics. I know it will be at the top of my list when asked to recommend a book to get someone's feet wet in the defense of the Christian faith. Even to those familiar with the arguments, this book will be a perfect tool to add to anyone's belt.

This book was a free review copy provided by David C. Cook Publishers.

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