Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As Though It Were Actually True, Matthew Cochran – Book Review

Back in December, I was checking the website of a Lutheran church where a coworker of my wife was to be married. I noticed that one class under Christian Education was on the subject of apologetics using the pictured book and taught by the author.  This piqued my interest on more than one level: (1) this church was even teaching apologetics because the subject is usually perceived as boring or difficult; (2) the author was teaching the course using his own work; and (3) the author lives in the same metropolitan area as I.

Matthew Cochran is a software engineer and a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary – Fort Wayne, IN.  These combined influences have been put to good use resulting in this introduction to Christian apologetics.

The book is organized into three sections.  The first establishes a foundation by examining the philosophy underlying Christian epistemology—reason and its relation to faith, the reality and denial of truth, sin and its evidence through the use of natural law, and God's existence.  The discussion allows the author to help the reader build a foundation of possible argumentation of those things that are evident in the world before opening the Bible itself.  This is a worthwhile goal, as many Christians lack basic skills of logic and reasoning, especially when confronted with an opposing view.

After demonstrating the reasonableness of Christianity, the second section interacts with its historicity.  The author begins with a critical view of the text, its nature and veracity, as well as the reliability of the authors, before examining the claims of Jesus concerning himself and scripture, then finishing with a comparison between genuine and false gospels.  As an aside comment, I appreciated the helpful explanation of accuracy and precision as it relates to inerrancy.

The third section of this book takes up practical matters with which Christians interact almost daily through the media, workplace, or various acquaintances: sciences, life issues, sexuality, feminism, and tolerance.  Worldly opinions in each are becoming increasingly antagonistic to the Christian worldview, and the author does a good job of demonstrating how the believer can demonstrate the fallacy of the world's arguments while demonstrating genuine concern for those making their claims.

As I said at the beginning, this is a good introductory text.  The content is well-written and accessible for any of teenage years or older.  I would encourage the purchase and use of this book for personal or group study.  It is published through Wipf and Stock and also available through retail book outlets.

To learn more of Matthew Cochran, visit his website or blog.

No comments: