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Archive for February 12th, 2013

Relational Apologetics Michael Sherrard

Purchase: Amazon

The author at the beginning of the book made it clear that the book “is about how to share and defend your faith as a non-scholar to a non-scholar” (11). I would have to say it’s probably too basic for those who have spent a significant time reading apologetics. However, the book is not so much about facts in favor of Christianity (although it does mention them from time to time) as it is with how Christians are to engage in apologetics with those whom they are conversing with. What I did appreciate the most about this book is it’s strong call for the Christian to be holy in one’s own personal life. For instance, Sherrard stated “A daily repentance, turning away from sin and toward Jesus, is perhaps the most important apologetic for God you can posses. This is because your life must reflect your message, or your message will appear to be false” (24). After laying the foundation for holiness, the author then showed how Christian living shape how we go about doing apologetics, such as when we do not know an answer, Christian humility dictate that we are honest and then promise to do further research. Having our holiness shape how we deal with others with apologetics is important and there is nothing objectionable with the book in that regards. In terms of apologetics’ methodology, the book is from a broadly Classical perspective, but since the work is not mainly about the evidences for Christianity, the Classical flavor is rather mild. For instance, he does not fleshed out the Cosmological or Teological argument though he mentioned them by name in the footnotes. I believe how Christians address the problem of evil to be quite revealing in terms of the apologist’s theology, since one’s theology proper and doctrine of man does intersect with theodicy. Here the author did mention that the”freewill” debate among Christians is above his “paygrade” (his own term), a smart move on his part.  He also did pretty good addressing the problem of evil in light of an atheistic evolutionary standpoint: “The notion of evil only makes sense in a universe of purpose that contains a standard of purpose and goodness. We call things evil when they violate this standard. But, again, from where did this standard come from? It can’t be a result of evolution. An accident is not binding” (140). There are minor concerns I have here and there in this book and among them is his first footnote that mentioned that Antony Flew had recently moved towards Deism, but Flew has been dead since 2010 and for a book published in 2012, Flew couldn’t have just “recently” became a Deist of sort (I would contend that he’s now a full theist, but that’s another point, another time). Then in the epilogue, Sherrard said, “Though we have talked about evidence and logic and arguments, we must remember that many people will not bow to God because of their heart” (143), which as a stand alone statement is biblical correct. But then he goes on to explain: “Many people do not love themselves. Many people do not like themselves” (143-44). The Biblical assessment of man has never been that they reject God because they don’t love themselves, if anything, the Biblical data suggests otherwise.

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