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Contending with Christianity's Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors

Last month I blogged on the revised and expanded second edition of my book “True for You, But Not for Me”, which was recently released. Well, this month’s blog may seem like déjà vu! Early last week the UPS man hand-delivered a box containing copies of my even more recent book, coedited with philosopher William Lane Craig: Contending with Christianity’s Critics. This is the successor volume to our Passionate Conviction. Both of these books are part of a series that B&H Academic is publishing. Both books are compilations of presentations from the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society apologetics conferences,

The essays in Contending with Christianity’s Critics contain a number of arguments directed mainly at the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris). Another essay critiques Bart Ehrman’s views found in his best-selling Misquoting Jesus, which raises questions about the integrity of the New Testament text. (This essay was written by Parchment and Pen blogger Dan Wallace.) Other chapters cover new angles on arguments for God’s existence and difficulties with naturalism, the historical Jesus, and the coherence of Christian doctrine.

Have a look below at the table of contents and the endorsements (by Craig Hazen and J.P. Moreland). A good number of copies have been pre-ordered, and the book should be officially released any day. I hope you’ll find Contending with Christianity’s Critics to be a new and exciting volume to assist you in thinking through your faith as well as winsomely defending it.

Table of Contents

I. The Existence of God
1. William Craig, “Dawkins’ Delusion”
2. James Sinclair, “At Home in the Multiverse? Critiquing the Atheist Many-Worlds Scenario”
3. Victor Reppert, “The Argument from Reason”
4. Michael Murray, “Is Belief in God Hard-Wired?”
5. Mark Linville, “The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism”
6. Greg Ganssle, “Dawkins’ Best Argument Against God’s Existence”

II. The Jesus of History
7. Robert Stein, “Criteria for the Gospels’ Authenticity”
8. Ben Witherington, “Jesus the Seer”
9. Gary Habermas, “The Resurrection of Jesus Timeline”
10. Craig Evans, “How Scholars Fabricate Jesus”
11. Dan Wallace “Misquoting Jesus? Bart Ehrman and the New Testament’s Reliability”
12. Michael J. Wilkins, “Who Did Jesus Think He Was?”

III. The Coherence of Christian Doctrine
13. Charles Taliaferro and Elsa Marty, “The Coherence of Theism”
14. Paul Copan, “Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder? God as Three and One”
15. Paul Copan, “Did God Become a Jew? The Coherence of the Incarnation”
16. Steve Porter, “Dostoyevsky, Woody Allen, and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution”
17. Stewart Goetz, “Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way”
18. David Hunt, “What Does God Know? The Problems of Open Theism”

Endorsements:

“What a fantastic idea! Assemble some of the brightest Christian thinkers and scholars and put before them the most difficult questions faced by Christian believers anywhere, and then turn them loose to answer those questions. The result: one of the finest collections of essays answering contemporary challenges to the Christian worldview anywhere in print. I consider this essential reading for anyone who wants to be on the cutting edge of Christian thought and apologetics.”

Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D.
Founder and Director of the Christian Apologetics Program
Biola University
Author of the novel, Five Sacred Crossings

Contending with Christianity’s Critics is a tour de force. Copan and Craig have brought together an exciting, first-rate group of thinkers, and they have produced an important volume. An important feature of the book is the breadth of its coverage of issues not often addressed in similar works. I am enthusiastic about Contending with Christianity’s Critics.”

JP Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy,
Biola University, and author of The God Question

9 Responses to “Contending with Christianity's Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors”

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides July 4, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Thanks Paul!

    May the book be used to bring down all arguments against God.

  2. Yay! An article from Steve Porter, who goes to my church in Long Beach! I just saw him at the neighborhood 4th of July parade.
    HAPPY 4TH !

  3. The Greg Ganssle chapter sounds interesting – if it is not merely sarcastic. I find it most enlightening when authors address the strengths of their opponents rather than piling on to the weaknesses (or strawmen). Also interested in what perspective Steve Porter might have on Penal Substitution. Finally, Lane deserves his props for going up against Lewis’ trilemma.

  4. Mark Chenoweth July 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I’m interested in reading the chapter on Penal Substitution, since certain strains of Anabaptist thought that seem to outright reject it (not including Scot McNight, he’s stuck with it) have become very popular within the emergent church today. Plus, like Craig said in one of his podcasts over the doctrine of penal substitution, he hasn’t really seen a philosophical workout on the doctrine. The last doctrine section could really be called a friendly response to some in the emergent church like McLaren who seem to at least struggle with accepting any type of hell, and also penal substitution, and foreknowledge of God.

    Thanks putting this together, Dr. Copan and Craig!

  5. This new book is an excellent compilation of high quality essays by the most significant Christian apologists working in the field today. It demands a serious and considered response by non-believers.

    Accordingly, I have started to write a detailed ‘in-progress’ critique at the following address:

    http://contendingwithchristianitysapologists.blogspot.com

    Comments are very welcome.

    Best wishes,
    Sola Ratione

  6. I guess the Bible alone isn’t enough to “bring down all arguments against God,” but instead it’s always some OTHER book some believer has to write to “bring down all arguments against God.”

    I guess Bible-God needs help.

    Holy Scripture: A book sent down from heaven. Holy Scripture contains all that a Christian should know and believe provided he adds to it a million or so commentaries.

    Secondly, Aren’t all of the authors in Copan’s book “inerrantists” in one form or another (Ben Witherington doesn’t like the term but comes close to being one)? Let’s see Copan’s authors debate the “inerrancy” of the Bible with other Christians.

  7. The problem with the book is that it is fundamentally fundamentalist. And that is exactly who Dawkins et al are really in conversation with, so the book just feeds fire with fresh fuel. If that is your thing, you’ll like the book.

    In any case, it’s not just the anabaptists that reject penal substitution, it’s also the bulk of the universal Church for the first 1000 years of Christianity and even today (with some important caveats) the Orthodox Churches, which are closest to the original Faith in most respects – Christology, Trinitarianism, etc. There are a number of useful and important books by Protestants that highlight this: Aulen’s Christus Victor, Turner’s Patristic Doctrine of Redemption, etc.

    Ironically, as Dostoevsky is invoked in this chapter, I’ll simply point out that, while he may have believed in the redemptive power of suffering, he most certainly did not espouse a theory of penal substitution (let alone the alleged goodness of human or divine punishment). Any reader of Brothers Karamazov knows this – but one can google for an online copy and read the teachings of Fr. Zosima to get a feel for Dostoevsky’s Christian vision.

  8. Thank God for book like this. I need a copy of it and other helpful materials. presently I have an atheist cum critic I am dealing with. Our main aim is to win souls and not to win arguments. God has provided enough evidence for man to sense His existence and matchless divine attributes. Mordern people are as fool as Pharaoh. They will always learn the hardest way when it is too late to realize. Bible is God’s Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth (B-I-B-L-E).

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