Rating: 5 out of 5
This is the first book that I’ve read by Craig Blomburg. His name has come up often any many books that I’ve read, and those authors hold him in very high esteem. It’s almost as if whenever the New Testament is mentioned, Craig Blomburg is likely quoted. Since I’ve become familiar with his name, I have been eager to get my hands on one of his books. When Can We Still Believe in God? Answering Ten Contemporary Challenges to Christianity became available, I jumped at the opportunity.
In today’s American culture, the Bible’s relevance has all but disappeared. Many theologians are throwing out parts of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, considering it antiquated and irrelevant. Some may even consider the God of the Old Testament different than the God of the New Testament, or that the New Testament is after God “got saved,” because they struggle to see cohesiveness in God’s character throughout the Bible. Which is one reason why this book is extremely valuable.
This book takes 10 of the most important issues and questions of today and asks, “What can we learn about this from the New Testament?” Many of these issues are believed to be Old-Testament only, so you may be surprised to know that the New Testament has a lot to say on “Old Testament topics.” He examines issues like suffering and evil, the unevangelized, slavery, violence in the Bible, and many more.
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything unique about this book. Aren’t Christians trying to address these issues all the time? Well, yes, but I don’t know of anyone who has addressed them quite like Dr. Blomburg. He even says, “Most of the literature that addresses the kinds of questions tacked here is penned by theologians, philosophers, ethicists, and even Old Testament scholars.” but almost not by someone “whose academic training is primarily in New Testament studies.”
This book could very well be one of the most important books of the year. Its relevance and timeliness is a valuable resource that Christianity that is needed in America today. Dr. Blomburg writes with clarity and conciseness that can sometimes be unprecedented for a scholar. He makes this book applicable and understandable to everyone from the scholar to the teenage student, from the clergy to the layman, from the business CEO to the blue collar worker. This book is meant for everyone. And is definitely needed by everyone.
Even when there are issues that have drastic points of contention and extreme divisiveness, Blomburg doesn’t dogmatically say, “This is what you need to believe!” He also doesn’t argue that we should believe what it says simply because it’s from the Bible. He writes, “[I am] suggesting that we take a look at what the New Testament has to say about each of these topics whether or not we think it to be completely accurate or God-breathed.”
He addresses each and every issue about the New Testament in a manner so calm and level-headed that it’s almost shocking. On some issues where the New Testament been somewhat unclear or ambiguous, he even leaves room for respectful disagreement because he stresses that salvation is through Christ alone, not Christ and adherence to a certain belief. But even if you disagree, he presents his case so well that it definitely leaves you thinking.
I’ve come to respect and admire Dr. Blomburg’s work even before I read anything of his. After this book, he’s become one of my favorite authors and scholars. I look forward to reading more of his work and gleaning from his commitment and effort to truth, no matter where it leads.