Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias

imageZacharias guides this apologetics compendium in a different direction from other, more cerebrally oriented works. Beyond Opinion approaches the defense of Christianity from a personal angle, saying that our lives, and the witness they present, are the strongest  apologetic argument that we can make in favor of the truth of Christianity. In this goal, Zacharias and his co-authors succeed wonderfully.

In any multi-author work, an inconsistency from chapter to chapter is the norm but not so in this volume. An expert editing touch makes the work flow across all of its 338 pages. Zacharias organizes the apologetic approaches by grouping different situations and challenges that the Christian faces. First, he touches on challenges that are voiced by different social and religious groups and the the answers that the reality of Christianity offers in response. The logical answers are provided, but the emphasis is on backing up the words with action.

The section devoted to making the apologetic answers personal by internalizing them is a challenge to read and apply. The theological and philosophical discussions are excellent but the addition of a few steps of down-to-earth application instruction would have gone far in making these chapters more approachable. Zacharias’ closing chapter on the work of the Church in strengthening the apologetic minds of her members is the strongest in the book. Moved to the front of the volume, it would serve better as a primer before jumping into the details of the following chapters.

Though it is wide ranging in its coverage, the book whets the appetite to explore the individual areas in greater detail. One would not be prepared to defend the faith against the challenges of Islam, for example, by consuming the chapter on the topic. You will, however, gain just enough knowledge to guide your study further in order to present the exclusivity of Christ in the best possible light. Your apologetics library benefits from the inclusion of this fine book, providing as it does the touch points needed to drive your study in many different directions.

I’m thankful to Thomas Nelson for providing this review copy.

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