On a recent visit to the beautiful land in Western Europe closest to the USA east coast, Ireland; I frequently came across an ad for a european supermarket which caused me continual double takes each time I saw it. The ad, among a series of ads, for ‘Love Ireland Like Aldi’ (and why wouldn’t you? – Love Ireland – that is) feature more than a passing resemblance to the jacket of a book I have been slowly making my way through.
It’s the well written and helpful big book by Christian Professor and Philosopher Douglas Groothuis (pronounced grote-hyce apparently). I bought the book mid way through 2013 and have got through almost half of it. It’s good. Very good. Let me just say I am no academic by any stretch of the imagination but as time goes by, I am beginning to know exactly what I don’t know. Previously I knew I knew next to nothing but increasingly I know what the nothing, I know nothing about, is. I could have written that more simply but I enjoyed the ‘word-mess’ too much. For those still reeling, here’s what I mean. In the past, I didn’t know enough of anything and didn’t even know what kind of things I didn’t know but with increasing knowledge I now have a better sense of all the areas that can be known but that I do not know. That’s much simpler I am sure you will agree (perhaps not). I’m in a bit of a silly mood today. Recovering from a bug – maybe still slightly feverish.
All the jumble about knowing and not knowing above is simply to say that when I say a book is good or very good I am usually saying it is helpful to me. Books that I read and consider helpfully good tend to do a number of things. They stretch me with new knowledge, give my current level of knowledge a work out, and confirm my knowledge as being fairly on track with another body of knowledge. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith is all of these things for me at this stage. It’s enlightening me, improving the rigour of my current thoughts and generally encouraging me with the warm glow of shared orthodoxy. That’s a warm glow not a pompous glow. There is a difference. More on pomposity in another blog post.
It is a delight to see a christian take his not inconsiderable brain and apply it to the work of looking at the philosophical ‘legs’ which support the christian faith and in fact demand faith in it, and do it all so reasonably. Groothuis brings an overarching sense of reasonableness to the whole affair and that spoke to me.
It also highlights how important and adventurous it can be to engage with other perspectives who approach their task of (counter) apologetic (defense) or even polemic (attack) in a reasonable manner.
I will, I’m sure, revisit you with some further thoughts from the book but suffice it to say it is a ‘good read and keep’ reference book as part of your library. (You are building a little library I hope? Let’s talk again about this.) The book is available from Amazon UK, Amazon Us or the Book Depository – shipping free from the UK all around the world. I got it at the bargain price of 15 english pounds. Cheap for a hardback reference book by an academic weighing in at 752 pages. I love a bargain. Oh dear just feeling hungry. Maybe I should head down to Doug’s supermarket and get some bread and treats in. Well done brother and thanks you for your labours. Doug blogs intermittently, relative to some others I frequent, over at The Constructive Curmudgeon. He is straight talking, you may not always agree with him, he is experienced and therefore has a perspective that is not soaked with naivety. He is political with a big P. He loves Jazz and is quite spiritual about it. But most of all he is a fellow labourer in the fields of the Lord. Hope his next book jacket gets hijacked by another supermarket. Look forward to seeing it while driving by – anywhere in the world.