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ss nucleus - Autumn 2020,  book: Confronting Christianity

book: Confronting Christianity

Confronting Christianity, 12 Hard Questions for the World's Largest Religion McLaughlin R 240pp, Crossway, 2019 ISBN: 9781433564239 hardback £11.95

After seeing this book by Rebecca McLaughlin widely recommended by friends on social media, as well as by Prof John Lennox, I felt the endorsements justified a purchase; and so with high hopes I delved in.

The author covers a lot of ground as she tackles twelve common and difficult objections to the Christian faith, with topics ranging from suffering and sin to science and slavery. The book is thoughtfully and clearly written, with each subject addressed in a refined and well-structured manner. One such instance is the chapter on hell, where Rebecca gradually builds her case by demonstrating the sinfulness of human nature using helpful analogies, and then points to God's justice, the logic of the cross, and the amazing grace at the heart of the gospel. I loved her ability to link each chapter back to the heart of the Christian message. An anecdote from the trial of US Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nasser at the end of the book was particularly hard-hitting. It explained how Rachel Denhollander, a victim of his crimes, pleaded with him from the witness stand to turn to Christ and find the mercy and grace that can be extended to everyone, including sexual abusers.

Although the book contains many heavy topics, reading it was not laborious in the slightest. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing, interspersing stories from her own life with quotes from renowned experts, famous Christian writers, and the Bible itself. I found her own experiences with same-sex attraction particularly striking; they added weight to her endorsement of the traditional Christian definition of marriage in the chapter on homosexuality. This chapter was well formulated and covered points I had never considered — for example, a significant section highlighted the value placed on same-sex friendships within the Bible. I felt this was a helpful way to dismantle secular culture's idolatry of sexual relationships. The vision for friendship in the Bible is not as a consolation prize for those not married but rather an incredible expression of vulnerability, dependence, and another metaphor of God's love for us. Moreover, I found her chapter on morality particularly strong; it illuminated the shortcomings of the atheistic worldview and explained how we only have an appropriate foundation for human rights if each of us are valuable creations in God's image, as the Bible portrays.

This book represents an excellent introduction to apologetics. I plan to revisit it to make notes on each chapter; it is a fantastic resource for learning about some of the most difficult questions. It has increased my confidence in giving solid responses to peers in discussions about faith. It would also be a helpful book to lend to friends who are sceptical about Christianity: it showcases robust answers to key objections leveled by atheists; introduces the central tenets of Christianity; and serves as an avenue for deeper conversations about apologetics and the gospel.

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