Over Christmas break I sat down to make a list of books I want to read in 2015. To my chagrin, I discovered several books that I received for review purposes but never reviewed! Oops! So, over the next few weeks I hope to publish those reviews while I dive into my book list.
The first book on the list is 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible by Stephen M. Miller.
First, the Positives
I confess I really wanted to like 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible. And there are several things about it that I do like.
Having heard the questions my pastor husband has been asked by skeptics over the years, these are definitely the type of questions that are asked when someone wants to challenge a Christian’s core beliefs.
And that is a good thing. It is even good for Christians to ask those questions, because it stretches us and challenges our way of thinking and seeing Scripture.
The Attempt to Maintain Neutrality
Yes, I shadowed this positive with the word “attempt.” I’ll get to the reason for that in a moment.
It seems that the goal of 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible is to present the questions along with multiple possible answers, leaving the reader to draw final conclusions.
I like that approach because it encourages further study. I love to give my children partial information – enough to whet their appetites so they hunger to search for more or ask more questions.
And Now to the Negative
Unfortunately, neutrality can also lead to a wishy-washy approach, making us appear unable to take a stand on definite truths. When it comes to Scripture, we need to take a stand on definite truths. No matter what the scholars say, it is important for us to determine whether or not we believe Scripture. Period.
If we believe the Bible to be true and take it at face value, then even a hard-to-believe reality such as the virgin birth must be accepted by faith.
If we do not believe the Bible, then we can poke holes in anything.
In 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible, Miller does not affirm the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Instead, he leans on traditional thought and the opinions of scholars more than on what is in Scripture itself.
That approach always leaves room for holes and doubts.
So, is there usefulness in 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible? I would say there is usefulness for a mature, Bible-believing Christian. This book challenges Christians to truly evaluate their core beliefs. To contemplate what answers could be given to tough questions. And to know what so-called Bible scholars think and have taught over the years. It challenges the Christian to dig and to become more solid in belief and understanding, thus becoming more prepared to answer tough questions.
In a few years, I might even hand this book to my teenage daughter for that very reason.
But I would never give 100 Questions About God and the Bible to a nominal or young Christian, nor would I give it to an unbeliever or seeker. Answers to their questions need to strengthen their reliance on the inerrancy of Scripture, not undermine it as this book would.