This provocative text critiques modern apologetic efforts and offers a concept of faithful Christian witness characterized by love and grounded in God’s revelation. Penner seeks to reorient the discussion of Christian belief, change a well-entrenched vocabulary that no longer works, and contextualize the enterprise of apologetics for a postmodern generation.
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“For most of us, God’s existence is, in fact, inherently dubious and anything but self-evident. We require arguments and evidence for belief in God, and, failing that, we at least need a very good explanation (an epistemology perhaps) of how it is that belief in God is reasonable and counts as knowledge for us.” (Page 26)
“The point, however, is that while these various apologists may disagree as to how one makes the case for Christianity or what the exact relationship between faith and reason is, they nonetheless agree with Craig regarding the central goal of apologetics, which is to make Christian beliefs rationally warranted (or justified) for both the believer and the unbeliever.37 And if this does not happen—or worse, if it cannot happen—then, according to each of the apologetic methods just described, Christian belief is implausible and ought not to be taken seriously.” (Pages 35–36)
“If we look at the impact of the modern public sphere on Christian belief, then we can discern at least two very important effects: (1) it now becomes possible to imagine that questions about religious beliefs—for example, belief in God’s existence—can be settled objectively and neutrally, without appeal to sectarian interests; and (2) whatever beliefs about God (the gods, faith, etc.) I may hold, in modernity we may now suppose they are my private affair and of no concern to anyone else.” (Pages 27–28)
“Postmodernity is a condition, or a set of attitudes, dispositions, and practices, that is aware of itself as modern and aware that modernity’s claims to rational superiority are deeply problematic.” (Page 13)
Penner shows us that the modern age is ending and that the apologetics attached to that age cannot sustain lives of discipleship and witness to the gospel. But the real work of this book is to show us the way forward in faithfulness with a passion that makes us alive in Christ and fully present in the world for its redemption. This is an edifying work that builds us up in the hope and love of the gospel.
—Jonathan R. Wilson, Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology, Carey Theological College, Vancouver, British Columbia
Speaking as a Roman Catholic and something of a Thomist, I welcome Dr. Penner’s meticulous and persuasive exposure of the kind of rationalistic apologetics that unwittingly make Christian faith quite unbelievable. A pleasure to read!
—Fergus Kerr, honorary fellow, University of Edinburgh
In this book Myron Penner challenges many of the intuitions and assumptions that have shaped traditional Christian thought and invites us to rethink them for the sake of the gospel. In doing so he offers a fresh perspective on the nature of Christian witness that has the potential to spark a revitalization of the church and its proclamation of the good news revealed in Jesus Christ.
—John R. Franke, professor of missional theology, Yellowstone Theological Institute, Bozeman, Montana