Subscribe now

Christianity on Trial

By Mark Lanier
April 2015 | Review by Ben Epps
  • Publisher: Inter Varsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-146-6
  • Pages: 240
  • Price: 9.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

The author, an American case lawyer, explains his reasons for believing the gospel. To undecided readers, his closing words underscore his evangelistic aim: ‘This is the verdict I have reached. I think it is most reasonable, and I pray you do, too’ (p.223).

Each chapter begins with an engaging illustration from the US legal world. Using numerous quotations from science, philosophy, history, modern culture and Scripture, the author spends half of the book examining various misconceptions about God. He then focuses on who God is, the foundations of morality and accountability, and the evidence for the resurrection and consequent implications.

There are many insights to stimulate both believers and unbelievers. For example, in light of the human mind’s deceitfulness, he says that ‘truth comes from God pursuing us’.

His apologetic argument for the resurrection is superb. He firstly lays the groundwork in legal theory of admissible evidence and the burden of proof. Lanier then uses a broad range of historical material (both inside and outside the Bible) to demonstrate that the risen Christ was truly witnessed.

This modest volume covers such an array of sceptical criticisms that entrenched unbelievers may sometimes feel that only ‘straw man’ objections to faith are explored and that some treatments are frustratingly cursory. The author’s handling of the anthropic principle (the ‘fine tuning’ of the universe) is one example.

Believers may also be irritated by Lanier’s slightly patchy theology. He seems to confuse the two wills of God (p.67). He skips any discussion of the Old Testament background to the tabernacle allusion in John 1:14 (p.99) and omits the necessity of spiritual rebirth in order for the unbeliever to be liberated from the power of sin (p.183).

Even if not always precise, this apologetic book provides a powerful argument for Christian belief and provides plenty of ammunition for an apologist.

Ben Epps

Stevenage

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…