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Chris Sinkinson: Christian Confidence

Chris Sinkinson, Christian Confidence: An Introduction to Defending the Faith (IVP, 2012) 978083083786

For a succinct and highly informative introduction to Christian apologetics, look no further than Chris Sinkinson’s book, Christian Confidence: An Introduction to Defending the Faith.

Sinkinson, a former archaeologist and now lecturer in apologetics at Moorlands College in England, begins by addressing the limits of apologetics. The often raised criticism that someone is unlikely to be argued to faith is acknowledged and affirmed by the author but he also notes, “Can apologetics actually convert people? At one level this is no different from asking whether or not someone can be preached or talked into the kingdom of heaven. The fact that Christians do a lot of preaching and talking does not mean that we think our preaching or talking does the converting” (p24). These are wise admissions that acknowledge the limits of apologetics but also affirm its value as a tool in the Christian’s evangelistic arsenal.

Can apologetics actually convert people?

What follows after this “Apology for Apologetics,” (the title of the opening chapter), is a basic examination of the essential components of Christian apologetics. Beginning with the world of philosophy, Sinkinson helps define the basics of logic and the most common fallacies to be found in philosophical discourses. This is a very helpful chapter for the philosophical layman, addressing terms such as “straw man argument” and “circular arguments.” Academics can take such terms for granted but it is helpful to have the clear and concise definitions the author provides in this book.

The next couple of chapters examine various angles of Christian apologetics and the main proponents of these schools of thought. Names such as B.B Warfield, Cornelius Van Til are mentioned along with other giants of the apologetics world such as Alvin Plantinga, Josh McDowell, John Frame, Gary Habermas and William Lane Craig. Special treatment is given to Francis Schaeffer and particularly C.S. Lewis. Sinkinson continues with his historical tour de force by examining Apologetics Through the Ages (chapter 5). The author’s concise treatment of such a vast subject is truly remarkable as he takes the reader from Plato and Aristotle through Justin Martyr, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Descartes. The reader is left almost breathless but the author does not stop there! Also addressed are many important thinkers that emerged from the Enlightenment such as David Hume, Schleiermacher, Kant and Nietzsche. This naturally leads to brief mention of the development of liberal theology, biblical higher criticism and the gradual watering down of biblical authority. Where we arrive after travelling through this historical narrative is at the present day trend of post-modernism.

It seems increasingly obvious that those who are dismissive of the biblical stories rely more on prejudice than on science.

The second half of the book focuses on the most common areas of contention for the Christian faith. Using his background in archaeology Sinkinson skillfully navigates us through the various archaeological evidence that has emerged to support the biblical historical narrative. Commenting on the relatively recent discovery of archaeological evidence that confirms the existence of the Hittites, the author notes, “It seems increasingly obvious that those who are dismissive of the biblical stories rely more on prejudice than on science”(p135).

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2015

About the Author: Daniel P. Snape, D.Min (Boston University School of Theology), M.Div. (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Senior Pastor of Community Congregational Church, Billerica, Massachusetts. He also works and ministers as a chaplain in the Boston area. Facebook.

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