Book Review: The Unshakable Truth
The name Josh McDowell promises real-life, on-the-street Christian apologetics. McDowell, along with his son, Sean, draws on a lifetime of work to create this comprehensive handbook on what Christians believe, why they believe it, how it is relevant to life, and how they can pass it on to the next generation.
· understand God’s grand plan of creation, incarnation, and re-creation.
· discover the 12 “truth statements” of Scripture and why they are credible and critical to living out the Christian faith.
· experience the authenticity of faith through practical examples and real-life stories that demonstrate how relevant the gospel is to life.
A spiritual gold mine for pastors, leaders, parents, and youth workers—anyone wanting to reveal Christianity’s power in today’s life and culture.
The Unshakable Truth opens up with some very good questions – questions that we have all asked at one time or another: “What is the Christian Faith, really?” “What do we believe?” “Why do we believe it?” “How is it relevant to our lives?” and “How can we live it out?” This section really sums up the purpose of the book, talking about how young adults are doubting their faith, some even choosing to leave the faith altogether. Therefore, the reason for this book: “All of us want our kids to be equipped in mind, spirit, and character, able to resist the pressures of this increasingly godless culture so that no matter what temptations and opposition they face, they will live lives we can be proud of – lives that are pleasing to God and others.” The book then transitions into it’s main purpose naturally: that God is a God of relationships.
When I began reading this book, I was expecting an apologetics book packed with arguments and insight. Although this book does include some of that where applicable, it is more of a “handbook” on Christian living than anything else, stressing the importance of a relationship with God and each other – the whole theme of the book is that God is a relational God, and since man is made in His image, we should imitate His example. As the book states, “The best way to use [this book] is first to absorb it, and then to engage in a long-term process of applying its content incrementally in your own life and in the lives of your children, grandchildren, youth group, or others to whom you wish to impart the faith.” It took me quite a while to get through this book, because there is so much to digest, but it was well worth it.
The book is divided into four parts, tackling the 12 unshakable truths. Space will not permit me to mention all of them, so here is a list of my favorites:
· Truth One: God Exists – focuses on the God of relationships and how He reveals Himself to us, and provides several evidences for God’s existence.
· Truth Two: God’s Word – speaks of why God gave His Word to us, and how we can know that it is accurate; gives such examples as the detailed translation process and archaeology that supports the Bible(Note: This was, by far, my favorite section of the Book!)
· Truth Four: God Became Human – delves into the truth that we rejected God, but God accepted us anyway and shows how we can accept others in the same way; also provides strong evidence that God became human for our redemption by examining the culture of the day in which Jesus was born
· Truth Five: Christ’s Atonement for Sin – addresses the common misconception that God can just “overlook” our sins: there must be a sacrifice for sins, and God provided that sacrifice in Jesus; provides 60 specific Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus; and several pointers toward the actions of Love
· Truth Six: Justification Through Faith – While most of this section focused on the Scriptural aspect as would be expected, I loved this section because of one chapter: Chapter 26, “The Joy of Salvation,” describes a court-room scenario where the reader is on trial for all of the deeds committed in his lifetime. Satan is clearly seen as “the accuser of the brethren” in this illustration, and I love how the story plays out. It was an incredible and encouraging reminder of what Jesus has done for us! This chapter also gives some great starting ideas for sharing your faith with others.
· Truth Eight: Jesus’ Bodily Resurrection – debunks some common objections to the Resurrection and provides some compelling evidence in its favor; also shows the importance of the Resurrection to Christianity. One of my favorite topics of study is the Resurrection of Jesus, so this chapter was a “treat” for me.
I would like to point out that even though I have not mentioned every area of the book in this review, this does not mean that I do not appreciate the content in those sections; there was some good information throughout, and much of it was encouraging to me at a time when I needed it. Actually, there were several things that I loved about the book. For example, the chapter on the Bible’s reliability was very interesting, as it described the meticulous process of translating the Bible, leaving room for no mistakes whatsoever. It also talked about some fascinating archaeological discoveries. The Truths highlighted above were all very well evidenced and were very enjoyable to read. There are also engaging examples and stories to help illustrate many of the points presented in the book.
While I really enjoyed this book, there were a few things that I did not like. Firstly, because this book seeks to establish the truths of Christianity, it constantly appeals to Scripture (I have NO problem with that), but it sometimes failed to provide illustrations as “attention grabbers” to keep the reader interested in the content. Other areas were just fine in this respect, but it seemed at times as though the illustrations were not evenly sprinkled throughout the book and I had a hard time following along. Secondly, in Truth Six, the book states, “Faith is never presented as the power that justifies or makes us right with God...” While faith itself is not the power behind salvation (God is), I do not entirely agree with this statement; because the Scriptures state, “The just shall live by faith,” and “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:28). Numerous passages in the Scriptures reveal that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. However, the authors are quick to point out this very thing, stating that it is not faith that saves you, but the object of your faith – Jesus Christ – that saves you. In my opinion, the quote in question should have been worded a little differently, although I agree with the author's final conclusion.
Overall, I think the book did a great job of getting to its intended purpose, and the book jacket explains: “Biblically grounded, spiritually deep, theologically extensive, and packed with practical examples and real-life stories, The Unshakable Truth is a resource applicable to ever aspect of every day life… a resource you’ll turn to again and again.” This is a great book for anyone seeking to know the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and I would especially recommend it to college-bound students.
Book trailer (my apologies if the video skips):
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book in return for a review. All opinions are 100% mine. Simply because I am reviewing this book does not mean that I endorse all of its contents.