Review of Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias, associate professor at Oxford, is a well-known author and speaker. He has set out to provide a book on apologetics that every Christian can use. He was once asked by a Hindu friend, “if this converstion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians that I know?” Beyond Opinion is a response to that question.

Zacharias pulled together several colleagues to compose this work. It is refreshing in that it is more conversational in tone than most books on apologetics that one would normally read. The goal is to build relationships with people instead of just an argumentative form of apologetics. Too often Christians are unaware and uninformed of the faith they live and how it interacts with other faith opinions.

The first third of the book addresses issues such as atheism, Eastern Religions, Islam, and natural science. These topics are addressed by influential thinkers such as Allister McGrath and John Lennox.

The second third devotes four chapters to the philosophical challenges faced by Christianity in today’s culture.

The final third addresses how the typical lay person can engage and be grounded in apologetics.

It is important to remember that Zacharias only writes two chapters in the book. However the introduction to some of his peers is great because they are also very skilled communicators.

I believe that this book would be of value to most Christians. I especially enjoyed the first third that dealt with other religions. There is an affirmation of things that can be applauded by the Christian faith, a critique of the worldview, and then tips for sharing the gospel with someone within that worldview.

Where the book falls short, to me, is the final third devoted to grounding Christians in apologetics. At this point, the conversational tone of the book becomes self-defeating and probably does little to actually equip a layperson for defending the faith.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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