Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Surprised by Faith by Dr. Don Bierle

Since I've been a Christian, I've always been interested in Apologetics, the art of defending the Christian faith. The Scripture, found in 1 Peter 3:15, ..."Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..." prompted me to have that interest. It also prompted me to not only understand why I believe what I believe, but to be willing and ready to share it with others. I feel like it's a great responsibility and I don't take it lightly. 

When I received a copy of the newly updated book, Surprised by Faith, by Dr. Don Bierle, I was excited to learn this was a book on Apologetics. The subtitle for the book explains well, Dr. Bierle's quest to uncover proof that would defend his faith: "A skeptic discovers more to life than what we can see, touch, and measure."

As a college student, Don Bierle, began to search for answers. During his undergraduate and graduate studies, he became cynical about faith and religion. He felt faith was not based on truth but rather on personal preference and opinion. He linked faith with emotion and suspected it was an illusion that offered a type of security blanket to the believer. He viewed religion as being a crutch for the weak. But as he surmised these views, Don still had questions. Like many others, he wanted to know what his purpose was in life. He wanted to understand why he was on planet Earth. He wondered what significance and value his life held. There were more questions than there were answers and Bierle wanted his questions to be answered. 

As he began to research, Dr. Bierle started with the basic question of wondering about God's existence. Was He real and if He was really real, how could he know for certain? Bierle detemined for God to exist, he needed tangible proof. He wanted to see, feel, and touch him and the only way to do that would be to have physical evidence of His existence. 

Don studied world religions. He compared their likes and their differences. He studied many books and religious leaders. The Christian claim that Jesus was God intrigued him. He also learned Christianity claimed God made Himself available to be known in the natural world of reason and evidence. In order to test this claim, written records of the existence of Jesus would need to be produced. Reliable and trustworthy records from the first century must exist and not only that, there must be a scientific method of gathering facts and the evidence must be reviewed objectively. 

The jumping off point for Bierle's research began with the statement "Is the Bible True?" In his book, Dr. Bierle compared Biblical text against ancient historical documents for accuracy. His research revealed ancient manuscripts recorded by eyewitnesses attested to the fact that Jesus did exist and the Bible was actually true. Not only did Bierle research documents, he studied historical artifacts found in Israel and in the surrounding regions. Dr. Bierle said in his book, "Based on the very methods which literary and historical scholars use today, the only reasonable and logical conclusion I can draw is that the Bible is the most reliable book of antiquity." Archaeological discoveries confirmed writings found in the New Testament and proved they were historically reliable. 

Questions presented in Surprised by Faith include: 

Why Am I Here?
Is the Bible True?
Is Jesus Really God?
Can Faith Be Reasonable?
Where Am I?
How Can I Know God?

The book presents factual evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ as a human being on Earth. Dr. Bierle takes a scientific approach to prove each piece of information he gathered. Like a lawyer presenting evidence for an important case, Dr. Don Bierle thoroughly researched and uncovered evidence to provide even an Atheist with enough information to win the case for faith. 

I found the book interesting and well written. I enjoyed learning about historical artifacts and how they fit into Biblical history. My own personal faith was reaffirmed as I read Dr. Bierle's book. This book is an important tool to help both unbelievers and believers understand answers to basic questions we all have about our faith. 

I was given this copy of Surprised by Faith by Aneko Press in exchange for my review. I would like to thank them for the opportunity to provide my honest opinion without being persuaded to give a positive review. 

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