In 1999, Dr. Michael Murray published a helpful book titled, Reason for the Hope Within. Mike and I have been good friends for many years and I am so grateful for the way God has used him! His book is “attempt to present a broad-reaching Christian apologetic or defense of the Christian faith.” But, in the first chapter, Mike is quick to explain what is meant by a “defense of the Christian faith.” His explanation is very helpful and sets the tone for the book.
Forwarded by Mike’s former professor and mentor, Alvin Plantinga, Reason for the Hope Within offers a unique contribution to the field of apologetics. The book applies the specialized work of contemporary Christian philosophers of religion to the main topics of apologetics. This fact is what makes the book particularly unique in its contribution to the field of Christian apologetics.
The aim is “explaining to nonbelievers [and perhaps also to potentially wavering believers] how puzzling and paradoxical features of the Christian faith can be understood and reasonably maintained” (15), as well as, “pointing out [to theists and nontheists alike] the uncomfortable fit unbelievers experience in their belief structure [because they do not accept Christianity]” (15).
I had the privilege of reviewing a number of the chapters with Mike prior to publication. Those looking to wrestle with theological truths from a philosophical perspective will be challenged by Reason for the Hope Within. Topics include the relationship of faith and reason, the problem of evil, the defense of miracles, and arguments for God’s existence.
Perhaps a warning is in order: This is not your typical book on Christian apologetics. Readers who are not well acquainted with the discipline of philosophy will need to digest each chapter slowly – perhaps feeling the need to re-read several paragraphs along the way. One must also understand that philosophers tend to avoid making strong claims — preferring rather to interact with ways of thinking to defend the rationality of Christian belief. Reason for the Hope Within does not aim to satisfy a particular theological grid but this is one aspect that makes it a stimulating read.