Many of us receive gift cards and money as Christmas gifts and wonder what we should purchase with those gifts. Ah, but some of you might still be trying to get in a last-minute Christmas gift and might want to give a book (hard copy or digital) to someone. The two books I will highlight this week and next week bear directly on the identity and significance of the Christ in Christmas. In this era of secularism, humanism, skepticism, and doubt we need to examine the anchors that keep us steady in the storm. Some anchors are not nearly as steady and secure as we might think. We all have to admit that from time to time we have relied upon emotional anchors — the “feel good” type of thing. Remember that blanket or toy as a child that always brought “comfort”? We all too quickly learned that those emotional anchors cannot provide security or comfort in the storms of life with its tragedies, disasters, and uncertainties.
Unfortunately, many who once had faith have come to treat faith as though it were one of those emotional anchors. So, along with putting the old toy or teddy bear in a box and shoving it into the attic, some have laid aside their faith, thinking they have substituted something far more dependable and solid — like “science” or wealth or “success.” And, in the case of science, as with all things earthly, majority opinion or conclusions based upon current results prove to be impermanent or even ephemeral. The majority scientific opinion today does not necessarily continue tomorrow. Science changes — it has to, by its own standards. The majority scientific opinion can actually be wrong. Those who lean too heavily upon “science” can become very disoriented and disillusioned, when what they looked to for absolute truth proves to not be lasting or even true.
Modern culture (both in America and internationally) can be characterized as the age of skepticism and doubt. Such a cultural norm has led to casting the Christian faith into the melting pot of myth and imagination, ignoring both history and science whenever either appears to support faith in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. Authors Köstenberger, Bock, and Chatlaw in Truth in a Culture of Doubt take on the challenges and claims of Bart Ehrman (and others) to argue for the viability of both truth and faith in our modern world. What better time than Christmas to consider a carefully reasoned response to skepticism and doubt? After all, Jesus is “the reason for the season.” If He is not whom He claimed to be, then Christmas, indeed, is nothing more than a secular and human excuse to drown our disappointments. In the absence of any absolute truth human hope dies and life ends only in meaningless oblivion. Truth in a Culture of Doubt, however, demonstrates that Christmas truly consists of a miracle in which to celebrate and rejoice. Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
[The image of the book above links (just click on it) to Amazon for both hard copy and Kindle editions.]