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Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity files Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, read online Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, free Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, free Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity, Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity 404c06073 Dear Greg,I Find Your Idea Of Dialoguing About The Subject Of Christianity Very Interesting, And I D Be Happy To Do It I Ve Got Enough Time On My HandsYou Invited Me To Raise Whatever Objections Come To Mind, So I Ll Jump Right In Here S One I Ve Wondered About A Lot How Could An All Powerful And All Loving God Allow The Church To Do So Much Harm To Humanity For So Long Isn T This Supposed To Be His True Church, His Representation On Earth To My Mind, This Alone Is Quite Enough To Prove That The Church Does Not Possess Any True PhilosophyWell, You Wanted An Objection You Ve Got One I Look Forward To Your ResponseLove Always, DadIn Letters From A Skeptic Dr Gregory Boyd And His Father Edward Boyd Debate Many Other Objections To Christianity, The Church, And The Bible Why Is The World So Full Of Suffering Does God Know The Future How Can You Believe That A Man Rose From The Dead Why Do You Think The Bible Is Inspired Do All Non Christians Go To Hell How Can I Be Holy And Sinful At The Same Time Greg Boyd Initiated This Correspondence With His Father In The Hope That His Father Would Eventually Come To Know Christ After Three Years, Letters, And Numerous Phone Calls, Edward K Boyd Did Just That Letters From A Skeptic Will Help You Wrestle With The Rational Foundation Of Your Own Faith It Will Also Help You Know How To Share That Faith With The Skeptics You Love

10 thoughts on “Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity

  1. says:

    I have read a few of the 1 star reviews critiquing the book for its authenticity and Boyd s open theism views I feel they were hyper critical and predisposed to negative feelings towards Boyd s work While I am not bent towards open theism, Boyd s views in this book do not impede the healthy dialogue between Boyd and his father Their dialogue appears to be authentic One reviewer said a true skeptic would not take the words of Boyd so easily I differ because it was a father son relationship at work in the dialogue This book is worth reading Even if you disagree Boyd s open theistic beliefs, his apologetic technique is well worth reason the book for.

  2. says:

    I first read this book in the 90s when I was a fresh atheist and someone gave it to me What I remember is that it seemed to make some decent points and some bad ones , but the subject of the evangelism converted suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere on what I didn t think was a very interesting claim.Almost 15 years later, I saw it again, so I was curious how it would seem after I ve spent the last few years becoming a much involved and informed atheist and skeptic.Since Skeptic is in the title, I expected that sets of concerns to be the main perspective answering the epistemological question of evidence and the means of knowing Here are my reactions to some of the chapters based on what I found instead of that 1 Harm of ChristianityHmmm Not epistemology That s fine, it wasn t the first thing on the dad s mind The answer, of course, relies on free will and the No True Scotsman defense Lame, but predictable 2 3 The problem of evilMore free will This is pretty annoying Greg s just taking the existence of free will for granted Gee, you re a nice son, taking advantage of the likelihood that your salesman father wouldn t know about neuroscientific and philosophical advances, wouldn t know about determinism, and wouldn t know that the appearance of free will isn t good evidence for the assertions Greg makes about the existence of free will Way to take advantage of your Dad s ignorance 4 God s omniscienceGreg s going out on a limb here that I see others call heretical For a skeptic like me, this of course just brings out the epistemological problem of theology there s no empirical way to know if Greg or orthodoxy is right, even assuming the rest Such fun 5 Problem of suffering natural causes This is ridiculous Why are there earthquakes and famines Why, it s demons, of course Does Greg not know about Plate Tectonics and meteorology Or does he for some reason think there are demons in California and Haiti than in Quebec and Kansas Utterly, utterly embarrassing And for the dad to let this slide makes me question what type of skeptic he was.And no epistemology yet 6 SatanHere we get the obligatory appeal to quantum mechanics Apologists, please stop this Just because you don t understand a complex scientific idea doesn t mean you can assume it means that anything is plausible It s not a magic band aid for a bad argument.Also, yes, it s amazing that there are radio waves that we can t see However, we have physical evidence such things exist radios, tv, etc There s nothing equivalent for supernatural entities, so it s an invalid analogy 7 God s OmnipotenceNot a very interesting chapter, but this brings up something interesting.Greg sure seems to know God s mind God wants this God controls that God allowed this How does Greg know 8 Why believe I guess Papa had the same problem I did, because he finally asked for a reason to accept all the theology, asking what evidence Greg has Let s get some epistemology on And Greg s answer is appallingly bad A Humans are in three parts mind, heart, and soul that make us persons.B Our environment must be compatible with us we hunger, and behold, there is food We thirst, and behold, there is water We have sex drives, and behold, there is sex.C Since the universe satisfies those needs, then it must also be like us and be personal unless our environment is ultimately itself personal, unless the ultimate context in which we live is self aware, rational, loving, moral, and purposeful, the our cosmic environment does not at all answer to our personhood w e are the product of a cruel, sick, cosmic joke.Each of these assertions are horribly illogical and or unsupported by evidence A We know minds and hearts exist, but there s no evidence for the soul And all the actions he attributes to the heart and soul are actions of the mind This is actually a minor point in his argument, but it s completely wrong.B Food and water do not exist because we are hungry and thirsty we are hungry and thirsty because we need energy and hydration Sex does not exist because we re horny we re horny because we evolved as sexual beings We are who and what we are because we re adapted to the environment, not the other way around.This reminds me of the old saying by Douglas Adams imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn t it In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.Madness.C Even if Greg were right about part B that some of our needs being met proves that the universe is suited to us, there s no reason to extend this to our other needs None whatsoever.That he assumes our universe must be personal because we are is called the Fallacy of Composition It s like saying that I must be invisible because the atoms that make me up are.And the end of it really just ends up as wishful thinking since Greg doesn t like the implications that come to mind for a God free universe, there has to be a God.That s bad logic, not evidence.In fact, there s not a shred of anything anything that a skeptic would consider empirical evidence to answer a question of epistemology Just sloppy ideas and wishful thinking.I almost stopped reading, this was so painful 9 Life by chancePapa called him on the wishful thinking good job Unfortunately, something came next from the skeptic and atheist that invalidated the whole premise of the book But again, I m not denying some kind of force greater than outsides lying behind the universe I ve always though there is too much design in the cosmos to be all by accident What The atheist and skeptic targeted by all this, whose conversion was supposed to be a model of how to convert me, came into all of this believing in a higher power and accepting the Argument from Design He wasn t an atheist he was a deist or a weak theist or something like that there s not enough detail to know for sure.I guess to Greg it s all the same his dad s heading to hell either way , but it makes a big difference if it s to be a model for addressing people like me I guess this just means it s another book By Christians, For Christians, because it s useless as an evangelical tool for someone like me.Oh well.Anyway, the point of this chapter was that everything couldn t come by chance Since Papa already accepted this argument, the burden s really low for Greg, but Greg still really messed this up.1 He makes bold assertions that have no basis the only way we can understand why our minds can understand physical reality in the first place is by believing that the physical universe is mind like.Really Why Who says I know he asserted this in the previous train wreck of a chapter, but there s nothing to support this claim Something this broad needs to be a conclusion built to, but he just throws it out as truth And there are millions of scientists and secularists out here who prove it wrong.2 chance can t produce organisms like our minds that can know and work out mathematical formulasAgain, why not But separately, this exposes that he either doesn t understand or lies about evolution Evolution isn t a process working by just chance Yes, randomness is an input to the system in the form of mutations, but evolution is guided by natural selection It is not a process that works just by random chance.There s a fitness that comes from being capable of the abstract thought necessary to produce mathematical formulas That fitness wasn t directly for math it was probably for problem solving in the savanna , but descent with modification and selection pressures drove us to intelligence.3 Later, he just asserts that having moral standards against genocide and rape requires that there is a moral law in the universe Of course, this is a standard Christian belief, but Greg has provided no evidence for it.This chapter is full of this sort of nonsense Greg uses the word must many times, and usually it means this had better be true in order to support my conclusion instead of this conclusion is forced by the evidence and logic Ugly.He also pushes back on the observation that the previous chapter was wishful thinking by providing wishful thinking 10 PrayerThe question was about the general impotency of prayer that specifically mentioned Greg s mom Greg ignored the general question and essentially said as much as it hurt us to lose Mom, it must have hurt the perfect God Completely not answering the question while assuming characteristics and feelings of God 11 More prayerNow Greg says that of course we can t tell that prayer works, because that would turn God into a vending machine But prayer works anyway.Oh, and if your prayer not to be slaughtered isn t answered, it just shows that your vision of the universe is myopic.Eleven letters, and still not one answer based on anything useful 12 Aren t we antsMore bald assertions about the perfect nature of God Still no reason to believe it 13 The GospelsHere Papa sorta asks about the validity of the Gospels as a way of tackling the circular nature of belief I accept the Bible because God told me so, and I accept God because the Bible tells me so.Greg s response is to go into the critical historical analysis, and he says that it validates the Gospel.Riiight.It looks like someone was really glad his dad hadn t read any Bart Ehrman or Robert Price or Thomas Altizer He s playing incredibly fast and loose with historical analysis It takes careful reading to see that he admits that the Gospels aren t known to be written by eyewitnesses, but he s happy to leave that impression, etc.Too bad Papa didn t know that this letter was full of it 14 Gospel ContradictionsGreg brushes aside contradictions which are legion without addressing them He also brushes aside Papa s question about liberal scholarship by mischaracterizing his question and laughing at it.Sorry, Greg, there are real contradictions and real scholarship that disagrees with you.Of course, none of these details matter to a skeptic who hasn t first seen evidence that God exists 15 Gospel authorsGreg here says that the Gospels would still be credible if written decades after Jesus death by non eyewitness forgers That s a convenient position to take, but it s not true being forgeries would be really bad for credibility.Otherwise, in this chapter he says a lot about biblical authorship that other scholars credibly disagree with He s forcing authorship of the Gospels into the 60s which is not consensus and then says that 30 years isn t enough time for legendary accretion That s a ludicrous claim for belief systems in a barely literate society.Papa really needs to read some Ehrman to get another perspective, but even a quick look at wikipedia will show that Greg s exagerrating his case.A lot.Also, at this point, Greg says Dad, you and I have gotten to the point in our discussion where we ve agreed that God does exist, and that He is a personal being who knows, loves, and cares about us than we could care ourselves I think Greg is again exagerrating his case, but it s an effective emotional ploy Unfortunately, he s probably right that he s made a lot of progress without actually demonstrating his case at all yet 16 17 Resurrection and Jesus DivinityPapa brings up a good skeptical point everyone who dies stays dead, so any explanation other than resurrection is plausible confusion, theft, prank, etc What s the response Greg massively changes the burden of proof Since Papa accepts for whatever reason that the Gospels are generally reliable , Greg says that the burden of proof is now on a resurrection denier disprove it Sorry, no A resurrection is an extraordinary claim, and thus it requires extraordinary evidence Imagine I wrote a truthful story about my senior year in college, but then I inserted a fanciful UFO abduction tale involving unicorns Would the verifiability of the rest of the book change the burden of proof on the part that s extraordinary No, not at all.He then repeats the bizarre notion that decades wasn t enough time to create legends to see how silly this is, look how quickly Scientology grew even today , and he repeats his mischaracterization of the state of historical critical analysis Greg says that the resurrection was testified to by independent sources, but this is problematic given that the non eyewitness authors aren t known, and that three of the Gospels are based on one previous account He says dissenters could have produced a body if it weren t true, but that ignores that the Gospels came out decades later.I could go on, but it s of the same that Richard Carrier amply demolishes.At this point, we re in the realm of theology and not apologetics They might as well be debating whether the invisible pink unicorn likes oats or hay for all the relevance it has at this point Greg never makes a solid evidence based argument that his nonsense is worth considering, but they re its fine points It s useless for me So, I m going to skip ahead now to the last chapter, because that s the only other time that anything like a skeptical question is brought up again 29 How to know for sureAfter 65 pages of unsupported Theological speculation, we re back to a real question How can I know for sure How will Greg respond Will this evoke evidence Will we have a good story of epistemology now, finally Of course not.Greg tells his Dad to accept it on faith He says they agree that Greg had demonstrated that Christianity is the worldview best supported by evidence, and that should be some solace But it s no solace for me since I see no evidence in this book whatsoever.Greg says that not believing is a leap of faith, too, which is a common but silly claim Is it a leap of faith to demand evidence before accepting the existence of the Easter Bunny Or Santa Or a dragon in my garage Or Thor Of course not To an atheist, Christianity isn t unique or special, it s just another claim, and the proper position without sufficient supporting evidence is rejection.There s a bit of Pascal s Wager here, and that s just pathetic, too Should I accept Islam instead because its hell is worse What if God rewards with heaven those who used logic to come to doubt her I could come up with any number of other heavens and hells, and there s no reason to play it safe to avoid the Christian hell.ConclusionThis book is a way Christians convince themselves that they have rational, evidence based arguments that work Perhaps the arguments presented here worked on one unprepared non atheist, but they aren t going to work on an informed skeptic or atheist There s nothing interesting here, and there are no arguments that an informed atheist hasn t heard and defeated a hundred times before.Don t waste your money.

  3. says:

    Greg and Edward Boyd have have given us a great blessing in publishing their correspondence on the nature of Christianity This book is unique among the many apologetic sorts of books I have read for a few reasons 1 It s honest Ed Boyd doesn t go easy on his son about Christianity The questions are thoughtful, penetrating and genuine, not straw men set up to be easily knocked down Greg Boyd s answers are equally thoughtful and well stated He doesn t overwhelm with theological language but does a very good job of explaining difficult ideas in simple language He honestly admits to uncertainty in places, but does a fine job of showing that uncertainty need not be a serious impediment to genuine faith and rational belief I have never seen so many difficult questions about Christianity answered so well in so little space.2 It s intimate This is a discussion between a father and son who genuinely love and respect one another It s a model for how important, ultimate issues can be debated in a very constructive manner.3 It s powerful Ed Boyd s conversion is than a mere acceptance of certain religious beliefs It is a powerful testimony to the power of God to change a human life wonderfully from the inside out Many have objected to parts of Greg Boyd s theology For example one review I read goes so far as to say this isn t really a Christian book because of Boyd s Open Theism See his other books for a detailed treatment of his theology Though I have some questions about this position myself, I think Boyd is a genuine evangelical Christian theologian who is wrestling honestly with how to make the best sense out of the whole Bible s portrayal of God This reviewer s objections seemed one sided There are plenty of places in the Bible where God is portrayed as being shocked even surprised at human behavior He changes his mind He is passionate and emotional if the prophets are to be believed and Jesus is really God incarnate God doesn t fit in a neat little conceptual box and Greg Boyd is honest about that He deserves a fairer open minded reading than many of his critics give him.If God is the most powerful being in existence, he can do anything even limit himself in some respects not all with regard to his knowledge of the future To some people this implies a diminshment of God If so, it is a self diminishment no other being has done it to him and he is still is the most powerful being in existence no one else has foreknowledge than he So how is God diminished Is God unable to right any wrong just because he didn t know it would happen beforehand because it wasn t part of reality before it happened I don t think so I think Boyd makes a good point when he suggests that the conception of God that many Christians have may owe itself to the ancient Greeks than to Christianity or the Judaism from which it sprang and biblical teaching.Greg Boyd is a passionate, whole hearted Christian with the Highest regard for the Bible That comes out very clearly in this book I highly recommend it.

  4. says:

    Completely unconvincing to someone with a basic understanding of logic and the scientific method.

  5. says:

    This book does a good job of apologetics, the only bad thing is that I didn t enjoy reading any part of it If you re looking for a general overview, and you already know a good bit about Christian theology, pick up something else This was much easier to understand than a book like Mere Christianity, but was also much less fulfilling.

  6. says:

    The bottom line While much good is contained in this book there really is , I would not give it to an unbelieving friend If given the chance, I would remove several of the chapters e.g., 4 7, 11, 24, 25 and would be hesitant to recommend others I m grateful for the fact that God worked through these letter exchanges however, I am deeply troubled by several of the answers proposed The book, Letters from a Skeptic, is a compilation of letter exchanges between a son and his father regarding questions about God, Christianity, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and many other related things The subtitle sums it up very well A Son Wrestles with His Father s Questions about Christianity The son Greg Boyd had been a Christian for 14 years up until he revisited the subject of Christianity and began corresponding with his father Ed Boyd about the faith All those years Ed had only been reticent in engaging in conversations with his son about God and faith My father never showed any openness to the Gospel He harbored only resentment toward the church and was outspoken in his animosity toward what he called born again types As an indirect purpose, the book is tailored to both encourage believers to have honest, coherent answers questions that arise, and even serve as a guide for skeptics with all their questions As one might guess, the father s greatest qualm is with the problem of evil and suffering and the Bible s claim that God is all loving and all powerful Living in a fallen world, we perpetually face the effects of sin around us, and most strikingly we face the sin within us All this leads us to desire honest, definitive answers that best provide answers to our deepest questions.Crucial to the discussion is the resurrection of Jesus Christ This inevitably becomes the bedrock of our faith as Paul makes so abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 15 Ed Boyd honestly states, Every dead person I ve ever known has stayed dead No wonder Greg takes an entire afternoon to write a 9 page response Greg Boyd s response is lucid, thorough, and honest to the evidence No wonder his father comments, This obviously is no blind leap of faith you ve been making Especially helpful is the fact that the Resurrection narratives contain such specific details e.g., name dropping of persons and even counter intuitive events Mary Magdalene a woman is the first to arrive to the empty tomb all this taking place in a society where women were viewed as incurable liars The edifice of evidence constructed is truly compelling Greg does a masterful job in this letter in a clear and winsome way.My assessment of the book I was greatly impressed with the straightforward questions by Ed He felt comfortable in not having to erect a fa ade he is talking to his son after all All his questions revealed a mind and heart that was hungry for answers As time progressed Ed saw and the utter simplicity of Christianity s answers Though at times it was emotionally hard to grasp some of the answers, he in the end understood or at least began to understand that Christianity is not a mindless leap in the dark However, it is a leap a leap into the arms of a loving God who is fully good and in control and has ultimately revealed himself in Jesus Christ as the sacrifice that took our sin and offers forgiveness by faith alone.Worthy of attention and full of sound, biblical wisdom are the final four chapters 26 29 I especially appreciated his answer to the question, How can another man s death pardon me This lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian this indeed is good news While I benefited greatly from reading this book, it seemed many of the answers Greg offered were sorely lacking at best and anti biblical at worst On the subject of God s foreknowledge, he writes, So God can t foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people He creates until He creates these people and they, in turn, create their decisions Psalm 139 flies in the face of such a remark I wasn t surprised when his father took note of it It seems like your view of God is much human than what I ve always thought God was supposed to be I admit your view sounds better than the standard one but I wonder if your view is just your own creation This open view of God, I believe, diminishes the very biblical presentation of a holy and sovereign God As Bruce Ware has written elsewhere, What is lost in so many places and in so many ways is the infinite supremacy of God, and this loss is unimaginably great Nothing less than the uncontested deity of God, his absolute lordship over all space and time, his universal, unrivaled, and inviolable sovereignty, his flawlessly wise and meticulous providence, his undiminished and infinite perfection, and his majestic and incomparable glory I wept as I finished reading A Tribute I m still amazed at how God redeems sinners including me The Ed I read about initially was strong willed, sassy and skeptical the Ed I read about in the epilogue is a tenderhearted man, full of joy at the fact that his skepticism has melted and faith has been birthed within him, blooming to such degree that even his dog notices What a glorious thought It never gets old I can resonate with Ed The angels whom you say rejoice over this sort of thing are probably giving each other high fives That said, I believe that many of Greg s answers to his father s enquiries are problematic I believe he muddles the orthodox view of God s complete omniscience and sovereign rule over a morally responsible and culpable world Further, his view that God necessarily surrendered a degree of His power reveals a God who is not the one revealed in Scripture who works all things after the counsel of His will Eph 1 11 This is no mere wrangling with words it goes to the core of who God is Often the errors are subtle and creep up, couched in seemingly humble words I do not doubt the sincerity of Greg Boyd or his love for God I simply believe he is not very helpful when it comes to offering solutions to the biblical tensions of evil and suffering as it relates to God s omnipotence and foreknowledge.

  7. says:

    Basically, in the end, I ll admit it s a good resource for atheists investigating the faith It s very light and very short It would be helpful for some people wanting to casually pick up an easy apologetics book.But it wouldn t be a go to for me There are much better apologetics works out there There s far too much left unsaid, and the arguments he does make leave much to be desired Doyle gives only very basic answers Though I suppose that s all he set out to do in the first place.His answer to the problem of evil is particularly frustrating Doyle gets sidetracked with weak side arguments and mentions absolutely nothing about the fall of man in that section, and how sin entering the world affects nature He also concedes some points in other areas I would not have let go He makes historic Christian beliefs sound weak like young earth Creationism, belief that certain stories in the bible are literal, and the importance of baptism and the Eucharist.But I must remind myself of this book s purpose It s meant to be basic and it remains basic There were many points in it that I appreciated and overall it is structured well.

  8. says:

    I read this during my time at Bethel University College at the time where Greg Boyd was a popular professor of Bible Boyd s brand of Open Theism was a very widely discussed point of controversy during my four years at Bethel John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and others were opposing Boyd s Open Theism and there was a contingent of people in the BGC now Converge that were attempting to oust Boyd not only from Bethel, but from the BGC itself.I attended Bethlehem and was one of the student critics, but decided to read this book in an attempt to fully understand what Boyd believed and was teaching.I was appalled at the book I admired Boyd s attempt to convert his father, but whatever admiration one may have for that is overwhelemed entirely by the heretical teaching Boyd made central to his argument for God.Boyd actively teaches that God is not sovereign, that he allows humans to use their free will God will then react to human decisions to bring about the good he has promised But it is essentially man that is sovereign not God God is a contingent being in Boyd s theology.The book is full of emotional and philosophical appeal The Bible is made to fit into Boyd s theological grid, rather than understanding God s sovereignty according to the Bible This is an appalling theology and and awful book I would not recommend this book to anyone If you want to learn about Open Theism, read the critics of it Don t waste your time here.

  9. says:

    As this review will bear out I have mixed feeling about this book I do not hold to any form of Open Theism Flexible Sovereignty and I honestly have a hard time seeing it as a faithful interpretation of Scripture and within the evangelical stream of orthodox belief.DISAGREEMENTS My biggest problem with the book is Boyd s view of God, namely his view of God s omniscience Boyd does not hide the fact that for him God s omniscience is limited to only what has happened because out of love God has given man free will to make choices Therefore, if man has free will God cannot out of love predetermine his choices though He can for some in order to bring about certain predetermined events and so God does not know mans choices until they are made God cannot know the future because it has not happened yet because it is contingent upon mans free undetermined choices God takes a risk in this and He limits Himself giving man some of His power in that we control the future with our choices.What frustrates me is that Boyd constructs a merely philosophical argument for his view of God s omniscience and man s free will but does not and cannot in my opinion make any reference to how Scripture bears this out Granted, Boyd tries to avoid Scripture as much as possible in the book as he evangelizes his father out of his for his father s wishes not to have the Bible jammed down his throat though he does reference it occasionally.As already discussed, tied to this open view of God s omniscience is Boyd s view of man s free will Though he does not come out and say it directly, I have a hard time distinguishing between his view of mans will and the Pelagian view I think there is a difference between the two but is very had to detect Scripture does not give us any indication or implication that mans will is so free that his choices are unknowable in the sense that God cannot say to know what man will do I think Boyd is trying to fight against the idea that if God knows the future choices of man they are therefore already determined in the mind of God, cannot be otherwise and therefore cannot be truly free I think Boyd misunderstands some of this Calvinistic belief and cannot separate the difference between God s existence outside of time and the knowledge that comes with being able to see all of time simultaneously with man existing in time only being able to see things moment by moment In the effort to reconcile this paradox Boyd has to greatly alter his theology of God and man.The third biggest disagreement with the views expressed in the book are some of the thoughts on hell Boyd s view here is still considered to be evangelical, albeit on the fray He is an inclusivist in that he believes some people can be saved even though they don t know Jesus Christ personally So they at no point in their life make a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord as Paul the Apostle put it in Romans What is surprising is his support for this position Boyd argues that the OT saints like Noah, Job and Melchizedek were saved though they did not believe in Christ But this is to confuse a number of things First, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in God but the content of that belief was the hope of a Messiah in the OT looking forward to the one who is Christ and then in the NT to the coming of the Messiah in Christ What we see in the OT is a belief in God as He directly revealed Himself and His message to that point in time to people But the belief of these people was not out of a response to something they saw of God in nature but out of a response to the direct revelation of God Himself to these people Second, the only way for Boyd s view work in light of Christ s 1st coming is for man to respond to God as He has revealed Himself in creation But as Romans 1 3 specifically chapter 1 clearly states, though God has clearly revealed Himself in creation man rejects this revelation and instead worships the very creation itself through which God reveals Himself The argument crumbles on itself Consequently Boyd ignores this point God as He is revealed through creation condemns man, not save him Third, Boyd further supports this view by saying that God judges man according to his heart Problem is, man s heart is wicked John tells us that no man seeks after God because when the light of Christ came into the world the world rejected it and was content to stay in their darkness The heart of man is set at enmity with God Man does not respond to God in faith as revealed in creation but rather he rejects what He sees of God and worships the creation Finally, this also ignores what Heb 1 1 3 tells us, that though in the past God revealed Himself to man in various ways He has now finally revealed Himself in Christ No burning bushes, or balls of fire, or dreams, etc but fully and finally in Christ to whom man must respond in faith to in order to be saved Boyd s view overlooks the significance of God s salvific revelation in Christ for salvation.AGREEMENTSBoyd has some good apologetic arguments for the existence of God reasons for believing in Him He relies heavily on the anthropological argument that a personal God must exist because it is the only way to account for the personal nature of man Relating to one another in the way humans do cannot happen by accident or chance but only because a personal God created us to be that way.In response to his fathers hangups about the Gospels Boyd does a great job making a case for their reliability He makes full use of both external and internal reasons for believing in the reliability of the Gospels He further does a great job defending the historical account of and rationality of the resurrection of Christ upon which the gospel itself hangs.In regards to the Christian life, Boyd does a good job of showing how man cannot obey the law of God on His own which is why he needs Christ He does a great job showing the necessity of the atonement in that it makes sense and accomplishes what it intends though Boyd does not hold to a particular atonement view.CONCLUSION Admittedly there was much I liked in this book though my disagreements were very strong The format is unique and it would be cool to see it done with a traditional orthodox view of God in the responses What this book gives the reader is a view of what open theism looks like in action through evangelism and apologetics For the most part I would have to say Boyd gets the gospel right though I would have much to disagree with after that I believe Boyd is sincere in his presentation of his views but they left me wanting at many points The books ends with Boyd telling of how his father came to faith in Jesus Christ from which the letters the book is made up from were the catalyst for that decision As I read the last chapter of Boyd s account of his fathers conversion tears filled my eyes Though I disagree greatly with Boyd s view of the nature of God and man I do not doubt his salvation nor his fathers and I can only say we will all see clearly on the other side of eternity.

  10. says:

    I picked up this book after a friend of mine recommended we take turns picking out books on our own religious faiths she is a theist, while I am an atheist and then talking about them afterward A kind of religious book club that would help her to better understand my views, and maybe she thought it d help pull me back to her side I d like to think it wasn t the latter.So I picked up this book, and right from the beginning it was very clear that it was not written by two people of opposing views, but all written solely by the author himself All fabricated He threw in little bragging points about himself, that I am sure were supposed to make it feel realistic, but they didn t.I won t get into the insanity of his explanations for natural disasters being caused by the war between Heaven and Hell that is taking place as we speak, but in a way that we can t see People killed by them are just casualties of war Other reviewers cover that nonsense enough both theists and atheists alike.What really bothered me about the entire book, was that the skeptic in this book never questioned the author The author would say something, then the father would ask something cliche like, Why is there evil and the author would give a really weak response What is the skeptic s response to the weak answer he was given Why, he never questioned it again He d just take whatever the author said to him as if it was fact or some kind of logic he was too dumb to figure out on his own, and then ask another cliche question This continued throughout the entire book A real skeptic does not accept the first answer given to them without question, and one described like the father in this book would have had much to ask that just the generic, cliche crap that this book covered These are not the questions that we skeptics want answered, they are the questions that many apologists believe and hope we want answered because they believe they have the answers to them.I was relieved when I read other reviews on and other sites where I was not the only one upset with the way the author insults our intelligence Even relieved that the majority of people that were upset, were Christians that did not like the way he was misrepresenting them and clearly trying to take advantage of believers that will spend money on anything that might help them enlighten their non believer friends.I have only ever read one other book that was worse than this one, and that was The Christian Bible.

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