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On-Line Resources:

BioLogos (www.biologos.org) Francis Collins, who led the government side of the Human Genome Project (mapping DNA) and is the Director of the National Institutes of Health, started this information-packed site to show the rationality of faith within the modern, scientific worldview.  Top scientists provide numerous articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide array of topics.  I particularly recommend this site if you want to see how cutting-edge science can reinforce a faith perspective. 

Prager U (www.prageru.com) Though much of the site is devoted to other topics—culture and politics—there are a number of videos which address questions of faith and they are extremely well done.  An abundance of highly engaging content is packed into a five-minute segment, featuring top experts and speakers such as Peter Kreeft and Eric Metaxis.  For a very concise, in-depth analysis, it doesn’t get much better.

Magis Center (www.magiscenter.com) Founded by Jesuit priest Robert Spitzer, former president of Gonzaga University, the site presents articles, podcasts, and videos which explore a wide range of questions at a deep level.  What makes Spitzer so compelling is that he has an expertise in Astrophysics which enables him to make highly sophisticated scientific arguments for the existence of God.

Word on Fire (www.wordonfire.org) This site features Catholic Bishop Robert Barron in primarily eight- to ten-minute videos that address any and all questions of faith.  Barron has a sweeping command of philosophy and theology and distills it down in very understandable but profound ways. 

Pocket Sized Apologetics These quick-hitting videos, which can be found on YouTube, provide a remarkable depth of content in a concise and digestible way.  And they do it systematically, building a comprehensive defense of Christianity from scratch.  As a lawyer who approached his own faith through the lens of his skeptical instincts, Ken Coughlan’s journey to faith assures viewers he is familiar with asking—and finding answers to—the tough questions.

Reasons for Jesus (www.reasonsforjesus.com) Founded by a former New Age blogger who converted to Christianity, the site has a unique perspective on many of the current spiritual trends and a great diversity of materials to sift through, including a mix of shorter and longer videos, interviews, and articles.

One Minute Apologist (www.oneminuteapologist.com) As the name suggests, these are short videos that tackle a wide range of focused questions, mostly from a biblical perspective.  Though easy to watch, they pack quite a punch.

Capturing Christianity (www.capturingchristianity.com), Cold Case Christianity (www.coldcasechristianity.com), Give Me An Answer (www.givemeananswer.org) and Stand to Reason (www.str.org) are other good sites that provide evidence for a Christian worldview.  They tend to be addressed to a Christian audience, but each provides a unique take on the evidence.

Apologetics Books:

General Questions of Faith

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God   To me, this is the single, best book addressing the most important questions of faith.  It goes right to the heart of these questions and presents the evidence in very clear and compelling ways.  Moreover, Keller has great sympathy for the skeptic, consistently articulating and responding to the skeptical position in an eminently fair and balanced way.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity  Hands down, this is THE classic Christian apologetics (i.e., providing a rational defense for the faith) text.  More people have probably been convinced of the rationality of Christianity by it than by any other book.

N.T. Wright, Simply Christian  Wright is probably the top scripture scholar of our time.  The great thing about this book, as opposed to his academic works, is the way he breaks down his massive knowledge into understandable insights.

The Existence of God

Edward Feser, 5 Proofs of the Existence of God  The best purely philosophical book on the existence of God I’ve ever read.  By reviving a correct appreciation and understanding of the classic proofs for God, and then by adding some of his own brilliant insights along the way, he makes the case for a theistic God nearly irrefutable.

Antony Flew, There is a God  Flew was the most formidable atheist of the Twentieth Century.  He famously became a Theist based on developments in Astrophysics and Molecular Biology over the past few decades.  Succinctly, but powerfully, this book lays out these advances and the philosophical arguments used to make sense of them.  This is probably the best book for seeing how modern science is leading more and more to the conclusion that a Rational Creator must exist.

Robert Spitzer, The Soul’s Upward Yearning  Fair warning: this is a very dense book that isn’t an easy read.  However, it’s more than worth it.  Spitzer gives a number of reasons for God that have been largely overlooked.  As an expert in Astrophysics, he is also in a unique position to present some of the complicated scientific advances over the last fifty years that provide substantial proof for an intelligent Creator.

Armand Nicoli, The Question of God  Through their respective writings, Nicoli, a Harvard professor and psychoanalyst, puts Freud and Lewis up against one another in an imaginary debate over the ultimate questions of life.  Nicoli leaves it to the reader to decide who is more convincing, but tentatively offers some of his own research as affirmation for the worldview Lewis espouses.  This is one of the best books for seeing the arguments about these ultimate questions of existence laid out in a fair and balanced way.

Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God  Swinburne is one of the most widely respected philosophers of religion.  This is a very academic book and, hence, very hard to follow.  However, it is a hugely important book because, among professional philosophers and theologians, it has “moved the needle” in the God-debate. 

Faith and Science:

Francis Collins, The Language of God  The director of the government side of the Human Genome Project (mapping DNA), Collins shares how his scientific pursuits led him to faith in Christ.  An evangelical Christian, he shows that there is no conflict between faith and science and provides some powerful reasons for faith along the way.  An enjoyable read, this is probably the best book for revealing the compatibility of faith and science.

Michael Guillen, Can a Smart Person Believe in God?  Guillen is a theoretical physicist who taught physics at Harvard for many years.  He was also the ABC science correspondent for many years.  In a very entertaining way, Guillen reveals how badly misconstrued many of the atheist arguments based on science are.  This is a great little book for seeing how a smart person can believe!  

John Lennox, Gunning for God  Lennox is a high-powered Oxford scientist (mathematician and philosopher) who, in response to the New Atheists, shows how a scientific worldview affirms the existence of God.  Despite Lennox’s advanced learning, he is very readable.   

Allister McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion  McGrath is an Oxford professor of historical theology who has a distinguished background in chemistry and molecular biology.  Focusing on the most famous of the so-called New Atheists, Richard Dawkins and his book The God Delusion, he deftly reveals some of the fundamental problems with the New Atheists’ approach.  If, like me, you’ve read any of the New Atheists, you will want to read this book to see some of the best counterarguments.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain  When considering the question of suffering from an abstract, philosophical perspective, there is no better book for understanding why God must allow suffering if He is to create free creatures with the potential to love Him in return. 

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed  When in the midst of suffering, when no abstract explanation will bring comfort, this book can.  Lewis wrestles with the question of suffering in a very personal way—his wife’s death from cancer.  With a gift for articulating the unique agony that is grief, he lets you know that you are not alone in it and that suffering can even bring you to a deeper place of faith.

Nicholas Wolterstorf, Lament for a Son  Woltestorf is a highly-regarded Yale philosopher who lost his son in a tragic accident.  As he wrestles with his grief, he ultimately finds and shares powerful insights into why Jesus is the only good and satisfactory answer to suffering.  A brilliant book.

Robert Spitzer, The Light Shines on in the Darkness  Drawing on his own experience with suffering (losing his eyesight), Spitzer rehearses, in his own very thorough and articulate way, the classic explanations.  But then he goes on to offer a number of powerful insights—especially about how suffering is transformative in the context of faith in Christ—that I’ve never encountered in quite this way before.  Highly recommended!

The Resurrection

N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God  Easily the best academic book to date on the Resurrection—one of my favorite books ever.  Wright does an in-depth scholarly survey of all the relevant literature on mortality in the ancient world.  This leads to new insights about and arguments for the Resurrection. 

Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus  A close second to Wright.  Licona takes a unique approach: he starts with what he calls the “Bedrock” facts historical scholars of every stripe—believer and skeptic alike—agree on.  Then he critiques the best recent arguments against the Resurrection and, assuming a position of metaphysical neutrality—that the existence of God is just as likely as not—arrives at the conclusion that the Resurrection is “very certain”.   There is no other academic book I know of on this topic that is as rigorous and balanced, especially in terms of overcoming the “confirmation bias” that results from the limitations our subjective perspectives, often called our “horizons”, impose.  It is a major contribution to the debate.

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ  Yes, this is the book the movie was make about.  An easy read, Strobel presents many of the key arguments for the Resurrection and for Christianity in a simple way. 

E.J. Sweeney, Raising Jesus  Because of my experience giving people books that they told me were either too academic and difficult to get through, or too simplistic and unconvincing, I wrote this book to fill the gap.  Using the most balanced and up-to-date scholarship, I lay all the evidence out in an easy-to-follow and engaging way.  Moreover, in the process of writing the book, I discovered and share several insights into the historical arguments for the Resurrection that, to my knowledge, haven’t been made before.  I then go on to do two major things that other books on the Resurrection haven’t: 1. I show how the emerging scholarly consensus concerning the well-accepted historical facts surrounding Jesus’ life and ministry provide uncanny corroboration for the Resurrection, significantly strengthening the case that He rose.  2. Most importantly, in light of all the historical evidence, I tackle the philosophical objection: no matter how good the historical evidence may be, in our modern, scientific age, it is irrational to believe that someone could miraculously come back from the dead!  This is the biggest obstacle most people have in coming to believe in the Resurrection.  I show, especially in light of the recent state of the God debate, how supremely rational it is to believe that Jesus did rise—it turns out to be a logical necessity.

Richard Swinburne, The Resurrection of God Incarnate  One of the most unique books on the Resurrection I’ve ever read, it doesn’t spend a lot of time examining the historical evidence for the empty tomb and appearances—Swinburne is a philosopher, not a historian, after all.  Instead, it argues that, among all the prophets and religious figures who have ever lived, Jesus is clearly the best candidate to be God incarnate.  This is one of the most intriguing arguments for the Resurrection I’ve come across.

Miracles

Craig Keener, Miracles, Volumes I and II  This is the best scholarly treatment of the subject to date.  Using a skeptically-critical approach and thereby eliminating many, if not the majority, of miracle claims, Keener is still able to document thousands of credible modern miracles, challenging the assumption that a modern, scientific person can’t take them seriously.  Based on the modern evidence, he goes on to argue that it is rational to believe that many of the miracles in the Bible could have happened.  This is a difficult book to read, but a must for anyone looking for a genuinely scholarly take on the subject.

How Can a Loving God Send Anyone to an Eternal Hell?

C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce  The story of an imaginary bus trip from Hell to Heaven, this is the best book for explaining why a loving God and an eternal Hell must necessarily co-exist.  If, like me, the idea of Hell has been problematic for you, this book shows why, logically, it is absolutely necessary and perfectly consistent with a loving God.  A must read!

Different Religions

Houston Smith, The World’s Religions  For over sixty years now, this has been the classic text on world religions.  Without doubt, it is the best book for understanding, in the most positive and balanced way, how each of the world’s major religions answer the ultimate questions of existence: meaning, God, death, etc.  With so much misunderstanding about what these religions actually teach, everyone should read it!

Who was the REAL Jesus?

Larry Hurtado, One God, One Lord  This ground-breaking book changed the way scholars look at how the Church came to understand Jesus’ divinity—many scholars have argued that it took several generations for the church to come to believe Jesus was divine.  Now, as a result of this book, the consensus is that belief in Jesus’ divinity arose almost immediately after his death.  And this has huge implications for belief in the Resurrection, among other things.  If you’ve ever wondered whether The DaVinci Code might have been right—that Jesus’ divinity was “invented” at the council of Nicea hundreds of years after he lived—you have to read this book!  It puts an end to any and all speculation that Jesus’ divinity wasn’t something those first Christians came to believe in right away.

N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God  One of the best and most provocative takes on the historical Jesus, many of Wright’s insights are winning over his fellow scholars and vindicating the Gospels as, overall, reliable historical texts.  

Brandt Pitre, The Case for Jesus  This is a good example of the new trend in scripture scholarship over the last twenty-five years.  In an easy-to-read fashion, Pitre presents some of the recent evidence which is now showing how historically reliable the Gospels are.

John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: Volumes 1-5  (Still waiting for the final volume, Volume 6)  No one is as breathtakingly thorough and comprehensive, nor as cautious and balanced, as Meier is in judging the evidence.  Though highly academic and difficult to read, this is unquestionably one of the best volumes on the historical Jesus ever done.

Robert Spitzer, For God So Loved the World  A great application of much recent historical scholarship, revealing how stunningly reliable the Gospel portraits of Jesus are.  Spitzer provides theological insights that are quite beautiful and compelling as well.

Scripture

Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses  A ground-breaking work showing how solid the eyewitness testimony behind the Gospels actually is.  Although a number of scholars have disputed some of his findings, the quality of Bauckham’s scholarship is changing the scholarly landscape, and thus, makes it a book they must reckon with.

Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament  A very highly regarded Princeton scholar, Metzger offers what may be the most balanced scholarly treatment of the formation of the New Testament canon.  What is remarkable is how early the bulk of the canon was fixed—the Four Gospels, Acts, and majority of Paul’s letters were accepted as authoritative almost right away.  It is only several of the more peripheral books that were ever in dispute.  Through a breathtaking survey of ALL the relevant literature, he shows how the New Testament books are, far and away, the best sources for the history of Jesus.

John Barton, Holy Writings, Sacred Text  A great explanation of the canonization process of the New Testament.  Academically sound, he shows how the bulk of the 27 books were regarded as scripture easily by the end of the second century and that the New Testament has not corrupted the “Jesus tradition” in any substantial way.  For anyone with questions about the reliability of the New Testament, this is a must read.

The Trinity

Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity  This delightful (pun intended) book shows in simple but compelling ways why God, especially a God of love, HAS to be a Trinity.  One of the best recent books I’ve read, by far.

Walter Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ  Incredibly dense—it’s a translation from German—this is a very difficult book to read, but the best academic treatment of the Trinity I’ve ever encountered.  Kasper offers compelling new insights into the doctrine of the Trinity itself, but, as an added bonus, he also makes a strong case for the existence of God and, in particular, for the Christian God as the only God who could possibly exist given the problem of evil.  His insight into how Jesus’ self-emptying love is God’s definitive response to the problem of suffering is pure gold.

T.F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith  This is a very dense book, but Torrance is one of the most highly respected theologians of the Twentieth Century.  In addition to showing how the doctrine of the Trinity is thoroughly rooted both in Scripture and the Early Church’s core creed, he demonstrates that God could be none other than a Trinity.

Other Resources and Partners in Ministry

Danielle O’Neill Studio (www.danielleoneill.com) Danielle’s passion is to help people who struggle with the debilitating effects of perfectionism—especially as it is manifested in eating disorders—to find the profound peace that comes through the stunning grace of Christ.  Using her unique artistic gifts, her ministry captures the imagination and captivates the heart.  Being emotive as well as intellectual beings, the biggest challenge many of us have is visceral, to move from head knowledge to heart knowledge.  Danielle is finding and sharing a powerful way to do this and, in the process, overcome all that keeps us from trusting in God’s unconditional love for us.

The Haitian Project (www.haitianproject.org) If there is one thing that is most effective in overcoming poverty in Haiti—and elsewhere—education is it.  Full disclosure: Patrick and Christina Moynihan, who have overseen this ministry for years, are dear friends.  However, they’ve inspired many with their radical witness to a Christ-like life.  Seeing the sublime beauty of the Gospel in action is a thoroughly compelling testimony to the Truth of the Christian faith.

Collaborative Center for Justice (www.ccfj.org) Years ago, a group of women religious—nuns—were heavily engaged in urban ministry in Hartford, Connecticut.  They were doing amazing things: feeding, sheltering, and clothing the poor, providing tutoring and job training programs and on and on.  But, year after year, all this good work wasn’t making much of a dent in the poverty surrounding them.  So, they began asking what they could do to change things, to get at the roots of poverty and help alleviate it all together.  That’s how the CCFJ was born.  This was the answer—a social justice organization that works for systemic change, advocating for, raising consciousness about, and lobbying on behalf of the most marginalized among us. 

Street Church (www.churcharmyct.com) Bryan Bywater, an Anglican priest and good friend, has a church.  But it is no ordinary church.  It is a church located on the steps of Hartford (CT) City Hall, and the members of the congregation are the homeless men and women Bryan has been ministering with for over twenty years.  Street Church provides food and clothing, worship and communion, fellowship and community, feeding both body and soul—the whole person—and serving as a vivid reminder of what Jesus said: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”  The Christ-like love so beautifully embodied by Street Church is another powerful witness to the Gospel’s sublime truth and goodness.