Mini Book Review of ‘The End of Reason’ by Ravi Zacharias

endofreasonThe End of Reason by Ravi Zacharias was written as a response to what has been dubbed ‘New Atheism’. Primarily, it was written to refute the philosophy of atheist Sam Harris who wrote The End of Faith.

Zacharias’ arguments in this book are logical, concise, and articulate. I love the way his brain works! Zacharias is an evangelist and apologist that brings a unique perspective to theology and philosophy. He is an “Indian-born Canadian-American” with a Master of Divinity, several honorary doctorates, and an undergraduate degree. He brings to the table a command of logic and language that is unparalleled along with a cultural experience that is uniquely his own. Because of his unique background, Zacharias writes in a voice that is distinctly his own – and I appreciate that.

This book makes short work of the philosophy championed by Sam Harris and others. Zacharias places the worldview of new atheism alongside that of Christianity and exposes the hate, despair, and hopelessness of the new atheist. As Zacharias unravels the arguments of Sam Harris, he exposes them as illogical and unfulfilling.

On a side note, Zacharias writes as a former atheist who was once on the brink of suicide. His experience seems to have ignited in him a passion for revealing the illogical endgame of the new atheist and in this book he does so in remarkable fashion.

 

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The Bible and Slavery

Bible2I continually see Scripture being attacked on the basis that it either endorses the practice of slavery or that it fails to explicitly denounce the practice of slavery. I’ve seen skeptics, atheists, and even self-proclaimed liberal Christians use this argument as a means to charge the Bible with immorality, irrelevance, and atrocities. A few years ago, I offered a response to such claims in an online discussion forum and thought I would share them here.

Does the Bible Endorse or Fail to Denounce Slavery? 
It is a mistake to assume the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery and if such an assertion is to be made, it deserves careful and critical examination.

First off, the word “slavery” as it occurs throughout the Bible refers to a wide spectrum of servitude from “leasing” ones service where both parties enter into the agreement willingly to situations that far more resembled slavery as we know it in this country. Biblically, the word “slavery” refers to a wide range of stuff from servitude to outright slavery.

I believe there is sufficient evidence that the Bible condemns the latter forms of atrocious slavery. First, consider the plagues that fell upon the Egyptians for refusing to free God’s people from forced, atrocious slavery. Of all the slavery portrayed in the Bible, the Egyptians rule over the Hebrews can certainly be compared to the racial slavery we experienced in our country. In this situation, I think God made it evident He condemned such a heinous act. Extracting the Hebrew people, as lowly as they were seen in the eyes of the Egyptian people, establishing them as God’s chosen ones, and pouring curses out on the Egyptians was as definitive a statement as God could have made. Certainly, any sane person can deduce that God is not in favor of such forms of slavery.

Couple this situation with the following verses:

  • “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).
  • “But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching” (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

The word “kidnappers” in the above passage is alternately translated as “man-stealers” or “enslavers” depending on the translation you are using. These verses when juxtaposed with the Hebrew slavery in Egypt clearly reveals that God does not condone or endorse the heinous, forced, and atrocious forms of slavery. Period. In fact, suggesting God endorses such acts does Him and His Word an injustice and reveals a poor working knowledge of Scripture.

Now this brings us to the more mild forms of slavery (where both parties entered into the agreement willingly). In these situations God’s Word speaks into the hearts of both slave and slave-owner. The method God’s Word uses to initiate social reform in this case is to speak into the hearts of individuals. Social change occurs one conversion at a time in the heart of believers. With this is mind, examine the following verses:

  • For the slave master: Ephesians 6:9, “And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.”
  • For the slave: 1 Peter 2:19-20, “For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if you sin and are punished, and you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.”

In the culture of the New Testament, slavery was engrained. So the writers of the New Testament encouraged social reform one heart at a time. When this is taken into account, no form of “Christian slavery” would resemble what comes to our mind when we hear the word slavery. Consider Paul’s interaction with the slave Onesimus.

In the first chapter of Philemon, Paul writes that Onesimus is “no longer a slave, but more than a slave” (v.16). He refers to Onesimus as his “son” (v. 10). In verse 17, Paul encourages Philemon (the master) to receive Onesimus as a partner in Christ just as he would Paul himself. Paul even goes as far as to assume any debts or charges that Onesimus may have built up against Philemon (v. 18)!

Does any of Paul’s words resemble the heinous, atrocious images that we associate as Americans with slavery? Paul is encouraging social reform by appealing to the hearts of both Onesimus and Philemon. In no way is he “endorsing slavery” as skeptics suggest.

When Scripture is examined, the Christian can take confidence that neither God, nor His Word, “endorses” the heinous and atrocious act of slavery or human trafficking. We can stand on God’s Word when we oppose such practices and when we do, we will glorify God in the process.

 

Look At The Book Labs with John Piper

I use the Logos Bible Software in my daily study time and for the last several days I’ve been using a course of study from John Piper called the “Look at the Book Labs”. Each day, Piper examines a passage of Scripture and you get to follow along as he studies the Word. The cool feature, however, is that each study has a video. Viewers get to see the passage of Scripture in question (in other words, they get to look at the book) while Piper annotates and marks up the passage during his study. All the while, Piper is commentating and guiding viewers through the study. The end results are great.

In my studies, I try to follow a particular pattern:

  • Observation: here is where I ask questions of the text. Who, what, when, why, and where type of questions.
  • Interpretation: In this step, I bring in multiple translations, commentaries, dictionaries and other extra-biblical sources to help me understand words or phrases that aren’t immediately understood.
  • Application: In this step, I ask myself how the passage I am studying applies to my life. Is there a call to action? Is there a change being asked of me? This is where I determine my response to what I’ve read.

I say all of this because Piper’s studies offer wonderful examples of the first two steps. I really enjoy watching as he guides me through his observation and interpretation. It is very insightful to see what mental processes Piper goes through as he approaches the text. Too often, Christians are tempted to skip observation and interpretation in favor of application, however, Piper’s studies certainly demonstrate how important it is to ask the right questions and take the time to observe and interpret. I am learning from his example.

At the end of each study, Piper also offers additional resources and sermons from his library that apply to the passage in question. I’ve been using his study as a launching point (each one takes 10 to 15 minutes) for my own studies and have tried going deeper into the text. Using these studies, a person can go as deep as they want. Piper’s goal is to teach people how to feed themselves … and I think these labs work wonderfully.

I checked today and these labs are all available on Piper’s website for free at http://www.desiringgod.org/labs. I highly recommend them.

Book Review of ‘Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity’ by Gregory and Edward Boyd

lettersI would have a hard time expressing how much I appreciated this book. It chronicles the correspondence between Seminary professor Dr. Gregory Boyd and his skeptical father Edward. Over the course of a couple of years, Greg Boyd corresponded with, and witnessed to, his father. This book allows the reader a glimpse into their private letters.

Like many skeptics, Edward Boyd had a negative impression of Christianity (as opposed to a positive impression of an opposing worldview); as such, he lends voice to many of the most common objections to the Christian faith. Professor Gregory Boyd skillfully, and lovingly, responds to each and every objection with a heart focused on leading his father to Christ. The end result is a tender lesson in apologetics for readers.

Here are a few of the reasons I highly recommend this book:

  • Gregory Boyd is witnessing from his heart. Too often, apologetics becomes purely an academic and polemic pursuit. Apologists are often more concerned with being right rather than leading people to Christ. This book offers an example of apologetics done correctly with proper love and concern for others.
  • It is honest. There is no attempt made to clean up some of the harsh language or objections offered by the older Boyd. By presenting his letters as they are written, readers are given the opportunity to get to know Edward Boyd – flaws and all. In the process of getting to know him, I found myself rooting for him to overcome his objections to Christ.
  • Dr. Gregory Boyd role models patience, persistence, and love. These attributes are too often missing from apologetics.
  • The Boyd’s relationship with one another is special. They are able to be honest with one another over the course of dozens of letters with no hint of hurt feelings or animosity rising to the surface. This is my weakness when engaging in apologetics. Too often I get frustrated and irritated by someone’s inability to appreciate the truth of Christ and I either get angry or give up. If Dr. Boyd experienced any such emotions he was able to disguise them well.
  • The transformation in Edward is evident as moves from skepticism toward Christ.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile and represents one of the best examples of practical apologetics I’ve found. I highly recommend it.

To Teach and Admonish: Colossians 3:16

Yesterday’s post concerned our responsibility to our fellow Christians. Today’s post takes a look at what the Apostle Paul has to say concerning the subject. In Colossians 3:16, he writes:

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, NASB).

There’s a great deal to unpack in this verse! Paul writes that we should, with all wisdom, teach and admonish one another. The word “teach” means to communicate and impart truth while the word “admonish” means to caution and warn away from error. Stop and consider these words for just a moment. We are to teach truth while warning against error. The world will teach us that it’s okay to believe whatever we want provided we are sincere. The Apostle Paul seems to have directly addressed this notion with just two words; truth and admonish. We have a responsibility in our churches to teach truth and to warn others away from error!

Skeptics will warn us that no one knows what the truth actually is and scoff at the notion we can be sure we’re teaching what is true. Fortunately, the Apostle Paul tells us in this verse how to accomplish such a task. We are to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within us” and teach with all “wisdom.” Paul isn’t instructing us to teach our subjective notions of what truth may be, rather, he is instructing us to teach the objective Word of God! We are to allow the Word of God to dwell in our hearts! Warren Weirsbe writes, “Many saved people cannot honestly say they that God’s Word dwells in their hearts richly because they do not take the time to read, study, and memorize it.” Teaching the Word of God isn’t something to be taken lightly. We can be sure we are teaching God’s Truth but first we must be sure to consider His Word carefully and prayerfully. We have a responsibility to our fellow Christians to take the Word of God seriously and to teach and preach the truth while warning against error. This is an undertaking that should not be taken lightly. This is why James wrote, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgement” (James 3:1, NASB).

The Apostle Paul says we are to do this joyfully, “singing with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God.” Studying the Word, teaching it, and warning others against error is an act of worship. God’s Word should be at the heart of our worship, our Bible studies, and our sermons. Failing to impart God’s truth is failing to meet our responsibilities to one other.

 

Why I Teach Eternal Security

I serve as an adult Bible study teacher in a Southern Baptist Church that preaches and teaches eternal security. I often get the impression that people think I teach eternal security simply because it is the doctrine my denomination supports when, in fact, it is the other way around; I am a Southern Baptist, due in no small part, to the fact that the SBC endorses a Biblical view of salvation. Here is an excerpt from the Baptist Faith and Message …

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and
sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to
the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve
the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and
temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through
faith unto salvation.

The first three words of the above passage from the Baptist Faith and Message are of vast importance, “All true believers …” It is important to understand the implications of these words. We are not talking about people who shallowly recited a particular prayer, people who attend church, or people who were raised in Christian homes. We are talking about true believers. In other words, we are not talking about people who simply exhibit some of the qualities of being a Christian; rather, we are talking about people who have had a genuine, life-saving encounter with Jesus Christ. Who are these people? The Word describes them as those who believe in Jesus Christ:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NASB).

“They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household'” (Acts 16:31, NASB).

It is important to understand that salvation isn’t about the outward behaviors a person may exhibit. Rather, it is about an earth-shattering, life-changing belief in Jesus Christ:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In fact, this change in our lives is so earth-shattering and dramatic it is impossible for us to manufacture on our own. It can only be received as a gift from God:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB).

Salvation is based on an earth-shattering, life-changing faith in Jesus Christ that only comes to us as a gift from God. No amount of works will achieve it and when God gifts us with salvation it should humble us. This is the context in which we approach the doctrine of eternal security. The Baptist Faith and Message then explains that those people who have been gifted with salvation will be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Wayne Grudem defines sanctification as “the progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” Sanctification is the means by which God separates a true believer from the world and makes them Christ-like. It begins at salvation (Titus 3:5), should continue throughout our lives (Romans 6:19, 2 Cor. 3:18), and is completed upon our death as our souls go to be with the Lord (Hebrews 12:23). Believers enjoy sanctification as a process that God works on us and also bear responsibility to participate in the process through obedience.

The Baptist Faith and Message teaches that those who have been truly saved and thus sanctified by the Spirit will never fall away from a state of grace and will persevere to the end. This is a position that is demonstrated in Scripture:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NASB).

“… and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29, NASB).

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25, NASB).

Simply put, if God gifts a person with genuine, earth-shattering, life-changing salvation in Christ Jesus, nothing will be able to undue it. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that God does not have the power, nor the ability, to save a person once and for all. Christ’s work on the cross can not be undone. He has died for our salvation and his sacrifice was completely sufficient to accomplish the task! A true believer can have complete confidence that they are saved from hell. This confidence enables us to live the abundant life that Christ speaks of in John 10:10.

Two Common Objections to Eternal Security

There are two common objections to the notion of eternal security and Scripture addresses both.

Objection 1: Christians are free to keep on sinning because of our eternal security. 

Anyone who teaches or believes this is guilty of a heresy known as antinomianism. Scripture clearly teaches that believers have a responsibility to leave their sinful life behind. In fact, the Bible suggests that those who continue to willfully and habitually sin may not be Christians to begin with:

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him” (1 John 3:6, NASB).

Objection 2: What if someone becomes a Christians and then later denounces their faith and rejects Christ? 

While a true believer may have doubts at times, if they genuinely and permanently denounce their faith and reject Christ, Scripture teaches they were not Christians to begin with:

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19, NASB).

Conclusion

The Baptist Faith and Message is right on target. Can a true believer step out of the will of God and refuse to participate in the sanctification process? Certainly. Can a true believer have doubts and periods of disobedience in their lives? Certainly. One thing remains certain, however, a true believer can never be separated from the grace of God and the salvation found in Jesus Christ. This certainty provides the believer with a joy in this lifetime like none other! It is a joy we can’t earn or work for, rather, it is a joy that is gifted to us by God … and it all hinges on one point … are you a true believer in Christ and have you had a genuine, life-changing, earth-shattering encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Lessons from Habakkuk: Part 4 (Habakkuk 2:6-8) – The Woe of Exploitation

habakkuk1God responds to Habakkuk’s queries by pronouncing five woes of judgement on the Babylonians. These woes are presented in five stanzas of three verses each. Collectively, they form a song of mockery and judgement. The woes paint a complete picture of the Babylonian’s sin and the judgement that awaits them. It is scary, however, how much the five woes apply to our modern culture. The reader of these passages doesn’t have to stretch too far to recognize these sins in our world today. The first woe is a prime example.  The First Woe: The Woe of Exploitation (Habakkuk 2:6-8)

6 Won’t all of these take up a taunt against him, with mockery and riddles about him? They will say: Woe to him who amasses what is not his — how much longer?— and loads himself with goods taken in pledge. 7 Won’t your creditors suddenly arise, and those who disturb you wake up? Then you will become spoil for them. 8 Since you have plundered many nations all the peoples who remain will plunder you — because of human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them. (Habakkuk 2:6-8, NASB)

This first woe targets those who have become rich on the backs of others. It is important to recognize that the sin in this case isn’t being wealthy, but rather the method the Babylonians used to amass wealth. The passage says they amassed what was not theirs. They plundered their neighboring nations through bloodshed, violence, and dishonest practices. Because of their actions, the righteous will mock them (v.6). Verses seven and eight promise that their victims would eventually rise up and turn the tables on the Babylonians by plundering and pillaging their lands. History records that this woe came to pass in 539 BC when the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon.

How does this woe translate into our modern culture? It should be obvious to most of us. Today there are people, governments, and corporations who amass wealth on the backs of others. People steal, extort, and charge excessive interest for loans offered to the little guy. The financial systems of the world tend to be crooked and those who amass their wealth in unrighteous ways would be wise to pay attention to this passage. Again, it is important to understand the sin isn’t being wealthy, rather, the sin is to accumulate wealth by taking advantage of others. I believe the warnings present in this passage still apply today. Those who take advantage of others will be mocked by the righteous. They most certainly run the risk of their victims rising up against them. There is no doubt that they will eventually have to face judgment for their actions.

Pastor Mark Driscoll offerer this chilling warning in a sermon, “In the world who are the rich people? Response: We are. You are. You’re the rich people. You are. There are 90 countries in the world where the average citizen spends less on all of their goods, food, housing, transportation, everything, 90 countries where the average person spends less on those things than you as the average American citizen spend on garbage bags to throw out your junk. You’re the rich people.” It is often tempting to become egocentric and to forget how wealthy most of us are in this country as compared to the rest of the world. And I am certainly not suggesting we should feel guilty in someway because of the wealth we are blessed with. I am suggesting, however, that we need to understand that the way we handle our finances and accumulate wealth (both corporately and individually) is important to God. If we are not careful, we will follow the way of Babylon.

Sources
Mark Driscoll. Five Weighty Woes. http://marshill.com/media/habakkuk/five-weighty-woes Dr. Constable. Notes on Habakkuk. http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/habakkuk.pdf

Books Read in 2013: No. 8 – Inerrancy of the Bible: A Book for the Common Man

inerrancy

Title: Inerrancy of the Bible: A Book for the Common Man
Authors: Dr. Johnson C. Philip and Dr. Saneesh Cherian
Date Completed: April 20, 2013

This book serves as decent introduction into the Doctrine of Inerrancy. If I’m being honest, I’ve read better defenses of inerrancy and I doubt this little book will change the minds of anyone who is adamantly against the concept. However, this book does present the subject in an accessible manner that is fairly easy to digest.

Lessons from Genesis: What Can We Learn From Jacob's Wrestling Match with God?

wrestling
Jacob’s Wrestling Match

Frederick Buechner’s Secrets in the Dark contains a sermon he preached titled ‘The Magnificent Defeat’ that details the story of Jacob’s all-night wrestling match with God:

22 Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. (Genesis 32:22-31)

If I’m being honest, I’ve always had a little trouble grasping this passage. Buechner’s take on it, however, is beautiful and spoke to me a great deal. Jacob is a man who has always gotten ahead by being just a little crafty and devious. If you recall, he caught his brother Esau in a moment of weakness and essentially tricked him into trading his birthright for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:29-34). He then set about with the help of his mother to trick his father into granting him a blessing that was intended for Esau (Genesis 27:1-29). Jacob was a little devious … and here’s the hard part to understand – his deviousness worked for him.

Jacob got ahead as a result of his trickery. He gained his brother’s birthright and blessing and, although he had to flee before Esau exacted revenge, he enjoyed the benefits of his deviousness. Buechner writes:

… the shrewd and ambitious man who is strong on guts and weak on conscious, who knows very well what he wants and directs all his energies toward getting it, the Jacobs of this world, all do pretty well.

Jacob is the guy at your workplace who gets ahead on the backs of his coworkers. The guy who isn’t afraid to sacrifice others on his way to the top. But it is essential for us to remember that such trickery will only get us so far. Look again at Jacob’s wrestling match with God. The battle goes on for the entire night. Though Jacob struggles in all his might he is unable to get the advantage. He battles and battles until God finally reaches out and cripples him by simply touching the socket of his thigh. One can only wonder why God didn’t do this from the beginning. Why did God allow the wrestling match to wage for the entire night when He could win so easily. Perhaps there was a greater lesson for Jacob to learn.

Once crippled, Jacob grows desperate. He grabs on to God and begs, “I will not let go unless you bless me!” Jacob knows he is losing the wrestling match. He is crippled. God can’t be taken advantage of like Esau or duped like his father Isaac. Buechner writes:

[God’s blessing] is not a blessing that he can have now by the strength of his cunning or the force of his will, but a blessing that he can only have as a gift.

Once Jacob gets desperate, God extends His grace, “So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him and said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there” (Genesis 32:27-29). 

God’s blessings are a gift and they reach a crescendo in Jesus Christ “… that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We can not trick, demand, or force our way into eternal life – we must humble ourselves and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ.

Not in our strength, but His.

Books Read in 2013: No. 5 – Culture Shift by Albert Mohler

cultureshift

Title: Culture Shift
Author: Albert Mohler
Date Completed: April 3, 2013

How should our Christian faith impact our lives within the context of the culture we live in? This is the question Mohler addresses in this short book. Essentially, this is a collection of short essays addressing topics, such as politics, education, terrorism, and abortion. As such, the book is relevant and needed. I love to read Mohler’s commentary as I have always found him to be concise and too the point. I must admit, however, that I was slightly disappointed that this book didn’t address each topic in more depth. Some chapters were approached with much more care than others which left the book seeming a little unbalanced to me, however, it is still a great. I appreciated Mohler’s take on the subject of abortion a great deal and would recommend this book to anyone who struggles to discern how their faith should play out in their daily lives.