Think and Live

Think and LivePaul Hughes (ed.). Think and Live: Challenging Believers to Think and Thinkers to Believe. Las Vegas: Anderson-Noble, 2011. 161 pp. Pbk.

The subtitle of this book, Challenging Believers to Think and Thinkers to Believe, sets the tone for this book.  It attempts to be a bridge between believers and unbelievers.  The content of this book comes out of a radio show produced by  Between the radio and Internet activity, the contributors of this book come from the context of dealing with skeptics and seekers with major questions.

The first chapter deals with introducing the identity of Jesus.  The teachings and activities are presented in a fresh way.  Questions of the deity of Christ are included in this discussion.  The conversation continues in the second chapter with the scriptural witness to Jesus.  Introductions to the Old Testament prophetic anticipation of and New Testament witness of Jesus are provided.  In the third chapter, the vital issue of the resurrection of Jesus is investigated.  Having provided some historical background, the fourth chapter introduces the reader to logic, providing the tools to interpret the history.  The fifth chapter investigates the nature of apologetics, explaining the importance of the relationship of reason with faith.  The sixth chapter continues the examination of reason and how it is useful to addressing questions such as the existence of God.  The seventh chapter guides the reader through the different types of apologetics.  The eighth chapter looks at the heart issues of morality and miracles.

Whereas the first section of the book is on thinking, the second section is on living.  Having laid the theological groundwork, the challenge of the ethical response is put forward.  What one believes is very closely connected with what one does.  In the second chapter of this section, various ethical systems are put forward.  It is concluded that the Christian ethical system begins and ends with Christ.  In the third chapter, the Christian life is expressed in terms of adoration and obedience. The fourth chapter urges the reader to pray, do what we can and prepare for more.  The fifth chapter works through what the Christian faith looks like in the public square.  In the sixth chapter, the subject of natural law is brought forward.  The book concludes with an all important chapter on love.

This book is not perfect, although much of that may be from its origin as a series of radio shows.  It is not always obvious as to the flow of the chapters or how one argument builds on another.  It is also not always obvious who the target audience is.  Is it the non-Christian seeker or is it the layperson interested in apologetics?  The subtitle suggests both, although the execution of this plan is not always effective.  One of the very distracting aspects of this book is the language.  The book attempts to make apologetics understandable to the average reader and so uses extremely contemporary language.  The aim is admirable but some of the language, while natural orally, seems awkward on the written page.  The book seems to try to hard to be “hip” in its expression of apologetics.  Again, this may be because it originated from radio broadcasts.

On the positive side, the book contains numerous topics that both non-Christians and Christians should be introduced to.  While this reviewer found the language distracting, many Christians may find that they understand these topics for the first time.  Think and Live will likely be effective for those who are put off by traditional apologetics books that are overflowing with technical terms. This book may also be useful for introducing apologetics to youth.  While not without problems, this book is different enough from traditional apologetics books that it fills a gap between overly academic and shallow popular books on apologetics.  For the right audience, this book has an important role to play.

Stephen J. Bedard

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1 thought on “Think and Live”

  1. Hi Stephen,

    Like most authors/editors I’d prolly do it differently were/had I to do it again. Nice review, and thanks (again). You TOTALLY hit on one or three of the major elements of the book — the radio aspect, the language, and the book’s organization. In reverse order …
    3. The organization … overall we applied a huge degree of intentionality to the “macro” organization: in line with the subtitle, the first section *is* about “how we think” and the second *is* about how we live. Also the first and last chapters are both/each on Jesus — thus it taps the Alpha/Omega elements of his Person, and meant to. Within each chapter there *were* organizational issues of having to bring 60-page transcripts of audio files down to 15 or so pages of text.
    2. The language … we definitely wanted accessibility. I wouldn’t say “hip” so much — probably none of us who worked on the book are terribly hip, except perhaps Christopher Neiswonger. But we did want to be conversational. So it was partly the radio and partly our desire/design. I would note somewhat ruefully and ironically that we (I) may have overdone that in spots — thus rendering the writing *too* lyrical at the expense of clarity. It’s one of the things I’d do differently.
    1. Well I mentioned the radio aspect in the context of No. 3, but basically, yes, that’s a huge dealio with the book. We probably had almost a thousand pages of transcript and came up with about a 150-page book. Not bad considering we started out with a bunch of blank piece of paper, as Steve Martin might say.
    On that note … one of our big aims was getting apologetics material in front of the “average schmoe” — for instance, the guy who knows more about Steve Martin than Christianity, let’s say. Maybe he wouldn’t pick up the book at all, but if he doesn’t, well, that’s like every other apologetics book out there. And if he does, well … bam.
    Thanks again.

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