Review of “Know Why You Believe” by K Scott Oliphint (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017)
In a culture where the Christian Worldview is constantly under attack, it is important to be able to give an answer for the hope that we have within us.[note]1 Peter 3:15[/note]. Sadly, many people that have grown up in broad evangelical churches have not been taught how to address even some of the most basic questions that unbelievers have about the Christian Faith or why anybody would believe in a book written 2000 years ago. These Christians, along with unbelievers seeking to understand Christianity, are the target audience for Know Why You Believe by K Scott Oliphint.
Know Why You Believe, along with the other books in Zondervan’s KNOW Series, is targeted towards the casual layperson seeking to get an overview of the subject and pointing them towards more in depth resources for further study. Oliphint also includes questions for reflection at the end of each chapter that challenge the reader to respond to why they do or do not believe in the topic under consideration.
After a brief introduction, Oliphant begins to lay a foundation for the Christian Faith by examining why we should believe in the Bible, God, Jesus, miracles, the resurrection, salvation, and life after death. He then closes the book by considering common objections to Christianity by considering modern science, the presence of evil in the world, and the plurality of other religions in the world. In exploring each of these topics Oliphant interacts with quotes from notable skeptics such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, David Hume and others while also providing support for Christianity with quotes from notable theologians such as John Calvin, Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, and Herman Bavinck. Oliphint is more than capable of presenting a logical and coherent case for Christianity, as would be expected of a professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, yet he does so in a way that is confident and approachable. He builds this case from a Reformed perspective without using some of the jargon that more advanced readers would be familiar with, but which might only serve to confuse those who are just being introduced to apologetics.
Oliphint accomplishes what he sets out to do in providing an entry level and affordable overview of apologetics for the layperson and points those that are interested in studying deeper towards resources that can expand their knowledge. I would recommend the book as one to work through with high school students preparing to go to college, as a gift for skeptical friends who don’t understand why Christians believe, or for anyone looking to solidify and reaffirm the core tenets of orthodox Christianity.