Book Review: 7 Truths That Changed the World

7 Truths That Changed the World is the latest book by Ken Samples, senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe and Adjunct Instructor of apologetics at Biola University. I had the pleasure of taking the  “Authority, Canon, and Criticism” course under Mr. Samples and attending his lectures during my summer residency time at Biola. The breadth of his knowledge is impressive and inspiring. He is one of the most gifted lecturers and writers I have encountered. I greatly appreciate his command of language, his careful use of phrasing, and the way he is able to articulate arguments (even those I’m very familiar with) in a way that gives me a fresh perspective and deeper understanding of their significance. So, whenever I set out to read his latest book, I expected more of what I have come to admire about Mr. Samples’ work, and I was not disappointed.

7 Truths is arranged into seven main sections, each dealing with a “Dangerous Idea” that is fundamental to the Christian belief system. Samples says, “If as a Christian you find that these dangerous ideas don’t rock your worldview, then maybe your faith has become far too safe. And if you’re not a Christian, then welcome to Christianity’s dangerous, but good, ideas” (p. 11). These ideas are as follows:

1. Not All Dead Men Stay Dead

2. God Walked the Earth

3. A Fine-Tuned Cosmos with a Beginning

4. Clear Pointers to God

5. Not by Works

6. Humanity’s Value and Dignity

7. The Good in Suffering

In each major section, Samples uses subtitles to break the topic down into compact, digestible segments. I appreciate how well he outlines each argument thoroughly but incredibly succinctly. Never did I feel bogged down in superfluous details or examples. He gets right to the point without omitting valuable facets of the discussion. As I mentioned above, he has a talent for re-framing apologetics arguments in a way that even a seasoned apologist can benefit from. He incorporates appropriate instruction on logic and spotting skeptics’ fallacies. Another thing I absolutely LOVE is the inclusion of handy charts and tables that condense vital information into visual learning tools.

The overall scope of the text is appropriate to its purpose, which is to show how Christian truth claims make sense of both objective reality and our internal instincts, and to encourage believers to use this knowledge to make a difference in today’s secularized world. Every one of the arguments are well-supported and all of the information is properly referenced. This book would serve well as both an introductory apologetics text for those new to the discipline and a refresher text for those (such as myself) who have already spent several years in formal study. I enjoyed every page, and I expect I will put it to use repeatedly as a nice quick-reference. I think it is a staple for every thinking Christian’s library. I give it five stars *****

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