Monday, February 28, 2011

Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias

Many Christians struggle in their faith and some find that their faith has failed them. Zacharias' desire for those is that, “ they read this, God will rekindle that flickering light and bring new life where there seems none.” (9)

The author's argument is to have readers look at life without Christianity and what that means. While his premise sounds good, his methods left me unsatisfied. He tells many stories (many of which had me scratching my head as to their relevance). He spends many pages in a critique of Robert Price's The Reason Driven Life (which I had never heard of). He takes great care to have the reader address the issues of thinking Jesus has failed the believer when it was really the church which has done so. He has some seven pages on the possibility of thinking Christianity has failed one because the sexual standards it imposes are difficult to meet. (91-98)
He reminds readers of the good arguments for the existence of God. He covers the possibility of those who think Christianity has failed them because of unanswered prayer. He says, ...prayer remains a mystery to all of us...” (152) Zacharias reminds his readers, “...prayer is about – training one's hungers and longing to correspond with God's will for us – and that is what Christian faith is all about.” (157)
He wants his readers to realize, “...who Jesus is and what it means to be a Christian. … You have realized that Christianity has not failed you; God has not failed you. … Perhaps your expectations of Jesus and Christianity were false.” (179)
It may be that the church has failed you. Zacharias spends some time taking the church to task. While many churches are “demonstrating theological integrity and methodological relevance,” (185) there are all too many who have lost or compromised the message. They are not teaching people how to think correctly. (189)
“If you have struggled with your faith, if you feel that Christianity has failed you, take a deep, personal look at what you are called to as a Christian, according to the Scriptures, and then evaluate once again who has failed.” (202) Giving up on Christianity “...makes all the difference in the world for you and how you life your life...” (207) “It is Christianity that has kept the Western world intact, that has created the environment and the impetus for success the West has known.” (208) Zacharias says, “In any situation when Christianity is evicted, I have absolutely no doubt that a radical form of totalitarian religious belief will take over.” (208) He suggests the reader look at Jesus and trust God to carry you through the struggles to a place of contentment and victory. The alternative is a “freedomless worldview that imposes its belief on all.” (209)
Others have traveled the same road and found their way back to a joyful relationship with God. There may be questions that still haunt you but Jesus Christ will carry you to the solid ground of truth and hope. (210)
I have read many of Zacharias' books and this one has been the least rewarding. Unlike his other books. I found this one very hard to follow. Now that I have finished it, I am not so sure that there are really a couple of books in this one. Too many arguments have been crammed into 210 pages. Too many stories were included. (Such as the one about his daughter's answered prayer regarding a lost suitcase – is that really supposed to make people feel better when their prayers for the life of another were not answered positively?)
I don't feel this book is for the general public. One would need to be willing to wade through much to catch the kernels of relevant material.

Zondervan, 210 pages.

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