Tag Archive: spirituality


Beyond Opinion,” edited by Ravi Zacharias and published by Thomas Nelson, is a book for anyone who writes apologetics, enjoys reading apologetics, wants to know what apologetics are all about, or someone who would like to have answers when asked about their faith in everyday life. It is not a book that will be read in one setting. It took me longer to read than most books I review. Fortunately, I found I was not alone, according to reviews by fellow reviewers, Angie Boy and Christian Salafia.

“Beyond Opinion” is a book to be read, re-read, and savored, mentally devouring each delectable morsel – made up of theology and reason. Each of a number of today’s leading apologists, including Zacharias himself, takes on a different aspect or topic of apologetics. Though each chapter stands on it own, it is also a unique part of the cohesive whole.

As is noted in the marketing copy, “Beyond Opinion” is Zacharias’ response to the question posed to him by a Hindu friend. “If this conversion is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians that I know?” To achieve his objective – an apologetic to enable Christians to be theologically informed enough to answer the tough questions in such a way as to persuade rather than argue – he asked the leading apologists, working with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), to write on the different challenges to the Christian faith.

“Beyond Opinion” is not only a relevant and useful apologetic compendium, it may also be used as a topical apologetic in particular situations. Beginning with the postmodern challenges to the Bible, part one also addresses the other most common challenges such as atheism, youth, Islam, eastern religions, and science. For those wanting to delve further into apologetics and theology in order to be equipped to ” simultaneously defend the faith and be transformed into a person of compassion,” section two of part one digs deeper by addressing conversational apologetics, broader cultural and philosophical challenges, the existential challenges of evil and suffering, and cross-cultural challenges.

Part two seeks to internalize the questions and answers acquired by venturing into the Trinity as a paradigm for Spiritual Transformation, the role of doubt and persecution in spiritual transformation, and idolatry, denial, and self-deception – hearts on pilgrimage. Zacharias rounds out the tome expounding on the church’s role in apologetics and the development of the mind.

Unfortunately, space does not permit in a short review a discussion of the theological points so eloquently stated in the book. And where would one begin? Or end, for that matter. It is better that you read it for yourself in its entirety (albeit not all at once). Your faith will become stronger and you will become spiritually assured. More importantly, the next time you find yourself in a conversation about your faith in a public setting, you will be able to respond knowledgeably and in a manner aimed more toward “winning people rather than arguments.”

Peace be with you.

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What do people gain from all the toil

at which they toil under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever. Eccl. 1:2-4

During a Disciple Bible Study several years ago, when we got to Ecclesiastes, the text suggested that we read the entire book in one sitting. Always up for a challenge, I dutifully read it all the way through – and I was fascinated. Of all the books in the Bible, I have read or heard passages from Ecclesiastes the least in my lifetime as a Christian. Granted, I did not go to church all the time when I was younger.

If you take a passage of Ecclesiastes out of context, it can be downright depressing. Which is the general opinion of Ecclesiastes from what I have ascertained after hearing sermons, speakers, and talking with people. But when I read it in one sitting, not only did I see the relevance to my life, but was left with a feeling of hope. Quite the opposite of what I expected after what I had heard.

I knew then that my next Bible study would be Ecclesiastes. This is not the first full length Bible study I have written, but it will be the first one published. The previous studies are still waiting for reprint permission for passages I included. So I began my journey with Qohelet, the teacher.

Scholars generally agree that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes. But it is not known for certain who did write the book. I prefer to look at it from the view that Qohelet, the “teacher,” or “preacher,” was the author. It seems to be more relevant to our lives today from that view.

I am currently editing the book for the last time. Feel free to join me on my dual journey – through Ecclesiastes and the editing process – which will continue as a journey through theology and our lives today.

Peace be with you.

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