Out With Doubt – A Look at the Evidence for Christianity, Kyle Butt
Looking for an excellent book to begin a study of Christian Evidences with teenagers? This is a good place to start. The book deals with various topics relating to Christian Evidences: the existence of God, the inspired word of God, pain & suffering, creation and age of the earth, evolution and theistic evolution, dinosaurs, and facts surrounding the life of Jesus Christ—his existence, the miracles performed and his resurrection. I appreciated Butt’s rebuttal of the compromise with evolution often called “theistic evolution”. Efforts to harmonize the Bible with macroevolution per Darwin and such are not possible. The sooner our teenager realize this the better in order to protect them from an untenable compromise. All of these topics could be expanded to additional books with a greater degree of detail; however, this book is designed for those unfamiliar with these areas so as to encourage a lifelong study of these great themes.
Christian Evidences (or Apologetics) is an exciting field of study. I have been a student of this field of study since my teenage years and have never grown weary of it. I know that young people’s faith and resolve have been strengthened by studies along these lines. Often when I am looking to begin studying on a complex issue, I seek out literature that seeks to make the “complex understandable”. This is what this book does.
In this book, brother Butt dispels the common falsehood that faith is some “leap in the dark”. Tragically many are taught due to a distorted view of faith. I can recall hearing it said that the difference between belief and faith is whether the object is seen or unseen. If you can see it, then it is belief. If you cannot, then it is faith. That is partially true but misses a key component. Some extrapolate the unseen into no proof to back it up. Sadly, that is what many Christians are sometimes left to believe—that there is no evidence for their beliefs. What they fail to realize is the scientific method is only one measure of evidence. Some become so narrow in their definition of evidence that they fail to realize that testimony constitutes evidence. The book points out that faith in the Bible is not a “leap in the dark” (suggesting no proof), but is based on testimony that can be substantiated.
An aspect of the book that I also appreciate is the Afterward. I have several books by Josh McDowell which are excellent reading. One of my criticism of McDowell’s work is his explanation of the plan to be saved as reciting the “sinner’s prayer”. One should be careful to think critically and validate material in books. Even the Bible demands to be tested (1 Thessalonians 5:21). When one compares the “sinner’s prayer” with the Biblical plan, one realizes that the “sinner’s prayer” is nowhere found in the Scriptures, but baptism for the remission of sins is clearly taught in the New Testament. Brother Butt makes an appeal to young people to consider the biblical plan of salvation and obey it.
I became more familiar with this book thanks to our teenage class. The teacher and I were looking for an idea of how to generate interest in the teenage class. When we examined this book, we decided it would be a useful tool to teach a subject that we had not taught as much as we would have liked. . The discussion questions helped stimulate the critical thinking for both the students and the teacher. The church decided that a book would be given to each teenager to keep for his or her own personal libraries for future reference. At the conclusion of the class, I spoke to the teenagers and the teacher about the class to see what the results were. The teenagers I spoke to were eager to keep the book (plus there were none sitting around unused later). The teacher and students thought it would be a good idea to have a follow-up class on the material. The study was viewed as very profitable to the point that we are seeking to maintain in the curriculum so no young person who goes through the teen years attending our classes will miss this vital material. I highly recommend it for the church library since it makes excellent reading for new Christians who may be unfamiliar with the field of Christian Apologetics as well.