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Book Review: Has God Spoken?

September 3, 2011

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Scores of apologetic works line bookstore shelves these days (where bookstores still exist). Hank Hanegraaff wrote one of a different spirit, however, than any of the others in my experience (which, I’ll grant, is limited).

My issue with most apologetic works lies in identifying the audience. Who does the apologist write for? Some maintain that they write for the atheist, the skeptic, but how many atheists really peruse for a book that sets out to prove them wrong? Maybe a few, and I applaud them.

Other apologists seem to write for believers. They assume a certain level of faith, they default to God is God when they can’t resolve an issue, etc. Some of this invaluably builds-up the faith of believers, but unless they make a serious study of it they can’t regurgitate much of the information.

Enter Has God Spoken? Hanegraaff writes for the believer talking to the skeptic. He seems to know that most atheists will not pull his book off a shelf, and he knows by experience – as host of the Bible Answer Man program – that most believers find themselves ill-equipped to defend the integrity of the scripture. Hanegraaff presents sound arguments, great history, and a strategy to help the reader remember what she reads.

Hanegraaff likes acronyms. He uses them well, and after the first couple of chapters I could easily sit back and recite his main points based on the acronyms he provides. Whether or not he over-uses the tool by the end of the book, each reader may decide. I lost track, although anyone serious about learning the material would probably be able to make the most of all the acronyms with little trouble.

The book in its entirety fleshes out his main acronym, MAPS. He uses MAPS, “to place in your mind the four-part line of reasoning by which you can demonstrate that the Bible is diving as opposed to merely human in origin” (xv). Manuscript Copies, Archaeologist’s Spade, Prophetic Stars, Scriptural Lights.

The last word of each of those breaks down further. To help you remember what is so special about Manuscript Copies, he assigns COPIES to Copyist practices, Oral culture, Papyrus and parchment, Internal evidence, External evidence, and Science of textual criticism. SPADE, STARS, AND LIGHTS all break down to help the apologetics student defend each of their arguments as well. A couple of the chapters have even more acronyms. It might be comical, if it didn’t work so well.

Do you read apologetics? What’s your favorite book or resource?

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