What do I think of Michael Minot’s book The Beckoning published by Morgan James Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The Beckoning is about how a lawyer began an investigation of three months that moved him from being an atheist to being a Christian. Let’s start with some positives. First off, Minot has a unique idea of making videos to go with the chapters. Honestly, I did not watch as I do not take much time to watch videos online and I was often reading late at night. My wife was already asleep and I was not going to disturb her. Perhaps this is an idea that is worth looking into by other authors, especially since many more are going to YouTube and using that as a social platform.
I also liked how there were questions at the end of each chapter. Books like this are often aimed to be using by churches and small groups and having questions at the end prepared can help to facilitate a discussion. Of course, groups will often have their own questions at the end and that is quite alright. As a leader of a small group at my church, I know we rarely stick to the questions entirely or even the subject matter. (I even recall a class in Seminary where we started talking about some of the latest technology and the professor saying we’d talk about it for awhile even though it has nothing to do with the subject matter not like that’s ever stopped us before. Diversions are a part of reality like that.)
I appreciate also Minot going personal in his journey about the kinds of things he’s experienced. It’s hard to not be moved by the account of him losing his friends from school and his account of losing his son. These are real tragedies and we all have tragedies in our lives as well.
Yet despite this, I found a number of problems with Minot’s book that seriously concerned me. The arguments for theism were all rooted in scientific evidence. Now I understand this is a popular approach, but it’s one I really do find flawed. Why marry our theism to the science of our day? Not because science is something bad, but because it changes. One could say that today, it looks like The Big Bang Theory points to God. But what if another interpretation comes along of the theory? What if the theory is one day found to be wrong? What happens to our apologetic then? It’s not mine to state if it will or if it won’t, but I think we should move towards the arguments of the past, the philosophical arguments, such as the Thomistic ones, that can stand regardless of what happens with the science.
I also found it troubling that while there is a section on Jesus, there is nothing I saw on making a strong case for His resurrection. This is the central argument that needs to be made to show Christianity is true. You can have theism after all and not have Christianity. We saw strong arguments on the loving character of Jesus, and that’s well and good, but having a loving character does not mean you are Lord and King. Besides that, I do not think I saw anything on how well the Bible has been handed down throughout the years, so one could just as well say the story was written that way. I do not doubt that the person of Jesus is appealing, but we must show that that person is real, the accounts are reliable, and that He truly is the Messiah. Had there been a good strong argument for the resurrection of Jesus in here, I could have given more stars on my review, but without that, the story is just incomplete.
If Minot has future editions, I hope we will see more historical work done in that regard and more philosophical work as well. I did not find the explanations on evil to be entirely convincing such as the devil is allowed to be here to challenge us. That could be so, but I can already predict the responses a skeptic would make to that such as why God allowed it to happen in the first place. The problem of evil is really complex after all, even though I personally do not find it convincing.
I think Minot has the start to something good, but there needs to be more work, and especially on the resurrection.