What do I think of Paul Ernst’s book on apologetics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Not too long ago, Paul Ernst contacted me and said he was a supporter of Tektonics and that he’d written a book and wanted to know if I and/or JPH could review it. I said I would be glad to and before too long, there was my copy in the mail. Last night I finished reading it and wanted to share my thoughts with readers on it.
I’d like to point out right at the start that Ernst came to Christ in his mid-fifties and I do not know the details, but it looks like his health is not that good right now and yet, he has done the research at the late point in the game and come to a conclusion and not only did he come to a conclusion, he actually did something with that conclusion. He wrote a book to help others come to that same conclusion.
If we had more Christians like Ernst out there willing to do the hard work and ask the hard questions and stick their necks out there, the church would not be in the hideous state that it’s in now.
I liked a good portion of what Ernst said in his book. I will say it is basic, and I’m sure Ernst would agree. His work is not meant to be a real scholarly work but a work meant to be read to the layman from the layman. His work is to show his own journey as well and invite other people to go into that journey.
It starts off with a simple fact. Something happens when you die. It could be you just become worm food. It could be you get reincarnated. It could be you get to go to Heaven or Hell or some other concept, but every worldview has something to say about what happens at death. Since this is a question facing all of us, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to address it?
I find this a much better approach than “If you were to die today, why should God let you into Heaven?” This kind of question assumes a monotheistic God is there at the start and that he’s letting people into Heaven or Hell. Ernst’s question doesn’t. It starts off with what we can all agree on, that we have to say what happens at death, and then it encourages us to go about answering that.
This gets us into worldview analysis. Ernst doesn’t say as much about pantheism, though I think he says enough, but his main focus is on naturalism. Ernst also deals with scientific concerns seeing as that was his area of research, though I cannot say how good he does on this since I am not a scientist as well.
When it comes to biblical matters, I do think there could have been more. I don’t see the prophecy fulfilled aspect as strong without more information. Crossan would say it was prophecy historicized. Atheists on the internet today would say that they are prophecies taken out of context. I think both of these claims could be answered, but I’d like to see more.
I’d also like to see more on proving the resurrection. There was some in there, but I see this as the central question and therefore one of utmost importance that needs to be established further.
Still, I think if someone is looking for a good book to get them thinking on some issues and coming from a layman’s perspective, I think this is a good one. There are matters that I disagree with (Such as his view of the afterdeath), but these are secondary. Ernst’s work is written with a passion to reach those who are still lost and wanting to make the most of the time he has left. We need more Christians to be active like he is.