Ravi Zacharias guided the collection of essays by his Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) staff in Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend which covers topics as diverse as challenges from non-Christian world religions, evil in the world, spiritual transformation and living a Christ centered life. The text is broken into three sections. The first section, “Addressing the Difficult Questions” provides essays on other world religions including Islam and Hinduism, answering atheists, and engaging youth culture. Additional essays discuss the basics of conversational apologetics, challenges from culture and the challenges of evil and suffering. The second section, “Internalizing the Questions and Answers” provides advice on spiritual growth including dealing with self-deception and a better understanding of the Trinity. In the final section Zacharias provides the two essays in “Living Out the Answers” providing a call for Christians to live out what they speak and claim to believe including practical advice on strengthening one’s body and mind.
To be blunt, this book is and is intended to be heavy lifting. The text covers deep philosophical and theological issues. Therefore this book is likely not for every reader or even mood. It reads much more like a text book than a self help/spiritual growth book in some of the essays. And, being written by multiple authors, the quality of the chapters varies. It is sometimes frustrating to have authors quoting heavily from other authors also in the book, finding me asking what do they think not their colleagues or if they relied so heavily on this essay author why didn’t they write this chapter. Likewise it would be nice to have authors include more personal stories instead of summarizing their study on the topic. The chapters on other religions though informative weigh heavily on global religions which many may not interact with on a daily basis. It would have been a nice addition to include chapters on the Church of Latter Day Saints or Jehovah’s Witnesses as religions that many Christians in the United States may literally have knocking on their door and struggle in understanding Personally, I think the subtitle of “Living the Faith We Defend” is somewhat misleading as only one chapter, which is written by Zacharias, truly addresses living out our faith in a sincere and informed way which was really the topic I wished for the book to address.
Review Copy provided by Thomas Nelson