“Has Christianity Failed You?”- Ravi Zacharias (Book Review)

The title is what drew me in with this book. The introduction tells of people who had left Christianity for various reasons: specifically mentioning a man who was rejected by Christians because of his gay lifestyle, a woman who had committed adultery and repented but never felt accepted at her church again, and ones that rejected the faith because they felt it was incompatible with reason. What followed in the book was not what I was expecting it would be. Ironically, this was kinda the point of the book anyway. A main message of Ravi Zacharias was that it wasn’t Christianity that had failed you but the Church itself, or even you yourself, that has failed. Many people, he argues, don’t have a proper expectation of what Christianity means, and so naturally are disappointed when it doesn’t live up to the expectations we have in our heads, “this isn’t what I thought it would be.”

The author makes brilliant points in defending who Jesus was and who he claimed to be and what being a Christian means. Although if you are looking for a detailed scriptural discussion this isn’t the book you think it is either. This is much more of a philosophical argument for Christianity than a scriptural one. Ravi Zacharias uses such brilliance and logic as he weaves his points through the lens of reason that he can at times be hard to follow from his vantage point. As such, I wouldn’t imagine that this is a book that someone who actually has doubts and issues with Christianity would actually benefit from honestly. For the believer though it is a wonderful intellectual defense of the faith. It reminded me of an early church father defending and comparing Christianity with Greek philosophy.

The best parts, to me, where the chapters where he deals specifically with certain issues with the faith. Sexual fulfillment, the issue of suffering in the world, and seemingly unanswered prayers. To sum up (probably very poorly) a main theme in the book that touched me the most; it is more important to focus on the character and person of God than on endless questions of scripture and verse and constant seeking of answers to question we think are important. Not that such things are wrong. Theological questions should be intelligently thought out and answered, and our problems and issues of a personal nature are important. However they can cause us to lose focus on the greater thing. A person – Jesus. When Satan tried to entrap Jesus by quoting verses from scripture, Jesus stayed focus on the character of God. When Job seemingly endless problems and his despair over it reached a boiling point, God never explained the situation to him. Only showed Job by a series of questions who He was. When Jesus was instruction his followers how to pray, which included petitions for daily necessities and help, he reminded them of what the purpose of prayer was-Holy Spirit. Receiving the Spirit, God himself, in our heart. God’s ultimate purpose is to bring us to himself.

Overall, those seeking real answers to their doubts over Christianity may not find what they need in this book. And some of the advice, such as perhaps seeing yourself as the problem, is a bit hard to swallow. But if you change your expectation of what you are seeking, then like with Christianity itself, you may enjoy what you find.

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