P&R publishing was kind enough to send me a review copy of Richard Ramsay’s The Certainty of the Faith (2007). This is a 280 page intermediate discussion of Christian apologetics. In this book, Ramsay summarizes the main points and history of Western philosophy, he points out a few significant Christian apologists and explains their emphases, and he walks through some basic objections of the Christian faith while explaining how to handle them biblically. In Ramsay’s own terms, this book is something between a guide to evangelism and a philosophical discussion of worldview and belief(s) (p. xiii).
The Certainty of the Faith would be too difficult for most high school students and perhaps too elementary for someone who has read volumes on apologetics. Therefore, I’d recommend this book for college level apologetics (somewhere between introductory apologetics and advanced apologetics). In fact, it would be a good book to discuss in a group setting since there are review and discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
There are many strengths to this book. I appreciated it as a good review of my own studies in apologetics. There are helpful charts and diagrams throughout this book to make tough concepts easier to grasp. The patient, caring, and pastoral attitude of Ramsay’s discussions reminded me that though apologetics is an intellectual endeavor, it also involves love for God’s word, the gospel, and the person that we are engaging with the truths of the faith. I’ll end with a quote that displays humility in apologetics.
“Some people might think it seems arrogant to claim that we know the truth, but in reality it takes humility to admit that we depend completely upon God to know anything. Furthermore, it would be a lack of faith, and it would offend God, to doubt what he has spoken. This is how the fall began in the mind of Adam and Eve. To me, it is like having assurance of salvation. Although some consider it arrogant to claim such assurance, in reality it is not.
“In the first place, salvation is not something we earn but something Jesus has accomplished for us. It is not arrogant to claim that we have received a free gift. In the second place, it is good to believe God’s promises, not arrogant. In a similar way, to claim assurance of knowing the truth (not all truth, just what God has chosen to reveal) basically means we take God at his word. This should not be considered arrogant, and we must make sure that as Christians we do not become proud of it and that we do not communicate an attitude of superiority because of it” (p. 148-9).