Available on Amazon.com
When did the simple Good News get so complicated?
At first glance the Gospel seems straightforward: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”
Then you start asking questions: Do you need to believe particular things about Jesus to be saved? If so, what things? Do you need to live in a particular way? If so, how exactly? Do you need to do good works and avoid specific sins? And if so, what kind of works and which sins? Are the demands the same for everybody everywhere or do they change over time, place, and person?
And why isn’t any of this clearer?
Theologian Randal Rauser became a follower of Jesus when he was five years old and ever since then he’s been trying to understand what’s so confusing about grace. Now after forty years things are just starting to make sense.
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Available on Amazon.com
The question of God is simply too important–and too interesting–to leave to angry polemicists. That is the premise of this friendly, straightforward, and rigorous dialogue between Christian theologian Randal Rauser and atheist Justin Schieber. Setting aside the formality of the traditional debate, the authors invite the reader to join them in an extended, informal conversation. This has the advantage of easing readers into thorny topics that in a debate setting can easily become confusing or difficult to follow.
Like any good conversation, this one involves provocative arguments, amusing anecdotes, and some lively banter. Rauser and Schieber begin with the question of why debates about God still matter. They then delve into a number of important topics: the place of reason and faith, the radically different concepts of God in various cultures, morality and its traditional connection with religious beliefs, the problem of a universe that is overwhelmingly hostile to life as we know it, mathematical truths and what they may or may not say about the existence of God, the challenge of suffering and evil to belief in God, and more.
Refreshingly upbeat and amicable throughout, this stimulating conversation between two friends from opposing points of view is an ideal introduction to a perennial topic of debate.
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“There are some whose way of following the first of the great commandments has, in the matter of nonbelief, meant violating the second. In this brief and lively but remarkably full and acute discussion, Rauser shows the way out of this problem. Impressively fair, and writing not perfunctorily but with feeling, he has found a way to express genuine neighborliness both to atheists like me and to Christians who struggle to reconcile love and loyalty.”
(J. L. Schellenberg, Professor of Philosophy, Mount Saint Vincent University, author of Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason)
“In our post-Christian—and increasingly post-theist—western culture, we need voices like Rauser’s that repudiate simplistic, belligerent, and belittling Christian rhetoric, and motivate us to think more critically and humbly about being good neighbors—good world citizens—as we walk the path of Christian faith. I will be recommending this book to many who seek better ways to live among others—and for those who are honest enough to struggle with their own ‘inner atheist.’”
(Peter Enns, Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies, Eastern University, author of The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture has Made Us Unable to Read it)
“When I first heard about this book, I said the same thing I do every time Randal comes out with a new book, ‘What? He’s written another book?’ But . . . I have to admit that if I want anyone speaking to Christians on behalf of atheists, or to atheists on behalf of Christians, it’s Randal. This book proves once again how capable he is of bridging such cultural divides.”
(Kevin Miller, director of Hellbound?)
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There’s been an upsurge in interest about the afterlife lately, but according to Randal Rauser, we’re too often limited in our concept of what heaven really is. God’s ultimate purpose goes beyond “pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by.” Rather, the whole creation will be transformed and renewed. “Heaven,” Rauser says, “is earth multiplied by perfection.”
What will that be like? What implications does it have for life now? This eye-opening book takes you through a series of creative and thought-provoking questions, ultimately leading to the biblical vision of a glorious afterlife consisting of a perfected earth, perfected bodies, perfected human culture, and perfected relationships. This stunning picture of the future will also transform how you understand and even live your life in the here and now.
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Randal’s interview on Faith Radio Mornings:
Randal’s interview on The Debbie Chavez Show:
Randal’s thirty minute talk on heaven:
Randal’s interview with Father Ron on Amplify:
Randal’s interview with Bob Dutko:
Randal’s interview on CHRI 99.1
“Rauser’s dialogue brings the best tools of philosophical thinking within the reach of thoughtful believers and skeptics alike. His representative in the conversation knows when to stick to his guns, and when to admit to uncertainty and fallibility. His atheist counterpart is no straw man–he knows his Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens. Rauser has the philosophical chops to cut through a lot of rhetorical nonsense, but he also has the intellectual honesty to face up to the genuine difficulties confronting his faith. This enjoyable book is a model of candid, winsome, thought-provoking apologetics.”
(Dean Zimmerman, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University )
See this article on The Swedish Atheist in the magazine “The Bridge.”
Check out this radio interview: Randal on Faith Radio Mornings
Check out this podcast interview: Author_Talks_-_Episode_27_-_Randal_Rauser
“This is not a quarrel, nor one of those flame wars of the deaf that rage across cyberspace then spills angrily into print, nor even that stuffy, artificial creation, a ‘religious dialogue.” What we have here is conversation: at times witty, at times tendentious, often humorous and almost always engaged on emotional as well as intellectual levels. Rauser is master of parables with a philosophical point: Loftus makes an art form of heart-on-his-sleeve pragmatism. Both land blows, yet the book contains hardly a trace of bitterness: at best, it reaches the level of a mythical, Platonic debate in a pub. Almost no one will fully agree with either writer, nor fail to enjoy the rhetorical flow.”
David Marshall, author of The Truth Behind the New Atheism
A challenge to all Christians to find truth wherever it may be, and whatever the cost.
“Make no mistake, Rauser is a Christian apologist and wedded to a system of beliefs that some may consider delusional. But that’s the rub – he’s not delusional. He’s smart, impassioned and, most importantly, he’s a breath of fresh air in a world of loud voices and hardened opinions.” Read the full review here.
The Atheist Missionary Popular blogger at “The Atheist Missionary”
“In this important book Rauser comes down hard on evangelicals and atheists alike, and I agree with him quite a bit on both scores.” “I highly recommend his book.” Read the full review here.
John Loftus Author of Why I am Not a Christian and popular blogger at “Debunking Christianity”
Blasphemous heresy or theological truth?
“If you have ever had a conversation on The Shack, whether with an enthusiast or a critic, you will want to invite this skilled and accessible theologian into the conversation. Before you have read a dozen pages you will know why we need to keep company with theologians. They help us keep our conversations on God intelligent, informed, and irenic.”
Eugene H. Peterson
Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.
“If you’ve been inspired, challenged, or even threatened by Young’s novel, Finding God in The Shack is like inviting an intelligent, even-handed conversation partner in your home.”
Mike Morrell of Zoeinarnate
“Finding God in the Shack is more than a companion guide. It is as useful as the bestseller it is based on as an exploration of Christian faith today.”
The Good Book Stall
The best-selling Portuguese translation of Finding God in The Shack.
Can your faith handle unanswered questions?
“One of the many strengths of this tour of the Apostles’ Creed is its reminder that the central beliefs of Christian faith are also mysteries that are beyond our comprehension. Rauser proves to be an excellent guide for this journey.”
John R. Franke
Clemens Professor of Missional Theology, Biblical Seminary, USA
“This exciting volume should be read and pondered by all who care about the nature and content of constructive theology. Bring it on!”
Reader in Theology, University of Bristol
“Rauser will not allow us to be intellectually lazy, but calls us to pursue rigorous orthodoxy from a position of humility. His blend of humour and logic makes reading this book not only insightful, but really enjoyable.”
Kelly M. Kapic
Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College, USA
“Rauser leads us on a stimulating journey that is both unsettling and yet simultaneously faith-affirming.”
Founding pastor of Sutton Vineyard, London
Everything you need to know about Christian philosophy from A-Z
“An extremely useful resource… essential for any undergraduate or public library.”
Stephen J. Shaw
American Reference Books Annual
“An absolutely indispensable resource.”
Rigorous analytic theology without apology
“In the history of Western thought, Christian theology was once considered to be ‘the Queen of Sciences’. Today it has been marginalised by a prevailing scepticism. Randal Rauser confronts the problem of developing a public voice for the theologian as engaged in true theological science while not compromising the commitment to the Christian community of faith. This book posits a viable account of theological rationality, justification, and knowledge that avoids the twin pitfalls of modern rationalism and postmodern irrationalism. Theology is freshly understood as a rigorous and rational truth-seeking discipline that seeks theoretical understanding of divine reality.”
Throughout the modern era the predominant epistemological position has been classical foundationalism, a position now widely rejected by philosophers and theologians alike. Philosophers recognize that it fails to achieve a plausible account of rationality, justification or knowledge, while theologians recognize the extent to which classical foundationalist strictures have distorted Christian doctrine. In its place many philosophers and theologians alike have adopted a nonfoundationalist epistemology, which is in turn often associated with a problematic alethic and metaphysical antirealism. Engaging with the ideas of key thinkers from Descartes, Locke, and Kant, to Bruce Marshall and Alvin Plantinga, Rauser provides an accessible and provocative survey of the theological terrain of the modern – and postmodern – era, arguing in favour of a return to a moderate foundationalism.
This little book (or big booklet) was originally published by RTSF in Britain in 2002. It has since gone out of print but it is available for download here.