Thu, 04 Apr 2013 - 2:03 PM CST
Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends
Jeffrey Burton Russell (InterVarsity Press, 361 pp., paperback)
Jeffrey Burton Russell’s new apologetic book addresses two trending and, for the foreseeable future, enduring phenomena. The first is the growth in the popularity of certain atheistic arguments and attitudes (specifically from those whom he appropriately refers to as “antitheists”). The second is the technologically driven trend that reduces discourse to one-line arguments, which are then widely and wildly spread, often without examination of historical or logical evidence. The combination of these two developments has produced careless dismissals of Christian faith, which are often encapsulated in pithy, pseudo-intellectual axioms. Exposing Myths gathers 145 “lies and legends” about Christianity, and provides the careful responses that one would expect from a distinguished historian.
Some of the myths are vague accusations, such as #4: Christianity is a fairy tale, or #115: Protestantism is puritanical. Others are more pointed and concrete, such as #15: Christianity supported black slavery, or #49: Medieval Christians believed the earth was flat.
Russell’s style is direct and confident. On issues of logic and common-sense, he is careful and precise; on issues of historical record, he exposes the myth and often provides its origin as well; on issues that are acutely delicate, he is honest to Scripture while still being sensitive; on issues of Christian faith and beliefs, he takes a purposed stance that usually is both orthodox and ecumenical. Where Russell addresses hot button issues such as evolution or interpreting Revelation, he sometimes takes a position that some Christians might oppose.
Exposing Myths should prove a valuable tool to help pastors separate truth from untruth, especially for those who are involved in college and young-adult ministry. Its arrangement around 145 separate myths allows it to be easily read in small, engaging pieces.
Reviewed by Justin J. Evans, M.A., M.T., librarian, St. Paul, Minnesota,