These authors are all professors at Abilene Christian University, and over the years they have written several books based upon studies of young people in the churches of Christ. We have reviewed these books in the past and have recommended them to people who want to know what is going on with youth in the Church. The other two books in this series, titled Shattering the Silence and Dying to Tell, told about moral beliefs and practices of teens in the churches of Christ and about their drug use and habits. This book deals with beliefs about God, the Church, issues within the Church, and how the beliefs of our youth affects their behavior.
Like the other two books, this book is full of charts, tables, graphs,
and other portrayals of data based upon the 4,000 teens surveyed. This
style may make the book useful in making up sermons and in teaching
classes. Sometimes the charts are hard to figure out and could have
been expressed more easily in a sentence or two. The book is divided
into 10 chapters with numerous subheadings, making the finding of
data on specific subjects very easy. The 10 chapters and their content
Chapter 1. The identification of what the young people are like and where they got their basic information Chapter 2. How young people view God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit
Chapter 3. Problems youth face today spiritually Chapter 4. Who helps teens with their spirituality as they see it Chapter 5. How family structure relates to teenage spirituality Chapter 6. How teens see the Holy Spirit helping them Chapter 7. Baptism, family spiritual activity, and influences
Chapters 8, 9, 10. Congregational relationships to youth spirituality and suggestions to parents and church leaders.
We recommend this book highly to preachers, elders, youth leaders, teachers, and parents. There is a wealth of data and advice that will he useful to anyone involved in the youth of the Church.
The Prophet Motive by Kenny Barfield,
Gospel Advocate Publishers, PO BOX 150, Nashville, TN 37202, 1995, 340 pages, $14.99 + s/h
When I heard that Kenny Barfield had written another book, I was sure that I wanted to read it and recommend it to others. Dr. Barfield has been a friend and fellow-worker in Christian Evidences for a very long time, and his writings have always been scholarly and useful. I have not been disappointed in his latest effort.
The Prophet Motive is a study of prophecy and fulfillment as an evidence that the Bible is inspired, but this book is not written as a naive, shallow promotion of Bible tradition. Barfield begins with a theological and philosophical introduction to the subject of prophecy. He then discusses biblical prophecies concerning Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, Phoenicia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Israel and documents from a wide range of historical and archaeological sources what actually happened to these ancient peoples.
After dealing with the histories of nations, Barfield spends three chapters dealing with the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He spends time looking at the "opposition" and its successes in prophecy-- including Greek Oracles, Astrology, divination, Nostradamus, Joseph Smith (Mormon), Charles Russell (Jehovah Witness), and others. These are not detailed exposes, but they are interesting and useful in spite of their brevity.
The last section of the book is an attempt to answer questions and challenges to the belief that biblical prophecy is unique and an evidence of inspiration. Two chapters are used to pose the legitimacy of belief in God--using cosmological and teleological arguments. This is too brief to be of great use, but it is a good review. Questions about dates of prophets and the fulfillment of what they predicted occupy the rest of the defense section of the book.
The brevity of some sections of the book poses problems and some
major arguments skeptics raise (like claimed contradictions in the
resurrection accounts) are brushed off as being inconsequential. The
book is heavily documented with over 1,000 references from a wide
range of sources and has numerous black and white pictures. We
recommend this book highly to any reader. It is well written, easy to
read, and does not require an extensive academic background to
understand it or profit from it.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, January/February 1996