The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity
Review by Keith Reed, North Langley Community Church
What is the subject?
The author provides responses to 10 objections to Christianity that emerged from his own journey from skeptic to minister at a church filled with skeptics.
Who is the author?
Mark Clark, founding pastor of Village Church (part of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches) in Surrey, B.C.
Clark’s chapter on exclusivity is especially strong because he disarms the popular push for inclusivism by citing its irrationality in multiple ways. Because all ideas – and thereby all religions – are not equal, the rational person will evaluate each belief system to determine the one that rings most true.
Is the book’s argument in harmony with the MB Confession of Faith?
In response to the “problems” raised against Christianity, Clark provides some theological answers that may cause readers to question its agreement with the MB Conference of Faith.
For instance, Clark’s affirmation of God’s design for sex within marriage is so strong that singleness and celibacy are not even mentioned in his book. (Article 11 states that “singleness is honored equally with marriage, sometimes even preferred.”)
Another example is Clark’s teachings on hell which are not directly opposed to the MB Confession of Faith, but will likely cause readers to re-examine Article 18.
My biggest disappointment in the book is Clark’s failure to address same-sex attraction or relationships. For a book on this subject published in 2017, I assumed the author would devote a chapter to this subject since the idea of an “anti-gay God” is objectionable to many skeptics and often cited as a serious reason for discounting Christianity.
Why this book?
As a resident of Surrey, I often hear about Mark Clark and I have friends who are part of Village Church. The subject of this book caught my attention and I felt Clark would offer a unique perspective as a former atheist. Specifically, I wanted to know what this book would add to the growing collection of works on this subject and how Clark would address objections that current skeptics are now asking.
Other relevant information:
The Problem of God has received endorsements from writers including Larry Osborne, Bruxy Cavey, and Carey Nieuwhof.
Who should read it?
Given the author’s perspective as a former skeptic and a pastor under 40, I anticipated that Clark’s book would cater to millennials and those exploring faith questions for the first time. However, Clark’s arguments assume readers have significant knowledge of theology which makes me think twice about who should be reading it.
It is a valuable contribution to the field of apologetics, but I don’t feel it provides enough unique material to warrant a recommendation over Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God or C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, both of which I regard as essential reading.
“My father was such an ardent atheist that he demanded my mother spell my brother’s name, Mathew, with only one t so as to not be biblical. He then named me Mark. Clearly he didn’t see the irony.”
“I believe in Christianity not just because it’s true but because it works.”