God in 60 Seconds: One-Minute Answers to Faith Questions. By John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2010. 138 pp. Paper, $6.99.
In the increasing spiritual vacuum which is 21st-century America, attempts to communicate truth to those caught up in the busy-ness of modern society are popular. John Ankerberg, host of the well-known television talk show bearing his name, and Dillon Burroughs, a staff writer for the show, have collaborated on a handy source of information for seekers or immature believers.
Using a question-answer format throughout, the authors respond to issues in seven different areas: God and Creation, Jesus, the Bible, Salvation and Spiritual Growth, the Afterlife, Other Religions, and Contemporary Issues. The book ends with two added chapterettes, entitled How to Begin a Personal Relationship with God, and Praying for Those Who Do Not Believe.
Generally speaking, the answers throughout are biblically-focused, and reflect conservative theological positions. The authors often point readers to the Bible, encouraging reading and studying of it. Their answers to questions like “If God, why evil?” and “Why does the resurrection matter?”, however, will leave any astute reader unsatisfied.
Of particular interest to lovers of grace was the discussion of Salvation and Spiritual Growth. Here more emphasis on eternal life, and believing, would have been a major improvement. Like so much evangelistic discussion today, the focus is on this life, instead of the next! Happily, the authors responded to the question “What should I do about my doubts?” by calling readers to “look to God and the promises and information in his Word” (64). Sadly, in the added chapter on how to begin a relationship with God, the authors garbled the gospel badly, beginning with a call to believe, then a call to “accept God’s free gift” (as if this is a separate step to believing), then “Commit to following God’s plan for your life,” and finally “Determine to make Jesus Christ the ultimate Leader and final authority of your life” (131-32). While none of this is something we don’t want a person to do, it is damaging to a clear gospel presentation to clutter the simple call to “believe” with other issues.
This book is not sufficiently in-depth to aid a new believer to mature in the faith. However, for a person who is totally uninformed on Christianity and spiritual issues, this book may provide some answers which will point them in the right direction.
Philip F. Congdon
New Braunfels Bible Church
New Braunfels, TX