Quick Book Review: Smooth Stones by Joe Coffey

Last weekend, I enjoyed a quick read of Smooth Stones: Brining Down the Giant Questions of Apologetics, by Joe Coffey,  Cruciform Press’s featured book for June.

Smooth Stones tackles six of the biggest questions usually held by skeptics of the faith, and that young believers often struggle with:

  • Is There a God?
  • Does Science Disprove God’s Existence?
  • Is the Bible Authentic and True?
  • The Question of Evil and Suffering
  • Aren’t All Religions the Same?
  • Is Jesus for Real?

The book is very brief, just over a hundred pages, and what amazed me most was how well Coffey dealt with each question in such short amounts of time.  By no means was each answer exhaustive (an apologetic to each question could fill volumes), but Coffey does an excellent job of cutting to the heart of the matter with some of the best answer frameworks to each question.

The main effect of the book, I expect, would be to instill hope in a young believer that answers exist, and possible help a skeptic understand that reasonable answers to these questions exist, and reasonable people hold these answers. My prayer is that the book will have the effect of catalyzing conversation around these topics.

By way of a brief critique to an overall excellent book, I wish he would have said more on the question of suffering. He does an excellent job of knocking down traditional and naturalistic explanations of suffering: divine punishment theory – that suffering happens as God’s punishment for our rebellion; free will theory – that suffering happens as a result of God not wishing to interfere with our free will; and natural law theory – that your suffering is a result of the natural consequences of your actions.  Horrid theories all, though each have glimmers of truth they fall vastly short of a satisfactory explanation. He says a bit about God being bigger than, with us in, and a redeemer of our suffering, but I wish he would have said more about God’s sovereignty over our suffering. This is the only thing that brings me hope.

Finally, he ends with two brief epilogues: one for the unbeliever, and one for the believer. Wrapping up a quick, helpful read, that encourages you to go deeper.

It might also be worth your while to sign up for Cruciform Press’s book subscription. For $6.50/month you will receive one of these print books per month, or for $3.99 you will receive and ebook version (multiple formats available). I’m not getting paid to pitch this service (though they did provide me with this review copy), I just think it’s a good model for a company that puts out books of consistent quality.





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