Questions & Responses is a book I should like very much: it’s written by a Baptist pastor from Australia, who was also a staff worker with the Aussie equivalent of our Kiwi TSCF university student mission—roles mirroring my own.
The book also starts on a great premise, seeking to address what Croucher says he believes “are the most common/complex/urgent of the issues people raise with me” (page 4). The issues are diverse, covering topics such as abuse, social justice, Pharisees, the biography of Dom Helder Camara, God’s existence, heaven, grief, and the biography of Billy Graham.
However, there is no discernible thread or flow through the book, and this lack of flow grates after a while. It is not clear what the author is trying to achieve in his writing. It feels like some of his notes on various topics have been made into a book. Indeed, he states in one place: “Here are my notes on the various classical routes from non-theism to theism/Christianity” (page 87).
Croucher is at pains to point out that the title of his book is Questions & Responses not Questions & Answers, clearly seeing this as a positive. But I feel that leaves the reader adrift, without any direction. Consequently, it’s hard to agree or disagree with anything substantively, because it reads like a chat with a mate at the pub rather than a book with flow. That’s of course fine, and it’s a good chat, but I had hoped for more.
Instead of recommending this book to believers and non-believers alike, I’m much more likely to give friends (and have done so!) a Kiwi resource, from here in Selwyn, Canterbury—Finding the Forgotten God: Credible Faith for a Secular Age, by Ron Hay. This coherently seeks to deal with questions about the Christian faith in a clear and compelling way, something that Croucher’s Questions & Responses attempts, but in which he doesn’t quite succeed.
Review: Tim Hodge