the shape of leadership

Moral Arguments for God

David and Marybeth Baggett make a strong case for God’s existence and essential goodness

Chad E Graham on July 13, 2018

Has there been a resurgence in moral apologetics in the last decade? David and Marybeth Baggett claim that’s the case in their new book, The Morals of the Story: Good News About a Good God, published by IVP Academic.

The Baggetts argue that moral arguments for God are effective at “illuminating the mind and stirring the heart” toward theism. Their book offers readers a close examination of all things related to such arguments for God and the moral philosophers behind them.

The authors lay out the book in three parts. Act One engages the reader in the history of moral apologetics, giving special attention to the moral arguments of the 20th century. This section will be helpful to readers who are just becoming acquainted with the moral argument for God and its rich legacy in the history of philosophy and theology.

Act Two contains the meat of the book and offers a moral argument for God’s existence, utilizing a “best explanation” approach. This section defines and explains the concepts of moral goodness, moral obligations, moral knowledge, moral transformation and moral providence. Readers will benefit from exposure to a wide survey of moral concepts and the philosophers associated with each concept.

The authors braid together a strong rope of logic to which skeptics and Christians alike can cling.

In addition, readers will enjoy how the book frequently engages contemporary social issues to link moral philosophy to current events. The authors take great pains to demonstrate both the value and relevance of moral reasoning in the process of interpreting the times in which we live.

This aspect of the book is refreshing, because most ethicists and moral philosophers engage only arguments and/or the method of argumentation at the expense of applied meaning.

The final act brings together all the argumentation to provide a cumulative case for the existence and moral goodness of God. The arguments are potent, clear and useful for those of us inclined to offer reasons for our faith to a skeptical world.

Like all good cumulative case arguments, the force comes in waves and concludes with the strength of many solid lines of reasoning, braided together to form a strong rope of logic to which skeptics and Christians alike can cling.

Of course, this book would and should appeal to the usual suspects (apologists, philosophers, theologians, nerds), but it should also appeal to leaders who wish to cultivate knowledge of the virtues.

The moral arguments are experiencing resurgence, not only because the hour demands it but also because leaders who can wisely discern and interpret the morals of the moment are worth their weight in gold.

Pastors and church leaders must be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). This book will teach many to do just that while contending for the existence and goodness of God in neighborly love.

Book Reviewed

David J. Baggett and Marybeth Baggett, The Morals of the Story: Good News About a Good God (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018).


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