Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book Review: Tactics by Greg Koukl

We live in a slogan society. Groundless assertions are routinely proclaimed publicly and counted as gospel truths and to often go unchallenged by those within earshot.

From the evening news, to the local paper, to the media named New Atheists, statements such as:

  • "The Bible is full of myths!"
  • "That's just your interpretation."
  • "Women should have a right to choose."
  • "Evolution disproves God!"
are boldly preached and have become authoritative dogma in many popular circles. Tragically, truth no longer seems to matter.

While the death of truth in our culture has been tragic enough, equally as heartbreaking is the lack of intelligent answers being given by those who claim to follow Jesus Christ, the very one who claimed to be the Truth (John 14:6).

Author Greg Koukl, in his new book, Tactics:A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions, seeks to equip believers with thoughtful responses to common objections and offers a challenge to those who claim to be Christians- become an ambassador for Jesus Christ.

An ambassador for Jesus Christ requires three basis skills:

1) Knowledge- an accurately informed mind
2) Wisdom- an artful method
3) Character- an attractive manner. [1]

The majority of the book focuses on the second skill, an artful method for sharing the truth with unbelievers and questioners.

Koukl is obviously a seasoned veteran when it comes to debate and intellectual conversation. Throughout the book, he draws on his personal experiences which range from conversations with waitresses to televised debates. Regardless of the setting, the reader gains a massive amount of wisdom and logic from these interactions.

Koukl is careful to explain that the tactics he presents in the book are not for manipulation, but to aid you in staying in the driver's seat while discussing your spiritual convictions.

After challenging some common objections to apologetics and pointing out that arguing can actually be a virtue, Koukl begins to educate the reader on what he calls the “queen mother of all tactics,” the Columbo Method, named after Lieutenant Columbo, brilliant TV detective.

Koukl writes:

“The key to the Columbo tactic is to go on the offensive in an inoffensive way by using carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation.” [2]

The strength of the Columbo tactic is that anyone can learn to do it and with practice become a fairly confident communicator of the gospel.

Upon spending the first half of the book explaining the “queen mother,” Koukl turns his focus to a virtual arsenal of other tactics such as:


This tactic explains how to identify and respond to self-defeating statements such as, "There is no such thing as truth." (Is that statement true then?)

Practical Suicide

Here, the reader learns how to identify and respond to an idea that seems to logically make sense, but self-destructs when practically applied.


Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who constantly interrupts you when you are trying to explain your position? Koukl explains how to handle the "steamroller."

I was astounded at the amount of familiar objections Koukl was able to challenge in a very factual, logical, and respectful manner.

Throughout the book, he demolishes numerous popular statements that are often vocalized without any evidence to sustain themselves. Abortion, biblical authority, and homosexuality are just a few examples. The reader can’t help but to be challenged and encouraged by his razor sharp logic and practical methods.

heart throughout the book is to reach unbelievers with the gospel in a respectful, but thoughtful manner, realizing that it's ultimately God's job to change hearts.
However, don't be misled, Tactics is not just another book about sharing your faith, but stands distinct among it's peers. Koukl's unique methods, clear approach, and easy to apply ideas make Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions a must have for any thoughtful Christian's library.


This work boasts recommendations from some of the best in Christian apologetics today. Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, and Paul Copan are just a few and I echo there gleaming reviews.

If you are a Christian, buy this book! You will come away with a wonderful collection of thoughtful points and airtight arguments to share with those who have questions about Jesus and His life saving message.

I am gratefully to Zondervan for the opportunity to review this fine book.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross


1. Greg Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for discussing your Christian Convictions, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 29
2. Ibid, p. 51

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is a great review of Tactics from Brian Auten at apologetics315: