Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

J. Warner Wallace on Why He is a Christian

"I'm not a Christian today because I was raised that way or because it satisfies some need or accomplishes some goal. I'm simply a Christian because it's evidentially true."1

To learn more about Wallace and his evidential approach, go here.

So, why are you a Christian?  Please share in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. J. Warner Wallace in "God's Not Dead 2."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Great Witness to the Canonicity of the Old Testament Books

While researching the reliability of the Old Testament over the past month I was fascinated to learn that Jesus Himself references the canon of the Old Testament in Matthew 23:35.  Jesus said:

"So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar."

Apologist Doug Powell explains the significance of this passage:

"In Matthew 23:35 Jesus mentions a span of time from the death of Abel til the death of Zechariah.  Given that the death of Abel happens near the beginning of Genesis, and the death of Zechariah at the end of 2 Chronicles, the last book of the Tanakh, we see a reference to the Old Testament canon."1

Jesus offers us the ultimate witness to the legitimacy of the Old Testament canon!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. Doug Powell, Is the Old Testament Reliable?, 2008.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Video: Answering Jihad- A Better Way Forward with Nabeel Qureshi


In this video, author and former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi offers a personal, challenging and respectful response to the many questions surrounding Jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism.

This talk is based on Qureshi's new book Answering Jihad.  You check that out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: Keeping Your Kids on God's Side

Being the wife of a man devoted to Christian apologetics, I have some basic grammar of apologetics. By grammar I mean the building blocks that form any subject. I will not boast my foundation is strong enough to build upon it the many useful and brilliant arguments within apologetics, and for that I often feel a void. When do I experience that void the most? When my daughters bring forward questions in which apologetics will give them the best answer. Because we home school, those questions come often throughout our daily lessons. Sometimes I am equipped to answer with confidence, and other times, most often, I tell them to hold onto their question for Daddy at the dinner table.

Now, I greatly enjoy listening to my husband answer their questions over our meal, and I learn along with them, however a growing sense of urgency arises in my soul while listening.  I realize I need to answer their questions during the day. While I am not steeped in the arguments like Chad and there will be times where his expertise is needed, I must be able to give them at least an acceptable answer to their inquiry. I want to give my girls the example that defending the faith through apologetics is not just “Daddy’s ministry” or a “specialty area” for certain Christians who like “that sort of thing”. No, God makes it clear that all disciples of Christ are to defend the faith. This home schooling house wife, who loves classic literature and chai tea at the end of her day, is not exempt - for any reason.  I must more often lay down my Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte and pick up…who?

Over the years, when this conviction again arises with fervor, Chad has recommended many helpful titles, and I have attempted them. Oh, to have his photographic mind and natural development of logic! But I have to read, re-read, and repeat some paragraphs/chapters in truly brilliant books until it starts to form a little more of the foundation needed to build an apologetic structure. Admittedly, I do not make it through. Hello Jane. Let me brew some tea.

Amidst a recent struggle of inadequacy with the girl’s questions, Chad shared that Natasha Crain was sending him a book to review titled Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side (40 Questions to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith), would I like to review it for his blog? I don’t regularly peruse the web or join blogs. But Chad has encouraged me to go to Natasha’s blog often in the past couple years. Each time I stop by, I am challenge and encouraged. And now she has a book, with a title that embodies the hopes and prayers for our girls: to form their soul for Christ. Hello Natasha. Let me brew some tea.

First, allow me to share, Natasha’s warm and transparent writing in the introduction resonated with this reader. She is one of us! A parent rightly burdened with the overwhelming task of modeling, sharing, and teaching Christ to the next generation. And behind those sweet eyes staring back is the soul of my child. Your child. God’s child. In the fitting example of a man who desires to climb Mt. Everest and prepares himself to do so by performing a few jumping jacks, Natasha claims this also is the typical Christian parent’s preparation at the foot of their child’s developing faith. “Here is my call to action,” says Natasha, “We have to stop winging our Christian parenting and start getting in shape to prepare our kids for what’s ahead. Consider this book your personal trainer.” Okay. I have spent years warming up. Time to build some stamina.

Natasha has separated her book into 40 easy to manage chapters. Each chapter is titled in question form. Those questions are derived from “the 40 faith conversations parents most urgently need to have with their kids” and fall under one of five categories:

· Conversations About God

· Conversations About Truth and Worldviews

· Conversations About Jesus

· Conversations About the Bible

· Conversations About Science

You can see the Table of Contents here if you are interested in seeing the specific questions covered.

Every chapter begins with a practical example that puts the following information into its proper context and demonstrates the title question is applicable to daily Christian life and conversations. She then takes the realistic approach that while there are multiple sources one can go to in answering that question (and she lists them when necessary in the end notes) that what a parent really needs is (1) a good understanding of the question and (2) a few logical, easy to grasp evidential examples to get the conversation started. You can then go further with her resources as needed.

What I found most helpful was the concise summary of the question and examples found at the close of each chapter. Some chapters have a larger quantity of research or delve further into explaining the premises of an argument. These chapters could take more time for a parent to grasp and formulate an answer for their child on the appropriate level of development and understanding. The summary of each chapter is where I see myself turning to give my child the answer they need in that moment of conversation with questions I am not adequately ready to answer. I am grateful that Natasha included this short yet powerful tool.

Ultimately, Natasha offers her readers the opportunity to think hard and wrestle with some tough topics of faith for the parents. Her book is not one that you would read word for word to your child of a young age. That could certainly come along with your older children depending on their developmental level. No, this book is for the parent, to equip them to look at their own faith and allow God to work out some struggles in their soul in order to be of stronger faith for their children. Such questions as “Why would God command the genocide of the Canaanites?”, “Does the Bible support slavery?” and “Why do Christians have varying views on how and when God created the world?” resonate with the older, rather than the younger, soul. While the book has the end goal of addressing questions and creating conversations with your children, to engage them and the family in studying out these and many more exciting topics of Christianity, it starts with you. With me. The parents. We must own our faith.  Then, when the questions come, simple or complex, we are prepared to answer them with confidence and compassion.  We must become Christian case makers.

Natasha does not conclude the 40th question and send us to the Notes page. She looks into our homes and points out where we need help the most: in the daily routine of life. She is able to point this out because she is living it with us. The final section of her book, “10 Tips for Having Deeper Faith Conversations with Your Kids”, lays out a manageable and exciting plan to engage and grow families in their faith. Start with one, and work your family up to ten. The results, as Natasha states, is an investment in your children’s lives.

In conclusion, while going through Natasha's book and realizing with each chapter how often I will be returning to it while raising my daughters, I had a little vision, if you will, a sort of flash back to a flash forward. Natasha is not shy to state her daughters are strong willed. How well I know her words. A book on creative corrective discipline was gifted to me when my oldest was about three. By age four she despised that book; I had taken it off the shelf so many times. “Oh, I hate that book! I wish you did not have it! Put it back!” she would firmly state. She knew a creative correction was coming soon. I flash forward to her questions on God, the Bible, Jesus, Truth, Worldviews, and Science during our days of learning together. I see myself taking down Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side often. I hope to hear my daughter say, “Oh, I love that book! I am glad you have it. Open it up to my question.” Ah, a parent can only hope, pray…and be prepared.

Join me in using Natasha’s Crain’s Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side to build the necessary stamina in our children, and ourselves, to climb this mountain of faith. We will stumble together. We will make great strides together. We will see the view from the top, together.

Danielle Gross is a home school mom and Director of the Hagerstown, MD Classical Conversations Foundations and Essentials Community.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Science and Religion: Christian and Buddhist Perspectives



Dr. Craig had an interesting conversation with a buddhist while he was recently in Hong Kong.

Enjoy!

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Saturday, April 23, 2016

50 Recommended Apologetics Resources for Christian Parents by Natasha Crain

In this post, Natasha Crain offers 50 Apologetics Resources for parents wanting to teach their kids how to defend their faith.

If you are not familiar with her work, you can check it out here.  I highly recommend it!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mark Mittelberg on the Church and Evangelism

"Without regular reminders, congregations tend to lose their focus on what the church-and we as individuals-are called to accomplish. Unfortunately, the part that fades away first is the most important: Reaching our world for Christ.  How quickly we forget our mission and fall back into mundane church activities.

Churches need to be reminded of why they are here.  Evangelism and apologetics, which is the handmaiden to evangelism, are not optional activities.  They are at the very core of our mission, which is to reach our world with the gospel.  That's why Jesus spelled it out so clearly: to go into all the world (including next door or down the hallway) to reach everyone we can for him (Matthew 20:18-20).  This Great Commission wasn't one choice among many options.  It's what we're here to do.

Church members quickly forget this, and so we must patiently but persistently remind them.  As we do, the Holy Spirit will echo our challenge in their hearts as God's Word underscores it in their minds.

After all, this is God's will-let's be bold about it."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Sean McDowell, A New Kind of Apologist, p. 51.  Our review is here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Counterpoints: Steven Weinberg vs. James Tour on Science

Physicist Steven Weinberg- "One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious."1

Nanoscientist James Tour- "Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith.  If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God."2

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad



Footnotes:
1. Steven Weinberg, Facing Up (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 242.
2. Candance Adams, "Leading Nanoscientist Builds Big Faith," Baptist Standard, March 15, 2002.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Video: How Should Christians Vote?


In this excellent short video (2 min) Sean McDowell explains three principles Christians should follow when voting.  

Please take the time to watch!

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Apologetics Web Comics by Adam Ford

A faithful reader sent me Adam Ford's creative "curiously Christian webcomic" and many of them are apologetic in nature.

I would encourage you to check out the following comics:

Five Reasons to Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead

Anti-Abortion Extremist?

Christians and Muslims Do Not Worship the Same God

The Bible is Anti-Women

Please Don't Be Intolerant

I Just Could Never Believe in a God Who Would...

You can checkout all the webcomics here.

Finally, if you are not following Ford's satire site "The Babylon Bee," you should be!  You can check it out here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, April 18, 2016

Does Pro-Life Logic Mean Women Who Get Abortions Should Be Punished?

Greg Koukl and Alan Shlemon addressed the subject question in a recent Stand to Reason podcast.
  • Is this a question pro-lifers even need to answer?
  • Does the emotional state of a mother in a crisis pregnancy situation need to be considered prior to dealing out punishment?
  • Are criminal justice structures already in place that can be used for guidance?
These are all questions that are discussed in the podcast and fall under the main question. You can listen to the podcast here.


Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the preborn,
Chase

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Book Preview: Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens By Tom Gilson

About the Author

Tom Gilson is the Senior Editor and Ministry Coordinator specializing in Christian apologetics and inspiration for the daily online news and insight website The Stream (stream.org). Previously he had served with the Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance. He is the monthly Worldview and You columnist at BreakPoint Online, and has written articles for Discipleship Journal, Touchstone Magazine, and Salvo. He blogs at Thinking Christian (thinkingchristian.net). When not studying or writing he enjoys canoeing, sailing, and long walks in the woods. He lives with wife Sara and their two college-aged children in Lebanon, Ohio.


About the Book


Nothing these days challenges teens’ faith as much as homosexuality. It’s the single most important topic a parent can prepare a teen to respond to. It probably seems like the single hardest thing to talk about with your teens.

It doesn’t have to be that hard! (Honest.)

Critical Conversations explains in parent-friendly, practical ways how to have the conversation and how to answer the questions. It even prepares you for your biggest “win” ever with your teen: when you don’t know the answers!

Parent-Friendly and Practical

You need to know how to talk with your teen. This book answers. It gives you the background you need: where the homosexual culture came from, and why homosexuality is wrong, in both common-sense and biblical terms. It covers your teen’s crucial relationships, with friends, teachers, and school administrators.

Best of all, it gives you short, (mostly) simple answers to twenty-seven of the most common challenges raised against Christianity: “If you’re against homosexuality you’re a bigot!” “You’re intolerant!” “You’re homophobic!” “How can you be against marriage equality?” Most of these questions can be answered simply. All it takes is a little understanding. You can gain that understanding. It’s within your reach.

And you can help your teen be confident in his or her Christian faith, even in today’s increasingly pro-gay. anti-Christian culture.

A Pro-Christianity Book In An Anti-Christianity Culture

Balanced Views: Issues and People. Homosexual practices are wrong, and so is gay marriage. The book explains why. Still that’s nowhere near enough help for teens navigating a world of gay, lesbian, and gender-questioning classmates — not to mention everyone who thinks your teen should support gay causes just as they do. Teens need to know how to relate with these classmates and friends in authentic Christian friendship and love, within wise boundaries. You need to know how to coach your teen. Critical Conversations will help you do exactly that.

This is a pro-Christianity book. Gay activists have made Christianity their enemy. They’ve even made it seem like Christianity is to blame for all kinds of hate, aggression, intolerance, judgmentalism, and injustice. None of that is true (not for true biblical Christianity, anyway). But they’ve manipulated the rhetoric to make it seem that way. They’ve done it so well your teen may wonder how someone who opposes homosexuality could be Christian. Your teen needs answers to that question. This book explains how to be pro-Christian in an anti-Christian, pro-homosexuality culture.

In fact, this might be exactly what your teen needs to remain firmly fixed on a foundation of truth — to be preserved against false anti-Christian rhetoric. and to keep on confidently following Jesus Christ.

Your teen’s spiritual future is at stake. You’re the parent. No one else can do what you can do. Are you ready for the critical conversations that will help your teen stand strong?

Sean McDowell interviews Gilson here.

You can get your copy of the book here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 15, 2016

Video: William Lane Craig and Kevin Scharp- Is There Evidence for God?



In February 2016, William Lane Craig participated in this Veritas Forum dialogue at Ohio State University with Professor Kevin Scharp on the topic, "Is There Evidence for God?"  This was a fascinating discussion and well worth your time.  One discussion Craig and Scharp had was regarding probability and deductive arguments.  Craig has a thoughtful response to that here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Christopher Hitchens on the King James Bible

"You are not educated if you don't know the Bible. You can't read Shakespeare or Milton without it, even if there was nothing else of it. And with the schools now, that's what I hate about secular relativism. They're afraid of insurance liability. They don't even teach it as a document. They stay out of the whole thing to avoid controversy. So kids can't quote the King James Bible. That's terrible."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

1. Mindy Belz, "The World According to Hitch," June 3rd 2006. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Is Brain Function Required to be a Human Being?

In the following piece, Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute addresses this question by first arguing for substance dualism over scientific materialism.  He writes:

if we are nothing more than physical beings, how can we account for personal identity through time and change? In the last seven years—indeed, in the last five minutes—my body has undergone numerous changes. In what sense, then, am I the same person I was seven years ago or even five minutes ago? As J. P. Moreland and Scott Rae point out, a property-thing view of human persons means that when a person’s properties change, he changes. This is deeply problematic:

From that perspective, there is no essential person that survives the process of change. This would suggest that, for example, the person who committed a crime, the person brought to trial for the crime and the person serving a jail term for that same crime are all different persons. The notions of moral responsibility and criminal justice are both premised on a substance-dualist view of a person; otherwise, it would be conceptually difficult to hold anyone responsible for immoral or criminal actions. 

Klusendorf then explains the superiority of substance dualism in accounting for human equality:

the substance view tells us that you are identical to your former fetal self even though you lacked a brain at that earlier stage of development. You are the same being now as you were then, though not because of something physical that will change over time, such as your brain function. From the moment you began to exist (conception), rather, you possessed a nonmaterial human nature that grounded your identity through all the stages of your development. There’s been no substantial change to your essential being even though your physical body has changed dramatically. Thus, if you are intrinsically valuable now, you were intrinsically valuable then as well.
Second, the substance view can account for human equality. Human equality is not grounded in some accidental property that may come and go in the course of our lifetimes (such as our immediately exercisable capacity for self-awareness), but in our common human nature. Put simply, the substance view says we’re valuable because of the kind of thing we are rather than some function we may or may not exercise.
Secularists...can deny this, but only at a terrible cost. For example, at any given moment, some of us can exercise greater brain function than others. In what sense, then, are we equal? Suppose my brain is severely damaged due to a stroke. Am I any less me? If I later regain all of my cognitive functions, am I back to my old self?
A simple way to remember this is to remember the L in the acronym SLED.  L stands for Level of Development, and the level of development of a human being is irrelevant in providing them with moral value.  The value of a human being is grounded simply in what they are not in any function they may gain and lose during their life.  For more on SLED, see here.

In addition to the case Klusendorf makes for why brain function is irrelevant in establishing the equal worth of the preborn, I argue that like an image on a polaroid picture yet to appear but already there, so to the brain function of the early human embryo is in place.  All that is required is time and an environment conducive for the life of the new human being to continue.

Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the preborn,
Chase

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Debate Video: John Loftus v. Abdu Murray- Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?


Abdu Murray of RZIM and John Loftus debate "Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?" at Western Michigan University.  This debate took place on April 5, 2016.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, April 11, 2016

Article: How to Use a Napkin and Prove Jesus is God to a Jehovah's Witness

When Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking, do you fear opening the door because you don't know what to say to them?  I know from experience that sometimes talking to a JW can be a bit like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall!

In today's featured post, Justin Taylor shares a method he learned from Greg Koukl regarding how to demonstrate to a JW that Jesus is God using a verse from their New World Translation.  It is easy and keeps the conversation focused on the most important issue.

Please take the time to master this technique and the next time the JWs come knocking, you will be ready!

Check it out here!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Article: Lex Luthor's Lousy Logic by Tim Stratton

In the blockbuster film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the diabolical Lex Luthor shares some of his theological views.  Luthor makes the claim that "if God is all-powerful He cannot be good, if God is good He cannot be all-powerful!”  As Tim Stratton of Free Thinking Ministries explains, the argument in logical form would go something like this:

1- God, by definition, is a Maximally Great Being

2- If God is perfectly good He would not want humanity to suffer or experience evil.

3- If God is all-powerful He could prevent humanity from suffering or experiencing evil.

4- Humanity suffers and experiences evil.

5- Therefore, God is either not perfectly good or not all-powerful (or both).

6- Therefore, God is not a Maximally Great Being.

7- Therefore, God, by definition, does not exist.

Is Lex's argument sound?  In this featured article, Tim Stratton demonstates why Luthor's argument ultimately fails.


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 08, 2016

Natasha Crain on Young People and Spiritual Training

"Young people are turning away from faith because they've accepted the popular claims that Christianity is irrational, antiscience, intolerant, and based on an irrelevant ancient book.  These claims have compelling answers from a Christian worldview, but young people aren't leaving home equipped with those answers.  For example, fewer than 1 in 10 Christian families read the Bible together during a typical week, and a study of 11,000 teenagers showed that only 12 percent of youth have regular conversations with their mom on faith issues.  Most kids growing up in Christian homes aren't receiving anything remotely resembling the spiritual training they need to have a lasting faith."1


Our review of Natasha's new book Keeping Your Kids on God's Side is forthcoming!

You can learn more about her work here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Natasha Crain, Keeping Your Kids on God's Side, p. 12.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Video: Evidence for the Resurrection by Mike Licona


In this lecture, Dr. Mike Licona presents historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.  

You can learn more about Dr. Licona and his work here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Video: Should Christians Doubt?



Here is another great video by Impact360 addressing the question, "Is it okay for Christians to question the Bible?"

I also encourage you to checkout their outstanding video on the resurrection here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

What about the Differences in the Resurrection Accounts?

Skeptics will often challenge the reliability of the resurrection accounts recorded in the gospels because they have differences.  I have argued in the past that these minor discrepancies are exactly what we would expect to see if the gospels truly are eyewitness accounts.  Moreover, if the gospels agreed on every single detail, skeptics would cry, "Collusion!"1  

While much is made of the minor discrepancies in the accounts, many overlook what they agree on regarding the resurrection. According to Dr. William Lane Craig, the gospels agree that:

"Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in Jerusalem by Roman authority during the Passover Feast, having been arrested and convicted on charges of blasphemy by the Jewish Sanhedrin and then slandered before the governor Pilate on charges of treason.  he died within several hours and was buried Friday afternoon by Joseph of Arimathea  in a tomb, which was shut with a stone.  Certain female followers of Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, having observed his interment, visited his tomb early on Sunday morning, only to find it empty.  Thereafter, Jesus appeared alive from the dead to the disciples, including Peter, who then became proclaimers of the message of His resurrection."2

The gospels actually agree on much and the minor discrepancies between them actually add to the circumstantial case that they are indeed eyewitness accounts.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:

1. For those who want to learn more about the the differences in the gospels, I recommend Jim Wallace's excellent post on the topic here.  Jim's background as a cold-case homocide detective affords him a unique perspective.


2. William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 243.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Equal Rights, Unequal Wrongs

Christopher Kaczor, the author of The Ethics of Abortion, writes the following in the subject piece:

The common intuition "shared, in general, by advocates and opponents of abortion alike” that late abortion is worse than early abortion seems to undermine the basic equality of all human beings and to help justify early abortion. In fact, it implies no such thing. Circumstantially, no two cases of intentional killing of the innocent are exactly alike. Intrinsically, however, every case is identical, as an act that unjustly deprives the victim of life. That it is worse to kill a human adult than to kill a human being in utero, and worse to kill a child already born than to kill one at the embryonic stage, does not in any way justify the killing of the latter. 

You can read Kaczor's piece in its entirety here.

Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the reborn,
Chase 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Video: Can We Trust the Bible If It was Written by Men? by Amy Orr-Ewing


Amy Orr-Ewing is EMEA Director for RZIM, and Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA).

You can learn more about Amy and her work here..

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 01, 2016

Book Review: A New Kind of Apologist edited by Sean McDowell

Introduction

I greatly enjoy watching superhero movies.  Whether it is Spider-man battling Doc Ock or Batman struggling to stop the Joker from waging war on Gotham, these films are greatly entertaining and tell us much about our culture.

However, there are times in these films when a series of threats arise that are too powerful for just one hero to fight.  In these situations, various heroes with unique talents and abilities must be assembled to face the assorted dangers.

Most would agree that we are in a culture war.  The battles being waged are both within the church and without.  How do we communicate the truth of the gospel to a post-modern world?  How do we motivate fellow believers to engage in apologetics? How can one thoughtfully respond to the increasingly hostile attacks aimed at the Bible?  How do we discuss our Christian convictions with those who hold different religious views?

In A New Kind of Apologist, Sean McDowell takes on the role of Nic Fury and assembles some of the finest thinkers and apologists writing and speaking today to address some of the most critical issues facing the church. The result is a very readable and comprehensive work that is sure to challenge and equip both beginner and seasoned apologists alike.

Book Outline

The book is divided into three parts.

Part 1: A New Approach to Apologetics addresses how the believer can communicate the truth and live it out.

Part 2: New Methods in Apologetics deals with creative and practical ways to equip fellow believers and our youth to make a case for their Christian convictions.  This reviewer was especially glad to see a chapter written by Mary Jo Sharp entitled "Why Women Should Study Apologetics."  This is a growing, but often overlooked, topic within apologetics circles.

Part 3: New Issues in Apologetics concentrates on some of the most pressing issues in apologetics today including politics, LGBT and race issues.

Strengths of the Book

This reader greatly appreciated how the authors took the time to not only explain why and how we should do apologetics, but they also argue that "apologetics has been a staple of the church since the time of Jesus and Paul." [p. 15]  As McDowell explains:

"Jesus was the first Christian apologist.  In John 5-8, Jesus reasoned with the religious leaders of his day, providing multiple lines of evidence that he is the Son of God.  And yet, even though he was divine, Jesus willingly humbled himself for the sake of loving others (Philippians 2:5-7)  We can do no less." [Ibid.]

I also welcomed the large emphasis on being a thoughtful listener when engaging with others in conversations about potentially combative topics.  Tim Muehlhoff explains:

"If we want our friends and neighbors to listen to our story, then we must listen to theirs.  If we want others to attend to our convictions, then we must first attend to theirs.  If we desire for others to cultivate common ground with us, we must do so first.  In doing so, we will create a communication climate in which we can fulfill our deepest longing-engaging others in a respectful, civil way that allows us to share a perspective that has changed our lives." [p. 28]

A New Kind of Apologist repeatedly emphasizes the importance of representing your opponents view fairly and how vital it is to focus on winning the person and not the argument.

Further, many apologists repeatedly point out that we are losing our youth, largely due to intellectual reasons, but few offer a remedy to the problem.  In this work, Brett Kunkle offers a method based upon the principles of Classical education to disciple our children and equip them to be able to understand and defend what they believe.  Kunkle writes we "...must be convinced of the necessity of apologetics, and...we must have a larger discipleship framework in place into which we fit apologetics." [p. 91]   Kunkle continues by laying out a suggested framework that is easy-to-understand, practical and powerful.

I was also pleased to see topics represented that go beyond what your standard apologetics text typically deals with.  Whether it is apologetics and new technologies, mentoring, or economics, this book addresses unique subjects in a very helpful manner.  Moreover, the issues are current ones that thoughtful believers are surely having to address at the water cooler.

This work also includes brief interviews with both believers and skeptics on various issues.  These serve to help demonstrate why the issues addressed are so important and why those with differing views believe as they do.

Some may feel that a few of the essays don't go in-depth enough, but it is important to remember that the purpose of this work seems to be to deal with the important elements surrounding each issue and to equip readers with some thoughtful responses.  Some of the essays will leave the reader wanting more and this reviewer believes that is a positive result.

Conclusion

Many books are big on promises, but short on delivery.  In the beginning of this work, Sean McDowell states that:

"...you will see the intersection between apologetics and important topics such as economics, politics, and race.  You will learn how to tackle thorny matters of our day such as the transgender issue and religious liberty.  You will gain a model for answering tough questions such as the exclusivity of Christ and new challenges to the Bible.  And you will learn practical skills such as having apologetics conversations, asking good questions, using social media, and mentoring the next generation." [p. 16 ]

I am pleased to report that A New Kind of Apologist delivers!  I encourage believers to read it, master it and enter the battle.  Surely the stakes are high, but the rewards are eternal.

A New Kind of Apologist is an important book and I highly recommend it!  You can get your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Many thanks to Sean McDowell for the review copy!