In today’s culture of spin, Christians have an opportunity to look radically different from most by refusing to spin as they seek to lead others to the gospel.
It is certainly true that as apologists we seek to convince others, and there is a place for using technique in our persuasive efforts. However, as we have stressed throughout Apologetics at the Cross, our persuasion must first and foremost be informed by the cross. We will often startle others when, rather than taking our cues from our culture, we subvert the typical spin techniques that have become so commonplace.
Compared to spin techniques, a cross-shaped approach to persuasion would look quite different:
- Keep coming back to the cross (but be willing to deal with complex realities and questions).
- Never simply appeal to emotions in order to manipulate (but be sure to take time to understand the other person and deal with their questions in a way that treats them as holistic beings).
- Admit that you are looking at the world as a Christian (but communicate with them that you are willing to try to understand where they are coming from).
- Be humble and admit areas of personal weakness, uncertainty, or ignorance (while affirming that you have great confidence in your faith in Jesus for a variety of reasons).
- Be willing to discuss tough questions (rather than quickly counterattacking or changing the subject)
- Be self-critical (rather than never admitting weaknesses).
- Admit limits in your knowledge (rather than acting as though you are an expert on every subject).
- Above all, speak with grace and truth for the good of the other person (rather than seeking simply to win).
This quick list provides a framework for our posture and tone in our communication and is therefore a good starting point, but we also need specific, practical strategies for engaging others within late modernism. How can we engage with different people’s plausibility structures when they are alien to Christianity? This challenge is addressed in Apologetics at the Cross.
— Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen, Apologetics at the Cross: An Introduction for Christian Witness
How to Use This Book
The new Apologetics at the Cross will equip your church members or church staff for effective apologetics in today’s secular age. Consider it as required reading for your church leaders and staff, and as a group study for motivated Bible studies and small groups.
What people are saying
Tim Keller writes, this book is “the most comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date manual on Christian apologetics that I know of. Despite how full its treatment of the subject, it is eminently readable… Highly recommended.”
Alister E. McGrath calls it “one of the best books about apologetics I’ve read. It offers a compelling vision for the place of apologetics in the life of individual believers and the church, drawing on the rich wisdom of the Christian past and the best recent approaches to the apologetic task.”
James K. A. Smith adds, this book is “precisely what we need in our secular age. If you’re skittish about “apologetics,” like I am, this book will show you another way.”
Apologetics at the Cross: An Introduction for Christian Witness
Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen