I’ve been peeling away the layers of apologetics for weeks, only to find more layers. It’s not that Apologetics For A New Generation (Harvest House/ConversantLife.com) is filled with hard-to-understand concepts or tricky theology, for the most part; it’s just full of information. The book’s general editor, Sean McDowell, brought together various experts to write each of the book’s 19 chapters. The inclusion of so many different opinions offers a potpourri of advice on the practice of apologetics in a postmodern world. McDowell’s introductory discourse convinced me that apologetics still matter because society is searching for the intellectual reasoning behind Christian faith. Or as Dan Kimball (They Like Jesus But Not the Church) points out via 1 Peter 3, Christians must always be ready to give the reason for the hope they have. Kimball also muses that these encounters do not happen randomly, but come from our relationships with non-believers.
The book is divided into three parts—the first part discusses why the Church needs new apologetics, the second part shares new methods for providing evidence for faith, and the third part covers how to engage with tricky social issues like abortion, homosexuality, race, and a woman’s role in church. Hidden between chapters are Q&A’s that Sean McDowell conducted with various experts like Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) and Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share Ministries.
The various authors add flavor to this book. Dan Kimball is only one of the book’s colorful contributors, which also include my friends, Dale and Jonalyn Fincher of Soulation, the original apologist himself Josh McDowell (who is also Sean’s father), Mark Matlock of PlanetWisdom, and many others. I especially enjoyed Jonalyn Fincher’s chapter, “Defending Femininity: Why Jesus is Good News For Woman,” which discusses how Jesus drew women to Himself by offering women something the founders of other religions did not—respect, identity, and meaning. Despite using over 20 authors and interviewees to write Apologetics For A New Generation, McDowell only has two chapters written by women. However, McDowell’s effort to include women at all is applauded.
There are so many interesting dialogues happening in this book like Craig Hazen’s discussion on storytelling, which likens Sleeping Beauty’s plot to the historical-redemptive drama of humanity, Josh McDowell’s harrowing tale of forgiveness in light of childhood sexual abuse, and Dale Fincher’s humanitarian apologetic about sharing soul to soul. As Sean McDowell points out, this book is about more than winning arguments; it’s about showing people who God is in light of His truth.
This is not a suggested reading; Apologetics For A New Generation is [another] must read. But only if you’re serious about giving an intelligent defense for your faith and sharing the hope you have with others.