A New Kind of Apologist
by Sean McDowell, Harvest House Publishers, © 2016,
304 pages, $17.99 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-6605-4
This book is unique in its approach to apologetics. It was edited by Sean McDowell but contains many short essays by many (often young) apologists. A theme of this book is that we should approach the process of arguing for the truth of the Christian faith in a non- argumentative way. McDowell writes, “If we have the best argument but not love, our arguments will often fall on deaf ears (1 Corinthians 13:1 – 3).” He also says, “If you want to be a new kind of apologist, it is vital to build relationships with people of varying faiths so you can speak from a heart of genuine care.”
With that approach to apologetics, the essays in this book give strategies for sharing your faith with young people, multi-ethnics, urban liberals, sexually confused, homosexuals, transgenders, Muslims, and people of other religions. The essays were written by Christians who are experienced in working with those people groups. That includes the story of a former Muslim telling how he shared his Christian faith with a congregation of more than a thousand Muslims in a large Islamic center in Canada — and lived to tell about it. The writer of that essay was Abdu Murray, president of Embrace the Truth International. He said he prayed that night to “emulate the apostle Paul's attitude toward non-Christians: ‘Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person’ (Colossians 4:5 – 6, emphasis added).” He pointed out that Paul is not telling us we need to know how to answer each question, he is telling us to answer each person. To do that we need to know them and care about them.
This book deals with how to respond to young people who have seen the anti-faith websites and how we can use new technologies such as internet blogs, Youtube videos, and social media to present apologetic arguments. However, the strong emphasis is on “Servant Apologetics.” As is often said, “People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care.” This book will challenge your thinking on how to present the gospel in a world hostile to its message.
Reviewed by Roland Earnst