A New Kind of Apologist edited by Sean McDowell is a collection of essays addressing many of the challenges facing apologetics and apologists now. The chapters offer insights in such diverse topics as apologetics and economics, Islam, and sexuality. The chapters range from 2-14 pages and so are necessarily brief.
Several of the chapters are particularly insightful. For example, “Why We Should Love Questions More Than Answers” by Matthew Anderson notes that we need to be careful listeners when we take questions. It does no good to be able to answer questions if we are answering the wrong ones. The chapter “Telling the Truth about Sex in a Broken Culture” by John Stonestreet speaks to how the changing cultural climate regarding exposure to, consumption of, and even understanding of sexuality has changed such that we need to have a holistic biblical vision of human sexuality is another example of the broad perspectives this book offers on apologetics.
The topics in the book aren’t limited to some kind of ivory tower arguments (though I believe such arguments and books are very valuable); here, topics have direct application to life while maintaining an apologetic perspective. It’s a practical book, though it is necessarily brief on each topic that is covered. It provides more of a grab bag of ideas than well-developed approaches to the topics. Readers will be exposed to many different ideas, each with some insight on where to pursue further reading on the topic. The sheer breadth of issues touched upon make the book guaranteed to have something of interest for anyone even remotely concerned with apologetics. Method, Christian living, other religions, and a host of topics in between are covered. It’s an exciting book, as each chapter presents a new avenue for readers to explore.
An admirable aspect of the book is that it features several women’s voices. Too often, collections of apologetic essays do not have even one woman in the work. Here, there are several, including an excellent chapter by Holly Ordway on the use of imagination in apologetics and another chapter by Mary Jo Sharp that calls on women to be involved in aoplogetics.
Section breaks often feature interviews with prominent apologists, but the most intriguing of them are the interviews with atheists–including some who were once apologists. This provides a look at areas that some readers may never engage with–genuine interaction with atheists and an attempt to understand why the “other” believes as they do.
One area of critique is that some chapters persist in using “man” and “men” as descriptors for “human” and “humanity.” Although it is commonly argued that people just know that the latter is what is meant, precision of language as well as the real possibility of confusion suggests use of gender-neutral language ought to be preferred.
A New Kind of Apologist is an important, helpful book. It is just the kind of work that someone interested in apologetics should pick up as quickly as possible. It opens the reader up to several new topics, as well as new authors and ideas. It comes recommended.
+Engages a ton of topics
+Features women’s voices
-Very brief on the topics it touches
-Lack of gender-neutral language in some chapters
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for review from the publisher. I was not required to provide any kind of feedback whatsoever.
A New Kind of Apologist edited by Sean McDowell (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2016).
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