Reviewed by Mark Farnham
Voddie Baucham’s foray into writing on apologetics arose from a friend’s interest in Baucham’s preaching methodology. He tells readers that when he preaches, he argues with himself, stating common objections and then answering them in the course of his sermon. Baucham calls this expository apologetics, what many would probably call apologetic preaching. In his book, Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word, he seeks to introduce an accessible and effective application of Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics. Since apologetics is an essential part of the Christian life for every believer, this book attempts to give readers the tools to evangelize and answer objections to the faith.
Baucham begins by defining what he means by the term expository apologetics. “It is merely the application of the principles of biblical exposition to the art and science of apologetics” (p. 20). He encourages believers to engage the issues that make effective witness more difficult today—our own inconsistencies, biblical illiteracy, and the hostile culture. Along the way he suggests something that is often overlooked and underestimated in importance for evangelism—catechism. “I believe catechism is the best apologetics training tool we have at our disposal,” not just for children, but for everyone (p. 30).
Baucham’s vision of apologetics is realistic, and therefore encouraging. After noting that there is no argument that will make an unbeliever fall on his knees and be saved on the spot, he reminds us that apologetics is a tool that often heightens tension, not alleviates it. And then there is the internal struggle of the apologist. He confesses, “I like to be liked. I don’t like being considered out of touch or out of my mind by strangers whom I meet along the way” (p. 44). This is encouraging to many Christians who think that fear and insecurity are unique to them.
Several chapters in this book are expositions of biblical texts that help elucidate the biblical concept of evangelism and the gospel. Baucham also includes a chapter on the importance of creeds, confessions and catechisms. He states clearly that these are the key tools for an effective apologist. He shows how the Ten Commandments are vital to dispel the ethical objections often raised against the faith. In contrast to a humanistic worldview, the Christian worldview grounds its opposition to slavery, discrimination, and child abuse in a transcendent God who has revealed his character. He also exposes the illegitimacy of using the biblical foundations of the civil rights movement to support homosexuality. “Homosexual advocates appeal to the civil rights movement like a ventriloquist hoping you don’t see his lips moving. The last thing they want is for people to connect the civil rights movement with its biblical/theological moorings” (p. 117). Christianity has the strength to oppose injustice and promote human flourishing.
The heart of Baucham’s approach comes in chapter 8 where he introduces the “expository apologetic waltz,” the term he assigns his practical methodology for conversations with unbelievers. First, we show unbelievers that their worldview is inconsistent. Baucham’s explanation in this section is worth the price of the book, as he analyzes the psychology of unbelief and provides practical suggestions for effective engagement. Second, we show them where they are counterfeiting the truth of the Christian worldview. Admittedly, this is the most difficult step, but he once again helps his readers. Finally, we show them what the “real thing” looks like; that is, we demonstrate the consistency, superiority and beauty of the Christian faith.
As an aid to the reader, Baucham provides an example of an expository apologetic sermon in the appendix. It is a brilliant example of effective apologetic preaching. But this is exactly my problem with the title of the book. It is confusing! Is it a book about expository preaching or apologetics? The answer is that this is clearly a book about apologetics, and a very good one at that. The title is unfortunate, but the book itself is a tremendous addition to the apologetic literature available today.
Professor of Apologetics
Lancaster Bible College
Buy the books
Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word