A NEW KIND OF APOLOGIST, edited by Sean McDowell

Published on September 29, 2016 by Chris Bolt

Harvest House, 2016 | 296 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

About the Editor

Sean McDowell is assistant professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University and popular speaker. His master’s degrees are in theology and philosophy and his PhD is in apologetics and worldview.


Sean McDowell starts the book by contrasting two different apologetic experiences, one in which he knowingly answered a barrage of questions pertaining to the problem of evil and yet offended the person to whom he directed his arguments, and another in which he lovingly defended a conservative Christian understanding of homosexuality at a conference geared toward changing that view. McDowell believes everyone is called to do apologetics, but how apologetics are done must change, which is the stated goal of his book. The new apologist must be humble, relational, studious, and a practitioner in terms of lifestyle.

Table of Contents

Part 1 – A New Approach to Apologetics
Chapter 1 – Christians in the Argument Culture: Apologetics as Conversation by Tim Muehlhoff
Chapter 2 – Apologetics and New Technologies by Brian Auten
Interview with Bart Campolo
Chapter 3 – Servant Apologetics by Tom Gilson
Chapter 4 – Motivating Others to “Give an Answer” by Mark Mittelberg
Chapter 5 – Social Justice and a New Kind of Apologist by Ken Wytsma and Rick Gerhardt
Interview with J. P. Moreland
Chapter 6 – “Don’t Blame Us, It’s in the Bible” Understanding New Strategies for Shaking Up the Faith of New Generations by Dan Kimball

Part 2 – New Methods in Apologetics
Chapter 7 – Shepherd Is a Verb: The Role of Relational Mentoring in Communicating Truth by Jeff Myers
Chapter 8 – A Practical Plan to Raise Up the Next Generation by Brett Kunkle
Interview with Dennis Rainey
Chapter 9 – The Multiethnic Church: God’s Living Apologetic by Derwin L. Gray
Chapter 10 – Come and See: The Value of Storytelling for Apologetics by Holly Ordway
Chapter 11 – Using Hollywood Blockbusters to Share Your Faith by Lenny Esposito
Chapter 12 – The Urban Apologist by Christopher Brooks
Chapter 13 – Intuitional Apologetics: Using Our Deepest Intuitions to Point Toward God by Terry Glaspey
Interview with Gavin MacFarland
Chapter 14 – Why We Should Love Questions More than Answers by Matthew Anderson
Chapter 15 – Why More Women Should Study Apologetics by Mary Jo Sharp

Part 3 – New Issues in Apologetics
Chapter 16 – A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How by Jennifer A. Marshall
Chapter 17 – An Assessment of the Present State of Historical Jesus Studies by Michael Licona
Chapter 18 – How to Question the Bible in a Post-Christian Culture by Jonathan Morrow
Interview with Hemant Mehta
Chapter 19 – Entrepreneurs: An Economic Apologetic for the Faith by Jay W. Richards
Chapter 20 – Telling the Truth About Sex in a Broken Culture by John Stonestreet
Chapter 21 – Being Authentically Christian on the LGBT Issue by Glenn T. Stanton
Chapter 22 – Transgender: Truth and Compassion by Alan Shlemon
Chapter 23 – An Apologetic for Religious Liberty by James Tonkowich
Interview with John Njoroge
Chapter 24 – Advocating Intelligent Design with Integrity, Grace, and Effectiveness by Casey Luskin
Chapter 25 – The Scientific Naturalist Juggernaut and What to Do About It by Scott Smith
Chapter 26 – Water that Satisfies the Muslim’s Thirst by Abdu Murray
Chapter 27 – But… What About Other Religions? by Tanya Walker

Chapter 1
Christians in the Argument Culture: Apologetics as Conversation

According to Tim Muehlhoff, Christians tend to avoid sharing about Christianity with people around them. Muehlhoff grounds much of this tendency in the war-like “argument culture” of social media and cable news. He turns to the book of Proverbs to establish four principial questions to enable and encourage civil communication with unbelievers. The first question is, “What does this person believe?” The second question is “Why does this person believe?” The third question is “Where do we agree?” The fourth question is “Based on this knowledge, how should I proceed?” Muehlhoff concludes, “As followers of Christ, we are desperate to share our story with a world that seems to be rapidly moving away from God. However, in our zeal we forget that communication is a give-and-take proposition, a right to be earned.”

Chapter 2
Apologetics and New Technologies

Brian Auten notes the significance of technological advances in communication and how they have pushed many into skepticism before asking how such advances can be used in defense of the faith. To answer this question, he loosely categorizes apologists in terms of their strengths and suggests they work together as teams.

Some are more inclined to study and write and do research. They would tend toward the content author role. Some are gifted or skilled in using tools to build websites, edit audio, or shoot video. They would land in the content artist role. Others seem gifted and drawn to speaking on a one-to-one level with people, asking questions and answering challenges. They would fall into the content communicator role. Finally, there are those who don’t have to be great experts, but they have a passion for apologetics and have found answers to other people’s questions while doing their own investigation. They would land in the content propagator role.

The chapter concludes with thoughts for the most effective utilization of the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet.

Interview with Bart Campolo

Sean McDowell interviews former evangelist Bart Campolo on why he is now a secular humanist and asks his advice for Christian apologists.

Chapter 3
Servant Apologetics

Tom Gilson writes on what he calls “servant apologetics,” which involves listening to other Christians, giving of one’s time and talent to train others in apologetics, and growing in one’s faith. Gilson reminds his readers, “The people who need our gifts and skills the least are the ones who appreciate them the most, and the ones who need our gifts and knowledge the most are the ones likely to appreciate them the least.” Servant apologetics are a solution to that aforementioned difficulty.

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A New Kind of Apologist

Harvest House, 2016 | 296 pages

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