This compilation by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler is an excellent and easy-to-read summation of the importance of defending the Christian faith. The apostle Peter instructed believers to be ready to “give an answer” (1 Peter 3.15) when folks asked about their faith, but it’s equally important to provide a rationale and invitation to trust in Christ once an answer has been provided.
Each section of the book was very well-written and encouraged me as a pastor to make sure that church members are informed and educated about how to provide answers and reasons for why they believe. Simply responding, “The Bible says so,” obviously doesn’t carry authority with someone who doesn’t recognize the Bible as a legitimate source.
The book briefly outlines how to engage people on a logic level, a moral level, and a “kitchen table” level. In one chapter, Zacharias comments that most people’s objections to the Gospel are “ultimately not intellectual but moral.” In other words, even if you might demonstrate a certain amount of logical “proof” for the Gospel (at least the same amount of proof that would convince someone when the subject was a different one), many people remain unconvinced. At that point, they are choosing to disbelieve. This choice, then, becomes the next obstacle that the apologist must graciously work toward removing.
In a chapter entitled “Off to College: Can We Keep Them?” the author deftly identifies 12 reasons why which collegians are tempted to lose their faith:
Young believers think they can be solitary Christians. This is the age-old “just me and Jesus” myth.
They don’t get the “Big Story” of God’s revelation (not the book of Revelation, but the entire picture of what God has been doing since creation as recorded in scripture).
They don’t know the reasons for God’s rules.
They don’t know that behind every tempation is a false ideology or philosophy.
They haven’t learned to recognize the desires and devices of their hearts.
They think good intentions are enough to protect them from sin.
Their understanding of Christian virtue is too sentimental.
They think faith and knowledge are opposites.
They think Jesus forbids moral judgments.
They are far too easily frightened into playing defense.
They don’t realize that their adversaries have “faith” commitments too.
They don’t know how to call a bluff.
The author goes on to unpack each of these reasons in a brief but helpful way.
The end of the book provides a great list of resources for further reading. It’s obviously not intended to be exhaustive but to simply demonstrate the great need for effective apologetics through the church today.
I totally agree with one of the overarching conclusions to the book: a loving, healthy church is one of the best sources to prove and demonstrate the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In an environment of transformed and honest lives, people are able to experience the presence of God and how He works in ordinary lives today to produce extraordinary results.