When I heard about this book from a friend I was excited to see what sort of impact this volume was going to have on the church and the work of the apologist done there. We live during a time where teens are leaving the faith after leaving home. Their worldviews are getting crushed by philosophy professors and they are simply not equipped to handle the intellectual challenges facing them on secular campuses.
A New Kind of Apologist addresses this issue head on. Editor Sean McDowell has brought together some of the best thinkers in the field of apologetics today. Not only that, but he employs authors who speak on oft forgotten subjects like Economics and the issues surrounding the LGBT demographic.
The authors who write here are professionals in their field and raise questions one would not readily think to ask when engaging the culture with the gospel of Christ. Glenn Stanton, author of How to Love Your LGBT Neighbor, writes of an authentic Christianity surrounded by a “church” which has abandoned the foundation of the Christian worldview and instead chooses to affirm those who are in direct rebellion to God. He shows us the way forward in Love and confrontation, not acceptance and affirmation.
Jeff Meyers, President of Summit Ministries, brings to light the need for mentors in the church who can walk with the youth during these challenges to their faith. As a part of Summit’s worldview curriculum, Meyers urges his students to “build a rung in the ladder between truth and relationship.” He builds students on a foundation which includes inviting those in to worldview investigation, not shutting them out of our bubbles.
Some of the content here can readily be found in other main works by each author. For example, Pastor Chris Brooks speaks of Urban Evangelism. He more fully expands this topic in his book of the same name, which I loved. I see what they are doing here in giving readers a buffet of apologetics material instead of a single-course meal. It would help to include a “further reading” section at the end of each chapter in order for the reader to delve more deeply into a certain subject.
Licona, who doesn’t care if there are contradictions in the Bible but does believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, writes on the current state of historical Jesus studies. This space is muddied by those who don’t hold to the complete inerrancy of the scriptures so it’s hard to know who to trust in this space. This doesn’t detract from Licona’s credibility but it does cause me to stop for a second and think if he really does believe these things or if they are mere speculation based on a historical “scientific method” look into the evidence.
Where’s all the Reformed folk? This volume is filled with those many in the Reformed camp would have problems with, and have expressed those issues through various media. A quick glance at the table of contents reveals that we are missing a whole set of apologists doing fantastic work in this field yet are neglected because of their “presuppositions”. A Van Tillian has as much intellectual grounding, and I would contend more, as those who develop an apologetic based on physical evidences.
Some leave me wondering if they really do believe in a Supernatural God who has not revealed every known piece of knowledge to us, and never will. As Herman Bavinck has said, “The lifeblood of theology is mystery.” This sense of mystery and the awe of the majesty of Christ is nowhere to be found among some of the writers. This is certainly not a blanket statement but a few of the writers leave me with this feeling.
Through all the good and the bad I think this type of book is a necessity today in the church. Youth groups especially need to put away the cute games designed to keep teens interested and instead we need to challenge them to understand what they believe and why. There is a reason why those who leave Church after high school ultimately go on to leave the faith. We don’t challenge them to have a whole-life system built on the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and through his Word. We don’t press them to consider that ideas have consequences because as parents, pastors, and lay persons we fail to understand this ourselves.