I’ve read (or tried to read) many books about apologetics. Most of them have left me asking, “But who talks like that?”
So much of Christian apologetics is detached from reality. It’s academics speaking to academics, but it’s utterly useless for everyday conversations. Is there a more useable and useful apologetics?
In chapter five of Telling a Better Story, Josh Chatrow contrasts traditional apologetics with story apologetics.
This model of apologetics has four building blocks.
1. The foundation is a shared logical and rational framework
2. Argue for general theism.
3. The historical evidence for Bible’s reliability
4. The capstone is sharing the Gospel
Chatrow’s critiques of this model includes:
It doesn’t foster two-way conversations
The Gospel comes at the end
It has a mechanical step-by-step feel
“Stringing together premises and conclusions is not most people’s idea of an engaging conversation.”
This model has six circles in a circle. The first three circles are the three big stories in our culture: the pessimistic secular story, the optimistic secular story, and the moral therapeutic spirituality story (aka my feelings are god). The next three circles are the three smaller stories in individual lives: the stories of romance, consumerism, and achievement.
At the center of these six circles is the Gospel story we continually compare and contrast with the culture’s and the individual’s story. The advantages of story apologetics are:
It is more circular and conversational
The Gospel is central and woven into the conversation
It emphasizes the importance of listening
It identifies overlaps and connecting points
It uses logic, evidence, history, etc., but not as a framework.
Is there a more useable and useful apologetics? Story apologetics is useable by everyday Christians and useful for everyday non-Christians.