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Alister McGrath: Mere Apologetics

Alister E. McGrath, Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 197 pages.

As a well-known professor of theology, ministry, and education at Kings College, London, McGrath needs no introduction. This book serves as an introduction to apologetics, the field of Christian thought that focuses upon the justification of the core themes of the Christian faith, and its effective communication to the non-Christian world. Apologetics aims to convert believers into thinkers, and thinkers into believers (11). This book sets out to introduce its readers to the leading themes of apologetics, presenting a basic understanding of its agendas and approaches. McGrath has tried to make this book accessible, interesting, and useful. It is not comprehensive. In many ways, the book’s approach mirrors that of CS Lewis, perhaps the greatest apologist of the 20th century.

Alister E. McGrath

In chapter 3, in perhaps his most important contribution to be found within this title, McGrath lays out the basic approach of the book that can be summarized in the following sequence of steps. First, it is essential to have a good to great understanding of the Christian faith in order to do apologetics. Second, it is important to understand the audience that is addressed. Third, we must communicate in such a way that our audiences can understand. Fourth, we need to identify points of contact for the gospel that are already embedded in human culture and experience. And fifth, we must present the whole gospel, not merely our interpretation of it (35-38).

This is more of what we have come to expect from McGrath: erudite scholarship, attention to detail, and persuasive argumentation. I highly recommend this book to all people who have at least a surface-level interest in exploring Christianity, as well as devout believers who wish to find out more on how they can become effective apologists for the faith in the 21st century.

Reviewed by Bradford McCall


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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2015

About the Author: Bradford L. McCall, B.S. in Biology (Georgia Southwestern St. University, 2000), M.Div. (Asbury Theological Seminary, 2005), grew up on a cotton farm in south Georgia. A graduate student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Bradford has particular interest in teleology, causation and early modern philosophy.

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