If there are two things that are in ample supply they are skeptics towards the Christian faith and apologetic books that respond to their objections. There are many good apologetic books available  that respond to the many objections to the Christian faith and do so at many levels. Some are simple, some are more complex and all have their place.

Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations by Bill Foster is another apologetics book but it is a different kind of apologetic book. In this book Foster has distilled a lot of information, argumentation and truth down into 4 categories of skeptics with easy to understand terminology and explanation.

The foundation of the book, and the first thing that makes this book stand out, rests on helpfully categorizing all skeptics into four groups: spiritual, moral, scientific and biblical. The rational for these four groups is that “a person’s total worldview consists of how he sees the world in three broad categories,” the fourth of which is biblical (p. 33). In the course of the conversation, if the believer can quickly identify the category in which the skeptics objections lies then they will have accomplished the first step in correctly responding to the objection.

Once the objection has been categorized there are a few more steps in the process of responding to the skeptics objection(s). One big step in the task of identifying the root idea of the skeptics objection. Using the analogy of a tree or plant, a skeptics objection often has a root idea that produces their objection. This is often a false premise or misunderstanding about the truth and the Christians actual beliefs. Interestingly enough, many times these root ideas are personal and have developed as the result of the loss of a loved one or the skeptic having gone through a trying time in their life. These experiences often shape how an unbeliever thinks about God, the world and reality. Christians should take care as the unearth these root ideas so as not to be insensitive.

Moving from the category to the root idea, Foster finally deals with certain words that are frequently used by the skeptic in an attempt to dismantle the Christian faith. Foster labels these as clarifying words. It is important to know and identify these words in a conversation because often times the skeptic and the Christian have different definitions of these words. One needs to clarify what they mean in order to make sure both parties are on the same page and to make sure that the skeptic is using the right words and definitions.  Likewise, it is very important for the Christian to make sure they are using the right words and definitions as well. In analyzing these red-flag words, Foster explains how the skeptic typically defines them so the believer can hear the skeptic right. If necessary, the Christian can correct wrong uses of these words and through this help the skeptic see the fault in their own objection. One classic example of a word that is often misused is the word tolerant or tolerance (see pg. 75).

Another aspect in using the right words is making sure the Christian does not use words the skeptic does not know. Words like “born again” and “inspired” need to be carefully used and should not be used without explanation or definition. We live in a post-Christian era where many unbelievers have never seen a Bible let alone have any basic knowledge of it content. Carefully defining terms and using more appropriate terms is wise.

For some one who has read a lot of apologetics books, I find this book to be very helpful. The apologetic arguments and lines of defense in this book are not necessarily new. What Meet the Skeptic does that very few apologetics books do is take those tried and true responses and put them into real life scenarios so believers can see how to use them when the rubber meets the road. This book walks you through the though process of the skeptic and their objections and helps you to see them for what they are at a level that is helpful to Christians who are just getting into apologetics and more seasoned veterans. This process of identifying the objections category, root idea and then working through the red-flag words is simply brilliant and a method that other apologetics books need to follow.

Accompanying this book is the Meet the Skeptic Workbook. This provides a great opportunity to work through this book with other believers in a safe environment in order to develop comprehension of the material and test the method in order to hone your communication skills. This is great for small groups of all ages and levels of apologetics skills.

I recommend Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations to anyone who wants to grow in their ability to accurately defend the Christian faith.

NOTE: I received this book free from the publisher through New Leaf Publishing Group Book review program on CreationConversations.com. I am under no obligation to provide a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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