Faculty-authored book connects apologetics to the Gospel
Researchers have estimated that more than 50 percent of the nation feels drawn to religion. For many others, the question is, “Why? Why do so many look for the guidance of a higher power?”
Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel, headed for bookshelves in November, proposes that the Gospel holds eternal appeal because it satisfies the need for truth, meaning and purpose. The book provides timely thoughts on the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, the resurrection, and the presence of evil; and it connects those lines of thought with the Gospel.
The book is written by Southwestern professors Paul Gould, Travis Dickinson and R. Keith Loftin, who share “a passion to show how apologetics is helpful in evangelism and spiritual formation,” says Gould.
“The three of us were putting together an apologetics course to be used in local churches,” Dickinson explains. “We found that there were no textbooks that would work well in that setting. The books were either too dense and difficult, or they were not of sufficient quality, or they did not cover all the areas we wanted for the course.”
They presented the idea for their book to B&H Academic. “As it turns out, they had been looking for something like this already,” Dickinson says. “So it was good timing.”
For Dickinson, apologetics paves the road to belief. “Faith is a crucial notion for us, as Christians, to understand, and yet it seems there’s so much confusion and disagreement about what it even is,” says Dickinson. “I think that our doubts about Christianity can be very valuable. We all have questions about God, the Bible, and the Christian claims. Sometimes we begin to struggle with these questions and feel the tug of certain objections. Rather than running away from this, I say we should lean into those doubts and investigate.”
“Some think Christianity unreasonable or implausible, and apologetics can supply us with reasons to think Christianity true,” says Gould. “This is what most people think of when they think about apologetics: arguments for God, evidence for miracles or the resurrection, replies to objections from evil. Many today, however, also don’t want Christianity to be true; they don’t see it as good or beautiful. I think we can broaden our approach in apologetics to help people see that Christianity is not only true to the way the world is—reasonable—but true to the way the world ought to be —that is, desirable.”
“My interest in apologetics and the question of how to help others see the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus and the Gospel flows out of my two decades of ministry to students and faculty in the secular university as a campus minister,” Gould continues. “I want to help the non-believer see what I see, and I want to help those in the church learn how to invite others to look where they are looking.”
Loftin says he gravitated toward the study of apologetics for similar reasons. “Personally, I have had an interest in apologetics since I was a teenager,” he says.
“What has caused me to gravitate to apologetics is seeing it as a way to love God with all of my mind,” says Dickinson. “In apologetics, we ask deep and difficult questions about the faith. For me, this isn’t driven by skepticism. Rather, I’m driven by a curiosity in wanting to know and love God with all of my mind.”
Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel will be released on Nov. 1. It is available for pre-order here.