Book Plunge: Relational Apologetics

What do I think of Michael Sherrard’s book published by Kregel Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Michael Sherrard has written a book that is not just one on what answers to give, but rather how to do apologetics. For the answers that he gives, you can expect you’ll be getting a good basic run-down. Again, I do not fault a book for this. In fact, this could be an excellent starting book for someone just entering the field and is along the lines of Greg Koukl’s Tactics. Sherrard is not just interested in building up the knowledge of the apologist, which is something important to do, but he is also interested in building up the character of the apologist in a watching world.

I think this is extremely important, but I was also a bit cautious at the beginning. I think many of us can take a modernist ethic on how to treat people and read it into the text. For instance, I would not agree that everyone deserves respect. There are many people out there who are not listening and are not interested in listening. For those people, I prefer to keep them away from the flock that is searching. Still, something like this would quite likely be my only area of disagreement with Sherrard. I am one who believes in carrying the staff to lead the sheep and the rod to deal with the predators.

For much of what is said on spiritual formation, I agree with it and I know I have much to learn in many areas. Like many men, prayer is something I work on. For this reason, I have a mentor so I pray every day and I email him about how I am doing and he can sometimes give advice back in fact to what I have to say. I do think mentorship is something that Christians should be taking part in.

Sherrard goes through some basic arguments on each front and in fact demonstrates how he has used them in real-life encounters. His approach is simple and yet it seems to work well. The cautionary statement I’d make here is that many of these encounters take place in person and it could be different when doing apologetics on the internet and in a public forum where other people will see what happens and will respond. When I debate on the internet, I am very rarely trying to reach the person who I am talking to. Instead, I am trying to reach the audience that is viewing the debate.

I did say the book is a primer on apologetics, but the good news is that Sherrard knows that. He says to read more books like his. He’s done a great service by including a bibliography at the end that lists books that you can go to on a number of topics so you can learn more about that area and of course, you won’t be an expert in all of them, so just pick a few and then go from there and see what happens.

Overall, I recommend Sherrard’s book. I think it will be helpful for anyone starting out in the field who wants to know the how of doing apologetics and the what of what they need to know.

In Christ,
Nick Peters