User Review - Flag as inappropriate
The main point of Humble Apologetics is that apologetics must be done in a new way, which the author defines as the humble way, so that believers can "both defend and commend their religion without needlessly offending their neighbors and exacerbating the tensions of the global village." To be able to do that, the apologist needs to understand the challenges against faith in contemporary society. He also needs to understand what Christian conversion is. Finally he needs to be able to communicate his message.
In "Part One" Stackhouse sketches the climate of the (North American) contemporary context in which apologetics is supposed to take place and its challenges for Christianity. First of all, Stackhouse defines different types of pluralism that one will encounter while defending her/his faith. He argues that, "the term pluralism can mean a wide range of things," and writes that, "The Christian who wants to share her faith in a world suffused by all of these forms of pluralism will need to be clear as to which sorts she is encountering in any given situation." Then he explains the need to be aware of the ways of thinking of our time, defining postmodernity and arguing that, "the heart of postmodernity is doubt regarding any claims to having The Truth." Furthermore pluralism and postmodernity will be seen through consumerism, which the author defines as the "lens through which we are all tempted to view everything."
In "Part Two" Stackhouse shows how the apologist needs to initiate conversations in this social context so that one can lead another to conversion, which he defines not only as an event, but also as a process. Stackhouse agrees that, "There is indeed [a] binary element to conversion," but he adds that, "one must press on to the fully converted life."
In "Part Three" he explains how the apologist needs to communicate his message not only by proclaiming it, but also by living it out. He mentions how, "Deed and word go together." One needs therefore to communicate in love with "deed and word," while being aware of his/her audience's need. He finally concludes that the best way for someone to engage apologetically in this social context is to be epistemologically humble, because no one knows it all; rhetorically humble, because authenticity speaks better than arrogance; and spiritually humble, because it is not the apologist that accomplishes much for Christianity, but God. With this understanding of society, conversion, and communication, one should therefore be equipped with humility to share the gospel.