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Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

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In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver's seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You'll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously t In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver's seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You'll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously through the minefields, stop challengers in their tracks, turn the tables and—most importantly—get people thinking about Jesus. Soon, your conversations will look more like diplomacy than D-Day. Drawing on extensive experience defending Christianity in the public square, Koukl shows you how to: - Initiate conversations effortlessly - Present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively - Graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking - Skillfully manage the details of dialogue - Maintain an engaging, disarming style even under attack Tactics provides the game plan for communicating the compelling truth about Christianity with confidence and grace.


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In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver's seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You'll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously t In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver's seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You'll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously through the minefields, stop challengers in their tracks, turn the tables and—most importantly—get people thinking about Jesus. Soon, your conversations will look more like diplomacy than D-Day. Drawing on extensive experience defending Christianity in the public square, Koukl shows you how to: - Initiate conversations effortlessly - Present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively - Graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking - Skillfully manage the details of dialogue - Maintain an engaging, disarming style even under attack Tactics provides the game plan for communicating the compelling truth about Christianity with confidence and grace.

30 review for Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Most books on apologetics focus on the content of apologetics, making sure you know what you believe. The best books on apologetics I've encountered are those that focus on preparing your mind ahead of time for an encounter, which means more than just having the right things to say, it also means knowing how to say them. It's the difference between strategy and tactics, strategy looks at the world map and marks out the overall objective, tactics focus on the details of accomplishing a single mis Most books on apologetics focus on the content of apologetics, making sure you know what you believe. The best books on apologetics I've encountered are those that focus on preparing your mind ahead of time for an encounter, which means more than just having the right things to say, it also means knowing how to say them. It's the difference between strategy and tactics, strategy looks at the world map and marks out the overall objective, tactics focus on the details of accomplishing a single mission. This book will help you accomplish your mission as a Christian, which may not be what you think it is. According to Koukl, the Christian's objective is not necessarily to convince a person first thing, but to "put a stone in their shoe", that is, leave them with a thought or a question that will gnaw at them over time. Koukl understands the subtle difficulties of trying convince a person and knows that one such convinced against their will is of their same old opinion still. We need to let people arrive at the truth in their own time, by the grace of God; God's timing. I loved this book and recommend two readings of it at least.

  2. 4 out of 5

    J. Wallace

    Good book that discusses successful and reasoned approaches that can be employed by those who seek to defend the Christian worldview. I also discuss this topic in my book, “Cold Case Christianity” (Chapter 10: Prepare for an Attack) Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels Good book that discusses successful and reasoned approaches that can be employed by those who seek to defend the Christian worldview. I also discuss this topic in my book, “Cold Case Christianity” (Chapter 10: Prepare for an Attack) Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

  3. 4 out of 5

    Summer Jaeger

    Don’t waste your life. Read this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Malin Friess

    I was turned off by this book called Tactics...a game plan for discussing your convictions. Even the cover of the book with chess pieces seems to imply that your friends and colleagues of other faiths or no faith are pieces in a game to be won. I don't think this confrontational, argumentative, Columbo style of apologetics is helpful. For example the author meets a Wican cashier at CVS and begins with the first question so you are pro choice right? B Being ready to defends one faith is appropriat I was turned off by this book called Tactics...a game plan for discussing your convictions. Even the cover of the book with chess pieces seems to imply that your friends and colleagues of other faiths or no faith are pieces in a game to be won. I don't think this confrontational, argumentative, Columbo style of apologetics is helpful. For example the author meets a Wican cashier at CVS and begins with the first question so you are pro choice right? B Being ready to defends one faith is appropriate..but these offensive tactics I don't think will help atheists or those of other faith be attracted to Christianity. One star.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I think this is an extremely easy to read and practical book that teaches how to winsomely use conversation and questions to talk with people about the Christian Worldview. I am hesitant to recommend a book by an author that is not presuppositional (because I am a very staunch presuppositionalist). I do not agree with everything in the book, and sometimes cringed at his non-presuppositional examples or philosophy. (I would compare him to Francis Schaeffer). I also can't stand when the book uses I think this is an extremely easy to read and practical book that teaches how to winsomely use conversation and questions to talk with people about the Christian Worldview. I am hesitant to recommend a book by an author that is not presuppositional (because I am a very staunch presuppositionalist). I do not agree with everything in the book, and sometimes cringed at his non-presuppositional examples or philosophy. (I would compare him to Francis Schaeffer). I also can't stand when the book uses "she" instead of "he" in it's general examples. However, where the book focuses on the *practical* aspects of discussion with people, I have found it to be very helpful not only for evangelism, but for talking with Christians about doctrinal differences in a way that is non-confrontational, but that shows them the holes in their reasoning. I think this is a highly effective and necessary tool for Christians. There is overlap between a classical and presuppositionalist view of evangelism, as Greg Bahnsen noted in his debate over apologetics with R.C. Sproul Sr., and I think this book focuses on those areas. If you're curious, but not sold, watch this 5 min video to get a taste of what you'll learn in the book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfcdCq...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    "Tactics" is probably the best "intro to apologetics" book I've ever read. While not revolutionary in content, Greg Koukl changes the game in the way he presents academic concepts, all while encouraging Christians to speak to their opponents with grace. He breaks the book into two parts: the first part is his recommendations for interactions, specifically, he recommends asking a lot of questions so you get a full understanding of what your opponent believes and how she came to those conclusions. "Tactics" is probably the best "intro to apologetics" book I've ever read. While not revolutionary in content, Greg Koukl changes the game in the way he presents academic concepts, all while encouraging Christians to speak to their opponents with grace. He breaks the book into two parts: the first part is his recommendations for interactions, specifically, he recommends asking a lot of questions so you get a full understanding of what your opponent believes and how she came to those conclusions. Half way through he shifts to the second part: using the methods he's taught you to challenge other's beliefs. What did I like about this book? I like how he takes difficult concepts like The Law of Non-Contradiction and makes them simple and clear. Without using a single philosophical term, he takes some of the greatest tools of logic and debate and makes them palatable to any reader. The methods outlined and the reasoning behind them are fantastic. So why only 4 stars? I felt the two halves of the book had the opposite problems. In the first part, he explains the concepts well but doesn't show enough examples of what utilizing his methods looks like. In the second part, he does a great job presenting examples but doesn't spend enough time fleshing out the reasons his examples work. Both sections are great, but he could have significantly increased the value of his book by expanding it just a little bit. The other reason for 4 stars is somewhat more complicated. While Koukl is clear that his teaching should never be used to abuse or manipulate an opponent (his final chapter is all about this point), he doesn't do a good job of answering WHY you shouldn't do it. Instead of telling his readers not to use these tactics to abuse, I wish he had spent more time to clarify why it's wrong for Christians to use these tactics in any other way than he recommends in the book. Even with those critiques, "Tactics" is officially my go-to book for those who want to better understand apologetics. It's clear, it's easy to read, and it'll set the foundation a Christian needs for interacting rightly in every kind of debate. 4/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kavin Kramer

    I am an apologist and I hope that none of my non-Christian friends read this book. What I read was mostly tactics on how to control and win arguments. I think these "tactics" have good intent and even great ideas attached but at the end of a conversation, if you have not treated another human being with proper respect and decency then you have nothing. This point is even made a couple times in the book but many of the stories are blunt to the point where they could be construed as manipulative. I am an apologist and I hope that none of my non-Christian friends read this book. What I read was mostly tactics on how to control and win arguments. I think these "tactics" have good intent and even great ideas attached but at the end of a conversation, if you have not treated another human being with proper respect and decency then you have nothing. This point is even made a couple times in the book but many of the stories are blunt to the point where they could be construed as manipulative. I've met Koukl and did not feel this way about him in person. Maybe it just translates poorly in print?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    How do you go about telling the truth of your Christian convictions without either being harsh and abrasive or having someone run over you in the conversation? How do you ask pointed questions of a person who is raising an invalid point without coming off like a bully yourself? In Tactics, author Greg Koukl gives plain, powerful, and helpful advice for believers who would like to be able to discuss their faith with civility while not allowing the spurious logic of their opponents to derail the How do you go about telling the truth of your Christian convictions without either being harsh and abrasive or having someone run over you in the conversation? How do you ask pointed questions of a person who is raising an invalid point without coming off like a bully yourself? In Tactics, author Greg Koukl gives plain, powerful, and helpful advice for believers who would like to be able to discuss their faith with civility while not allowing the spurious logic of their opponents to derail the conversation. As Koukl tells us early in the book. Using tactics in discussing your faith is not about winning arguments or making others look bad. This book is not about slick tricks and clever strategies. Instead, Koukl’s book is intended to help believers to use solid logic and reasoning to present the faith in a winsome and solid way. He helps believers to learn how to ask questions that will expose the inconsistencies of the views of others, especially when those inconsistencies should reshape the argument. Koukl’s book is very easy-to-read. Some books on Christian apologetics—the art of defending the faith—are so dense that the average believer will not wade through them. Koukl writes in an engaging and understandable style with real-life examples to show how his tactics can help. Even his labels for his tactics are not formal philosophical terms. For example, Koukl calls his plan to steer the conversation through the asking of pointed questions “the Columbo method,” bringing to mind the TV detective who always had “just one more question.” While Koukl’s work contains several examples of logical and biblical reasoning, it is not an apologetics textbook. The author is primarily focused on helping us know how to argue our point logically, not about giving us an encyclopedia of refutations of opponents’ salvos. So, do not assume that picking up this book will give you the ammunition that you need to defeat every argument. What it will do is teach you how to navigate the argument and spot when your interlocutor has violated the rules of sound reason. Yes, many of the examples in this book will give you solid answers to common objections to the faith. These reasons are not, however, the meat of the book. One final thing that I will mention about this work is that I love the structure of the book. Koukl put this book together in a very logical way, with principles building on principles and with more complex concepts coming after simpler ones. But what I love most is the “What we learned in this chapter” section at the end of each chapter. If you read through this work and then want to review it to see what you may have missed, Koukl has made it possible with this very helpful section at the end of every chapter. I would recommend Tactics to pastors, Bible study leaders, and any Christian interested in sharing his or her faith. The book is easy enough to read that high school students should have no problem following along. Its concepts are solid enough that even experienced thinkers and debaters will have something to glean. Koukl has done a very good job of helping believers to present the gospel with confidence while working around the false arguments often thrown our way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rick Dobrowolski

    Excellent book on the power of reason to arrive at the truth. The author lays out the tactics that he uses when engaging with challenges and questions regarding the Christian faith. I appreciate that his approach is civil and kind towards those with which he has conversations. The desire is that others will leave the discussion challenged and with their thinking stirred to the point where they ponder the reasons for their beliefs. I love this approach. This respects others yet also recognizes th Excellent book on the power of reason to arrive at the truth. The author lays out the tactics that he uses when engaging with challenges and questions regarding the Christian faith. I appreciate that his approach is civil and kind towards those with which he has conversations. The desire is that others will leave the discussion challenged and with their thinking stirred to the point where they ponder the reasons for their beliefs. I love this approach. This respects others yet also recognizes that absolute truth does exist. It is also an approach that welcomes challenges of Christianity. We are not to squash challenges or challengers, rather, we are to engage them. This book would be a great resource to anyone who desires to know truth and have their beliefs sharpened. Those who are content with their dull beliefs can move on, but move on with the realization that you’re hacking away at life with an intellectual knife that is rather ineffective.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Martindale

    This little book contains some examples of ways to ask the right questions to help another person to reason and see possible inconsistencies and holes in their worldview. One thing I didn't like is how the author shares some ways for Christians to prevent others from using the tactics against them. This seemed a double standard to me--others don't have a right to ask us these kind of leading questions for reasons x,y, and z, and yet we should be going around asking non-Christians such questions This little book contains some examples of ways to ask the right questions to help another person to reason and see possible inconsistencies and holes in their worldview. One thing I didn't like is how the author shares some ways for Christians to prevent others from using the tactics against them. This seemed a double standard to me--others don't have a right to ask us these kind of leading questions for reasons x,y, and z, and yet we should be going around asking non-Christians such questions? If the pursuit of truth--for our thinking and lives to be in line with reality, is the goal, it would seem to me we should welcome such questions from whosoever. If I am inconsistent and mistaken in my thinking, bring it to my attention. I suggest that a number of Koukl's very Evangelical beliefs would collapse under a little scrutiny and questioning.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This book changed the way I look at conversations. Of course, I'm sure I don't always exhibit the right response. However, Greg Koukl's approach—to have better conversations as Christians—has stuck with me. It's primarily instructed me in this way: Ask good, clarifying questions that will help you and your conversation partner. Inspired by Matt Smethurst's 20 quotes blog posts at The Gospel Coalition, I gathered 20 of my favorite quotes from the book: 20 Quotes from Tactics, 10th Anniversary Editi This book changed the way I look at conversations. Of course, I'm sure I don't always exhibit the right response. However, Greg Koukl's approach—to have better conversations as Christians—has stuck with me. It's primarily instructed me in this way: Ask good, clarifying questions that will help you and your conversation partner. Inspired by Matt Smethurst's 20 quotes blog posts at The Gospel Coalition, I gathered 20 of my favorite quotes from the book: 20 Quotes from Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: 1. “I am going to give you a game plan that will allow you to converse with confidence in any situation, no matter how little you know or how knowledgable or aggressive or even obnoxious the other person might be. . . . The principles I will teach in this book will allow you to do what Paul advises [in Col 4:5–6]: be smart, be nice, and be tactical." (18–19)
 2. “Tactics can help, they offer techniques of maneuvering in what otherwise might be difficult situations. . . . They suggest approaches that anyone can use to be more persuasive, in part because they help you to be more reasonable and thoughtful, instead of just emotional, about your convictions as a follower of Jesus. The tactical approach requires as much careful listening as thoughtful response. . . . But there is a danger I want you to be aware of, so I need to pause to make an important clarification. Tactics are not manipulative tricks or slick ruses. They are not clever ploys to embarrass other people and force them to submit to your point of view. They are not meant to belittle or humiliate those who disagree so you can gain notches in your spiritual belt. . . . My goal, rather, is to find clever ways to exploit someone's bad thinking for the purpose of guiding her to truth, remaining gracious and charitable at the same time. My aim is to manage, not manipulate; to convince, not coerce; to finesse, not fight. I want the same for you." (34–35)
 3. “Squabbling, bickering, and quarreling are not very attractive, and they rarely produce anything good. With these types of disputes, I have a general rule: if anyone in the discussion gets mad, you lose. . . . When you get angry, you look belligerent. . . . you resort to interruption and intimidation to get your way. You begin to replace persuasion with power. This is not a good strategy. It is never convincing even if you're successful in bullying the other person into silence. . . . What if you keep your cool, though, and the other person gets mad? Well, you lose in that case too. People who are angry get defensive, and defensive people are not in a very good position to think about whether your ideas are compelling ones. They are too interested in defending their own turf to weigh the merits of an opposing view." (38–39)
 4. “Asking questions enables you to escape the charge, 'You're twisting my words.' A question is a request for clarification specifically so you don't twist their words. When I ask a clarification question, my goal is to understand a person's view (and its consequences), not to distort it." (55)
 5. “Since at the beginning of an encounter, you have no idea what you’re facing, the first and only thing I want you to think about at this point is one single goal—the first step of our game plan. Here it is: gather information. . . . There are specific purposes for the questions we ask. The first purpose of Columbo is to gain information. The second is to reverse the burden of proof. The third is to make a point.” (61–62)
 6. “There are three reasons why gathering information is important. First, you don’t want to misunderstand the person you’re talking with. Second, you don’t want to misrepresent him. Third, you don’t want to him to misunderstand himself. . . . When I ask clarification questions about the challenge, it forces the skeptic to be more specific and precise about her concern. I want my friend to spell out her view so clearly I will not misunderstand it.” (67–68)
 7. “Don’t underestimate the power of the question, ‘What do you mean by that?’ Use it often.” (69)
 8. “The burden of proof is the responsibility someone in the conversation has to give evidence for a view. Who has that responsibility? The person who makes the claim bears that burden. If you say something is so, especially if it’s controversial, then you have a responsibility to tell why you think it’s so. The natural impulse for more aggressive Christians is to take up a challenge and attempt to prove the other person wrong. Don’t do it. If you try, you’re just giving him a free ride.” (77)
 9. “How do you reverse the burden of proof when the other person is making the claim? You do it Columbo style—with a question. Here it is: ‘How did you come to that conclusion?’ This question effectively shifts the burden of proof onto the challenger, where it belongs. There is a gentler variation of ‘Where did you get your facts?’ Though it’s similar in content, it has a kinder, more genial tone, since it charitably assumes the critic has not just told a story or made an unsubstantiated claim but has done some thinking. . . . Reversing the burden of proof is not a trick to avoid defending our ideas. When we give opinions, we have to answer for them, just like anyone else. We have a responsibility, but so do they. That’s my point.” (80, 84)
 10. "You don't have to be the expert on every subject. You don't have to have all the answers. You can still be effective when you know very little, if you ask the right questions." (90)
 11. “The quickest way to deal with a personal attack is to simply point it out with a question. When someone goes after you rather than your argument, ask, ‘I’m a little confused at your response. Why did you change the subject? Even if you’re right about my character, could you explain to me what that has to do with this issue?” (102)
 12. “It is always a step in the right direction when we help others to think more clearly. . . . The danger, of course, is that we become offensive when we go on the offensive. These are two different things. Yes, we want to be able to point out weaknesses in a view (go on the offensive). But we don’t want to seem pushy, condescending, or smug (be offensive).” (110)
 13. “Point out errors by using questions rather than statements. You might soften your challenge by phrasing your concern as a request for clarification or by suggesting an alternative with the words, ‘Have you considered . . . ‘ or, ‘Can you clear this up for me . . . ‘ before offering your ideas. This approach creates a genial atmosphere for your conversation, plus it provides you with a margin of safety when sharing your views. . . . Asking questions is an almost effortless way to have courteous conversations with others even though you might strongly disagree with their ideas.” (114–15)
 14. “The proper use of Columbo depends to a large degree on the goodwill of the person using it. The purpose of our questions is not to confuse but to clarify—to clarify the issues in the discussion, to clarify our point, or to clarify some error we think the other person has made.” (126)
 15. “Sometimes a person’s impulse to resist is so strong, he will get verbally abusive. . . . Once in a while, you will encounter people who try to overpower you. They don’t overwhelm you with facts or arguments. Rather they roll over you with the force of their personalities. Their challenges come quickly, one after another, keeping you from collecting your wits and giving a thoughtful answer. . . . Steamrollers have a defining characteristic. They constantly interrupt. . . . Steamrollers are not usually interested in answers. They are interested in winning through intimidation. It is easier for them to ask the hard question than to listen to an answer that is more than a shallow, ten-second sound bite.” (194–95)
 16. "Remember, steamrollers are strong customers who sometimes need to be addressed with equal strength, yet coupled with civility. This can be harder if you're an easygoing sort with a gentle spirit, but unless you toughen up at this stage, you'll get nowhere. . . . Don't be snippy or smug. Stay focused, stay pleasant, stay gracious, but stay in the driver's seat. . . . I suggested three steps to manage a steamroller and regain control of the conversation. Step 1, stop the interruption graciously but firmly, then briefly negotiate an agreement. Step 2, shame him by making a direct request for courtesy. Step 3, leave. Never match a steamroller's incivility with rudeness. Instead let him have the last word, then calmly leave.” (198–99, 201)
 17. “Ask questions to make sure you know what the person is alleging. This step is the same as the first step of Columbo.” (225)
 18. “First, names can hurt emotionally, even when we try to dismiss the slight. Second, when it comes to thinking carefully about weighty matters, name calling can be a distractive nuisance. If we want to stay on target in an important discussion, we need to take action. This is where the Sticks and Stones tactic comes in. . . . It’s a maneuver to protect you from a certain type of ad hominem attack: name calling. Here’s how it works. Whenever anyone tries to deflect your point by labeling you with a nasty name—bigot, homophobe, Islamophobe, racist, whatever—always ask for a definition. . . . Name calling is an explicit act of hostility, though, so be sure to be gracious and calm when you ask for a definition and offer your follow-up questions. . . . Your question stops the forward momentum of the attack and forces the other person to face the fact that ridicule is not an argument.” (245, 254) 
 19. “Tactics are not a substitute for knowledge. Cleverness without truth is manipulation.” (266)
 20. “Live out the virtues of a good ambassador. Represent Christ in a winsome and attractive way. . . . An ambassador won't quarrel but will listen in order to understand, then with gentleness will seek to respectfully engage those who disagree. . . . An ambassador is careful with facts and will not misrepresent another's view . . . An ambassador will act with grace, kindness, and good manners. He will not dishonor Christ in his conduct.” (266–267) 
 Related articles: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl... https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/ar... https://www.str.org/w/one-tough-customer https://www.str.org/w/the-columbo-tactic https://ironmanapologetics.wordpress.... Interviews about the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_HcK... https://unbelievable.podbean.com/e/2-... (Q&A about Tactics and the 2nd edition): https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/tactics... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUaTE... Videos and podcasts related to the book: https://saddleback.com/watch/greg-kou... https://www.youtube.https://www.youtu... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns4ZC... https://strweekly.podbean.com/e/are-t... Book Reviews: (First edition review): https://www.challies.com/book-reviews... (First edition review): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/th... (Second edition review): https://www.booksataglance.com/book-r...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rueben Rosalez

    One of the most practical books on apologetics I have read so far. Koukl gives great insight into not only how to defend the faith but how to do so with a sufficient measure of style and decorum. In today's climate of dwindling churches and postmodern thinking, the church in America has not only failed to make disciples but to send out worthy ambassadors who can clearly articulate and defend their faith. This book seeks to equip the average layman with skills and tactics that should allow them t One of the most practical books on apologetics I have read so far. Koukl gives great insight into not only how to defend the faith but how to do so with a sufficient measure of style and decorum. In today's climate of dwindling churches and postmodern thinking, the church in America has not only failed to make disciples but to send out worthy ambassadors who can clearly articulate and defend their faith. This book seeks to equip the average layman with skills and tactics that should allow them to share their faith without fear and defend that faith with confidence. Iwould strongly encourage all Christians to pick this book up and begin their journey to being a bold and effective ambassador for Christ.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I first heard about this book several years ago at a homeschool conference, when I was 13. It was my second introduction to apologetics at the time, and this book was recommended. I wrote down the title and promptly forgot about it for years. It wasn't until I took my first college class, which was about worldviews and apologetics, that the book came up again and I thought "I have to read this." Fast forward a year later and I finally got around to reading it...and I am so glad I did! This book i I first heard about this book several years ago at a homeschool conference, when I was 13. It was my second introduction to apologetics at the time, and this book was recommended. I wrote down the title and promptly forgot about it for years. It wasn't until I took my first college class, which was about worldviews and apologetics, that the book came up again and I thought "I have to read this." Fast forward a year later and I finally got around to reading it...and I am so glad I did! This book is incredible. It's really unique for its genre--as explained in the book's introduction, instead of one more apologetics book with the facts and evidence, this one is more of a how-to. As the title says, this book is about tactics. How to navigate conversations with others of opposing views. How to use questions to expose flaws in their reasoning and keep them answering, rather than you. Ever noticed how a lot of confrontations with atheists seem to end up with you being in the hot seat? Tactics shows you how to reverse the question arrow so it's pointing toward your conversation mate. It includes lots of real-life examples related to current issues, and is immensely practical. One chapter even gives you tips for dealing with a "steamroller" who is trying to run over you in the conversation. I also love how at the beginning of the book, Koukl explains the importance of having good arguments. Not quarrels or strife-causing spats, but good arguments designed to seek the truth. I felt like he'd taken the words right out of my mouth. Seriously, this book is everything I have been trying to tell people for a year now! One of the greatest takeaways from this book is a goal Koukl has adopted and recommends to the reader as well. Rather than focusing on trying to get the person "to the cross" in every conversation, simply try to put a stone in their shoe. Unsettle something in their mind. Give them something to take home and mull over, something that will stick with them and nag them a little bit. Don't make it your goal to change their mind completely--just plant a seed of doubt in their own ideas. To those who wonder "why apologetics?" To those who find themselves awed at "the masters" but have no clue where to begin. To those who genuinely want to seek truth. To those who want to know how to ask great questions. To those who want to engage better with those around them. To those who want to better understand and articulate what they believe and why. This is the book for you!

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Quin

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I purchased this a long time ago and like far too many books I left it on my Kindle shelf. While successfully experimenting with Kindle text to speech I finally got around to marking this off my to read list. This book will be of most benefit to Christians who rush headlong into arguments with non believers without a plan, strategy or any idea what they are doing. The books lays out some simple techniques for talking to others which will rapidly become to se I have mixed feelings about this book. I purchased this a long time ago and like far too many books I left it on my Kindle shelf. While successfully experimenting with Kindle text to speech I finally got around to marking this off my to read list. This book will be of most benefit to Christians who rush headlong into arguments with non believers without a plan, strategy or any idea what they are doing. The books lays out some simple techniques for talking to others which will rapidly become to seem like common sense. The ideas in the book have application well outside the sphere of Christian apologetic and as such this is just as much a helpful book to non believers as to Christians. Sadly I think the book is a little too "Americanized" with many of the examples being given falling into the familiar "boiler plate" issues that embroil America. If you aren't from America then perhaps you will be use to making allowances for this but the foreign reader will needed to moderate/modify some of the advice given in this book to suit their own situation. On the whole this book is worth the read but I would issue caution as some readers may become overconfident. The example conversations in the book although quite typical are of very limited benefit against an educated conversation partner. This book should be used in conjunction with more rigorous apologetic material from apologists such as William Lane Craig, Plantinga, Feser, et al.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Moses

    Someone told me to read this book my freshman year of college and I wish I would have. This book offers “Tactics” (hence the title) to help you have a conversation about your convictions as a Christian in a gentle and gracious way! The best way to read this book is with a pen and paper next to you because there are a ton of tactics that he writes about and there is no way to remember them all. A must read for all Followers of Christ!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roddy

    Nearly gave it 4 stars but couldn't quite do it. Useful for face-to-face apologetics but I can't help feeling that you really need a gift for this sort of evangelism and an aptitude for clear-headed thinking on your feet. Just as it is not possible to learn to be a good leader - you either are or you aren't.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt Smart

    This is an excellent apologetics book which stresses the need for logical reasoning in winning the lost and defending your faith.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brian Nicks

    While not an apologetics book, it does expose the reader to an excellent method of disarming and dismantling objections to Biblical Christianity that is both effective and winsome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    Simply put, if you're a Christian in Apologetics, you MUST read this book. It's just that simple.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    A book to read over again I simply loved this book and will reread it, and hopefully teach these lessons in logic, reason, and tactics to my children well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

    A how to guide tospeaking with others about Christ. I liked his emphasis on how we are often a link in a witnessing chain rather the midwife at the conversion of a Christian. I wonder how many people have become discouraged in witnessing because they have not seen someone come to faith in Christ due to their witness. We have forgotten that God can use us to sow the seed that some other person will harvest. '“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the A how to guide tospeaking with others about Christ. I liked his emphasis on how we are often a link in a witnessing chain rather the midwife at the conversion of a Christian. I wonder how many people have become discouraged in witnessing because they have not seen someone come to faith in Christ due to their witness. We have forgotten that God can use us to sow the seed that some other person will harvest. '“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.' Isaiah 55: 10 - 11 (NKJV).

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Brackbill

    I listened to this on audiobook. Besides the content of the book, the author as the narrator did a great job. This is a rubber meets the road how-to book on engaging with unbelievers about controversial truth that will only bear fruit in your evangelism efforts. The book is focused on giving a strategy for communicating the truth, but in doing so, many apologetic issues are dealt with. There is so much good here that my quibbles with him about overstated reasons to jettison Christian lingo don't I listened to this on audiobook. Besides the content of the book, the author as the narrator did a great job. This is a rubber meets the road how-to book on engaging with unbelievers about controversial truth that will only bear fruit in your evangelism efforts. The book is focused on giving a strategy for communicating the truth, but in doing so, many apologetic issues are dealt with. There is so much good here that my quibbles with him about overstated reasons to jettison Christian lingo don't hinder my enthusiasm in recommending this book. It has been several years since I read "Questioning Evangelism" by Randy Newman, but I would imagine this would be a great companion read. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Denis Ispan

    Great book! I've learned a lot of interesting things that I can apply in my life. Also, I agree with the majority of his points of view, except I'm not really convinced about some arguments he brings for "Intelligent Design Movement". I have to say that this book is very practical, and definitely one of my favourites so far!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zach Pettepier

    Incredible guide to sharing your faith as well as being an effective ambassador of Jesus. Koukl does a formidable job of laying out effective ways to share truth in a loving, yet potent way. A must read for those desiring to improve in their witness.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jason Vreeke

    An amazing handbook on having meaningful conversations that provoke thinking and not anger.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Beigle

    Book review #2 - I never re-read books...I can count on one how many books I've read twice. I loved this book so much that I read it again though, and it still did not disappoint! This is just a phenomenal book that I think everyone should read. I always put it in the top 3 when I recommend books. Favorite quotes in addition to last time: p. 24 - "It is not enough for followers of Jesus to have an accurately informed mind. Our knowledge must be tempered with the kind of wisdom that makes our messa Book review #2 - I never re-read books...I can count on one how many books I've read twice. I loved this book so much that I read it again though, and it still did not disappoint! This is just a phenomenal book that I think everyone should read. I always put it in the top 3 when I recommend books. Favorite quotes in addition to last time: p. 24 - "It is not enough for followers of Jesus to have an accurately informed mind. Our knowledge must be tempered with the kind of wisdom that makes our message clear and persuasive." p. 34 - "If we disqualify legitimate discussion, we compromise our ability to know the truth...Those that refuse to dispute have a poor chance of growing in their understanding of the truth." p. 36 - "Without God's work, nothing else works; but with God's work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince." p. 47 - "Never make a statement...when a question will do the job." p. 53 -"Believing in God...is like believing in atoms. The process is exactly the same. You follow the evidence of what you can see to conclude the existence of something you cannot see." I loved this book! I think my biggest area of weakness as a Christian is having spiritual conversations with unbelievers and sharing my faith. This book is an excellent tool to help me in my struggles. Greg Koukl is an apologist and knows what he's talking about because he's had several debates with atheists, evolutions, etc. The book focuses on "putting a stone in their shoe" - getting the person to think about what they believe and when the stone is there it will just keep poking at them. The point of these spiritual conversations is not to win an argument but to make them think. Greg offers several "tactics" that we can use to point out flaws in a person's thinking without sounding abrasive or harsh. Now I need to take what I've learned and use it! I will definitely read this book again in the future. Some of my favorite quotes: p. 31 - "Just make sure it's your ideas that offend and not you, that your beliefs cause the dispute and not your behavior." p. 49 - "Once you learn how to guide a conversation, you have also learned how to control it." p. 60 - "For too long we have let others contrive fanciful challenges and then sit back and watch us squirm. Those days are over. No more free rides. If they tell the story, let them defend it. They need to give an argument." p. 66 - "Never make a frontal assault on a superior force in an entrenched position." p. 74 - "You have to know why Jesus is the only way before it is helpful to tell people that he is the only way." p. 81 - "Since science only measures the natural world, it is not capable of ruling out anything, even in principle, in the supernatural realm." p. 138 - "A morally perfect God is the only adequate standard for the system of scoring that makes sense of the existence of evil to begin with. Since God must exist to make evil intelligible, evil cannot be evidence against God." p. 199 - "Don't get caught in the trap of trying to assess the effectiveness of your conversations by their immediate, visible results. Even though a person rejects what you say, you may have put a stone in his shoe nonetheless."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Downs

    Gregory Koukl’s Tactics proves to be an invaluable resource for training to engage people in our culture. His approach to confronting incorrect worldviews is not an immediate decision or paradigm shift; rather, he wants to “put a stone in their shoe.” The goal is not to completely change an individuals thinking in one conversation, instead the goal is to give them something to think about that challenges their current way of thinking. This tactic is effective in our culture because people enjoy Gregory Koukl’s Tactics proves to be an invaluable resource for training to engage people in our culture. His approach to confronting incorrect worldviews is not an immediate decision or paradigm shift; rather, he wants to “put a stone in their shoe.” The goal is not to completely change an individuals thinking in one conversation, instead the goal is to give them something to think about that challenges their current way of thinking. This tactic is effective in our culture because people enjoy conversations about beliefs yet remain hesitant to accept that their position is wrong. When people are given a single objection to their worldview, they begin to critically evaluate their own system, hopefully removing an obstacle that may be keeping them from Christ. This tactic is also effective because many people have not considered major areas of their worldview, so giving them a question to work through may allow them to address issues that they would never approach on their own. Koukl employs tactics that many people use without really thinking about it. The reader may come across different encounters that he shares and quickly relate to responding in a similar way. However, the book’s value is not deteriorated by the reader’s pre-knowledge of these tactics. Because the reader may not examined these tactics and the benefits of them, the book will allow the reader to become more cognitive of those tactics, allowing the reader to understand them better and to refine them in daily use. Koukl begins by addressing some reservations that many people have when it comes to sharing their faith, or challenging their worldview. Probably the most common reservation is fear. However, Koukl teaches the reader to guide conversations and to place the burden of proof in such a way that there is no reason to fear discussions about faith and worldviews. Not only does the book instruct the reader how to engage others in conversation, but also teaches the reader to spot errors in argumentation. People often just repeat claims that they have heard without understanding them or without truly believing them. This lack of belief and understanding often leads to errors in argumentation that kills the argument or position immediately. Other times the position cannot be held because the logical outworking of the position goes beyond what the proponent is willing to hold to. Koukl teaches simply and clearly how to recognize and use these errors to “put a stone in their shoe.” Overall, Tactics proved to be an easy, yet educating read. This book has given me a greater confidence and desire to interact with people around me who have been blinded by error and to share the gospel to a lost and dying world.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    This is the audio version of the book that is coming out soon. Let me put this briefly, STR (Stand to Reason) which is Greg's ministry is bent on developing Christians who are well-rounded, winsome abassadors for the Kingdom. The ideas of head, hand and heart go into every single training material they produce and this Tactics training is no different. The Tactics course is about sharpening the Christian's rhetorical skills couched within the character of a godly man or woman who is both loving This is the audio version of the book that is coming out soon. Let me put this briefly, STR (Stand to Reason) which is Greg's ministry is bent on developing Christians who are well-rounded, winsome abassadors for the Kingdom. The ideas of head, hand and heart go into every single training material they produce and this Tactics training is no different. The Tactics course is about sharpening the Christian's rhetorical skills couched within the character of a godly man or woman who is both loving and Spirit-filled. Christians must know how to graciously navagate through conversations with non-believers so that with each encounter they can nudge them closer the a relationship with Christ. I would recommend this to many people who want to genuinely reach out to their friends and family in an attractive and effective way.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike Knox

    This is a great book for helping Christians discuss their faith with others. Acknowledging that such discussions have often led to heated exchanges, Koukl advocates engagements that “look more like diplomacy than D-Day” and “an approach that trades more on friendly curiosity…than on confrontation” (19-20). But this doesn’t mean that he’s big on love and soft on reason. The author upholds the importance of logic, reason, and apologetics against those who frown on their use. At the heart of Koukl’s This is a great book for helping Christians discuss their faith with others. Acknowledging that such discussions have often led to heated exchanges, Koukl advocates engagements that “look more like diplomacy than D-Day” and “an approach that trades more on friendly curiosity…than on confrontation” (19-20). But this doesn’t mean that he’s big on love and soft on reason. The author upholds the importance of logic, reason, and apologetics against those who frown on their use. At the heart of Koukl’s method is the colorful Columbo tactic, which “is to go on the offensive in an inoffensive way by using carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation” (47). Much of the book is an unpacking of this principle as the reader learns what questions to ask. This book is not unlike Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism. I would heartily recommend both of these books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brandon H.

    Greg Koukl's book, "Tactics" is practical, easy to read, entertaining, and an invaluable resource for all believers living in this postmodern age who are confronted on a regular basis by skeptics with all sorts of unfounded absurd accusations. It's obvious he is an expert in his field but even the most amateurish defender of the Christian faith can learn from his practical approach. Even if you're not into "apologetics" or hate dealing with confrontation and challenges over your beliefs, Mr. Kou Greg Koukl's book, "Tactics" is practical, easy to read, entertaining, and an invaluable resource for all believers living in this postmodern age who are confronted on a regular basis by skeptics with all sorts of unfounded absurd accusations. It's obvious he is an expert in his field but even the most amateurish defender of the Christian faith can learn from his practical approach. Even if you're not into "apologetics" or hate dealing with confrontation and challenges over your beliefs, Mr. Koukle offers a down to earth approach to defending your faith. He not only provides a useful game plan for defending your faith, he also gives some gentle and non-hostile tactics to use that goes on the offensive with critics and skeptics; ways to help remove the mental roadblocks of those we are trying to reach. An easy 5 stars!

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