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The Changing Face of Apologetics

Lee Strobel doesn't think the traditional methods work anymore.

Lee Strobel has written many books—The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for the Real Jesus among them—that provide intellectual reasons, wrapped in stories, for the Christian faith. Stan Guthrie, Christianity Today managing editor for special projects, interviewed Strobel, a former pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas about his latest title, written with Mark Mittelberg: The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus (Zondervan).

The Unexpected Adventure is basically a manual of personal stories encouraging people to do evangelism. Why did you write it?

The evangelism value leaks away from us faster than any other value in the Christian life. Churches are faced with the problem of having to elevate many different values: Bible study, prayer, community, and so on. Evangelism is [just] one of them. But I haven't run into anybody who says, "Man, my spiritual life is so dry right now. I feel like I'm in the middle of the desert and, oh, by the way, I have a friend next door who's not a Christian, and I'm really praying for opportunities to reach out to him. I've invited him to lunch next week, and I'm hoping God opens up a chance to talk about spiritual stuff."

How have evangelism and apologetics changed?

They have become more relational, more story-driven. Josh McDowell would go on college campuses and describe why to trust the Bible. And people would come to faith in droves. Then they stopped coming to faith in so many numbers, and he didn't know why. And now he takes a story approach. "You know," he says, "I was the son of the town drunk. This is how it affected my life and my relationship with [my dad]. This is what prompted ...

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