I just finished reading Tactics by Greg Koukl, and it’s a book that should be read by every Christian young person in our anti-Christian culture. I recently bought it for my kids, and myself, and it was better than I thought it would be, much better. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s tremendous. Koukl uses what he calls “The Columbo Method,” named for the 1970s series with Detective Columbo, Peter Falk, who had the effective habit of asking annoying questions to get to the truth. What Koukl shows us is that Christians don’t have to be on the defensive, but that we can put the challenges to Christianity, and those who make them, on the defensive. It’s clear that those challenges can’t be defended very well because they are so weak, and questions expose their weaknesses. The beauty of Tactics is that it demonstrates that we as Christians don’t always have to have all the answers. Any Christian can utilize these tactics regardless of the depth of their knowledge. Of course, more knowledge is better than less, and thus we need to do our homework, but the playing field can now essentially be leveled.

A book like Tactics is critically important because Western culture is dominated by secularism, and all the messaging of the culture tells us that God is basically irrelevant to a well lived life. If there happens to be a God, it’s merely a personal thing. Religion, and specifically Christianity, has no right, according to the secularist, to make universal truth claims that apply to all of reality. Only the secularists can do that, which of course makes secularism a rival religion to Christianity. If Christianity is true, secularism is not; if secularism is true, Christianity is not. There is no neutral ground when it comes to ultimate explanations of reality. Aristotle and his law of non-contradiction are fact: A cannot be non-A in the same way at the same time. In other words, contradictory statements cannot both be true. Realty doesn’t play the “true for you, but not for me” game.

Christianity is exclusively the truth about the nature of reality, and everything counter to it is not true. When we start questioning the narrative that is counter to Christianity, this become glaringly obvious. In the first chapter he states what a strong position we are in:

As followers of Jesus, we have a tremendous strategic advantage. We are well positioned on the field, because our worldview holds up well under serious scrutiny, especially considering the alternatives.

The consideration of the alternative has become my favorite apologetic saying, because to every Christian truth claim there are, and have to be, alternatives. It’s silly to have to even say that, but secularism has so distorted people’s view of reality that they really think there is some neutral place where non-religion lives. In this Land of Oz, they can exist without having to make any decisions about metaphysical reality (that beyond the physical), about the big questions of existence. In any encounter about the true nature of things, including with ourselves, the question we need to ask is simple: Are the alternatives more compelling, persuasive, and plausible than Christianity? If you read this book, and I highly suggest you, and your children if you have them, do, you will learn that any of the alternatives to Christianity are, and I don’t know how else to say it, pathetically weak. That was the first thing I told my freshman college son when he finished reading it, and he heartily agreed. Tactics makes being a persuasive Christian parent easy!

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