My Rating – Probably not worth your time
Level – Short book, but difficult read with academic style and assumed advanced knowledge of apologetics
Narrative apologetics as a concept is essentially using stories as an apologetic and even evangelistic tool. Not the ‘major conversion’ testimony style, but more of fiction stories that show longing and comparing that to God’s story or something like the exile to explain how we live in the world today.
The book is broken into seven chapters – Introducing Narrative Apologetics, The Theological Foundations of Narrative Apologetics, The Practical Application of Narrative Apologetics, Biblical Narratives: Opening Windows of Perception, Strategies and Criteria for Narrative Apologetcs, The Christian Story and the Meaning of Life, Handing Over: Developing Narrative Approaches to Apologetics. Additionally, there are roughly 20 pages of notes to end the book.
I’ll start by saying the content of the book isn’t as bad as my rating may suggest. Where it fails is being related to a popular audience. I could be wrong, that might not be the target audience for this book, however, when you write a book that is under 150 pages, I have to think your goal was to reach a wide array. I’ll start with the good, though. The content is solid, and the strength of the book is the Biblical Narrative and The Christian Story chapters. I think these are the best in explaining what narrative apologetics is and what to do with it.
However, the book just feels off. It doesn’t feel like a stand alone book. I seems more like an intro chapter in a large tome of apologetics. If you have ever read one of those 900-1,300 page academic systematcs, you’ll know that ‘theology proper’ intro is usually around 100 pages (which this book would probably shift two with large page size).
As you can tell by the chapter titles, the book is also written in a very academic style. There are numerous citations on every page, a good bit of the in this chapter we will..and we have seen… to begin and end the chapters, and of course the typical academic repetitiveness. The chapters don’t necessarily stand on their own, but still make references to other chapters yet still summarize. So, even as short as it was, it could have been edited even shorter.
Again, the content is pretty good, and could be worth reading if you know what you are getting into. If you buy the book to get an academic intro to a larger concept, I think it could be alright, but as an attempt to reach a popular audience, I really think it missed. If you are interested, I’d just search around and see if there is a shorter academic paper or a popular talk/interview he has done on the topic and maybe go from there. As it is, though, the book just probably isn’t worth your time.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review