I first heard about this book several years ago at the teen program of a homeschool conference I attended when I was 13. It was the second part of my introduction to apologetics at that time, and this book was recommended in one of the seminars. 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 this book came up again and I thought “I really 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 about facts and evidence (although those are good too!), this one is more of a how-to. As given by the title, 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 conversations with people of other beliefs 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 bit. Don’t make it your goal to change their mind completely–just plant a seed of doubt in their own ideas and trust God to use it in their life.
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.