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Posted July 25, 2012
Maybe it’s your evolutionist science professor, your neighbor wearing the “coexist” t-shirt, or your coworker with all the tough questions. The skeptic’s questions often leave you sweating and stammering. Bill Foster doesn’t promise that this book will bring every unbeliever to bend the knee to the Lord Jesus (although all will one day bow—Philippians 2:10), but it does coach you to preparing a ready answer (1 Peter 3:15).
Published by Master Books of New Leaf Publishing, Meet the Skeptic is a softcover of 142 pages. A workbook and leader’s guide is also available for a study group. This apologetics course focuses on how to handle conversations with a skeptic based on four different areas: spiritual skepticism, moral skepticism, scientific skepticism, and biblical skepticism.
The approach identifies the root idea of the person’s skepticism and then offers a probing question. For example, biblical skepticism’s root idea is that “The Bible is man-made.” A probing question to ask would be, “If God gave us a book, how would we know it really came from Him?” Then you could share confirmations of the inspiration of Scripture such as historical accuracy, prophetic fulfillment, eyewitness accounts, manuscript evidence, archaeological finds, and internal consistency. Pointing out pop culture references, Foster explains how to speak the skeptic’s language, clarify biblical concepts, and beware of red flag words.
The root idea and probing question approach avoids the endless “game of fetch. A skeptic tosses out a sound-bite objection and the believer tries to retrieve an answer.” Instead, you can expose the worldview of the skeptic as self-refuting. Then you can unveil the biblical worldview as the only one that makes sense of this world and the human condition.
Although mankind’s rebellion against the Creator has brought suffering and death into this world, God sent His own Son to bear the punishment and wrath of God against sinners, saving all believers (1 Peter 2:24). Every other religion involves man’s futile attempts to earn salvation, but the just Judge has chosen to make sinners right with Him on the basis of His grace in Christ through faith (Acts 4:12; Romans 3:20–25; Ephesians 2:8–9).
**I received a complimentary copy of this course from the publisher for the purpose of my impartial review.**
Posted May 14, 2012
Meet the Skeptic is a book written by Bill Foster, published by Master Books, aimed at helping Christians better know the unbeliever and be better equipped to engage them in dialogue and discussion. The book is well written, informative, and never exhibits a condescending attitude toward those who do not believe as the author believes.
Right off the bat, Mr. Foster gives us some wise and practical advice. He tells us that it will not get us very far, when discussing with a skeptic, if we merely attempt to answer every question the skeptic throws at us. The skeptic will merely ask another question, and our time will be spent running for answers. Rather, we should recognize and engage the worldview held by the skeptic (p. 8). This gets to the root of the problem and avoids spending large amounts of time on peripheral issues.
The second bit of wisdom Mr. Foster gives us is to remind us that it is not our job to convert or convince the skeptic; rather we are to communicate truth and rely on the Holy Spirit to work on the skeptic’s heart (p.13). Too often, the Christian thinks it is up to him or her to achieve the desired outcome of every encounter with a skeptic. It is not.
The book goes on to say that we must use words that, if we use theological terms, we may need to explain them. Words that we know the meaning of may be foreign to the skeptic. In that case, our argument or evidence will be useless.
The book’s main portion focuses on four types of skeptics: the Spiritual skeptic, the Scientific skeptic, the Moral skeptic, and the Biblical skeptic. The author explains the root idea behind each skeptic’s worldview and guides the Christian in ways to engage each respective skeptic. Defining the meaning of words used in a discussion is a critical aspect of any debate. If the words I use have a different meaning to you, it will be very difficult for us to have a meaningful conversation.
Overall, this book is very helpful for the witnessing Christian. In a world where it seems a book is printed every minute or so, this one is an important addition to the printed world. I recommend it highly.