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Augustine’s Apologetic Vision and How Doubt Can Lead to Faith

What if the best way to defend our faith today can be found by visiting premodern North Africa? 

That’s the premise of the latest book by the dynamic apologetics duo Josh Chatraw and Mark Allen: The Augustine Way: Retrieving a Vision for the Church’s Apologetic Witness (Baker Academic). 

This is a special episode of Gospelbound. I normally record remotely from my office at Beeson Divinity School, where I co-chair the advisory board and serve as adjunct professor. But in this episode, I was in studio at the beautiful Samford University with Beeson’s newest professor, Josh Chatraw. He serves as the Billy Graham chair of evangelism and cultural engagement. Josh is also an inaugural fellow with TGC’s Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics. 

We discuss The Augustine Way and another of Josh’s newer books, Surprised by Doubt: How Disillusionment Can Invite Us into a Deeper Faith (Brazos).

Both books explore themes that not everyone would associate with apologetics. We often think of apologetics as rational, logical, individual proofs of Christian truth. But Chatraw argues that today, the question of Christianity’s truth is closely bound up with the question of Christianity’s goodness. He also builds on the Augustinian theme of love—we desire to love and be loved, and our reason works toward what we think will make us happy. 

Chatraw casts a vision for churches as places where we can work through doubts. Churches should nurture apologists of virtue and skill through the ordinary means of grace. I love this quote from The Augustine Way: “The church counterforms us and re-aims our hearts toward the kingdom that is to come, equipping us with the diagnostic tools to see into a society’s idolatry and forming us into a source of healing and hope for our neighbors.” 


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