Review: Cultural Apologetics

Justin Pollock reviews "Cultural Apologetics" by Paul M. Gould.

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Cultural Apologetics

By Paul M. Gould (Zondervan Academic)

Contemporary apologetic methods have focused on making Christianity reasonable. Paul M. Gould also wants to make it desirable.

Gould defines cultural apologetics as “the work of establishing the Christian voice, conscience, and imagination within a culture so that Christianity is seen as true and satisfying.” Western culture has followed the path of disenchantment resulting in a general apathy to Christianity. The effectiveness of the gospel in this culture relies on the re-enchantment of the world through a resurrection of imagination, reason and virtue.

Gould, a professor of philosophy and apologetics at Oklahoma Baptist University, casts a clear vision for the job of a cultural apologist. They must have both local and global concerns. Their local concern leads them to build bridges to the gospel through universal longings such as truth, goodness and beauty. Their global concern focuses on the collective worldview, conscience and imagination of the culture to ensure the reasonableness and desirability of the gospel. Particularly important culture-shaping institutions such as the university represent a focal point for the work of cultural apologists because of the opportunity to mold the imagination, logic and morality of a generation.

Influenced by thinkers such as James K. A. Smith, C. S. Lewis and Charles Taylor, Gould speaks as an informed and experienced philosopher. He employs visual graphics to depict his ideas with accessibility in mind and illustrates his points with winsome cultural artifacts such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein.

For readers willing to step outside of their normal apologetic method, Gould offers a fresh tool for evangelism and apologetics.

Justin Pollock, pastor of students and worship
First Baptist Church, Lavon

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