Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
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Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  631 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver's seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You'll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously t...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published February 4th 2009 by Zondervan (first published November 1st 2008)
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Most books on apologetics focus on the content of apologetics, making sure you know what you believe. The best books on apologetics I've encountered are those that focus on preparing your mind ahead of time for an encounter, which means more than just having the right things to say, it also means knowing how to say them. It's the difference between strategy and tactics, strategy looks at the world map and marks out the overall objective, tactics focus on the details of accomplishing a single mis...more
How do you go about telling the truth of your Christian convictions without either being harsh and abrasive or having someone run over you in the conversation? How do you ask pointed questions of a person who is raising an invalid point without coming off like a bully yourself? In Tactics, author Greg Koukl gives plain, powerful, and helpful advice for believers who would like to be able to discuss their faith with civility while not allowing the spurious logic of their opponents to derail the...more
Aaron Downs
Gregory Koukl’s Tactics proves to be an invaluable resource for training to engage people in our culture. His approach to confronting incorrect worldviews is not an immediate decision or paradigm shift; rather, he wants to “put a stone in their shoe.” The goal is not to completely change an individuals thinking in one conversation, instead the goal is to give them something to think about that challenges their current way of thinking. This tactic is effective in our culture because people enjoy...more
Nearly gave it 4 stars but couldn't quite do it. Useful for face-to-face apologetics but I can't help feeling that you really need a gift for this sort of evangelism and an aptitude for clear-headed thinking on your feet. Just as it is not possible to learn to be a good leader - you either are or you aren't.
Mike Knox
This is a great book for helping Christians discuss their faith with others. Acknowledging that such discussions have often led to heated exchanges, Koukl advocates engagements that “look more like diplomacy than D-Day” and “an approach that trades more on friendly curiosity…than on confrontation” (19-20). But this doesn’t mean that he’s big on love and soft on reason. The author upholds the importance of logic, reason, and apologetics against those who frown on their use.

At the heart of Koukl’s...more
Brandon Halvorsen
Greg Koukl's book, "Tactics" is practical, easy to read, entertaining, and an invaluable resource for all believers living in this postmodern age who are confronted on a regular basis by skeptics with all sorts of unfounded absurd accusations. It's obvious he is an expert in his field but even the most amateurish defender of the Christian faith can learn from his practical approach.

Even if you're not into "apologetics" or hate dealing with confrontation and challenges over your beliefs, Mr. Kou...more
Solid rhetorical advice for anyone who wants to calmly and constructively discuss controversial topics. It's obviously aimed at Christian evangelizing, but could easily be adopted to other contexts.

As a non-Christian, I disagree with many of the substantive issues Koukl gives as examples. That's no flaw of the book, since I knew what to expect from the book's cover. However, Christian readers may also have to overlook Koukl's treatment of their religion, particularly if they think modern accoun...more
Great book by Gregory Koukl! Clear and thorough to anyone looking for a game plan to share their faith in a myriad of situations. Koukl consistently reiterates the needs of the Christian to be kind and courteous but also to always be ready to give an answer. And boy, what answers does he describe! Most importantly, I really like how he encourages believers to not let the errant world-view comment by non-Christians go by untested. The underlying truth about genuine repentance being from the Holy...more
Scott Hayden
Mar 07, 2013 Scott Hayden rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: james Conrad
Recommended to Scott by: daniel lamb
When, as I read a book, I'm already deciding that I have to buy more copies for loaning out, I know I've got a 5 star reader.

It's just so practical. Koukl puts the tact in tactics.
Truth without tact is a slap in the face.
Tact without truth is a warm fuzzy with no place to land.
Tact plus truth is an invitation to reconsider.

Wish I'd known this when I was a teen. But now, as the title says, I've got a game plan for approaching conversations. Thanks, to Daniel Lamb, I've already got an outline!...more
Ian Hodge
Very few Christians get to go through life without being asked about some aspect of Christian belief. Sometimes it's not a question, but a challenge from a skeptic. No what the situation might be, whoever we are talking to expects an answer.

In this book, Gregory Koukl provides specific tacttics that can be used. He has a clever way of explaining those tactics that is helpful in itself.

For those old enough to remember actor Peter Falk and his character, detective Columbo, Koukl provides a four-pa...more
Jason Boyd
This is a very, very, VERY important book. I have to admit, the idea of using 'tactics' when discussing faith sounded a bit disingenuous to me at the start, but it's far from it.

Koukl's book is the pure bread and butter of apologetics - how to keep conversations focussed and to the point, while also discussing your faith from an intellectual point of view.

There are a few books I'd recommend regarding apologetics - Tim Keller's 'The Reason for God' for an intro, Peter S Williams' 'A Sceptic's Gu...more
Ross Leavitt
Tactics is intended for Christians who have a firm grasp on what they believe, but who have trouble being persuasive with non-believers (or other Christians). I'll write about how it affected me, so if you're looking for "just the facts, ma'am," you should probably go read one of the many other helpful reviews instead of this one. Also, I'll probably change this review in the future when I've had more time to think about the book (and probably to read it again). But if I don't write anything now...more
Mikal Caober
A solid and down-to-earth resource for anybody wanting to learn how to defend their faith. Just a warning: this book may fill you with pride. Don't let it.
Matt S
This is an excellent apologetics book which stresses the need for logical reasoning in winning the lost and defending your faith.
Johnmark Battaglia

Have you ever attempted to share your faith with someone only to find yourself facing objections for which you had no answers? Have you ever tried to engage someone in a discussion about religion and then quickly realized that not only was this individual cynical about your Christian beliefs, but he also was not going to be shy about letting you know how foolish he thought you were for believing them? When it comes to these types of encounters most Christians probably fall into one of two group...more
Jonathan Beigle
I loved this book! I think my biggest area of weakness as a Christian is having spiritual conversations with unbelievers and sharing my faith. This book is an excellent tool to help me in my struggles. Greg Koukl is an apologist and knows what he's talking about because he's had several debates with atheists, evolutions, etc. The book focuses on "putting a stone in their shoe" - getting the person to think about what they believe and when the stone is there it will just keep poking at them. The...more
Robert Kiehn
This is one of the best apologetics books I've ever read!!

Greg Koukl, President of Stand To Reason at str.org has written
a great and informative book that is very thought provoking and
often points out atheist contradictions and logical fallacies
not to mention how lackluster and ignorant atheist thinking is.

Here is a good review of it from:


"Discerning Reader Editorial Review

Reviewed 02/17/2009 by Tim Challies.

Recommended. A valuable tool to assist Ch...more
J.E. Jr.
I first heard about this book on an interview that the author did on the White Horse Inn over a year ago. At the outset, I confess that the description of the book and what the interview would cover made me skeptical— it sounded like maybe the Shamwow guy does heavy-handed, debate-style evangelism. Yuck.

I was wrong, and I was glad I kept an open mind long enough to hear the interview. Likewise with the book. Despite the awful job that the publisher did in presenting the book, it’s not a bad read...more
Jun 04, 2011 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians
Tactics, by Greg Koukl, is written for anyone who wishes challenge another person's thinking. It was written specifically for Christians to learn to employ questions to get someone to think about what he believes.

Koukl's book will move you a giant leap closer to becoming well versed in the Socratic method. It is a necessary read for all those who wish to learn to engage non-believer in dialectic conversation. One must supply the points of rhetoric of his own accord, and must never seek to use t...more
"Tactics" should be a must-read for any Christian who wants (or doesn't want) to learn how to defend their faith in natural conversation. Greg Koukl teaches that while spiritual discussion and argument can often be viewed as something to be feared, as Christians we really don't have anything to fear, but rather everything to gain. He establishes that our goal is not to convert someone to Christianity, for that's God's job; our job is to be faithful to "put a stone in somebody's shoe" and to get...more
Mar 07, 2012 Dustin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Apologetics, and even those who aren't
Recommended to Dustin by: Gregory Koukl, of course
Shelves: apologetics
This book is the perfect introduction to apologetics, especially those new to the topic. It covers the how of apologetics, rather than the what.

I heard Koukl speak in Abbotsford in November. In his talks he basically covered the material in the first half of the book (the Columbo tactic), so reading it was a nice review. Koukl communicates wonderfully in this book, keeping the language simple, the examples very familiar, and he ends each chapter with a review of the tactic(s) learned.

After readi...more
Koukl is a master at talking sensibly about Christianity with unbelievers. This book attempts to bring the rest of us up to speed by presenting a strategy, discussing sound reasoning, prepping for specific attacks, and emphasizing the need for civil discourse. It was a quick and helpful read!
J M Padoc
I read this book after listening to the Ambassador Basic Curriculum twice. I've been following Koukl (and the other fine folk at Stand to Reason) for many years, so I was familiar with many of the tactics taught in the book. Still, ingesting this knowledge by another means (reading rather than listening) brought new insights, and I carefully considered several of my past and current encounters with both believers and non-believers. The book is practical, well-organized, and well-written. I alway...more
This books is actually a very handy one for any kind of conversation which involves critical thinking! The one drawback to the book is that perhaps most readers need some kind of study guide to really master the subject matter! If you read it, I recommend that you take some notes and review them.
Grace Linde
Fantastic read! Gave me a headache at times, I almost need to read it again, that part of my brain is so underdeveloped. Definitely a book every Christian should read to understand the importance of apologetics and presenting Christ in a non-bible beating way.
This is a well-laid out book, a teaching book even, and it gives good approaches for dealing with many of the basic arguments against Christianity. Overall, if you follow his advice, you'll probably have some very good conversations with people whose ideas aren't clear. But it requires a bit of homework, and for this reason I may have to get my own copy of the book...
The author Greg Koukl has been on the forefront of Christian apologetics with his radio show, online writing and newsletter and has grown to become quite popular in Christian Evangelical circles today. This book is a great guide on the tactical methods of engaging someone who does not believe, a sub-genre among apologetics literature that Christian apologists can still work on. The book is wonderful in it's layout, and very logical. It makes a great introduction for those who are beginning to ge...more
Shane Saxon
I have reservations about some of Koukl's underlying apologetic philosophy, but overall, this was an immensely helpful and practical book.
Jeffrey Backlin
A rare book on how to do apologetics, how to navigate conversations, etc. I've learned to use these techniques and they are very helpful.
Good popular level book on defending one's positions, particularly for Christians. Certain political biases come through, but don't take away from the helpfulness of the book.
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Founder and President, Stand to Reason

Greg started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of the Christian faith. A central theme of Greg's speaking and writing is that Christianity can compete in the marketplace of ideas when it's properly understood and properly articulated.

Greg's teaching has been featured on Focus on the Family radio,...more
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“3. Getting in the Driver’s Seat: The Columbo Tactic. 4. Columbo Step Two: The Burden of Proof 5. Step Three: Using Columbo to Lead the Way 6. Perfecting Columbo.” 0 likes
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