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Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The Bible is a narrative--the story of God's creation, humankind's fall, and God's plan of redemption. And it is filled with countless smaller stories that teach us about people, history, and the nature of God. It's no surprise that God would choose to reveal himself to us in story--after all, he hardwired us for story. Despite this, we so often attempt to share our faith ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Baker Books
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Rafael Salazar
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
Outstanding work. A reliable introductory work to this incipient field of study. McGrath is technical most of the time but illustrates his concepts and ideas with accessible examples. A fair and insightful description of Lewis' apologetic methodology present in his fiction work. I'm glad to have read this book. ...more
David Bruyn
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
The premise is excellent, though the book goes in multiple directions with it.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Summary: An argument for and description of narrative approaches to offering a defense for the faith.

Most of us, when we think of apologetics, the making of a case for Christian belief, think of approaches that offer arguments or evidences that warrant Christian belief. This has its place in contending that Christian faith is rational, rather than a leap into irrationality. At the same time, apologist Alister E. McGrath observes both the power of story in our culture, and how much of the scriptu
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Alister McGrath, a Christian apologist and Oxford professor, has written this book as an apologetic for narrative apologetics. McGrath is educated as both a scientist and a theologian (he holds doctorates from Oxford University in both fields). In Narrative Apologetics, he suggests that stories form a natural link with how the Bible works and how people make sense of their lives.

Evidential apologetics and historical truth still have their place in the conversation, but, as McGrath points out, “T
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Especially in our postmodern culture, it is important to not merely prove that Christianity is true, but also show that the Gospel has the capacity to transform lives and bring meaning—that it works. How can we thus convey that "Christianity offers a rationally plausible and imaginatively compelling 'big picture' of reality"? Stories, suggests scholar and author Alister McGrath in his new book, Narrative Apologetics.

In this self-described brief, yet thorough book, McGrath makes a solid case for
Hank Pharis
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
(NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).

McGrath's proposal sounds very good. But I wish he would have provided some illustrations of what this would really look like.

Here are a few quotes:

The problem is that evidential apologetics fails to engage or
David Steele
Alistair McGrath is no stranger to the field of apologetics. He as penned some noteworthy books that are widely read and utilized by Christ-followers around the world. His most recent work, Narrative Apologetics is no exception.

Narrative Apologetics argues that there are three tasks that must be employed: First, we must engage cultural objections to religious belief. Second, we must show the ways that historic Christianity connects with people in the real world. Third, we must present the Christ
Jonathan Friess
Dec 22, 2020 rated it liked it
McGrath wrote Essays on the subject (prior to this book) and I found a careful study of the Essays is more helpful than this entire book. Still, the book is good if one doesn't like the style of compact Essays.

“Life for Dawkins would seem to divide neatly down the middle between things you can prove beyond all doubt, and blind faith. He fails to see that all the most interesting stuff goes on in neither of these places” -Terry Eagleton (not in this book)
Humans receive and need much more than kno
How does one faithfully practice apologetics? How does one productively do apologetics in today’s climate? Alister McGrath’s 2019 Narrative Apologetics is an attempt at crafting an effective apologetic method in our postmodern (maybe post-postmodern), story-driven culture. Armed with the conceit that a defense must be carefully calibrated against the actual offense, McGrath proposes that the church take advantage of the insight nestled in Tolkien’s “story of a larger kind” and Lewis’s “true myth ...more
Angie Fehl
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Alister McGrath is an Irish priest, historian, and professor of theology and science. In this new work, he delves into the relevance, joy, and comfort that can be found within the Christian faith through the exploration and use of stories from classic literature. McGrath's theories not only lean on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis --- the standards when you want to talk biblically inspired analogies --- but also the works female writers such as Dorothy L. Sayers and Marilynne Robinson. ...more
Shirley Alarie
Apologists aim to affirm, defend, and explain Christian faith. Author Alister McGrath proposes that making apologetic cases using stories (narratives) creates a deeper and more meaningful case than a purely academic argument. And the Bible is full of such stories.

In Narrative Apologetics - Sharing The Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of The Christian Faith, Mr. McGrath takes the reader through many examples of narratives that can be used to make arguments, notably C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narni
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, nonfiction
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

I haven’t read a really academic book in a long time, so the plunge into Alister McGrath’s Narrative Apologetics was a rough one. However, the topic is one that I am deeply interested (and invested) in, as that was the basis of my graduate school studies and something I currently teach. McGrath puts forth his arguments for presenting the Gospel as and through narrative, rather than purely reason.

McGrath introduces th
Mary Lou
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In his new book Narrative Apologetics Alister McGrath contrasts “the more clinically rational approaches to apologetics (an explanation of the truths of Christianity) which lack imaginative depth and emotional intelligence” (Narrative Apologetics, Alister McGrath, Baker Books, 2019, p. 8) with a narrative approach that embraces “a series of stories that illuminate, inform and engage the different aspects of our experience” (p.13) and “set out the powerful Biblical vision of truth, beauty
Chris Clark
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Although this book is short in length, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a quick and easy read. This is more a scholarly approach to unpacking the power and importance of story to communicate the Christian world view. McGrath self labels this book as his “manifesto” for narrative apologetics, which is helpful to know when taking on this book. It is not a deep theological dive on why narrative apologetics should be considered, rather it is more of a collection of ideas surrounding past and curre ...more
Travis Heystek
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Narrative Apologetics was a different type of book than I usually read. I don’t usually dive too much into the topic of apologetics, unless I know of a faith conversation coming up where I’ll need to freshen up. But, as a pastor, it’s one of those topics I feel I should know more about so I thought I would start with this book. Alister does a good job showing why narrative apologetics are so useful to the Christian story.

Jesus’ teachings in particular use narrative, and the creation account its
Karl Dumas
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I love stories. Everyone has one, and I enjoy hearing them. A person’s story gives me insight into who that person is, and what drives or motivates them. And from the perspective of sharing the gospel, your story tells me where you are on your faith walk, and gives me a place from which to start.
Alister McGrath, in his book Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith (Baker Books, 2019) writes about the use of stories to explain your faith. He draws heav
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had hoped this book would be for laypeople, helping them be able to share their faith through their story. It is not. It is an academic look at the theology of using (fictional) story as a means of telling people about God. It might be suitable as a text book or resource for a creative writing class in a Christian college as literary strategies are included.

I found the initial comments by McGrath to be the most enlightening. The culture today is not very much interested in rational arguments f
Connie Saunders
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I was eager to read this book because I have long known of Christian apologetics but I wanted to learn more. The word apologetics refers to defending one's Christian belief in Jesus Christ and His incarnation, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. In this book, Narrative Apologetics, we are shown that the use of stories can be an effective tool in convincing others of these facts and our own beliefs.

The Holy Bible, God's Word, tells the greatest story ever told. Jesus Christ used stories, also
Evelyn  Fonseca
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Narrative Apologetics by Alister McGrath broaches a very interesting point in the apologetics field and one I had never pondered before. He makes a valid point about embracing and utilizing narratives as a way to defend the Christian faith. He uses the example of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Tolkein's LDR and Biblical stories.

This is the first book I read (not completely) by McGrath, although I've heard about him and know that he has written extensively on Apologetics. When I saw that this
Joel Jackson
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Our lives tell a story, a story of who we were, are, and who we will become. That story is only part of a larger story though - the story of all of humanity and all of creation. We can view this story through many lenses. The best lens is through the larger meta-narrative of the Judeo-Christian worldview as presented throughout Scripture. Within Scripture, this narrative is presented through the stories of people who encounter God, the creator and redeemer of all of creation. Helping us to see t ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoy reading and studying apologetics, but this was more scholarly read, not what I was expecting, but he does make some great points! So don’t pass it up, I do think it is worth reading. I really enjoyed the references to C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, much can be learned from these great writers and many others. If you are a writer or planning on being a writer, this would be a great book to read and ponder on.
I relate to the importance of truth, beauty, and goodness in where are focus should be
Taylor Rollo
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for apologetic strategy. It brings out what I think is the most persuasive way to do apologetics in general: use the Christian story to show how it is a metanarrative that can explain reality, our lives, our desires, our intuitions better than any other competing story. It does not stop there, though, but also helps the reader think about engaging in apologetics with the use of personal, cultural, and of course, biblical stories on smaller topics within the bigger metan ...more
This was an interesting book but I didn't realize it was more of an academic work than a how-to on using stories to discuss your faith. McGrath explained some of the history of narrative apologetics, its importance and the different ways we can use it. He also pointed out that something is lost when certain aspects of faith are explained factually instead. Jesus used parables and there was a very good reason He did! There's a reason we were given an imagination and there's an important place for ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful writing, inspiring encouraging and compelling to read with that also giving to all the Christian to feel more confidence and understand the way to tell stories of Jesus Christ and more attention with the culture in our world that had been changing. This book will help us to deep connected with God and his stories are need to be told and more to learning. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “I received complimentary a copy of this book from BakerBooks Bl ...more
Josh Jackson
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everything this book says is excellent. Particularly chapter 1 on why stories matter.

My only qualms - the message is slightly betrayed by the method. Whilst wanting to debunk an overly rational approach to apologetics, and commend the use of stories instead - the book itself is at times a little dry and clinical.

Perhaps that’s inevitable. Well worth the read.
J.K. Turner
My Rating – Probably not worth your time

Level – Short book, but difficult read with academic style and assumed advanced knowledge of apologetics

Narrative apologetics as a concept is essentially using stories as an apologetic and even evangelistic tool. Not the ‘major conversion’ testimony style, but more of fiction stories that show longing and comparing that to God’s story or something like the exile to explain how we live in the world today.

The book is broken into seven chapters – Intro
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Alister Edgar McGrath is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College. He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College L ...more

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