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Telling a Better Story: How to Talk About God in a Skeptical Age

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Christianity Today 2021 Book Award Winner: Apologetics & Evangelism

The practice of offering reasons for the Christian faith, or apologetics, strikes many unbelievers today as offensive, an attempt to proselytize, while Christians themselves often view apologetics as unsophisticated or even faith-undermining. After all, shouldn't a believer focus on presenting the gospel ra
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 30th 2020 by Zondervan
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George P.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
In an increasingly post-Christian America, apologetics — the defense of the Christian faith — is a necessary component of evangelism and discipleship. Christians need to “be prepared to give an answer [Greek, apología]  to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). How they can do so well is the subject of Joshua D. Chatraw’s excellent new book, Telling a Better Story.

Apologetics has a bad rap in some quarters. Chatraw tells the story of a student at a C
Zak Schmoll
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book brought together a lot of thoughts I have had about doing apologetics in our modern age, but it does it much more coherently and eloquently than I have ever been able to formulate. Chatraw's argument is essentially that the gospel is a more fulfilling story than any metanarrative in the world from other religions or from a nonreligious perspective.

Therefore, he suggests utilizing "inside out" apologetics. By this, he means that it is necessary to first enter into someone's story to und
Kelsey Crandall
Jul 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Extremely helpful and readable exploration of modern apologetics! I really appreciated how thoughtfully and charitably Chatraw engaged various cultural narratives and his general methodology is compelling. Overall it led me to a deeper love and awe of the Christian story. This is a book I see myself coming back to frequently for reference!
Hank Pharis
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
(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!).

This book overlaps a lot with Chatraw’s Apologetics at the Cross. In one sense it is a more popular version of the material. There is much to commend here:

Pt 1 - A Better Story About Apologetics

1 - In Search o
Jamin W.
Apr 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Chatraw, gives a different way of sharing the story of the gospel in this book, that is a very useful tool.The first couple of chapters I felt dragged a bit for him to finally get to the point. However the last 4 chapters were excellent. How do you better understanding where people are coming from? Their backgrounds, experiences and lifestyle all play huge key into sharing the gospel... in the story (The gospel) that can be reflective in their own life. That forgiveness, self-sacrifice, mercy an ...more
Sep 11, 2021 rated it liked it
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Christians can no longer assume that the people around them share their basic assumptions and interpretive frameworks for life, and theologian Joshua D. Chatraw encourages us to change our views of apologetic conversations to fit with the needs of our secular era, instead of frustrating others with outdated methods or giving into relativism. In this book, he addresses a variety of cultural scripts, frameworks for meaning, and objections to Christianity, showing how Christians can challenge the p ...more
Blake A
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful way to think through modern day evangelism efforts

The author tackles objections many today have with Christianity and offers an “inside out” approach to conversing with them. This advocates understanding and relating where they are coming from before presenting how Christianity might make the most sense of their story.

Here is the authors own summary:

“This book has been about stepping into the stories forming their imaginations and shaping their desires to offer a Christian readin
Dec 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was always slightly uncomfortable with traditional apologetics. Not because I was unsure about its truthfulness, but because I had doubts about its usefulness. I felt like such a bully when I was using it on occasion. It just went against the way I would carry a normal conversation.
This book allows me to change the method without changing the message - something I needed so much. Together with "Broken Signposts" by N. T. Wright and "Cultural Apologetics" by Paul M. Gould, this trio of books I'
William Cayley
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
"Telling a better story" lays out a compelling case for "inside-out" apologetics, urging the reader to get into the mind, or story, of others in order to share the Gospel. Dr Chatraw also does an incredibly thorough job of relating what Christian "story" has to say, to issues and concerns of the early 21st century. However, while the book advocates telling a "better story," throughout it seems that the "Christian story" is treated as a philosophy, not a narrative. Much is said in the book about ...more
John Richards
Oct 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Approach in a Postmodern World

Chatraw presents his inside out approach to evangelism that would serve many Christians well. Our postmodern culture doesn’t approach these conversations with the presumption that the supernatural or a divine being has any hearing on their lives. Chatraw argues that, like Paul, we need to find the cultural cues that demonstrate the worldview of the people we are engaging. Starting with them, rather than the gospel. This approach allows us to bring to bear the g
Elizabeth McDowell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirk Miller
Dec 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very good. Nothing earth-shatteringly new here. It presents your pretty standard apologetic arguments. Except, drawing particularly on the insights of thinkers like Charles Taylor, Chatraw sets out to situate a case for Christianity with a more self-conscious interaction with secular metanarratives and social imaginaries that have colonized our current context. He advocates we engage with popular “stories” of reality and visions of the good and true by situating Christianity, not as a case of lo ...more
Oct 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
Telling a Better Story is a book calling Christians to a more authentic, listening based apologetic that focuses not only on logic, but on embodying and living the truth. This 'method' is what he terms the "Inside/Out" method. Inside/Out involves understanding another's story first and its internal consistency (inside), then bringing the conversation to how Christianity might better make sense of our experiences, observations, and history (out).

Chatraw's book is extremely thorough and he starts
Gavin Brand
Apr 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Chatraw does a wonderful job summarizing the experts for a lay audience on a wide variety of questions and concerns about Christianity. I found the book to be incredibly helpful in thinking through some of my own questions of faith and also in approaching similar questions with others.
Philip Taylor
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent book about apologetics and evangelism. The book ends rather brilliantly with this, “Identifying false cultural narratives is not just about conversations with unbelievers; we need to do this to see clearly what is happening to us. What story is actually forming our imaginations?”
Mike Studdard
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good at helping to recraft older methods of evangelism. For me, some of the information was extremely useful and some I would have preferred to have been edited out. But I bought the hard back and the audible reread.
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Good read, in the same vein as Making Sense of God (Keller), Desiring the Kingdom (Smith), A Restless Age (Gohn), and other Reformed, Augustinian, Christianity-speaks-to-the-deepest-longings-of-the-human-heart driven works
Tony Brott
Jul 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, winsome, helpful

This short book is a great help in modeling an inside out approach to apologetics. More than a way to debate someone into changing their mind, the author invites to listen better and then learn to exlain a better story.
Christopher Chandler
Dec 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics, culture
Love everything about this book.

I think Chatraw's approach is so refreshing compared to the apologetics I grew up with. It's respectful, conversational, curious, and inviting. I've used his ideas in talks/sermons several times. Definitely worth your time to read.
Robert Spence
Convince me, please.

As a person who left the faith of my youth, I wanted to be convinced to return. While I respect the passion of the writer, his presentation did not win me back. I continue now my pursuit of truth....elsewhere.
Annie Nardone
Very engaging study on the importance of story when engaging someone on theology. Jesus taught by using stories and parables, and I believe that Chatraw hits on the important factor - find out a bit of the story of the person you are talking to.
Carley English
Sep 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Really nice way to show people how a changing culture needs an updated gospel presentation. Little dry at points, but overall a good read!
Tom Heasman
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Treasure trove of content for evangelistic talks and evangelism training.
Lots mirroring what we’re trying to do with 👏🏼
Josefina Zhu
worth reread.
Kevin McCarthy
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this approach to engaging in any kind of spiritual conversation. It dismantles the classic power imbalance approach (“I have the right answer and you don’t”) and replaces it with an invitation to talk. It says, “Tell me your story—and let’s see if we can see God in it.” And I’m a sucker for anything that highlights the power of narrative/storytelling. Really enjoyed this book.
Benjamin Razey
Aug 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Telling A Better Story is absolutely brilliant. Chatraw articulates his “inside out” approach to evangelism clearly and concisely and applies it to secular stories in a profoundly simple way. I would strongly recommend this book to every Christian as they seek to share the gospel with their unbelieving friends & family.
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Executive Director of The Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement

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“This book is about engaging the deepest aspirations of our secular friends and asking them to consider how the story of the gospel, as strange as may seem to them at first, just may lead them to what their heart has been looking for all along.” 1 likes
“To counter these stories, we must embed our lives in the true story. Through the reading of the Scriptures, the fellowship of the saints, the partaking of the sacraments, daily prayers, and the preaching of the Word, God reorients the way we see the world. Constantly comparing the rival stories to God’s story is essential to not being lulled to sleep in a secular age.” 0 likes
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