How can we present the truth about Jesus to a world that no longer believes in truth? Can we find ways to engage in meaningful conversation with those who reject all claims to absolutes? Can we talk about our convictions without appearing arrogant or manipulative?
Curtis Chang has found vital resources for addressing these issues in the lives of Augustine bishop of Hippo (AD 413) and Dominican priest Thomas Aquinas (AD1259). These two apologists grounded their response to the shifting cultural sands of their time on Christ's own ministry of transforming love. Through a careful study of Augustine's City of God and Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles, Chang has discerned a valuable rhetorical strategy for engaging unbelief in cultural contexts where Christian faith seems less and less plausible.
Building on the contemporary cultural analysis of Alasdair MacIntyre, Christopher Lasch, James Davison Hunter and John Milbank as well as insights gleaned from Lesslie Newbigin and Stanley Hauerwas, Chang puts forth his own bold recommendation. We should confront challengers not with legal or moral coercion, much less violence, but by meeting and speaking with them within their own thought and language worlds. This approach will involve (1) entering the challengers' stories, (2) retelling the stories and (3) capturing those retold stories within the gospel's larger story. With theological as well as practical insights drawn from Augustine and Aquinas, Chang completes the book by offering concrete suggestions for more faithfully taking up our evangelistic and apologetic task today.
Engaging Unbelief by Curtis Chang was published by Inter-varsity Press in January 2001 and is our 60041st best seller. The ISBN for Engaging Unbelief is 9780851114729.