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

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


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


Joshua D. Chatraw



Publication Date:

June 30, 2020




240 pages


Apologetics can be quite valuable to the church, but it can often come across as just throwing facts at people. Not only does this tend to create Christians who argue more than listen, but many Christians and secularists can testify that it doesn’t work.

Joshua Chatraw argues that there are several reasons this apologetic approach so often fails. For one thing, we live in a postmodern world where people distrust the idea of objective truth, which makes facts hard to believe in. For another, throwing facts around is based on enlightenment/modernist ideas that science answers everything and humans could figure out all truth for themselves just from raw data. Experts are finding more and more that biases color our perceptions, that science can’t answer certain questions, and that humans seem designed to learn through narrative – we construct stories that explain how we think the world works and those stories become our worldviews. So, a better apologetic approach is to consider how Christianity provides the best possible narrative, one that is beautiful and speaks to the order we crave and that explains suffering’s existence and our yearning for moral order in a coherent, logical way.

Chatraw shows readers how to lead people “inside their story” and consider whether their chosen narrative gives true, workable answers to why the world is the way it is. Then he shows readers how to step “outside the story” and consider how Christianity provides a better, more beautiful and honest narrative.

Having explained this new approach, Chatraw deals with the standard objections many secularists make about Christianity. These objections include:

  • Doesn’t science replace our need for religion?
  • Isn’t the Bible just outdated myths?

Chatraw carefully shows how these objections don’t stand up to the various kinds of evidence for Christianity, therefore showing that Christianity really does provide the best possible story for how reality works.

In writing this book, Chatraw builds on an discussion that many apologetics have been having: how to make apologetics a human conversation more than an impersonal debate. Contributors to this discussion include Craig J. Hazen and Brian Godawa, who both contributed essays to Apologetics for a New Generation on the need to engage people’s imaginations as well as their minds. Gregory Koukl made a similar point in his book Tactics, emphasizing the need to build bridges with people before helping them see the problems with their secular worldviews. Chatraw combines these writers’ concerns with an idea C.S. Lewis frequently addressed in his essays on mythology: humans are born with yearnings for good stories that help them understand their condition better. By fusing the need for a more loving apologetic with an emphasis on storytelling, Chatraw shows how to engage with secular people in a loving manner that sparks their desires to find truth.

Chatraw is also careful to warn apologetics not to give glib answers which understate life’s complexity. Too many people have been turned off by Christians who acted like the problem of evil could be answered quickly, or that Christianity gives immediate relief to every area of life. Humility about what humans can’t fully know this side of heaven must come alongside confidence in what Christianity clearly teaches humans about reality. By taking this more measured and honest approach, Chatraw helps readers avoid common apologetics mistakes and be better witnesses.

All things considered, this may be one of the best apologetics books in recent years.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians interested in how to talk about apologetics and storytelling can work together, the limits of certain apologetics appraoches.

Christian Impact

Chatraw gives readers an orthodox vision of faith that admits there are things that humans can’t fully grasp about God right now, but the Bible gives clear answers to the most important areas. He also highlights theological themes that Western Christians have often underemphasized, such as the fact Christianity is not only true but beautiful. Excellent insights all around.

Note: Chatraw says in his afterword that this book builds on ideas he explored in an earlier book Apologetics at the Cross. To read ECLA’s review of that book, go to:

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