McGrath’s strong emphasis is on sensitive, artful, and personalized discourse, built on careful listening for the deeper layers of concern in the hearts of those whose spirits are grieved by the brokenness of humanity. It’s a strategy we might describe as “pastoral apologetics.”
This is fine so far as it goes, but what about settings that preclude the pastoral approach? After all, many contemporary apologetic encounters take place within radio call-in shows and university debates, where the interlocutor may be a confident attacker rather than a wounded soul, and the time for spiritual probing is quite limited.
Fortunately, McGrath provides the reader with some handy, off-the-rack rejoinders. To the claim, for instance, that “we can’t be sure about anything,” one might reply: “Are you sure about that?” Still, he wants to equip readers for something beyond clashes of logic. His ambition is to communicate not only the truth, but also the “attractiveness and joy of the Christian gospel to our culture.” We should be like prisms breaking up the light of the gospel into the colors of the rainbow.
Arguably, the most common theme in the entire book is his construal of apologetics as “removing [or overcoming] barriers [or obstacles] to faith….”