Urban Apologetics: Why the Gospel is Good News for the City by Christopher W. Brooks
Campus Dean of Moody Theological Seminary in Michigan and Senior Pastor a church in Detroit, Christopher Brooks is well versed in the reason cities need the gospel. Even more, he is painfully aware of how apologetics is necessary for the advancement of the gospel in urban soil. In his new book, Urban Apologetics, Chris puts together a wise resource for those interested in the debates surrounding ethics, sexuality, and cultural issues. The book ends up being wise in its approach, biblical in its approach, and winsome to those who offer up opposing viewpoints on these hot button issues.
In approaching ethics, Chris takes on the oft-cited suggestion that evil is outside of us and usually covers some outside entity such as Communists, Marxists, Republicans, Progressives, etc. This fallacy, the goodness fallacy basically people as basically good and ‘we only misbehave when pressured by undesirable situations,’ (56). Two fallacies follow from this goodness concept, namely that any evil is outside of us and that we are able both intellectually and morally to assess a situation by ourselves. In other words, our individualism and pride trumps any willingness to look inside our own hearts for both evil and partiality.
Secondly, Chris’ approach to use both scriptural testimony and social statistic studies is to be commended. On the discussion on Christ and sexuality, he covers the biblical terrain regarding homosexuality with wisdom and clarity, but also introduces us to a 2012 study done by Mark Regnerus on children of same-sex relationships and the outcome of their lives (92-94). While the study may still be debated, I was glad that Chris included some stats on lower income minorities and the disadvantages they face while still including the study by Regnerus. Overall, Chris made the point that sexual activity outside God’s created design for marriage destroys both heterosexual and homosexual partnerships.
Overall, I think this book was a good introduction to the issues that modern Christians face living in urban settings. The only criticism I have of the book is that I wish it was longer, both the chapters and the whole book. Other issues could also be addressed such as cutting, depression, and the church’s response to these issues.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.