Lord’s Library editors compiled this brief that offers a short summary of Telling a Better Story, a Christian apologetics book written by Joshua D. Chatraw.
In Telling a Better Story, Joshua D. Chatraw offers a fresh perspective on engaging with secular culture from the Christian worldview. Chatraw’s work emphasizes the importance of storytelling as a means of communicating the Christian faith in a world that is tilted against it. Chatraw does this by underscoring the narrative in the Bible itself, recognizing that it is a guide to God’s redemptive plan.
Chatraw addresses the need for Christians to engage with culture in a winsome manner as well, not losing sight of the importance of relationship-building with the lost. This approach reflects the Biblical call to love one’s neighbor and seek the salvation of all. See Mark 12:31: “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Of note is Chatraw’s encouragement for Christians to be discerning consumers of culture, recognizing both its wickedness and its potential for reflecting elements of God’s Word. This resonates with our editors who believe in the fallen nature of the world while also acknowledging the remnants of God’s truth within it.
There are few Christians who would disagree with the author’s overall message of grounding any cultural engagement in a coherent Christian narrative, however.
Note: Telling a Better Story is a recommended read by our editors.
Telling a Better Story Summary
Telling a Better Story Summary: Points to Know Before Reading
A Prospectus on Secularism from the Christian Worldview
Chatraw suggests that Christians can effectively communicate their faith by “telling a better story”—a narrative that engages people’s doubts, even within the broad secular culture. Importantly, Telling a Better Story recognizes that the lost have questions about their faith. Our editors believe this to be a common sense approach in the post-modern world.
Chatraw highlights the historical and cultural influence of Christianity on what are now largely secular societies. He points out that many of their perceived moral principles have been shaped by Christian ethics.
But What Does the Author Mean by Storytelling?
Telling a Better Story introduces the concept of narrative apologetics, which involves using storytelling to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ while engaging with others. Chatraw argues that narrative apologetics can be a more effective approach than traditional propositional methods in our current age.
The book draws from Biblical themes to describe how the Bible itself is a narrative, and many (Editor’s note: Definitely not all) of its truths are conveyed through stories and historical accounts.
He points to the Parables of Jesus Christ that convey the truth and engage with His audience. Jesus’ storytelling is seen as a model for Christian engagement. The work encourages sharing your personal testimony, showing empathy, and offering the narrative of redemption can work wonders in this way.
Chatraw Leans Heavily on the Biblical Worldview
Telling a Better Story asserts that the Bible provides the only foundation for understanding truth, morality, and the nature of reality. He points to Jesus Christ as the central figure in this narrative, emphasizing His role in redeeming creation as outlined in the Gospel.
While Offering Worldview Engagement Strategies & Application Techniques
Telling a Better Story discusses practical strategies for engaging with the secular worldview from a Biblical perspective. Chatraw encourages individuals, as well as Christian communities, to apply the Biblical worldview not only in personal faith but also in collective engagement as well; a personal vs. corporate applications approach.
Individuals can personally apply the principles of storytelling by viewing their own lives as narratives of faith. Personal application extends to living out one’s faith authentically; by being a living testament to the Gospel message.
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