Ten Years of “Tactics”: The Book That Changed My Life

I grew up in a Christian home, never seriously questioning if Christianity was true. For me, apologetics was arguments evolution versus Young-Earth Creationism. When I was 13, my older brother received a copy of “Tactics” by Greg Koukl. I tried it out on a whim. I kept reading, finished it, and needed more of it. So I began reading books like Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Faith,” Scott Klusendorf’s “The Case for Life,” Koukl and Beckwith’s “Relativism,” and many more. “Tactics” lit a fire in me like no other book has. Ten years later, that fire has only grown. For the first time, the book itself has also grown. Koukl released the book’s new 10th anniversary edition with a few new chapters and tactics. After ten years of “Tactics,” what’s new?

The Original: What’s It About?

Greg Koukl

The book started out as a DVD training series put out by Koukl and Stand to Reason, meant to be used for small groups. I only learned this years later when I met Drew, and he began to teach it at my church. In 2009, the same content was released as the book “Tactics.” Koukl has worked in radio for decades, often taking calls and talking to listeners about challenges to Christianity. Over the years, he found that there are certain ways to present the case for Christianity without becoming argumentative or belligerent. Instead, he would use polite questions and tactical maneuvering to stay in control of the conversation. Simply asking questions like “What do you mean by that?” or “How did you come to that conclusion?” would do the work shockingly well. While other books will tell you the information about apologetics, this one would tell you how to present it.

What’s So Special About It?

Because of “Tactics,” I was competing with a platform speech on apologetics at 17.

I’m not the only person who has found this book to be a game changer. Why is “Tactics” so powerful? Many Christians know the Gospel and that they ought to be evangelizing. But most of us don’t really know how or are too anxious to do that. In today’s western culture, most people know about Jesus, and just passionately sharing your faith may not be enough. Koukl provides a practical and effective way to talk about difficult subjects, and it’s easy to learn. On top of that, Koukl is an excellent writer who manages to make these simple tactics understandable and fun to read with plenty of examples and stories from his experiences.

What’s New for the 10th Anniversary?

The 10th Anniversary Edition added quite a bit of new content. Chapters were added, and older ones have been edited and extended. If you haven’t read the original, definitely get this new edition. This isn’t like watching a movie’s extended director’s cut where you should watch the original first. Many of the changes are updating content to be more relevant today. Perhaps the best example of this is chapter 9, “Turnabout: Defending Against Columbo.” The original book had a brief discussion of what to do when someone else uses the “Columbo” tactic against you. However, in the decade since the books release, a movement has started doing exactly that, so he took those ideas and expanded them.

Probably my favorite of the new Tactics comes from the chapter on “Mini-Tactics.” It’s called “Moving Towards the Objection.” He writes, “Don’t run away from the problem; run towards it and defuse it. Don’t evade; invade. Embrace it, undermine its relevance, and take the win out of its sails.” This is something I’ve found useful before, but he puts a name to a face. One of the most powerful things a Christian can show an atheist is confidence. The ability to lean into an objection, acknowledge its significance and difficulty without getting defensive, and then giving our best response, sends a very powerful and confident message.

One Small Criticism

Me, whenever Koukl writes a new book.

My only minor criticism of the new edition is that most of the new tactics are not fully new. Most of the new content is taking things that had a very small section in the original and fleshing it out more. It will probably feel familiar, especially if you either listen to the weekly Stand to Reason podcast, or have read Koukl’s other recent book, “The Story of Reality.” This however is not a criticism of the actual book. It’s more that I, as a fan, was excited about new content. This isn’t a sequel with brand new ideas, so much as an extended edition giving us deeper looks at what we already had. 

Final Thoughts

With all that said, the book is still amazing, and better than ever. If I could have every Christian read one book besides the Bible, it would be this one. you should absolutely pick up a copy. It’s been ten years of Tactics. Read it, apply it, and give em’ Heaven.

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