In ‘Street Smarts’, Koukl teaches the kinds of questions that are most effective while also providing sample conversations on the most common topics, which is another very important contribution of this book. In addition to answering the misconceptions about faith that people often have—from God’s existence to the divinity of Jesus—Street Smarts helps believers engage others on the moral and social issues at the center of our cultural discourse, such as abortion and gender and the many topics related to human sexuality. Koukl provides the questions, the talking points, and the examples that can open up significant conversations, invite skeptics in, and challenge presuppositions. In the process, Christians will develop confidence in what is true.
For over 30 years, my friend Greg Koukl has taught Christians how to engage with people across worldview lines by asking questions. His first book Tactics has equipped thousands of Christians to communicate with wisdom and passion. This month, Koukl is releasing a follow-up to that book, entitled Street Smarts: Using Questions to Answer Christianity’s Toughest Challenges.
Among the goals of the book is to make evangelism a less intimidating and more successful endeavor:
There are few things that cause more nagging guilt for Christians than sharing their faith. They feel guilt because they don’t witness enough. They don’t witness enough because they’re scared. And they’re scared for good reason. Sharing the gospel and defending it—apologetics—often feels like navigating a minefield these days. For most of us, engaging others on spiritual matters does not come easy, especially when people are hostile.
Koukl helpfully distinguishes what he calls “harvesting,” and “gardening.” Because God brings the harvest, our goal is simply faithfulness to what is true about the world and about people. According to John’s Gospel, some Christians harvest and others sow, so “that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”
A singular focus only on “harvesting,” Koukl argues, leads to a number of problems. For example, the very important “gardeners” are encouraged to sit out the evangelism process, in favor of the “harvesters.” This is often the case when Christians fail to understand the power of the cultural forces shaping the worldview of non-believers, one reason our Gospel seeds seem to only bounce off “hard soil.” Christians, therefore, must also commit to “spadework,” or digging up the faulty preconceptions about life, God, and humanity that people hold, often unknowingly. One great way to do this “spadework” is by asking questions.