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How Not to Share Your Faith: The Seven Deadly Sins of Apologetics and Evangelization Paperback – June 30, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Not long after converting to the Catholic faith, noted author and apologist Mark Brumley found himself in a discussion with a Protestant friend. Secure in his newfound faith--and feeling somewhat superior to his "less-enlightened" friend--Brumley smugly said, "Yes, I, too, used to think as you do." It was an outburst of pride that undermined Brumley's arguments for the faith and likely drove his friend further away from the truth. Brumley had just committed one of the seven "sins" he describes in his remarkable book, "How Not to Share Your Faith: The Seven Deadly Sins of Catholic Apologetics and Evangelization." In "How Not to Share Your Faith," Brumley describes seven of the most common and tragic mistakes he and other apologists have made over the years in their attempts to defend and explain the Catholic faith. More importantly, he reveals how you can avoid these mistakes and become far more effective at sharing your faith in a charitable way. Brumley's book isn't only about how to argue more effectively or how to make your points more clearly. It's about finding the most effective way to share your faith--even if that means losing an argument from time to time.

About the Author

Raised without a specific faith or religious exposure, Mark Brumley began a long spiritual journey that led him through several Protestant denominations to arrive finally at the Catholic Church in 1980. Since then he has taught and lectured about the faith in a wide range of forums, including as an adjunct professor for the Institute for Pastoral Theology of Ave Maria University. He is an editor at Ignatius Press, and serves as general editor of the "Ignatius Catholic Encyclopedia of Apologetics." He lives with his wife, Debbie, and their five children in Napa, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Catholic Answers Inc (June 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888992301
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888992304
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By catholicreader77 on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of well-intentioned people who want to stand up for what they believe and to defend their faith. They most especially want to bring others to the truth. This is a good and loving thing to do. But good intentions are not enough. There are ways that work and ways that don't. This book exposes the pitfalls that you'll want to avoid when sharing your faith. It is easy to read and very practical, with examples of better ways that are more likely to win minds and hearts.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Corzine VINE VOICE on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The biblical charter of Catholic apologetics is 1Peter 3:14-15:

Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

but in your hearts reverence Christ as

Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense

to any one who calls you to account for

the hope that is in you, yet do it

with gentleness and reverence

But far too often Catholic apologists seem to have shortened this in their heads to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one" and then added silently -- implicitly, but really -- "the best defense is a good offense." The end result is not effective apologists but offensive Catholics.

Brumley provides a welcome correction that is stern without being preachy and will certainly make those who follow its advice not only more effective apostles but also better Christians.

I particularly like his section on what he calls "apologetic gluttony" which is the mistaken and misguided attempt to "prove" all of the mysteries of the faith, essentially biting off more than can be chewn. I expect that this may be a temptation that converts are particularly prone to. In telling the story of how you became convinced of the truth of the faith, it's easy to make it seem like an intellectual achievement rather than a gift of God.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Vogt on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
In Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter "At the Beginning of the Third Millennium", he called for a `new evangelization'. This evangelization was to breathe fresh life and a renewed spirit into the world, particularly to those peoples who were once Christian but who had drifted from faith.

One facet of the Pope's call was a revival of apologetics, the defense and explanation of Church teaching. In the third millennium, the advent of the Internet opened the door for this apologetical revolution. Writings from church fathers and Saints were introduced online. Quality explanations of Church teaching could be found by anyone accessing a search engine. And professional apologists, authors, and teachers began springing up across the world.

In light of this surging interest in apologetics, Mark Brumley, now the President of Ignatius Press, wrote a book titled "How Not to Share Your Faith". The book wasn't written to provide specific apologetical arguments but instead focuses on the dangers apologists face.

Brumley calls these dangers the Seven Deadly Sins of Apologetics:

1. Apologetical Gluttony - A failure to respect the limits of what apologetics can accomplish.
2. Reducing the Faith to Apologetics - Looking at all or most spiritual matters "apologetically".
3. Confusing the Faith with Our Arguments for It - Reducing the Faith to our own particular arguments for it
4. Contentiousness - Going out of your way to look for areas of disagreement.
5. Friendly Fire -Battling Protestants and other absolutists instead of non-Christians and relativists.
6. Trying to "Win" - Aiming to 'win' an argument, even at the expense of bringing people to truth.
7. Pride - Thinking more highly of one's apologetical abilities than one should.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S & N on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
How Not To Share Your Faith shows the mistakes people make when trying to talk to others about their faith. This book is helpful in that it discusses in detail what to avoid when arguing with someone about your faith. It can be easy to think you are going about the discussion the right way, when in reality you are making everything worse. This book seems to be written mainly for apologists, but I think everyone who wants to defend their faith can glean something useful from this well-written book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian Van Hove on October 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
How Not to Share Your Faith: The Seven Deadly Sins of Catholic Apologetics and Evangelization
by Mark Brumley
San Diego, California: Catholic Answers, 2002
Preface by Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ
Foreword by the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Denver [2011 of Philadelphia]

Review by Reverend Brian Van Hove, SJ
Alma, Michigan
Published in The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 46

This extended essay of 121 pages deserves to be read by every young person who wishes to defend the Catholic faith. Even high school students would benefit. It is written with clarity and simplicity, with grace and a positive tone. The title indicates what "not" to do, but the direction the author takes really tells us "what to do" and also "how to do it".

Mark Brumley presumes a new generation of apologists has gone to work. Perhaps some of us are less aware of them. If this is the case, his real target readership is this cadre of apologists, but anyone can still profit.

One of the strengths of this very readable work is its reliance on tradition. The wisdom of the past is presented and activated as something bright and usable today. Catholic wisdom has a flexibility and an applicability that spans time and place. There is real continuity between the pioneering work in Catholic apologetics of Frank Sheed and what Brumley recommends. Thomas Aquinas, Louis Bouyer, C. S. Lewis, and Joseph Ratzinger also figure in.

Apologetics is a branch of theology, which requires intelligence. But it likewise requires faith. Brumley is plain when he insists that, in the end, any attempt to defend the faith--better, to lead others to it--must be deeply rooted in charity.
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