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Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions Paperback – February 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Greg Koukl has been using the methods offered in this book for many years with our Summit students and to great effect. His suggestions, illustrations, and witnessing approach work. This is a well-written, practical, and timely book. -- David Noebel

In this wise and compelling book, Greg Koukl---who has thought long and hard about not only what to say but how to say it---provides a game plan for equipping believers through an artful method of careful thinking and winsome conversation. If you struggle with how to talk about your faith and respond to questions and objections in a meaningful and effective way---and most of us do---there is no better book to buy, read, and put into practice. I could not recommend it more highly! -- Justin Taylor

C.S. Lewis once said, 'Any fool can write learned language. The vernacular is the real test.' In this book, Greg Koukl passes Lewis's test with flying colors. There are many great arguments in favor of the Christian faith, but many of them are accessible only to professional apologists and philosophers. Koukl has developed a memorable and practical way to translate these arguments so that all Christians can become winsome and persuasive apologists in everyday conversations, no matter what their day jobs. This book should be required reading for every thoughtful Christian. -- Jay W. Richards

If you enjoy apologetics, then Greg’s book Tactics is not only a required read, but simply a delightfully entertaining resource. In fact, just try and put it down! Especially for those who struggle with relevant ways to relate to non-Christians while presenting Christian truth, this volume provides many proven methods of natural, non-confrontational dialogue where the purpose is often to simply give an unbeliever something to think about, what Greg calls placing a stone in someone’s shoe. Featuring remarkably simple techniques that are easily and fruitfully applied, I highly recommend this incredibly insightful book. -- Gary R. Habermas

With the advantage of a lifetime of experience, Greg Koukl has written what must be considered THE authoritative treatment of how to employ various strategies in conversations with unbelievers about the Christian faith. Tactics is not just another apologetics book. It is a sensitive, well-written, widely illustrated treatment of actual situations that often come up when believers share their faith. Koukl not only reminds us it is not enough to know why you believe, it is also crucial to know how to communicate those beliefs by adapting to various situations. And Tactics shows precisely how to do that. -- J. P. Moreland

Just as a course on tactics is a requirement at all military academies, so too Greg Koukl’s Tactics---A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions should be required training for all Christians and churches. Koukl has made a worthwhile contribution to the literature on apologetics by teaching us how to say what we say. Witty and winsome, this resource is as fun to read as it is to put into practice.” -- Hank Hanegraaff

“In a society filled with so much anti-Christian rhetoric, there is no better book to equip Christians to think clearly, soundly, and inoffensively in the face of the devices employed today in opposition to the Christian Faith. -- Norm Geisler, , Author

Tactics is the book I’ve been waiting for! I love engaging non-Christians in conversation, but in the back of my mind I often think, 'What if I get stuck and don’t know what to do?' Greg helped me put that fear to rest and gave me practical tools to artfully maneuver in conversations. I enthusiastically recommend Tactics. It will revolutionize your conversations with non-Christians. -- Sean McDowell, , Author

Greg Koukl is a wise, seasoned front-lines apologist. I am happy to recommend a book so full of practical insights and careful guidance for skillfully, winsomely defending the Christian faith. -- Paul Copan, , Author

Greg Koukl is a master tactician. I know of no one who is more conscientious in his efforts to communicate effectively and winsomely his Christian faith. In this book Greg shares with us his tried and true methods, skills honed through continual practice and revision. Mastering his tactics will make you a more effective ambassador for Christ. -- William Lane Craig, , Author

When I want someone who can help me train ambassadors for Christ, the first person I call is Greg Koukl. Now, his proven ideas are in this book. I wish I knew these tactics twenty years ago. They are some of the best I’ve ever seen to help Christians be more effective ambassadors for Christ. Trust me---if you read Koukl's advice and learn his methods, your impact for Christ will skyrocket. -- Frank Turek, , Author

Greg Koukl is a master of the ideas that under gird the Gospel and one of the finest Christian communicators on the planet. He has spent many thousands of hours in front of the most difficult skeptics and their toughest questions and has developed very effective techniques to bring the truth to the surface of any conversation with love and grace. I have learned so much over the years by studying his persuasive yet respectful approach to giving reasons for faith. His book, Tactics, presents his methods in a way that is engaging and accessible to every believer. I hope Christians in churches all over the country gather together to study this important book and learn to stand firm for the Gospel in these dark times. -- Craig Ellison, PhD, , Founder and Director

About the Author

Gregory Koukll holds MA degrees in both apologetics and philosophy. He’s spoken on over 50 university campuses and hosted his own radio talk show for 18 years defending "Christianity Worth Thinking About." Greg is founder and president of Stand to Reason ( and serves as adjunct professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310282926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310282921
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Koukl is the founder and president of Stand to Reason ( Greg started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of the Christian faith. A central theme of Greg's speaking and writing is that Christianity can compete in the marketplace of ideas when it's properly understood and properly articulated.

Greg's teaching has been featured on Focus on the Family radio, he's been interviewed for the BBC, and did a one-hour national television debate with Deepak Chopra on Lee Strobel's "Faith Under Fire." Greg has been quoted in U.S. News & World Report, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the L.A. Times. An award-winning writer, Greg is author of Tactics: A Gameplan to Discuss Your Christian Convictions, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air with Francis J. Beckwith, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has spoken on more than 50 university and college campuses both in the U.S. and abroad.

Greg received his Masters in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, graduating with high honors, and his Masters in Christian Apologetics from Simon Greenleaf University. He is an adjunct professor in Christian apologetics at Biola University.

He hosts Stand to Reason's radio talk show advocating clear-thinking Christianity and defending the Christian worldview. Find more of Greg Koukl's resources at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 191 people found the following review helpful By B. Auten on February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This week I received my copy of Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl. I was anxious to have a look at the book, as I have been following Greg Koukl's ministry of Stand to Reason for a number of years. On one hand, I was excited to see in book form what I have heard Koukl demonstrate so many times on his live radio program: an effective and gracious way to communicate one's faith in an articulate and winsome way. On the other hand, my familiarity with Koukl's Tactics audio program made me wonder if this was just a repackaging of the same material. I was thoroughly surprised. I'm a reader - but it's been a while since I have devoured a book.

Tactics is an immediately practical book. The author's heart is that Christians be equipped to be good ambassadors. An ambassador has three skills: "knowledge, an accurately informed mind; wisdom, an artful method; and character, an attractive manner." Koukl describes the goal of a tactical approach - one that seeks to converse more persuasively by being thoughtful and reasonable, rather than emotional, about one's convictions.

In a very balanced way, Koukl carefully introduces this approach and neutralizes some of the negative connotations that come with sharing and defending the faith. Some people immediately object at the idea of argumentation or "methods." However, Koukl summarizes a more biblical approach:

"Here's the key principle: Without God's work, nothing else works; but with God's work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince. God is happy to use each of these methods."

Now Koukl dives into the meat of the book.
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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have a bit of an aversion to books on apologetics. I don't know exactly why this is, but it may be that many of them seem to teach methods of defending the faith that either manipulate or bludgeon. Somehow grace and apologetics do not seem to go together as they ought. So it was with perhaps just a bit of reluctance that I began reading Gregory Koukl's Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. This is a book that promises to teach a new method, a respectful method, of defending the faith and of attempting to convince others of the truth of Christianity. This is not an apologetics 101 text, as in a book that will compare and contrast various apologetic methods; instead, it is a guide, a book that seeks to lead the reader into a new method of sharing his faith with others.

"If you're like a lot of people who pick up a book like this, you would like to make a difference for the kingdom, but you are not sure how to begin. I want to give you a game plan, a strategy to get involved in a way you never thought you could, yet with a tremendous margin of safety." Here is what Koukl promises--he sets no small goal. "I am going to teach you how to navigate in conversations so that you stay in control--in a good way--even though your knowledge is limited. You may know nothing about answering challenges people raise against what you believe. You may even be a brand new Christian. It doesn't matter. I am going to introduce you to a handful of effective maneuvers--I call them tactics--that will help you stay in control."

This tactical approach is a useful one, for it allows you to stay "in the driver's seat in conversations, so you can productively direct the discussion, exposing faulty thinking and suggesting more fruitful alternatives along the way.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Greg Koukl, who holds two MA degrees in both apologetics and philosophy, is a professor and public figure who debates about religion, worldviews and culture. His experience in sharing the Christian faith and the Christian worldview in the public arena makes him an ideal candidate to write about how believers can share their convictions.

In Tactics, Koukl's goal is to teach the "Ambassador Model." This model is characterized by the author as "diplomatic." This means the "approach trades more on friendly curiosity...than on confrontation (20)." His goal is to teach the reader "how to navigate in conversations so that you stay in control...(20)." To do this Koukl teaches his readers tactics.

Koukl's biblical warrant comes from Mt. 10:16 where Jesus says, " be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Commenting on Jesus' words Koukl writes, "Even though there is real warfare going on, our engagements should look more like diplomacy than D-Day (19)." After the first chapter, where Koukl primarily introduces his ideas, he moves to defend his methodology of engagement against those who would have "Reservations" about "arguing" with unbelievers about the Christians faith. It is in chapter two where Koukl claims that arguing is a virtue (31-32).

Beginning in chapter three, Koukl introduces his arsenal of tactics. The "Columbo" tactic occupies his discussion in chapters three through six. The key to the Columbo tactic is "to go on the offensive in an inoffensive way by using carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation (47)."

After walking the reader through three steps to perfecting the Columbo, Koukl begins chapter seven with a series of non-Christian ideas that "self-destruct.
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