African American Apologetics, barber shop book, Bill Cosby, Black Apologetics, C. S. Lewis’ apologetic, Come On People, Father’s Day Gift, gift for dad, Hill Harper, James Sire apologetics, Letters to Young Black Men, recommend book for men, Tim Keller’s apologetic
In the one year since its initial publication, I have been asked several times what I mean when I describe Where Are All The Brothers? as a “simple apologetic.” By simple apologetic, please understand a few things:
First, Brothers? did not begin as a book, but as pastoral responses to reach loved ones of godly women I was serving as pastor whose husbands and/or sons had objections to Christ (or better, to the church as representative of Christ). The original documents were intended to be 500-word responses to these common objections, not 1000 – 2000-word arguments for a wider audience. As I indicate in the introduction, the book can be read in nine (9) days by reading for less than ten (10) minutes per day. The answers were intended to be simple, meaning short.
Second, once I saw that the original writing had the potential to become a book for a greater populous, Brothers? became intended to be readable for an audience that is not known for being eager about reading books. I wanted to offer something easily readable, devoid of advanced theological terms that are more appropriate for the initiated and learned. The book is for the barbershop, the bus-ride to work, the rescue mission, or (the man on) the block. The writing was intended to be simple, meaning accessible.
Third, once the process of becoming a manuscript started to take shape, the intention also became for the book to answer culturally-based objections germane to African American society, and not to answer traditional apologetic questions related to philosophy, science, manuscript evidence, and ethics. I have yet to run into the African American skeptic who has asked me a question about Intelligent Design, the Virgin Birth and miracles, the longer ending of Mark, or the Deuteronomic commands related to the destruction of the Canaanite nations. I have had African Americans ask about the credibility of the African American preacher, the appearance of the superiority of the practices of the Nation of Islam, and the issue of homosexuality in the church (hence the appendix on the church and homosexuality). The writing was intended to be simple, meaning basic. (Again on this point, the next time you talking with an unbelieving African American man, ask him if he is familiar with books of the titles, A Reason for God, Basic Christianity, Mere Christianity or The God Who is There. You might get a hit on the title by the British literary critic. I will be surprised if you get a hit on the texts by the Anglican or Presbyterian pastors.)
Fourth, the line of reasoning in the book generally follows this process: It raises and affirms the concerns of the skeptic, reframes the specific concerns into categories of general concern, attempts to recognize the intent of the concerns and expose errors within the intent of the concern, then it uses the general concern and intent to establish the sufficiency and superiority of Christianity and the church for meeting the need of the concern. The idea is that the skeptic has provided the means by which to address his own concern. Or another way to say this is that I attempted to reply to the skeptic with what his wife, parent, child, or friend always wanted to reply to his objections but needed more logical-reasoning underpinning to do so. The objections are weak, and the replies are obvious once the concerns are generalized. The answers to skeptics were intended to be simple, meaning obvious.
So I hope this simple book will reach the hands of many men in need of the truth of the Gospel. It is small enough to fit in a back pocket of a pair of jeans – try it for yourself! – so that a brother can carry the book close at hand yet concealed. It is inexpensive enough for most people to purchase as a gift to give away. It is a simple book – meaning (easily) obtainable – with a valuable message for a people-group in need. As I have indicated elsewhere, African American men constitute one of the largest overlooked and unreached people groups in the country; all believers should be burdened to reach African American men with the Gospel. I hope many of you will offer African American men a simple (small) chance to give a simple (undivided) hearing to the simple (plain) message of the Gospel. Or, in line with the argumentation of the book, if you are looking for something short, accessible, basic, and obvious to give to African American men who are outside of Christ, I wish to recommend to you Where Are All the Brothers? in the hopes that you will in turn will recommend to others Jesus Christ.