The Benefit of the Doubt

A blog about Dialogue, Doubts, and Christian Faith ~Travis Dickinson~

New Book: Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel


About 4 years ago, Paul Gould, Keith Loftin and I were at a restaurant planning out an online apologetics course. A comment was made that we should write a book with this material. So we did!  And that book comes out in 1 month (11/1)!!

There are a number of great apologetics texts out there. Here are a few notables about our book for those who may be interested.

An up-to-date and readable read

The book is intended as an up-to-date book informed by current scholarship without the reader requiring any specific training in apologetics. Between the three of us, we have roughly 50 years of combined experience teaching Christian apologetics at all different levels of expertise. So our hope is that it can serve someone who is brand new to the area of study as well as be interesting to an intermediate student of apologetics.

Here’s the table of contents:

  1. An Invitation to Apologetics
  2. Truth, Knowledge, and Faith
  3. God
  4. Miracles
  5. The Reliability of the New Testament
  6. Jesus
  7. Jesus’ Resurrection
  8. Is Jesus the Only Way?
  9. The Problem of Evil
  10. Counterfeit Gospels: World Religions
  11. Counterfeit Gospels: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses
  12. Standing Firm and Going Out


Many apologetics textbooks are, let’s just say, a wee bit lacking in creativity. We included original artwork in every chapter. Judith Dickinson (a.k.a., to me, mom) sketched pictures of, among others, C.S. Lewis and Alvin Plantinga. Check these out:

Wayne Miller, a PhD student at SWBTS, drew some great cartoons for illustrations:




We also including a few graphs and charts.

The brilliance of the gospel

Beyond all of these things, the heart of the book is to defend the idea that the gospel is brilliant!! I love this term ‘brilliant’ in this connection. It has, for us, a double meaning. First, the gospel, as idea, is brilliant since it is smart. It is, in fact, the biggest idea I know. This is to say the gospel is profound, rational to believe, and eminently defensible. Much of the heavy lifting in the book is to defend this.

But the second sense of the term ‘brilliant’ is that the gospel is beautiful and desirable. We try, in each chapter, to connect the rational defense with the desirability and attractiveness of Christianity.

Here’s an excerpt from our introduction:

…what we find in Christianity is a perfect blend of reason and romance. Nowhere in Scripture is there a call to separate head (reason) and heart (romance) in our love of God and man. This is good news! Christianity does not require us to abandon the intellect or emotions. Christianity is both true and satisfying. Consider C. S. Lewis’s description of his pre-conversion mind:

The two hemispheres of my mind were in the sharpest conflict. On the one side a many-island sea of poetry and myth; on the other a glib and shallow “rationalism.” Nearly all that I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless. (Surprised by Joy, 170)

Lewis discovered that it was only in Christianity that his two hemispheres could be brought together into a coherent whole. In Christianity he had found a place to stand and a story that understood his longing for both how things are (truth) and how things ought to be (goodness and beauty). Christianity is true myth.

Online supplementary material

Our publisher, B&H, will be supplying the reader with a variety of supplements on their website. Among other material, we shot 2-3 videos per chapter that help introduce and augment the material in the book. This will be made available via Word Search from B&H Publishing Group.

Promotion at Lifeway

The book is currently half off for preorder at Lifeway.

The book will work for a classroom, church small group, or for anyone looking to go deeper in the defense and desirability of the faith.


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4 Replies

  1. Looking forward to this new addition to apologetics. Pictures look amazing. Thanks for the great work you are providing to the church.

    1. Travis Dickinson

      Thanks man!

  2. Ronin Akechi

    I’m buying the new book on the strength of your your writing on this excellent blog. I have no DOUBT it will BENEFIT me. (See what I did there?)

    1. Travis Dickinson

      Awesome! Thanks!