While some take a philosophical battle to the new atheists, Philip Yancey prefers to road test God in the real world’s most rugged terrain. He believes that if God can make a difference in cultures afflicted by racism; in individuals suffering sexual abuse or alcoholism; and in a college traumatised by a massacre, then Christians have a valid case.

Each of the ten chapters starts by telling background stories of these situations, followed by a talk that Yancey gave to audiences so close to the reality of them that they could not be bought off with platitudes. In each circumstance, Yancey is concerned to bring hope and grace to his hearers, leaving his readers to consider the cumulative effect of these stories and talks. He also comments bluntly about the weakness of prosperous and comfortable Christianity. Though Yancey starts by asking about God, by the end it is the Church that has to justify itself.