2023 Apologetics (Foundational) Network
The words apologist and apologetics come from the Greek word apologia, which means to defend or to convince and persuade. So when Peter writes, “Always be prepared to give a defense (apologia) for the hope that is within you,” he is teaching that Christians must be willing and able to communicate the Gospel persuasively to their neighbours.
Europe today is in great need of gifted persuasive evangelists who, like the Apostle Paul, can demonstrate that Christianity is true and relevant. The Forum's Apologetics Network Foundational Track is designed to train, mentor, and resource Christians so they can effectively demonstrate that Christian beliefs are reasonable, true, and relevant for the 21st century. This track provides the vision and strategy for a renaissance of apologetics in Europe today.
Applicants should be those with evangelistic or apologetic gifts who have NOT attended the European Leadership Forum Apologetics Network in previous years. The purpose of the Network is to train, mentor, equip, and resource those evangelists and apologists who are seeking to communicate the Gospel in their local communities. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.
Applicants should be those with evangelistic or apologetic gifts who have NOT attended the European Leadership Forum Apologetics Network in previous years. The purpose of the Network is to train, mentor, equip, and resource those evangelists and apologists who are seeking to communicate the Gospel in their local communities.
Paul Coulter lives in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, with his Chinese Malaysian wife, Gar-Ling, and their two teenage children. A medic and cross-cultural pastor by background, he is now Head of Ministry Operations with Living Leadership (www.livingleadership.org), an organisation helping leaders… Read more
Lars Dahle is a theologian, educator, preacher, and apologist. Having a long previous experience in various academic leadership roles, he now works as Associate Professor in Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication (NLA Kristiansand),… Read more
Stefan Gustavsson is the director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and makes his home in Stockholm. He was the founding General Secretary for the Swedish Evangelical Alliance. Stefan travels widely with apologetic teaching and training and is often involved in university… Read more
John Kirkpatrick is the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Previously, he was the pastor of Portrush Presbyterian Church for over 20 years. John is the director of the apologetics course Reality316 aimed at equipping a wide range of people to be relevant apologists. For a number of… Read more
Kristi Mair teaches philosophy, ethics, and apologetics at Oak Hill College in London, UK, where she also provides pastoral support for female students. She holds a degree in philosophy and theology, as well as an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics. She is currently working on her PhD in… Read more
Sunday, 21 May
Knowing 'why' we do anything is of core importance. Where is our confidence to be found? What motivates us and sustains us in the long road of service? This session aims to inform and inspire us in the apologetic task, the great and exciting task of sharing our faith at this pivotal time in European History.
Paul’s famous words in 1 Corinthians about the foolishness of the cross and his decision to preach the cross, but not with wisdom, have often been misinterpreted. For many they stand as evidence of a strong anti-intellectual strand in Paul’s thinking and a clear reason for us to neglect apologetics and instead focus on other issues. In this session we will analyze Paul’s understanding of wisdom and foolishness as we look at four particular issues: (1) Paul’s thinking when he started the church in Corinth, (2) Paul's thinking when he wrote to the church in Corinth, (3) the cultural context of the church in Corinth, and (4) Paul’s message in his first letter to the church in Corinth.
Monday, 22 May
The Lord Jesus repeats the call from Deuteronomy to love God with every aspect of our beings, including our minds. If we neglect the mind, the result is unreflective activism and unthinking experientialism. But the mind isn't the sum total of a person, either, and so apologetics can't just mean winning arguments. To be effective apologists who lovingly persuade others of the truth, we need to love God and others with both our minds and every other aspect of our being. In this session, we will explore what that means as we work towards a biblical understanding of the role of reason in faith and persuasion in evangelism.
Jesus was a preacher, healer…and an apologist! Based on an article written by the speaker, this session will explore the role of apologetics in Jesus’ ministry by examining John 5, a passage which provides an excellent example of how Jesus related to the questions and objections of his contemporaries. It will conclude with a discussion of how Jesus’ model of apologetic engagement can and should mould and shape the modern apologetic task.
Tuesday, 23 May
Many of our apologetics encounters will be in one-to-one conversations with friends, colleagues or family members. This session will delve into 1 Peter 3:13-16 to discover its timeless wisdom for responding to others’ questions with gospel hope. In doing so, we will discover the character apologists must develop, the importance of relationships and the values and skills that shape effective apologetic conversations.
Despite its prominence historically, apologetics is seen as controversial in many Christian circles. Where and when it is practised, contemporary apologetics is often characterised by a neglect of biblical foundations and models. Through discussion of an article written by the speaker, this session seeks to identify, explore, and apply such key biblical material. The focus will be on Acts 17:16-34 as a relevant case study.
Wednesday, 24 May
In a time of post-truth, virtue-signaling and relativism, do people even care about truth? When it comes to engaging with our cultural moment, how can we persuasively communicate the truth of Jesus Christ? In this session, we will explore a few philosophical underpinnings before we consider how we can share Jesus in a non-truth culture, where slogans like ‘stay in your own lane’, and ‘you do you’ dominate discussions. How can we engage, expose, enter, and evangelize in seemingly disinterested and apathetic societies? We will also spend time considering how we can share the liberating, life-giving joy of Christ when suspicion, power-plays, and corruption occupy the public imagination.
As we reach the end of our network time, where better to focus than on the unique person of Jesus Christ? In this session, we will consider who He is and how His claims challenge other religions and worldviews. We will conclude with a call to keep Him at the centre as we look towards our next steps in apologetics.