2024 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.
What Network Participants Are Saying
- "Being at the European Leadership Forum is so helpful for me because it gives me the ability to train the members of our church. As I am learning how to do apologetics in the Forum’s Apologetics Network, I can help the people in my church answer difficult questions about Christianity and create opportunities for conversations with unbelievers. I have learned a lot about secular culture and how to respond biblically to different issues."
- Zsolt Kapitany, Pastor, Hungary
- "Apologetics is a new area of interest for me and I am still trying to understand where my place in this is. But it is a very special opportunity for me to meet with other Christians and think about the basics of apologetics. In my Network and the workshops, I am trying to understand how I can be useful and faithful to God’s work in Hungary. As I am in a transitional period in my life at the moment, I am so thankful for the support and encouragement of the truth of the body of Christ."
- Julia Berecz, Disciple–Maker, Hungary
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.
Stefan Gustavsson is a member of the European Leadership Forum Steering Committee. He is the director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and makes his home in Stockholm. He was the founding general secretary for 16 years of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance. Stefan travels widely… 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 F 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 the… Read more
Sunday, 26 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.
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.
Monday, 27 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.
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.
Tuesday, 28 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.
Reflecting on 1 Peter 3, this session will help you explore how you can be most effective in engaging in apologetics in your context. It will help you reflect on your own personality, gifts, and experiences as well as the people in your context and the questions they are asking. It aims to help you think about what shape your ministry will take and the part apologetics might have in it after completion of this Network.
Wednesday, 29 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.