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Apologetics: Advanced

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2021 European Apologetics Network: Advanced Track

What did the Apostle Paul do when Pre-Christian Europe was pagan, relativistic, and pluralistic? He did apologetics among his contemporaries. Paul went to the Jews arguing from the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. Paul also went to pagan Greeks and used their literature and cultural artifacts to argue that the "unknown God" has been revealed and proclaimed in Jesus.

21st century Europe is in a state very similar to Paul's time. Just as Paul confronted the marketplace of ideas in his generation, Europe today needs gifted apologists who can demonstrate that Christianity is true and relevant. Therefore, the vision of the European Apologetics Network is to train a new generation of apologists who can stand in today's marketplace of ideas in the way that Paul did in his generation. Our desire is to develop apologists who will testify to the truth of the Gospel with wisdom, versatility, and courage in their efforts to persuade their contemporaries.

Applicants should be those with evangelistic or apologetic gifts who have previously attended the European Leadership Forum Apologetics Network: Foundational Track and the European Evangelism Network. 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.

 

NETWORK LEADERS

Tony Myrick received his B.A. in Biblical Studies from Wheaton College and M.A. in New Testament Studies from Wheaton Graduate School. He has completed two years of doctoral studies in Paul’s Pastoral Leadership at the University of Aberdeen with Professor I.H. Marshall. He has worked for nearly 20 years in para-church and local church contexts teaching, developing and maturing Christian leaders. Tony served as the Minister of Discipleship at Traders Point Christian Church which has 1,800 members and 160 small groups for nearly a decade before coming to work as the Vice President of Strategy and Education at the Forum of Christian Leaders, sponsor of the European Leadership Forum.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Andy Bannister is the director of Solas, an evangelism and training ministry based in Scotland. Andy holds a PhD in Islamic studies and is an adjunct professor at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. Andy is the author of several books including An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an; The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist; and his latest book, Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?, an accessible engagement with this absolutely crucial question. When not traveling, speaking, or writing, Andy is a keen hiker, mountain climber, and photographer. He is married to Astrid; they have two children, Caitriona and Christopher. See more at www.solas-cpc.org.

 

William Edgar is currently Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, USA. He was previously Professor of Apologetics at the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence. Before that he taught high school in Greenwich, CT, USA. He holds the Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Music, from Harvard College, and the Docteur en Théologie from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. His principal research interests are in cultural apologetics, African-American history and music, the music of Brahms, the French Huguenots, 19th century French church history, and the art of Paul Cézanne. His is widely published in those areas. Edgar is a jazz pianist and runs a Gospel-Jazz band. His chief avocations are running, reading novels and history, listening to modern French organ music, and watching Brazilian soccer-football. His wife Barbara and he have two children and three grandchildren.

 

Andrew Fellows was appointed pastor of a church in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1988 and served there for seven years.  In 1995 his family moved to the English branch of L’Abri Fellowship, where they lived and worked for 21 years.  From 2011 to 2016 Andrew was the chairman of L’Abri international.  He is now based in Cambridge as the director of Christian Heritage.  He has a special interest in reaching skeptics and encouraging followers of Christ to develop the life of the mind so it includes the whole gospel to the whole world with all of its implications. Andrew is married to Helen. They have four children.

 

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, where he has served since 1993. He is the author or co-author of fourteen books, including Christian Apologetics and Walking through Twilight: A Wife's Illness--A Philosopher's Lament. He has published 29 peer-review articles in journals such as Religious Studies, Sophia, Philosophia Christi, and Academic Questions, as well as publishing in magazines such as The Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, Philosophy Now, Think, and The Philosopher's Magazine. His comments on religion and society have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

 

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 the Swedish Evangelical Alliance. Stefan travels widely with apologetic teaching and training and is often involved in university evangelism and public debates. He is the author of several books on Christian apologetics and the Christian mind. Stefan is married to Ingrid and they have three grown children.

 

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 the area of epistemology in philosophical theology, with a particular focus on Michael Polanyi, Esther Meek, and Augustine. Kristi worked for 8 years with a campus-based ministry in the UK (UCCF), and she continues to speak regularly at mission weeks and events across Europe. Kristi has a heart for engaging people with the message of Jesus, developing a Christian mind, and raising the next generation of apologists to live out our calling as disciples to love God and our neighbour. Kristi is the author of MORE > Truth (IVP, 2019), Co-editor of Healthy Faith (IVP, 2020), a board member and speaker for Chrysolis, and an itinerant SOLAS Associate Speaker.

 

Jeff Myers is president of Summit Ministries. As an educator and entrepreneur, Dr. Myers has become one of America’s most respected authorities on youth leadership development. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson referred to him as “a very gifted and inspirational leader.” Evangelist Josh McDowell called him “a man who is 100% sold out to preparing the next generation to reflect the character of Christ in the culture.” Through his speaking engagements and media appearances, Dr. Myers has become a fresh voice offering humor and insight from a Christian worldview. He is the author of 14 books, including Understanding the Faith, Understanding the Times, and Understanding the Culture, textbooks which are studied by tens of thousands of students.  Dr. Myers holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Denver. He continues to engage college students and adult learners by serving as a trustee of Colorado Christian University and through a Signature Leadership Course offered by the Lumerit Corporation, which serves the training needs of many Fortune 100 companies. Jeff, his wife Stephanie, and their family live in Colorado.

 

Randy Newman is the Senior Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism at The C. S. Lewis Institute in the Washington, DC area. He has taught at several evangelical seminaries and is currently an adjunct faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary and Patrick Henry College. After serving for over 30 years with Campus Crusade for Christ, he established Connection Points, a ministry to help Christians engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did. He has written several books, including the award winning Questioning Evangelism, and numerous articles about evangelism and other ways our lives intertwine with God’s creation. He and his wife Pam live in Annandale, VA and have three grown sons, two delightful daughters-in-law, and two stunningly adorable granddaughters. Randy blogs occasionally at www.connectionpoints.us.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

The Problem of Suffering: Lessons from the Book of Job

Stefan Gustavsson

Suffering is a fact of human existence, facing every generation, including us. In the Bible, a whole book – Job – deals with this dilemma: God is the good creator, and yet we as his creatures are stuck in horrible situations – in his world! What can we learn from the book of Job about God, humans, and suffering?

 

Communicating Truth in a Non-Truth Culture

Kristi Mair

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.


Day 2

A Brief History of Ideas

Andrew Fellows

A key element of a credible apologetic is an appreciation of our cultural context.  To discover this involves looking backwards at the big ideas that have shaped the West.  This talk explores the three main chapters of our intellectual history and how each is displayed today.  We will also investigate what a Biblical critique entails.

 

Questioning Evangelism for the 21st Century

Randy Newman

The gospel never changes but our audiences do—in seemingly limitless ways. How to proclaim good news, so people actually hear it, has always been a challenge for God’s people. For starters, evangelism needs to be more dialogical and conversational and less confrontational and presentational. This seminar flows out of decades of evangelistic ministry and extensive research about how people are actually coming to faith today.


Day 3

Why Kids Walk Away and What to Do About It

Jeff Myers

Up to 70% of young adults raised in church drift away from their faith after graduation. What can we learn from the 30% who stay? Dr. Myers shares three observations to show how churches—and families—can create an atmosphere in which the faith of Millennials can remain vibrant and strong.

 

 

Critical Theory and Christian Discernment

Douglas Groothuis

With racial tensions running high around the world, many are critiquing society's racial failing based on a philosophy called critical theory or critical race theory without even knowing its roots or implications. I will address the Marxist basis of critical theory, critique its assumptions, and chart a Christian view of racial reconciliation and fellowship.


Day 4

Interview of William Edgar

William Edgar

This session will be an interview of William Edgar, professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. It will discuss his experience of L’Abri Fellowship, the influence of Cornelius Van Til, and Dr. Edgar’s work in applying apologetics to the areas of art, music, ethics, and theodicy.

 

Five Steps for Answering Any Tough Question
Andy Bannister

What do we do when we encounter a question or challenge about our faith we haven’t heard before? Do we need to master every apologetic topic before we can feel ready to stand up and share the gospel at work or university? This session will share a simple five-step framework that, with practice, you can apply to any tough question that comes up during evangelism. It will take two or three common questions and work through them to show how it works in practice.

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