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Apologetics: Advanced

Detailed information about the 2021 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2020 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2021 Forum's Networks. 

2020 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. This Network will be led by Andy Bannister and Kristi Mair. 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 the Solas Centre for Public Christianity in Scotland and an Adjunct Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Andy holds a PhD in Islamic studies and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. Andy is the author of An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an, and his latest book, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Terrible Consequences of Really Bad Arguments), is a humorous engagement with the New Atheism. 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 andybannister.net

 

Ralf Bergmann, born 1962, is married and has three adult children. He received his degree in physics and a doctorate from German universities. He is or has been mainly involved in solid-state physics, semiconductors, photovoltaics and optical technologies at several research institutions in Germany and Australia and has also worked in industrial research. Since 2008 he has been a professor at a German university and head of a research institute working on optical technologies and optoelectronics. Beyond his research, he is interested in defending the reasonability of Christian faith, especially all around the border triangle of physics, philosophy, and theology as well as the relevance of Christian faith for modern western society. In 2019, he authored the book Gott und die Erklärung der Welt – Christlicher Glaube oder atheistische Weltanschauung: Was ist vernünftiger? (God and the explanation of the world – Christian faith or atheistic world view: What is more reasonable?). See also: https://erklaerung-der-welt.de/

 

Luke Greenwood is British by birth, grew up in Brazil, and now lives in Wroclaw, Poland, with his wife Ania and their two children. He serves as the European Director for Steiger, a mission organisation dedicated to reaching and discipling the Global Youth Culture for Jesus. Luke’s passion is in evangelism and discipleship among the alternative youth scenes, and has a vision to establish dynamic missionary teams to reach the secularised culture of every major European urban centre. In addition to such projects, Luke often speaks, sharing the vision of Steiger in churches and conferences, as well as teaching each year at the Steiger Missions School. Luke studied music therapy in Brazil and missiology at All Nations in the UK.

 

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.

 

Peter Saunders was born in New Zealand and originally trained as a general surgeon before serving with the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya and completing two years mission training at All Nations Christian College in the UK. Since 1992 he served full-time with Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organisation with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members, first as Head of Student Ministries, and since 1999 as Chief Executive. During this time he was also Campaign Director of the Care Not Killing Alliance, a coalition of over 40 organisations in the UK promoting palliative care and opposing euthanasia.  Since January 2019 he has been CEO of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association which brings together national fellowship of Christian doctors and dentists in over 80 countries worldwide. His current work involves leadership training, teaching evangelism and ethics, medical mission and writing. His wife Kirsty is a community pediatrician and they have three adult sons, Chris, Ben and Jonno. www.icmda.netwww.cmf.org.ukwww.carenotkilling.org.ukhttp://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/

 

Ádám Szabados is a Hungarian theologian and the leader of the Hungarian Evangelical Forum. Until 2017 he had been a pastor for 20 years. He is married to Dóra, and has two adult sons. He studied English literature and linguistics at the University of Veszprém (MA equivalent, with honours), and theology at Schloss Mittersill Study Center (Diploma in Biblical Studies and Culture) and at Covenant Theological Seminary (ThM in Exegetical Theology). He received his PhD (summa cum laude) in the area of New Testament at Károli Reformed University. His study on the Reformational understanding of sin has been published by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He wrote a book on Eros (Erosz nyomában, Harmat Publishing House, 2008), which aims to address both Christians and non-Christians in their search for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Ádám also has a popular theological-apologetic website (divinity.szabadosadam.hu).

 

Peter S. Williams (www.peterswilliams.com) studied philosophy at Cardiff University (BA), Sheffield University (MA), and the University of East Anglia in Norwich (MPhil). Peter lives in England, and is Assistant Professor in Communication and Worldviews at Gimlekollen College, NLA University, Norway. His publications include A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism (Paternoster, 2009), Understanding Jesus: Five Ways to Spiritual Enlightenment (Paternoster, 2011), C.S. Lewis vs. the New Atheists (Paternoster, 2013), A Faithful Guide to Philosophy (Wipf and Stock, 2019) and Getting at Jesus: A Comprehensive Critique of Neo-Atheist Nonsense About the Jesus of History (Wipf & Stock, 2019).

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

A Duty of Care: The Christian Foundations of Environmental Concern

Andy Bannister

The environment is the number #1 issue many young Europeans are concerned about, and there is a perception in the wider culture that Christianity has nothing to say—or worse, is profoundly unhelpful when it comes to the issue. In this seminar, we’ll show how creation care is actually a deeply Christian issue and, more than that, how only Christianity can offer any basis for a duty of care for the natural world.

 

Communicating Biblical Truth to a Secular Culture through the Media with Clarity, Creativity, and Confidence

Peter Saunders

In today’s global cyber-village, stories on issues at the interface of Christianity and culture generate a huge amount of media interest and publicity. This creates great opportunities to impart a Christian worldview perspective for those who are willing to take the necessary risks and seize the opportunities on offer. It is essential that a Christian view is heard clearly and is able to shape media dialogue and public policy, and yet many Christians seem reluctant to put their heads above the parapet and speak out. Responding effectively to these opportunities requires courage, planning, monitoring, wisdom and grace. Training can help, but the best way of learning is to get involved and learn on the job.  Based on extensive experience in the UK campaigning and speaking on issues at the interface of Christianity and medicine this session will examine how to get involved with attention to messaging, media training, consultancy, delivery and use of social media.


Day 2

Can We Believe in Miracles after Hume?

Stefan Gustavsson

The Scottish philosopher David Hume claimed to have found conclusive arguments against miracles – and many have agreed with him. For two centuries Hume has stood as a doorman in academia against the central message of the New testament: the incarnation, the virgin birth, the miraculous ministry of Jesus, and his bodily resurrection. What are Hume’s arguments – and how strong are they?

 

Ancient Aliens? Rebutting Alien Conspiracy Theories as Popular Alternatives to Biblical History

Peter S Williams

Were there flying saucers at the crucifixion? Was Jesus really an alien? Just as Christian apologists need to rebut the ‘alternative’ historical claims of The Book of Mormon, so they need to rebut claims about so-called ‘ancient aliens’. These claims offer people with a secular worldview historical counter-narratives to biblical history that draw upon the scientific respectability of astrobiology and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Drawing on his peer-reviewed research in this field, Williams argues that when it comes to ‘ancient aliens’, it’s the conspiracy theorists who are swimming against the scientific evidence.


Day 3

How to Do Apologetics Jovially and Subversively: G.K. Chesterton's Model for Today's Evangelicals

Adam Szabados

Our approach to apologetics is often dry, bitter, easily calculated, and boring. G. K. Chesterton was the opposite. He has been a major influence behind the conversion of C. S. Lewis, and has influenced generations of intellectuals, Catholic as well Protestant, Christian as well as secular. In this workshop we will look at the secret of his success and critically evaluate what we can learn from him.

 

On the Relation of Worldviews, Christian Faith and Science

Ralf B. Bergmann

Apologetic discussions often suffer from a lack of clarity concerning the definition of terms such as worldview, science and Christian faith as well as their interrelation. The talk first discusses the concepts underlying these terms focusing on the relation between Christian faith and atheism and the role of natural science. In order to understand the scope especially physics can cover, I discuss the nature of theories in physics, the concepts of evidence and proof and the role of falsifiability and paradigms, especially related to reductionism. The results of this discussion will allow to reject frequent misleading accusations against the reasonability of Christian faith. Finally, I will give examples of answers atheists and Christians give concerning several fundamental questions and conclude that believing in God is reasonable and explains the existence and the properties of the world better than atheism does. For further details see www.erklaerung-der-welt.de which contains resources in German as well as in English.


Day 4

Responding to Key Misconceptions in a Secularized Global Youth Culture

Luke Greenwood

The current global culture is largely influenced by one predominant worldview: secular humanism. God is dead and we are at the centre. In this relativistic culture we are god, and consumerism is our religion. This is a generation that does not look to the church for answers, as it believes it to be a dead and empty tradition of the past. Either there is no God, or if He is there, He doesn’t really interfere with our lives.

In this session we will address for key false assumptions predominant in the global youth culture: 

  • We can only be sure of what we see
  • We are here by accident
  • Everything is going to be ok
  • To find God you have to be "religious"

 

Jesus and the Failures of the Church: Responding to the Church's Historical Legacy

Andy Bannister

One only has to take a brief look through history to see it is sadly full of many examples of the Church, or people bearing the name “Christian”, behaving badly. This historical legacy is a massive stumbling block for many, especially younger generations who are very attuned to the issue of historical injustices. In this session, we’ll take a very honest look at the legacy of the Church—and explore how we can sensitively respond to people for whom this is a major issue preventing them considering Jesus.

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