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Pre-Forum Conference: What Is Apologetics, Why Is It Crucial, and How Do We Do It?

Detailed information about the 2020 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2019 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2020 Pre-Forum Conferences.

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

Europe in the 21st century 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. This Pre-Forum Conference will provide an overview of the importance and strategy of apologetics. Led by Stefan Gustavsson, one of Europe’s most influential apologists, it will help participants to address honest questions about Christianity in order to communicate the truth of the gospel.

This Pre-Forum Conference will take place preceding the European Leadership Forum on 17-18 May. It will begin with dinner on Friday evening at 18:00 followed by an evening session from 19:15 to 21:00 and last from 9:00 to 13:00 on Saturday.

Participants should plan to arrive at the hotel in Wisla on Friday, 17 May, by 17:00 in order to register, check into the hotel, and join the group for dinner at 18:00.  If arriving by plane, participants should plan to arrive at the Krakow or Katowice airport no later than 14:00.

 

COSTS

Single Room: 90 Euros

Double Room: 70 Euros

Scholarship: 30 Euros

The cost includes:

  • Lodging the night of Friday, 17 May
  • Three meals (Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, and lunch)

Please note: the above costs are in addition to the standard Forum conference costs.

 

SPEAKER

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.

 

TALKS

The Secular as a Global Challenge in Mission

During the last century many countries in the West underwent a drastic change. Secularism, with "indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations” (Merriam-Webster), replaced the Christian faith. In today’s global world this secular perspective is not only a challenge for the West, but for the global church. How can we understand the impact of secularism and how should we respond to its challenge?

God’s Wisdom and the Foolishness of the Cross

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.

Jesus as Apologist

Jesus was a preacher, healer…and an apologist! 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.

Paul as Apologist

When the Gospel first was communicated into Europe, apologetics played a significant role. In Acts, we see how the apostles reasoned with their contemporaries and tried to convince them about the truth of the gospel.

The Apologetics of Sex

Since the 1960s the sexual revolution has swept the western world and radically changed the way people think about sex and how they choose to live sexually. Previous assumptions about the importance of connecting sex with love, of excluding same-sex romantic relationships as well as polygamous or polyamorous relationships, are now abandoned. The idea of living a celibate life until one is married seems both impossible and quite ridiculous for most young Europeans today. Apologetics is about explaining the content and defending the truth of the Christian faith. So, is it possible to explain and defend the Christian view of love and sex? Is it possible to do it even outside the church context?

The Reliability of the Gospels

In the academic world, as well as in popular culture, the gospels are regularly criticized – a critique that demands an answer. So how can we assess the gospels as ancient source-material? How well do they fare in comparison with other available sources from antiquity? And what are the best arguments for the gospel? In this lecture we will consider eight lines of converging evidence for the reliability of the gospels.

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