Apologetics: Advanced

Detailed information about the 2018 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2017 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2018 Forum's Networks.

2017 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 Stefan Gustavsson and John Kirkpatrick. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



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.


John Kirkpatrick has been the pastor in Portrush Presbyterian Church for the last 21 years. This church is situated on the North Coast of IReland very close to the famous world heritage site, 'Giants Causeway.' 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 years he served as Chairman of New Horizon, a well-known Christian conference in Ireland and has been a chaplain to the Motorcycle Racing community, quite unique to the Irish culture. John is married to Joan and they have four children, three of whom are now married.



Khaldoun Sweis is the former Chair and current Associate Professor of Philosophy at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago and serves as a tutor in philosophy with Oxford University in England.  He was born in Amman, Jordan.  His experience entails teaching philosophy for over a decade as well as speaking at conferences both nationally and abroad such as in Hong Kong, Romania, Australia and England. He has three books including Debating Christian Theism, co-edited with Chad Meister and JP Moreland (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources co-edited with Chad Meister (Zondervan, 2011). He recently completed Killing God: Addressing the Seven Most Common Objections from the New Atheists (forthcoming). He is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Khaldoun’s greatest achievement is getting Luciana to marry him and being the father of his two precious children, AnaKaterina Cosette and Daniel Zacharias.


Bruce A. Little has master’s degrees in Apologetics and Religion and a PhD in Philosophy of Religion and a DMin in Apologetics. Presently, he serves as Senior Prof essor of Philosophy and director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Collection at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he has been on faculty since 2001. Since 1995, he has travelled widely in Europe and Asia, lecturing in universities, teaching in a variety of schools and presenting papers at conferences. He has published in various professional journals, edited several books, either authored or co-authored six books and contributed chapters in several books the last being God and Evil published by InterVarsity Press, 2013.


Daniel von Wachter is is professor and director of the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He is German and studied philosophy and theology at Munich, Leichtenstein, Innsbruck, Hamburg, and Oxford. His research focusses on metaphysics and philosophy of religion.



John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at Oxford University and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School, Oxford University, and teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Professor Lennox is particularly interested in the interface of science, philosophy, and theology and his books include Against the Flow (on Daniel), Seven Days that Divide the World (on Genesis 1), Gunning for God (on the new atheism),Stephen Hawking and God (a response to The Grand Design) and God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?. He has debated a number of prominent atheists, including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Peter Singer. (www.johnlennox.org)


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 is Assistant Professor in Communication and Worldviews at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication, 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 (Paternoster, 2013) and Getting at Jesus: A Comprehensive Critique of Neo-Atheist Nonsense About the Jesus of History (Wypf & Stock, 2018).


Kirsten Birkett trained in science at the University of New South Wales with a PhD in history and philosophy of science. She worked for ten years in Christian publish ing while teaching at the Universities of New South Wales and University of Sydney, as well as teaching and studying at Moore Theological College. During this time she wrote a number of articles and books on the relationship between Christianity and science, as well as other topics. Since 2005 Kirsten has lived in London, teaching at Oak Hill Theological College. She now lectures undergraduate courses in philosophy and ethics and reading Calvin’s Institutes. At the master’s level she teaches a module in science and theology. She is a Latimer Trust Research Fellow.


Glynn Harrison is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, UK, where he was a practising consultant psychiatrist and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He preaches locally and speaks widely on issues of faith and psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. He is especially focused on supporting men’s ministries and fostering the development of Christian leaders and pastors.




Day 1

Why Do We Believe the Bible is Communication from God?
Stefan Gustavsson
The Bible plays a central role in the Christian faith. But why believe that these specific texts actually constitute a communication from God, our Creator? Three main arguments for the Bible as God's Word will be presented and analyzed.
The Theology of Daredevil, Batman, and the X-Men: Engaging Secular Society with Modern Mythology
Khaldoun Sweis
People need stories to make sense of life. Sometimes these stories or myths are true and other times they are fabrications or caricatures of reality. The people of old used myths and spiritual folktales for entertainment, and then these evolved into narratives to give coherence to the world they inhabited. Fyodor Dostoevsky said it best; "At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art. Then life will find its very existence from the arts." Today these myths are told in many forms with the most popular form being that of superheroes: Superman, the Avengers, and Spiderman to name a few.  This talk will discuss effective ways to engage this secular culture using the modern mythos of superheroes.

Day 2

The Relation between Reformation and Science: Competition or Cradle?
Kirsten Birkett
Modern science rests on a methodology that assumes a certain philosophy of nature and how we can come to know about it. Such things do not come out of nowhere – and there are important aspects of these fields that are not found in the medieval worldview. What is the relationship between Christianity, and in particular Reformation Protestant Christianity, and the rise of science? This talk will be an exploration of the historical conditions that brought about a new way of thinking about the world.
The Gospel, Sex, and Human Flourishing: Telling a Better Story
Glynn Harrison
The last few decades have witnessed a radical and far-reaching transformation of western attitudes to sex, marriage, and gender. Caught off-guard by the speed of this cultural upheaval, Christians have often reacted defensively, rather than offering a compelling vision of their own. Many young Christians are beginning to question whether the Gospel is really good news in this area. In this session, Glynn Harrison will ask how Christians can recover their confidence in the biblical vision for flourishing in the sphere of sex and relationships. How can they revitalise a vision capable of winning the hearts and minds of a new generation? And what will that better story look like?

Day 3

How to Persuasively Communicate the Gospel in the University
John Lennox 
How can we use our studies and academic roles to point others to Jesus?  What biblical principles will help us to do so clearly and effectively?  John will share from his years of experience on how to persuasively communicate the gospel in the university.  
Humility and Civility in Apologetics
Bruce Little
Today, a lack of civility and humility often characterizes public discourse due to a functionalistic view of humanity and an epistemological arrogance. Unfortunately, at times this is true even among those doing apologetics and especially so when it comes to the science-theology debate.  Many in both disciplines think that they have absolute certainty concerning their knowledge claims. Often this involves confusion between confidence and arrogance leading to uncivilized discourse. Unfortunately, this regularly leads to fractured relationships among those holding different views and/or the absence of civility in discourse. This is especially regrettable where truth is on the line. Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis are models of doing apologetics with confidence, but with humility; with conviction, but with civility. The goal of this talk is to underscore the importance of civility and explain critical realism as a way to avoid epistemological arrogance. In a word, it is to promote both personal humility and public civility in the defense and presentation of truth – virtue apologetics.

Day 4

The Key Presupposition of the Enlightenment and of Liberal Theology
Daniel von Wachter
Liberal Theology assumes that there are no divine interventions. Often this is presented as the result of research, but in fact it is derived from determinism (also called 'the causal nexus'), i.e. the doctrine that every event is necessitated by preceding events. I shall examine the function this doctrine plays in authors of the Enlightenment and of Liberal Theology, argue that it is wrong, and explain why it is important to see that it is wrong.
Understanding the Times: A Pre-Modern Reflection on the Modernist Roots of Postmodernism
Peter S. Williams
Romans 12:2 says, 'Be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving the will of God - the good, and acceptable, and perfect.' Culture is the expression of a shared spirituality grounded in a worldview. How can we understand the spiritual dynamics of contemporary western culture and its internal clash of cultures? How can understanding the times help us in our discipleship, apologetics, and evangelism? This seminar will engage with art, music, song lyrics, film and architecture, as well as philosophy, as we trace the logical and historic line of descent from a pre-modern Christian culture through scientistic modernism to nihilistic postmodernism. We will explore the ways in which the modernist rejection of God creates an inherently unstable and disintegrative form of spirituality and see that the more consistent with this spirituality one tries to be the further one sinks into the mire of postmodernism. This session will be a paper discussion.


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