Apologetics: Advanced

2018 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 Bruce Little. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

 

NETWORK LEADER

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 Professor 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.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Richard Weikart is professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus, and Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.  He has published six books, including most recently The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life and Hitler’s Religion.   He has also published extensively on the history of evolutionary ethics, eugenics, social Darwinism, euthanasia, and scientific racism.  He has been featured in several documentaries, including Ben Stein’s Expelled, as well as on many radio programs.  He recently produced a documentary to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation called Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany.

 

Amy Orr-Ewing is EMEA Director for RZIM and Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). She gained a first class degree in theology at Christ Church, Oxford University, before receiving a master’s degree in theology from King’s College Lon don. She recently completed working on her doctoral thesis at Oxford University looking at the work of Dorothy L Sayers.  Amy speaks and lectures on apologetics worldwide and has written two books exploring key questions in apologetics: Why Trust the Bible? and But Is It Real?. Her most recent publication is Millennials, which she co-authored with her husband Frog. They have also published Holy Warriors: A Fresh Look at the Face of Extreme Islam and Deep.  Amy and her husband lead a church in Buckinghamshire called Latimer Minster, which they planted in 2010.

 

David Novak (M.Th) is president of the Czech Brethren Church, which is the largest Czech evangelical denomination. He also teaches philosophy, ethics for helping professions, and missiology at Prague Evangelical Seminary. Prior to that, he led a denominational youth ministry for 16 years before pastoring a local church in Prague. While working in the church he also taught philosophy at several high schools. He has written several books about contemporary culture and Christianity, and he contributed to Tim Keller´s book Center Church Europe.  He studied theology at Prague Evangelical Seminary, missiology at the University of Wales, and philosophy at Charles University. He has two sons.

 

Paul Copan (Ph.D. Philosophy, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida. For six years, he served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  He is author and editor of over thirty books, including works such as The Rationality of TheismThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of ReligionCreation out of Nothing, Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues, The Zondervan Dictionary of Christianity and ScienceA Little Book for New Philosophers, and The Cosmological Argument (a two-volume anthology). He has also contributed essays to over thirty books, both scholarly and popular, and has authored a number of articles in professional journals. In 2017, he was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University. Paul and his wife, Jacqueline, have six children, and they reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.paulcopan.com.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Daniel von Wachter (www.von-wachter.de) is professor and director of the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein (www.iap.li). He is German and studied philosophy and theology at Munich, Liechtenstein, Innsbruck, Hamburg, and Oxford. Before he moved to Liechtenstein, he was a professor in Chile. Metaphysics and philosophy of religion are the main areas of his research. His method is within what is associated with analytic philosophy, but he places himself in the broader tradition of European philosophy, especially Protestant scholasticism and the non-deterministic philosophers of the 18th century.

 

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

Hitler’s Religion: Christian Apologetics Faces the Hitler Question
Richard Weikart

Many atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, routinely accuse Christianity of complicity in Nazism and the Holocaust.  Many even claim that Hitler was a Christian.  Weikart will clearly show that Hitler was opposed to Christianity and wanted to undermine the churches.  Indeed, Hitler’s worldview was pantheistic and was shaped more by secular influences than by Christianity.

 

The Apologetic Method of Dorothy L Sayers
Amy Orr-Ewing

Dorothy L. Sayers was a contemporary of C.S. Lewis and a brilliant writer, broadcaster, and speaker. In this session we will examine her life and her approach to theology and apologetics. The material will be drawn from my doctoral thesis examining the work of Dorothy L. Sayers and her apologetic impact.


Day 2

Struggles Most Apologists Face and How to Overcome Them
David Novak

One of the best apologetic arguments ever is Paul´s brilliant speech at the Areopagus. There, we see a smart man who is able to bring great culturally-rooted arguments. All seems clear and easy. The problem is that when we stand on our own “Areopagus,” sometimes we feel unprepared; we realize that we are arguing with people who are smarter than us; we struggle with low self-esteem; or we become aware that our arguments have certain limits and that we are only able to bring good, but not great, answers. Every apologist must struggle not only with his opponents, but also with his or her own inner self. What are these inner fights? How do we overcome them?

 

The Naturalists Are Declaring the Glory of God: How Atheists Help Make the Case for God
Paul Copan

Naturalism—whose three fundamental tenets are materialism, determinism, and scientism—tends to be the default worldview in the academy. Yet when it comes to accounting for key features of the universe and human experience itself (the universe’s beginning and fine-tuning, consciousness, rationality, moral responsibility, etc.), it simply lacks the kind of resources that theism has in much greater measure. Furthermore, this inadequacy is reinforced by leading naturalists themselves, who actually contribute weighty reasons for God’s existence.


Day 3

Four Reasons Why Communicating Christianity is Increasingly Difficult
Bruce Little

This talk examines four reasons Christian are finding it increasingly difficult to communicate the truth claims of Christ to those in the West. It considers the cultural shift in four areas: (1) conversation, (2) rational thought, (3) commitment, and (4) a view of the sacred. Each one is viewed against the backdrop of the Gospel. The talk concludes with some suggestions for overcoming these cultural obstacles.

 

A Loving God AND Judgement & Hell: Isn’t That a Glaring Contradiction?
Stefan Gustavsson

According to the Bible, God is “compassionate and gracious … abounding in love.” Yet the same revelation speaks about a final judgement with eternal consequences. That is a perspective that contemporary Europeans find incredible, offensive, and deeply immoral. Can we today explain and defend the claim that the Son of Man – who did not come to judge the world – now is coming back to do precisely that: to judge the living and the dead?


Day 4

Session 1: To be announced
Daniel von Wachter

 

The Most Effective Strategies in Public Speaking to WOW
Khaldoun Sweis

Do you have a message you want to share with others but aren’t sure how? Would you like to communicate more confidently in front of an audience? Are you a teacher looking for ways to improve?  Drawing on lessons from the greatest public speakers in history, this workshop will help you to:

  • Learn the basics of effective and successfully proven methods to speaking publicly
  • Discover the power of body language
  • Understand the supremacy of story telling

 

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