Tag Archives: Training

Apologetics 315: Top ten reading plan for complete beginners to Christian apologetics

Here are the items from the Apologetics 315 training plan for complete beginners:

1. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
All of Lee Strobel’s books are required reading for two reasons. First, they are good introductions to the subject and provide a good overview of the material from some of the best scholars in their fields. Second, the writing style is very accessible, taking you alongside a journalist in his investigation of the evidence for Christianity. In this particular title, Strobel focuses on the life and identity of Jesus.

2. The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
This book is just as readable as The Case for Christ, but this one delves into the evidence for the Creator. Another thing that makes this good reading for the beginner is this: whatever areas you find particularly interesting can be pursued further by reading the sources interviewed in the book.

3. The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
In The Case for Faith, Strobel moves from making a positive case for Christ and a Creator to defending Christianity from some common criticisms and objections. This one deals with the hard faith questions such as the problem of pain and suffering and issues of doubt. Again, all three of the Lee Strobel books are a great starting point for the beginner.

4. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell
Now it’s time for something different. This odd-shaped and colorful book (with more graphics than words) will introduce you to the wide landscape of apologetics by outlining, diagramming, and illustrating all of the key arguments for the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, the beliefs of other world views, and common objections. This is very helpful in providing visual categories for the content you are taking in. If certain things you have read up till this point have been overly academic, then this book will give you a sort of pictorial overview. This is also useful as a “primer” on the key topics and helpful to establish a bird’s eye view. Illustrations of the ideas are also great for sharing with others what you have learned.

5. Love Your God With All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland
Ok, so you have taken in some of the key content and ideas that Strobel presents in the “Case for” series. But what does intellectual engagement look like? What does it look like to “love God with all your mind”? In this book you’ll be challenged to live a vibrant life of intellectual engagement with your faith. This is a classic book that every apologist should read, and that’s why it finds itself firmly in the foundational books recommended here.

6. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl
Information without application results in stagnation when it comes to apologetics. That’s why it’s time for a good dose of Tactics, which will train you not only to use apologetic content in everyday life, but it will also train you to be a better, more critical thinker. This is another “must read” book, and mastering its contents early in your apologetic studies will put feet to your faith.

7. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Mike Licona & Gary Habermas
The resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity. This book equips you to understand and defend the resurrection from an historical perspective. Not only does the book have useful diagrams, summaries, and an accessible style, but it also comes with a CD-ROM with interactive software for teaching you the material. This is an essential book for the apologist.

8. Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow
Now it’s time to look at some of the most common objections that have come against Christianity since the rise of the new atheism. There’s no better book at dealing with these in a concise yet dense way, while providing additional reading suggestions and introducing some of the key apologists that deal with these questions. If you really want to master this material, consider taking part in the Read Along project for this book.

9. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Geisler & Turek
Geisler and Turek have authored a great apologetics book that also takes a step-by-step approach to showing that Christianity is true—and it’s filled with lots of information. This gives the growing beginner a ton of good content, while strengthening the framework of a cumulative case for Christianity. This book will help to grow your overall general apologetic knowledge as well.

10. On Guard by William Lane Craig
Finally, it’s time to dig deeper into some of the more philosophically rigorous arguments with William Lane Craig. On Guard is, in essence, a shorter, more concise and accessible distillation of his weightier apologetics book Reasonable FaithOn Guard has illustrations, argument maps, and sidebars which aim to make the material easier to grasp and engage with. This book will introduce the newer apologist to Craig’s time-tested arguments for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. While it is still not light reading, this will serve the reader well before moving on to more advanced material. Highly recommended.

I love to give away books to people who want to learn apologetics (if I trust them not to give away my identity) and just last week I gave two people numbers 2, 4 and 8 last week. But all of these books are must reads. The ordering is good too! The only books I might add to this list is J. Warner Wallace’s “Cold Case Christianity”, which is a nice book for beginners on how to defend the gospels as historical sources. I would put that one in at #9  drop his #9 completely. His #8 “Is God Just a Human Invention?” is my favorite basic apologetics book for beginners, because it covers everything just a little bit in only one book. If I had to pick one out of that list, I’d pick that one.

Apologetics conference in Calgary, Alberta starts tonight – live streaming

The conference is in Calgary, Alberta.

Here’s the Executive Director of Faith Beyond Belief:

Here’s the schedule: NOTE: ALL TIMES ARE IN THE MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE.

Friday March 8, 2013

  • 5:30pm – Registration
  • 7:00pm – Introductions
  • 7:20pm – Mini-lectures featuring Craig Hazen, J.P. Moreland and Sean McDowell
  • 8:30pm – Clay Jones: Why God Allows Evil

Saturday March 9, 2013

  • 7:30am – Registration
  • 8:30am – Craig Hazen: Christianity and the Challenge of World Religions
  • 9:30am – Sean McDowell: Apologetics for a New Generation
  • 10:20am – Break-out sessions
  • 11:15am – Lunch break
  • 12:15pm – J.P. Moreland: The Case for the Soul
  • 1:10pm – William Lane Craig: Arguments for the Existence of God
  • 2:00pm – Conference finishes

And there are some other events, including one on Thursday night: NOTE: ALL TIMES ARE IN THE MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE.

An evening with Christian speaker and author, Dr. William Lane Craig

Topic: Is the Physical World all there is?
When: Thursday March 7th at 7:00pm
For who: Students, General Public
Where: University of Calgary campus: The Alberta Room inside the Dining Centre (“DC” on the campus map) next to Hotel Alma (169 University Gate NW).”
Contact: info@faithbeyondbelief.ca or 403-689-5890
Event is free

Teaching the Christian Worldview: A Night for Christian Educators with Christian speaker and author, JP Moreland

When: Thursday March 7 at 7:00pm
Where: First Nazarene Church – 65 Richard Way SW, Calgary, AB
For who: Christian Educators
RSVP Required: This is a free event and is by invite. RSVP is required
Contact: info@faithbeyondbelief.ca or 403-689-5890

Pastors and Ministry Leaders Breakfast with Christian speaker and author, Dr. William Lane Craig

When: Friday March 8th at 9:00am
Where: First Nazarene Church – 65 Richard Way SW, Calgary, AB
For who: Pastors and ministry workers
RSVP Required: This is a free event but RSVP is required
Contact: info@faithbeyondbelief.ca or 403-689-5890

Even the parallel sessions look quite good, featuring well known Christian scholars like Michael Horner and Tawa Anderson! Lots of Masters degrees and Ph.Ds in the breakout sessions. Even some professors.

Finally, the event on Thursday night with William Lane Craig will be live-streamed. They say it will start at 7:15 PM Mountain Time, which is 9:15 PM Eastern Time.

How to teach a basic pro-life seminar

Life Training Institute has posted an outline that shows how to prepare and present a pro-life seminar. (H/T Mary)

Here is an outline of their outline, with all the details and links removed:

Suggested Text: The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Crossway, 2009)

Thesis: To be an effective pro-life apologist, you must meet 3 key objectives:

1) You must simplify the issue
2) You must make a persuasive case using science and philosophy
3) You must handle objections graciously and incisively

I. Effective pro-life apologists simplify the issue by focusing the debate on one question, What is the unborn?

A. Example: Daddy can I kill this? (Koukl) That depends: What is it?
B. Debate w/ Nadine Strossen: “I agree, IF. If What?
C. Trot out a toddler for objections based on privacy, trusting women, poverty, etc.
D. Visuals: Use them to awaken moral intuitions, but use them wisely.

II. Effective pro-life apologists make a persuasive case for the lives of the unborn w/ science and philosophy.

A. Science: From the beginning, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings.

B. Philosophy: There is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development

III. Effective pro-life apologists answer objections persuasively.

A. Columbo Tactic (Koukl)

B. The 3 Columbo questions:

C. Eight bad ways people argue about abortion

Please take a look. If anyone in the USA or Canada would like a copy of the book, I have 4 extra ones to give away. Just send your address to me by e-mail or Facebook and I will send you one, especially if you would like to use it to present a seminar like this one or teach a course in your church.

Upcoming apologetics conferences in Calgary, Alberta and Abbotsford, British Columbia

The first one is in Calgary, Alberta.

Here’s the Executive Director of Faith Beyond Belief:

Here’s the schedule:

Friday March 8, 2013

  • 5:30pm – Registration
  • 7:00pm – Introductions
  • 7:20pm – Mini-lectures featuring Craig Hazen, J.P. Moreland and Sean McDowell
  • 8:30pm – Clay Jones: Why God Allows Evil

Saturday March 9, 2013

  • 7:30am – Registration
  • 8:30am – Craig Hazen: Christianity and the Challenge of World Religions
  • 9:30am – Sean McDowell: Apologetics for a New Generation
  • 10:20am – Break-out sessions
  • 11:15am – Lunch break
  • 12:15pm – J.P. Moreland: The Case for the Soul
  • 1:10pm – William Lane Craig: Arguments for the Existence of God
  • 2:00pm – Conference finishes

The other conference is in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Schedule:

Friday, March 1st – 7:00 – 9:00 pm (Q&A 9:15 – 10:00 pm)

  • 5:30 pm: Doors open and registration begins.
  • 7:00 pm: Worship and special presentation by Andy Steiger
  • 7:45 – 9:00 pm: Keynote Speaker William Lane Craig – Is Belief in God Reasonable?
  • 9:15 – 10:00 pm: Q & A (attendance optional)

Saturday, March 2nd – 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

  • 8:00 – 9:30 am: Keynote Speaker Andy Banister – Engaging a World of Competing Beliefs
  • 9:30 – 9:45 am: Break
  • 9:45 – 11:00 am: Keynote Speaker John Patrick – A Medical Doctor’s Prognoses for Culture
  • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm: Lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Breakout Session #1 (Choose a topic of interest to you.)
  • 1:15 – 1:30 pm: Break
  • 1:30 – 2:15 pm: Breakout Session #2 (Breakout sessions will be repeated.)
  • 2:15 – 2:30 pm: Break
  • 2:30 – 4:00 pm: Keynote Speaker J. Warner Wallace – Cold Case Christianity

If you are in Western Canada, this is your chance to get some training!

Two great podcasts from J. Warner Wallace of Please Convince Me

J Warner Wallace and Please Convince Me
J Warner Wallace and Please Convince Me

Please Convince Me is my absolute favorite podcast. The host, J. Warner Wallace, is a cold case homicide detective. He has a real job! And he talks about Christian things like you might expect a detective to talk – everything is logic, case-making and evidence. Very cool.

Why Being Respected Is Better Than Being Liked

The MP3 file is here.

The most interesting segment starts at 8 minutes and ends at 21 minutes in.

Topics

  • humans have an innate desire to be liked and to fit in with their peers
  • there are times when our desire to do what is right will conflict with the desire to be liked and to fit in
  • 1 Peter talks about how Christian living in the world will often have these conflicts
  • Christians have a different standard and that creates conflicts with the surrounding culture
  • at times like this, it is important for us to be RESPECTED rather than LIKED
  • being a Christian conflicts with the goal of being popular
  • two ways for us to proceed: 1) agree with others, 2) be who you are and let others agree with you
  • James also says that there is a conflict between being friends with the world and friends with God
  • you cannot have both friendship with the world and friendship with God
  • even non-believers understand that there is a conflict between morality and the hedonistic culture\
  • courage is needed in order to resist the pressure to embrace the beliefs of others in order to be liked
  • courage is needed in order to point others to the truth so that they change to match what is true
  • politicians often change their positions in order to appeal to the culture
  • politicians seem to shy away from trying to argue through why others should accept their positions
  • we should seek to influence others by explaining why others should accept what we believe
  • we should have the courage to make the case for what we believe
  • even if people do not accept our beliefs, they will still respect the way we can make the case
  • they will respect our courage in being willing to prepare a case and make the case in public
  • they will respect that we have not formed our beliefs based on feelings
  • we need to get better at knowing more stuff and communicating that knowledge better
  • wanting to be popular is too easy
  • we should take the harder path and desire to be respected instead of liked

Other topics from listeners:

  • the interpretation of “thou shalt not kill” in the Bible
  • can a person still be a Christian if they are not doing works, like tithing or serving in the church?
  • theistic evolution and the presumption of naturalism in science

And here’s another good podcast – it’s on the same topic as the PCM post I linked before.

Stop Teaching Young Christians About Their Faith

The MP3 is here.

Topics:

  • our nation is becoming more and more secular
  • secularism makes it harder for us to defend our faith and values in public and influence the culture
  • why is secularism happening? it’s because young people are walking away from the faith
  • young Christians are leaving the faith in high school and college
  • this is where the real battleground is – and that’s where apologists need to focus
  • we need to be focused especially on junior high school and high school, and to a lesser degree college
  • it’s good that we have lots scholars working physics, philosophy and biology
  • but what we really need is ordinary Christians to get serious about apologetics and work on young people
  • some people believe that there is no great youth exodus problem: are they right to doubt the statistics
  • it’s undeniable that young people are inarticulate about their faith – that much is certain
  • what young people in church actually believ is not Christianity, but moralistic therapeutic deism
  • young people: life is about feeling good, being liked, and nice people of all religions are saved
  • young people think that there is so little substance to Christianity that it can’t even be discussed
  • the focus among young people today is not on true beliefs, but on being kinds to others
  • even in churches, there is higher respect for helping others than on having knowledge and evidence
  • instead of focusing on the worldview that grounds good works, the focus is on good works
  • young people have learned to minimize discussions about specifics of theology
  • teachers and college professors are hostile to public expressions of evangelical Christianity
  • television is also hostile and much less Christian than it used to be
  • even if young people come back to the church, they come back for the wrong reasons
  • the adults come back for tradition and comfort but they don’t really believe Christianity is true
  • they want to pick and choose what they believe based on what they like, like going to a buffet
  • they return to church when they have kids so that their kids will absorb values – but not truth
  • that’s what we have sitting in the pews: people who think Christianity is false, but “useful”
  • and that’s why so many christians are so liberal on social values (abortion, same-sex marriage)
  • they don’t really accept the Bible as authoritative, they pick and choose what they like and don’t like
  • if Christianity is taught as “useful” then they will dump it when they find something more “useful”
  • people who leave the church are exposed to Christianity, but it doesn’t stick
  • young people lose their faith before college, and then when they escape the nest, they act it out
  • the disconnecting from the faith occurs in high school, but it only becomes public after they leave home
  • young people are becoming more focused on redefining “the good life” with consumption and materialism
  • the typical experience of young adults involves alcohol use, drug use, and recreational sex
  • young people actually want more than niceness – they want real answers to serious questions
  • young people have doubts and questions, but no one in the church or home is equipped to answer them
  • adults have to be involved in the education of young people
  • parents who are engaged in teaching their children Christian truths see much better retention rates
  • we need to stop teaching people (one-way preaching) and start training them (two-way interactive)
  • when you give a young person a definite goal – a fight with a date certain – then they will be engaged
  • when people know that they will fail unless they can perform, then they will be more engaged in learning
  • church needs to be in the business of scheduling battles, and then training young people for the battles
  • there is no sense of urgency, risk and purpose in young people, so the teaching is not effective

I’m absolutely sure you will love these podcasts. Give them a listen! I’m pretty sure that he will put me in jail if you don’t listen to them. So, um… please do!