Christian Apologetics 101
- A 12 Week Course Studying What We Believe, and Why -
..."ALWAYS be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have..."
1 Peter 3:15
Are you prepared to give the reasons for your faith, as commanded by the Lord?
If you're at all like I used to be, you may be intimidated by the secular culture, which views the Christian Faith as a blind leap and Christians as simple-minded and shallow. Despite growing up in the faith, I always had hard questions, and slowly began to accept the secularist premise that I had to 'shut off my brain' as I went into church.
But instead of withdrawing or giving up, I began an in depth study of the field of Christian Apologetics - the Defenses of the Faith.
It was then that I discovered that there are many other Christians like me - some who were beginning to conclude that it's all just a 'blind leap' of faith. There is quite a hunger for combining our spiritual aspect of life with our intellectual aspect - just like the Lord asked us to do:
"Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:37-38
Have you wanted to study these issues, but just didn't know where to begin? Here at RenewYourMind.org, we've compiled a comprehensive overview of the Christian Faith - what we believe and why - to get you started on your way to a more mature Christian Faith, and to be prepared to answer and defend the attacks that are sure to come.
America Is Becoming A Post-Christian Nation
Many people these days just don't understand the Christian message-
Many Christians are afraid to engage in the conversation-
Many don't know how, or what to say-
By not engaging, we lose the battle-
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
Perhaps you've heard these
or similar attacks upon the Christian faith:
|:: Jesse Ventura||:: Bertrand Russell|
"Christianity is a religion for losers!"
"What are you, a bunch of Jesus Freaks?"
"I guarantee I'll see you in Heaven...I've lived a really good life."
"[There has been] every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion."
Playboy, November 1999
Why I Am Not A Christian; 1957; Page 20
|:: Robert Reich|
“The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face."
How do we answer these attacks?
Who will defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church?
Here's some more examples:
Onward Atheistic Soldiers
The New Atheists (so called) are coming out of the closet in a big way! They are brash, loud, brilliant, and very intimidating! Dinesh D'Souza describes them thusly: "The distinguishing element of modern atheism is its intellectual militancy and moral self-confidence." How do these comments make you feel?
|:: Richard Dawkins||:: Christopher Hitchens||:: Sam Harris|
"Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong." Pg 308
“Those who wish to base their morality literally on the Bible have either not read it or not understood it...” Pg 237
"All religions and all churches are equally demented in their belief in divine intervention, divine intercession, or even the existence of the divine in the first place."
There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of the truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend an eternity in hell...."
The God Delusion; 2006;
Slate.com; November 9, 2004
Letter to a Christian Nation; 2004; Page 76
|:: Sam Harris|
"Theology is nothing more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed it is ignorance with wings!" Pg 173
"I hope to show that the very idea
of religious tolerance - born of the notion that every human being
should be free to believe whatever he wants about God - is one of the
principal forces driving us toward the abyss." Pg 15
is difficult to imagine a set of beliefs more suggestive of mental
illness than those that lie at the heart of many of our religious
traditions." Pg 182
The End of Faith; 2004
We MUST Be Prepared!
What's a Christian to do about these attacks? Ignore them? Fight them? One thing is certain - we must be prepared - both for the strength of our own faith, and for the times when we will be asked:
'Why are you a Christian?"
The Lord told us: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16
The key is preparation and study - it is a part of our spiritual development and maturity. And this is precisely the goal of RenewYourMind.org and Christian Apologetics 101 - to begin a study of what we believe and why we believe it, and get prepared for the questions.
Apologetics 101 is available to you in electronic form - in Microsoft PowerPoint for the teaching presentations, and a .pdf file for the student curriculum. The files are made available to you for immediate download.
Let's Look At What You'll Study
Apologetics 101 is a 12 week introductory course that can be studied individually, or as a group.
It has been used successfully in Bible Studies, Sunday School, or even as a Sunday Night Church group study.
The study is arranged with the linear learning method in mind - the topics build upon each other, starting with an acknowledgement of the cultural attacks we can expect and culminating in why Christianity is the Only Rational Faith possible to answer our common spiritual dilemma.
One: Cultural Trends – We
will understand that non-believers ‘think’
differently than believers, and that we must learn to understand the
culture, so that we can influence the culture. We must not accept the
‘rules of engagement’ placed upon us by the
culture, but we must understand how the culture views Christianity. We
must learn to have a confident faith in Jesus.
Lesson Two: Apologetics Defined – The defense of the faith is a Biblical command. Christians must be prepared to explain what they believe and why they believe it, with gentleness and respect. There are ‘proofs’ given by God evident throughout the Bible. A mature and solid Faith is a living, breathing way of life, based upon warrant and choice.
Lesson Three: Internal Evidences – We can have reliable knowledge, internally. One of these internal knowledge items we have is our religions instinct—and it is universal. Our religious instinct causes us to look beyond ourselves and our world for answers. Christianity provides a Special Revelation that adequately answers the questions we seek from the General Revelation. Christianity confirms that God placed these desires inside us, so we would seek Him out.
Lesson Four: The Existence Of God – It is logical to believe in a Creator God; It is practical to believe in a Personal God; It is popular to believe in God; The alternative to belief in God is un-livable. The inevitable conclusion is: A Belief In God Is Warranted
Lesson Five: Evidences For The Bible – The Bible is unique among all ‘religious’ documents in all of history. It is heavily documented and very reliable. The Bible would pass legal requirement scrutiny. There are internal predictions and fulfillments that help prove its divine inspiration. All this evidence gives us warrant to accept what the Bible says as true.
Lesson Six: Jesus Christ – There is credible documentation of the world looking for a ‘messiah’ for over a thousand years. The criteria for recognizing this messiah are clear. Jesus of Nazareth fits these criteria perfectly. His resurrection is the most profound event in human history. Conclusion: Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.
Lesson Seven: Christian Doctrine Overview – There are a few non-negotiable doctrines that are required for one to be included in traditional Christian Orthodoxy. However, there are many ‘intramural’ debates regarding Doctrinal issues. Therefore, a Christian must understand Christian Orthodox doctrine to know what to defend and proclaim, and to be obedient to our Lord.
Lesson Eight: Christianity Is Unique – Christianity is unique in its ‘direction’ (God pursuing man). We are saved by grace, through faith. Christian maturity is evidenced in obedience and love. A mature Christian will stand apart within the world. Summary: A Christian is free to obey out of thankfulness for Grace, instead of coerced to obey out of fear.
Lesson Nine: Comparisons To Other Worldviews – When either considering or contrasting different worldviews, one must understand the ‘essential requirements’. Many of the non-Christian worldviews are dis-similar to Christianity in common ways. Only Christianity provides a livable, non-compartmentalized worldview.
Ten: The Difficulty In ‘Not Believing’ –
Christians should not assume that the Christian Worldview is the only
Worldview subject to scrutiny. For example, the difficulties of the
Naturalistic worldview are severe and fatal; however many people do not
understand these irrationalities. In fact, when one considers
all the questions, Christianity is the only faith system left standing!
Eleven: Evangelism – One of
the main purposes of a study in Apologetics is to prepare the Christian
for witness. There are many considerations to understand when
witnessing, and many techniques to understand which will help the
Christian utilize his personal gifts for the use of the Kingdom.
Twelve: Humble Apologetics –
While a Christian is required to provide a defense of the faith, she is
required to project love and concern through humility and respect. A
thorough understanding of the culture and its needs is necessary.
Current event apologetics is one means of engaging our world with items
of relevance and interest.
The Apologetics 101 curriculum is available to you in electronic form;
in Microsoft PowerPoint for the teaching presentations,
and a .pdf file for the student curriculum.
The files are made available to you for immediate download.
The Method of Study
Before each class, the participant will read a 4-5 page overview of the current week's material. Then, the leader will present a previously formatted PowerPoint presentation that builds upon the reading material - not merely reiterating what was read, but elaborating and expanding upon it.
Each week's lesson has a summary of the information provided, as well as thought provoking questions to ponder and to discuss in class. In addition, there is a wealth of recommendations, books and web-based, for further reference. Below is just an example of one of the reading curriculum, as well as an example of the PowerPoint presentation available (both examples in .pdf format - If you need a copy of the pdf application, you can download it free from the Adobe website here.)
Lesson 3 Sample
"Our Internal Evidences"
Lesson 3 PowerPoint Presentation Sample
"Our Internal Evidences"
So - with this material, you do NOT need to be an expert apologist to lead the discussion! The reading material gives a great summary overview of the information, and the Leader's PowerPoint Presentation helps lead the class discussion. In addition, the Leader's PowerPoint Presentation provides a basic outline recommendation for class, and general talking points. Then, to prepare before or review after class, the recommended reference material is available on-line for further exploration. And to top off the learning experience, the on-line Dialogue Rooms are available to explore the thoughts of other students and leaders who are also taking or leading the class.
And of course, if you already have an idea of the basics of Christian Apologetics, these materials can be the launching off point for your own tailored class - just consider the materials a head-start (like having your preparation work already done for you!)
PREMIUM BONUS #1 - Answers to the TOP TEN Questions About The Christian Faith
All of us have had serious questions about the Faith. We've included what we've experienced are the 'TOP TEN' Questions about Christianity. Here they are:
God - Where did God come from?
The Trinity - Isn't the Trinity a contradiction?
Biblical Contradictions - Isn't the Bible invalid because it is full of contradictions?'
Hell - How could God send people to Hell for eternity?
Exclusivity - Aren't Christians arrogant and intolerant to claim that Christ is the only way to God?
Miracles - Can modern man believe in miracles?
Crutch - Isn't Christianity just a crutch for weak-minded people?
Heathen - What about those who never hear the gospel - are they lost forever?
Good Enough - Can't I make it to heaven if I'm just 'good enough?"
Problem of Evil - If God created everything, and evil exists, did He create it? Isn't this a logical problem for Christianity?
This package also comes as a PowerPoint file prepared for the class leader to present for discussion during class.
PREMIUM BONUS #2 - The DaVinci Code
"Is This Newly Revealed Truth, or a Dangerous Lie?
"Relax! It's just a novel!" many people think. Is it? Does it matter? How can we know for sure? What position should Christians take on this subject? Of one thing there can be no doubt: this is quite a book! Dan Brown has been called 'the most influential author alive' by some.
Brown's Claims of 'Fact'
Brown begins the book with a prominent 'FACT' page that assures the reader that:
"ALL DESCRIPTIONS OF ARTWORK, ARCHITECTURE, DOCUMENTS AND SECRET RITUALS IN THIS NOVEL ARE ACCURATE."
With this assurance in mind, what do you think that someone reading the book will think when they read some of the following claims:
"The Bible is a product of man, my dear, not of God!" (pg. 231)
"Mary Magdalene's marriage to Christ...is a matter of historical record." (pg. 244)
"Jesus' establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea...and a relatively close vote at that." (pg. 233)
"...the early Church...devalued the female...worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act." (pg. 125). "Woman...is now the enemy." (pg. 238)
"...every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith...Those who truly understand their faiths understand that the stories are metaphorical ..." (pg. 341)
An Incredibly Dangerous, Yet Opportune Moment...
What happens when a person reads these claims after reading this 'fact page'? A person of weak faith may have their faith shaken even more! A skeptic may think that their worldview has been confirmed! Either case is extremely dangerous - the only question left is "Is this true?" If it is, then we Christians are sadly deceived; if it is not true then this is an incredibly dangerous lie!
In this study we will examine some of the most dangerous claims of the book/movie, and discuss how Brown's ideas correspond with reality. In the end we will discover that Brown is perpetuating the oldest lie in the book (literally!)
This study is a quick 4 week study that launches off a critical analysis of the book and its influence, as well as how Christians can and should respond. The following is a quick synopsis of the 4 weeks:
Lesson One: Who Cares? It's Just a Novel, Isn't It? – NO! Dan Brown is directly challenging Christianity. We must take this attack very seriously; it has become very popular! This is very important, because if Brown is right, then Christians are sadly deceived; if he is not correct then this book is popularizing a very dangerous deception.
Lesson Two: Let's Examine the Facts – There are multitudes of factual errors in this book. No serious scholarship supports Brown's claims. In fact, Brown fails to utilize the best source about Christ and the early Church - the Bible. Brown's proposals are nothing more than a new version of an old heresy: Gnosticism (that secret knowledge allows you to find the 'god within you'.)
Lesson Three: The Truth of Christianity – Now that we've disproved the 'facts' of The DaVinci Code, can we 'know' that Christianity is True? We will learn about the relationship between faith and knowledge, that the existence of God IS 'provable', and that we can in fact be quite certain about the evidence supporting orthodox Christianity. We can conclude that The DaVinci Code 'facts' are indeed less warranted than orthodox Christianity, and that Brown's deception is most heinous, since it disparages the Truth.
Lesson Four: What Can We Do About It? – The popularity of the book and movie actually provide us with a unique outreach opportunity - and we must take advantage of this opportunity because of the outreach mandate Christ gave us. We can purposefully plan our discussions and tactics, while growing in our spiritual maturity.
Lesson 1 Sample
"Who Cares? It's Just a Book?!"
Lesson 3 Sample Page
"Was Christ's Divinity Determined at Nicea?"
Again, these come as a PowerPoint file prepared for the class leader to present for discussion during class, FREE (well, only $0.01 each since my server requires a price!) if you order Apologetics 101.
Our Mandate is Clear - Know Our Faith and Build the Kingdom!
The great Philosopher of Religion William Lane Craig described the task succinctly:
"We should know our subject profoundly and share it simply."
The first step in a more confident and mature faith is trust in the Spirit, followed by a regimented program of education and study - this course sets the framework for just that, and enables the teacher to teach with proven and well documented materials. This way we carry on Paul's mandate from the Lord to relay the knowledge of the things of God and:
"...entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others."
2 Timothy 2:2
So, finally, with Paul, we can:
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"
2 Corinthians 10:5
Remember - Apologetics 101 is delivered to you in electronic form - in Microsoft PowerPoint for the teaching presentations, and a .pdf file for the student curriculum. The files are made available to you for immediate download.
Ordering Method and Curriculum Packages
Ordering is as simple as choosing which package you would like to order, clicking the associated link, providing your payment information to PayPal, then downloading the selected files - you'll have your files within minutes!
(Group Leaders: Direct your students to the next group of ordering instructions for them to order the curriculum.)
For Group Leaders:
Remember - these will be available to you immediately, via electronic download!
For Apologetics 101 Class Attendees:
Includes the 12 Week Study Curriculum
|12 Week Study Curriculum||$14.99|
As of December 1, 2009, over 770 classes led, including over 6100 students!
THANK YOU! "The most interesting and useful class we've had in Sunday School in years!"
"I've wondered about these issues for years, but was afraid to ask."
"I feel more confident sharing my faith..."
"This information is so relevant to the times, and so easy to understand."
"I'm looking forward to using these materials in my next class - I've already been asked to lead another one."
"Helped me to understand better why and how I need to stand up and defend my faith in God."
"Thought provoking and applicable to daily life. Thank you for untying my tongue!"
"Mike is the best teacher I've heard in years. He really knows how to explain subjects
clearly and relate Theology to our daily lives. We can't wait to begin studying his
Apologetics curriculum in our Church."
Mike at a recent event discussing The DaVinci Code
...for your interest in furthering the Kingdom of God by taking the responsibility to lead and teach!
May you and those you teach be truly blessed...
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -
to the glory and praise of God."