Written by Joanna Wu
“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15b-16a, HCSB)
During my senior year of college, I took a capstone class for my American studies major. After weeks of being in this class (and aware that participation counted for my grade), I knew I needed to contribute to the class’s discussion, but was intimidated about sharing my views that were grounded in my Christian faith with a room full of mostly non-believers. As I listened to my classmates share their thoughts and opinions, I could tell that many of them were opposed to Christianity, or any religious institution, for that matter.
I felt unready to provide a defense for my faith if anybody challenged my beliefs. I wasn’t doubtful that what I believed was reasonable but was doubtful of how reasonable I would sound as I stumbled over my words. What I needed was probably a lesson in apologetics (what’s that?).
Apologetics is basically a rational defense of the faith. Six years after I finished my undergraduate studies, I took my first apologetics class in graduate school, and this is how our professor defined Christian apologetics: “Christian apologetics is the systematic formulation and the winsome presentation of a rational case for the Christian worldview and its associated form of life, together with answers to objections.” Based on this definition, it shows that the work of apologetics requires study and thought, but why is it so important for Christians to know this?
Above is Alan Shlemon from Stand to Reason says on the importance of studying apologetics.
More and more Christian students today are being challenged in and outside the classroom for their faith and their views on hot-button topics. My hope is that we, as believers, are not intimidated and that our sense of inadequacy would not hinder us from expressing the message of reconciliation we have been given.
On February 26, RE:NEW is responding to the call to be courageous in our faith by hosting a special event for students and churches in the San Gabriel Valley area with Stand to Reason’s Alan Shlemon, who will be speaking on defending the Christian faith. Stand to Reason’s mission is to train Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an “even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.” I’m excited to hear Alan speak and share tactics with students on how to talk to people about our faith, especially when challenged by non-believers.
National School Project will also be joining us that night. They are an amazing organization that is equipping students on public school campuses to boldly share their faith. Its vision is to see “student-led, church-supported campus awakening to the love of Christ at every public school.” To see this come to fruition, they are seeking churches and university students to play a role in mentoring Christian high school students to reach out on their campuses.
We hope you’ll join us that night. The evening will include a worship band, a talk by Alan Shlemon from Stand to Reason, sharing by National School Project, and your chance to meet RE:NEW’s new ministry coordinator. We hope to see you there!
To register for the Faith Seminar on Feb. 26, please go here.