29 May Someone Close To Me Is An Atheist. What Can I Do?
Douglas Groothuis says it well: “People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe what they believe will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.” I meet so many people who feel this way. We now have generations that have been indoctrinated to reject God.
As Nancy Pearcey says, “The good news is that apologetics resources are now more available. The bad news is that many churches ignore them.” Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get someone asking, “Chris, someone close to me is an atheist. I have no idea how to talk to them or answer their questions.” Unfortunately, there is only so much I have been able to do through Twitter. I send people to various resources, but after hundreds of the same question I thought I should create something a little more useful. When I began my studies, I had little direction. I just started absorbing and processing information from anywhere and everywhere. I got a lot out of it, but in hindsight, a directed path would have been far more efficient. So, that is what I want to bless you with. Below are three “stages” that you can use to grow your apologetic skills and reach the unreachable.
Stage 1 is the culmination of everything I studied. I compiled all of the books, videos, and courses that I read into 130 pages of power packed apologetics. Then I added a workbook and eventually turned it into a series of short courses that you can take from home, as part of a small group, or even through your local church! These recordings are directly from a college level course that I recently taught! Stage 2 gives a highlight of Biola’s world-class program with over somewhere between 60-90 hours of audio files. You can even get a certificate. This is great, but I’d recommend not skipping stage one unless you have already studied apologetics previously. Stage 3 is for the serious apologist who wants to gain a degree and train others to do the same!
Make no mistake these lessons have far more value than simply teaching you how to defend your faith. Apologetics doesn’t just help you reach the lost. It helps you disciple the found. IT HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND GOD’S CREATION AND YOUR ROLE WITHIN IT!
To get you started, here is A Blueprint For Reaching the Unreachable.
STAGE 1: The Redeemed Royalty Program
- Time Requirement: under 130 pages
- Cost: $15
Level 2: In addition to reading. Fill out the Prove It: Leadership Workbook
- Time Requirement: under 260 pages (much of which is room for note taking)
- Cost: $30
Level 3: Begin the Prove It Course 1 (Courses 2 and 3 coming soon!)
- Time Requirement: Courses: less than 8 hours
- Cost: $59 (Less if you do it as a group of 10 or more)*Look for Prove It Course 2: Coming Summer 2016
Free Supplementary Resources:
GotQuestions.org and Carm.org are excellent resources for specific questions that you may have. If you get stumped, go to both sites and simply type in your answer. I don’t always agree with their theology and the answers are relatively short. However, they serve as an excellent starting point. The Daily Rebuke will be helpful to encourage out of the box thinking and understand the complexity of current topics.
STAGE 2: Biola Program
Level 1: Just take the course
- Time Requirement: Roughly 64 hours of audio files
- Cost: $350
Level 2: Get College Credit
- Time Requirement:
- Cost: $350 (I believe)
STAGE 3: Get a Degree
Here is a very helpful link to some of the top apologetics programs in the nation!
- General Questions with Short Answers: 77 FAQs about God and the Bible (Sean and Josh McDowell)
- Intermediate Apologetics: J. Warner Wallace Cold Case books – I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Turek & Geisler)
- Introduction to Advanced Apologetics: Christians Apologetics (Douglas Groothuis), Reasonable Faith (William Lane Craig)
- Apologetic Evangelism: The Unchurched Next Door (Rainer) Apologetics for Today (Sean McDowell)
- Dealing with Science: John C. Lennox and Hugh Ross
- Understanding Contemporary Western Minds: Nancy Pearcey books
- Presuppositional Apologetics: The Masters Seminary
- There are also many good Youtube lessons from the people listed above. A few other names to look into: Ravi Zacharias, RC Sproul, Tim Keller, etc.