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Greg Pritchard
 

What is Apologetics? Explaining Why the Gospel is True and Reasonable (IV)

Many believers think evangelism is explaining the same message, using identical words, to every nonbeliever they come in contact with. But this is not how Jesus communicated his message. If we want to communicate Jesus’ message, shouldn’t we examine how Jesus communicated?  

FORUM OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS AUTHOR Greg Pritchard 18 MARCH 2015 18:00 h GMT+1
stomer Mathias Stomer: Christus und Nikodemus (HEN-Magonza, Flickr)

Many believers think evangelism is explaining the same message, using identical words, to every nonbeliever they come in contact with. But this is not how Jesus communicated his message. If we want to communicate Jesus’ message, shouldn’t we examine how Jesus communicated?  



 



Jesus was an apologist



Jesus did not have a “Four Spiritual Laws” message that he recited with each new audience. Jesus communicated responsively to each situation or person he encountered. Sometimes he taught a parable or used a powerful image. Other times, he didn’t give information at all, but asked a question.[1] Walter Hollenweger explains:



“We find everywhere the same pattern: the starting point of Jesus' evangelism is mostly (although not always) a question, or the concrete situation of the people around him… New Testament evangelism does not start from a proposition. It starts from a situation.”[2]



Think of how Jesus interacted with Nicodemus, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, who came at night to speak to him. Nicodemus affirmed Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” In response, Jesus jarringly told Nicodemus, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus purposely told Nicodemus something that would confuse this educated teacher of the law, and Nicodemus bewilderedly responded, “How can this be?” “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:1-21).



Jesus gave a powerful image to show that his message wouldn’t fit in Nicodemus’s fossilized categories. Jesus was not merely a teacher sent from God as Nicodemus had affirmed; Jesus was the messiah who must be “lifted up” in crucifixion so that “whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:15). Nicodemus’s categories were too small and had to be eliminated for him to truly understand Jesus.



 



Lawrence OP (Flickr) (3)



In the next chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman drawing water at the well and never mentioned being “born again.” (In fact, Jesus never used “born again” in all the rest of the Gospels). But Jesus also confused her by asking her to provide a drink for him. She was astonished “that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria.” (The author John explained, “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”) Jesus talked to the woman, asked her a question, and got her to admit that she was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus used their common topic of water to explain that He is the “living water” and the source of “eternal life.”    



We see in these two examples a picture of how Jesus communicated. He sometimes purposely confused people (as he did in both of these examples) and destabilized their current ideas. Jesus explained his message to both of them using different images and words. We see this same pattern throughout the Gospels. Jesus was in conversation, asking and answering questions, telling stories and teaching individuals and small and large groups. 



Jesus did not deliver his message like a sermon in a typical church service. What would happen if someone asked a question in the middle of a sermon in your Sunday church service? It is inconceivable. Our concept of communication is one way. We train Christian leaders to preach the Bible to a quiet audience. But Jesus engaged people in a two-way dialogue. There are over 150 questions in the 4 Gospels. The word “answered” is used over 140 times in the Gospels. Jesus sometimes answered a question, and sometimes he asked a question, but he did not dismiss or ignore anyone’s questions unless he determined that the questioner was not sincere.



Most Christians do not think of Jesus as an apologist; they think of him as their loving Savior. Yes, he was the good shepherd and he loved people and gently welcomed the little children. But he was also an apologist, who asked and answered questions, explained his message, defended it against attack from his enemies and argued for the truth of his Gospel. We can see how Jesus communicated by examining how he responded to the religious leaders. 



 



Jesus debated the Religious Leaders



In Matt. 21 & 22, Jesus had a series of debates with Jewish leaders on the topics of authority, John the Baptist, the law, and death and resurrection. We see the religious leaders’ evil intentions in Matthew’s description: “the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words.”



At one point the chief priests asked him a question: “By what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus responded, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.” Jesus then asked them, “The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?”



The priests were afraid and withdrew to discuss his question:“If we say, ‘From heaven’ he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, “From man” we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So the priests responded, “We do not know.” Jesus responded, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Anyone watching this early apologetic debate saw that Jesus silenced his critics who walked away looking like fools. 



Jesus debated with Priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees, and all of them withdrew from discussions with Jesus knowing that he had defeated their best arguments. The crowd knew it as well: “And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.” Jesus told the parable of the tenants who beat and killed the son of the owner. “When the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parable, they perceived that he was speaking about them.” At the very end of this series of public debates Jesus’ opponents completely retreated “And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” 



Apologetics is not just memorizing an academic argument and delivering it to a quiet audience. Apologetics is seeking to persuasively communicate the “Word of Truth” often in a dialogue. This first requires that we start where people are and that we are engaged in conversation and, yes, sometimes debate.



 



Understanding the Audience



Luke records that “Paul and Barnabus spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed” (Acts 14:1). What was the effective way that they communicated the Gospel? Luke doesn’t tell us explicitly in this passage, because he describes it throughout the entire book of Acts. Like Jesus, Paul interacted with nonbelievers and answered their objections. Paul creatively and persuasively communicated the Gospel (which is what apologetics means) to each audience he faced. 



We see Paul clearly presenting the Gospel in a way that makes sense to his audience. When Paul spoke to the Jews “as his custom was,” he used the Old Testament and “showed them from the scriptures why Jesus was the Christ.” When Paul spoke to the Jewish synagogue in Antioch, he argued from the scripture that Jesus was the promised messiah. In effect, Paul did a Bible study of messianic prophecies because the Jews’ authority was the Bible (Acts 13).



When Paul went to the Gentiles, he had a very different strategy because the audience was so different. He did not start with the Old Testament and its prophecies as the Greeks did not believe in the Old Testament. Paul could not even assume that they believed in God. Many of those in his audience were polytheists, pantheists, deists or atheists. Paul began with a new starting point, the Greek statue of “the unknown God” and referred to a Greek poet. He then explained who this God is and how God has created the world and only after that spoke of Jesus.



We see this same pattern in the rest of the New Testament. Why do we even have four different Gospels? Because the four separate authors had different audiences in mind and thus wrote Gospels with different themes. The Gospel of Matthew was written for a Jewish audience, as it emphasized how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. In contrast Luke was writing to Greeks and explained Jesus’ story in a way that made sense to the orderly Greek mind and provided exact historical detail. Does the truth concerning Jesus change? No. But the emphases of each Gospel are unique as each provides a different portrait of Jesus to a different audience.



Thus to help individuals hear and respond to the Gospel, we need to first understand them. Why? Because there are so many different types of nonbelievers. How we relate to them is dependent on their starting place. For example, there are indifferent nonbelievers, hostile nonbelievers, curious nonbelievers and sincerely seeking nonbelievers. To lovingly communicate the Gospel to each of these individuals requires a different response. What are some of the core elements of a biblical model for relevant communication of the Gospel?



 



Identifying with the audience



The Apostle Paul is the primary example of one who, in his efforts to communicate, identified with different audiences. In I Corinthians 9:19-22, he wrote,  



“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.



To the Jews I become as a Jew, to win the Jews.



To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.



To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.



To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some.”



Paul used his audience’s language, referred to their literature and cultural ideas, and emphasized his similarities with each group he addressed. Historian Henry Chadwick explains:



“Paul’s genius as an apologist is his astonishing ability to reduce to an apparent vanishing point the gulf between himself and his converts and yet to gain them for the Christian gospel.”[3] 



Any great public communicator of the Gospel is able to show how they are similar to the audience they are addressing. Historian Peter Brown observed that Augustine’s great ability as a preacher was rooted in his ability to identify with his audience.



“This is the secret of Augustine’s enormous power as a preacher: He could identify himself sufficiently with his congregation to provoke them to identify themselves completely with him.”[4] 



 



Creatively Communicating the Truth



While Paul and Augustine were both gifted apologetic preachers, the rich biblical model of apologetics is not limited to verbal communication.   



A fascinating story is found in II Samuel 12:1-17 of a drama that is directed by God to reveal David’s sin. Following God’s directions, Nathan disguised himself and then told David a story of a rich man who had huge herds of sheep and cattle but also stole and killed the pet prized lamb of a poor man. David in response “burned with anger” and declared, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die.” Nathan then ripped off his disguise and declared “You are the man!” and rebuked David for stealing the lovely Bathsheba and killing her husband.



The prophet Nathan created this God-directed drama to make a mirror for King David to see his own sin, and David responded with confession: “I have sinned against the Lord.” This is not merely an intellectual argument that convinces David of his need to repent, but the use of visual and physical means to communicate truth. By defining Apologetics as the Science and Art of Christian Persuasion, we are not limited to the use of historical and philosophical arguments to convince someone of Christianity’s truthfulness. We can creatively communicate, seeking to speak to the very hearts of our fellow creatures.



 



Challenging individuals to sincerely search for the truth 



Jesus put responsibility to listen with teachable hearts on his audience. “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” Jesus repeated over and over again. Jesus promised, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). Jesus taught that the desire to understand and live the truth is essential to ultimately understanding the truth.



When Jesus saw Jerusalem he cried out, 



“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you would not (Mt. 23:37). The Lord places blame on those who are not sincerely seeking the truth. He condemned those who chose not to listen to and follow him. Listen to what he said to his generation: 



“The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s  wisdom, and now one greater that Solomon is here” (Mt. 12:42).



In effect, the Lord was saying, “She was teachable. You are not teachable. You will be judged because you are not sincerely seeking the truth.” Seeking the truth is foundational to actually finding the truth.  



When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the Gospel he told them to put the responsibility on their audience: “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town”(Matt. 10:14-5).   



The Scriptures place responsibility for unbelief firmly on those who turn away from the Gospel. When Paul arrived in Rome he met with the Jews: “From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe (Acts 28:23b-24).  When the Jews in Antioch “stirred up persecution,” Paul and Barnabus, “shook off the dust from their feet against them” (Acts 13:50-1). Again in Corinth, Paul is confronted by those who reject the Gospel. “But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).



Jesus’ example and instruction to his disciples and the example of Paul all clearly teach that those who have heard the Gospel are responsible for what they have heard. Their blood is on their own heads. 



In contrast, the Bereans, after listening to Paul in Acts 17, are called “of more noble character” for they responded to Paul’s message by “examining the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul was saying was true.” The Bereans were praised because they were sincere in their search for the truth. Proverbs summarizes this commitment: 



“If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom” (Prov. 2:3-6a).



I want to be clear that I am not advocating the theological position of Arminianism over Calvinism here or the reverse. I believe we see God’s sovereignty and human freedom side-by-side in the Scripture on this very point. In Acts 8:30-34, Philip was led by the Spirit to run alongside the eunuch’s chariot and then asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I,” the eunuch answered, “unless someone explains it to me?”  So he invited Philip to come and sit with him. The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me please, who is the prophet talking about?”  In a very short while, the eunuch asked Philip to baptize him. We see in this story the twin truths of God’s leading and Man’s responsibility to search for the truth.



We need to place this responsibility on nonbelievers. We need to help them see that if they are not seeking the truth, they are guilty of a lack of integrity and honesty. We need to, like Jesus and Paul, explain that everyone should be honest truth seekers.  Sometimes when I have lovingly asked a nonbelieving friend, “What if I could prove to you that Christianity is true; would you make a commitment to Christ?” Sometimes they have been willing to admit, “No, I wouldn’t” or “I am not sure.” At this point, I have been able to say something like,



“You do see that it really isn’t a problem of evidence, or the truthfulness of Gospel. It is your heart. You really don’t want to trust in Jesus and follow him. You don’t want it to be true. You at least should be honest to yourself – at this point you are not even interested in finding out the truth.”



Curiously, sometimes the best way to help someone is not to argue, but to get them to see themselves.



 



Positive Arguments Why Christianity is True 



One of the goals of apologetics is to help nonbelievers reach a point of genuinely seeking the truth. The steps to accomplish this will differ based on the current state of a person’s heart. Our role could be to use deconstructive apologetics to nudge a nonbeliever from indifference to hostility, hostility to curiosity, or curiosity to a genuine willingness to search and see “if these things are so.” (Acts 17:11).



At this point, we need to think creatively about arguments that show why Christianity is true and reasonable, or positive arguments. A consistent example in Acts of a positive argument is Paul’s repeated argument to the Jews explaining why Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament. This makes tremendous sense in Paul’s context. When Paul came to a new town, he would go to the local Jewish synagogue and use the language and authorities that his Jewish audience accepted (the Old Testament) to make an argument from this context for the truthfulness of Christianity.



We also see both destabilizing and positive arguments when the Christian apologist Apollos is described in Acts. He was simultaneously destabilizing as he “vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate” and positively arguing as he was “proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (Acts 18:28).



Again, Augustine’s journey to faith is instructive in illustrating positive arguments.



There was an occasion when Augustine went to Milan to give a speech. While there he decided to visit the public lectures of the famous orator Bishop Ambrose. Augustine was eager to grow in his professional life as a professor of rhetoric, but was stunned by what he heard.



“As I opened my heart in order to recognize how eloquently he was speaking it occurred to me at the same time (though this idea came gradually) how truly he was speaking. First I began to see that the points which he made were capable of being defended. I had thought that nothing could be said for the Christian faith in the face of the objections raised by the Manichees, but it now appeared to me that this faith could be maintained on reasonable grounds.”[5]



Although Augustine had already departed from Manicheanism, he still was influenced strongly by their critiques of Christianity. It came as quite a shock to Augustine to consider that Christianity, the belief system he had already rejected, appeared intellectually credible.



As he listened more to Ambrose’s arguments for Christianity’s truthfulness Augustine came to believe that Christianity might possibly be true. He admitted: 



“I could raise no objection to what he said, even though I was still not sure what he said was true or not. I held my heart back from positively accepting anything, since I was afraid of another fall, and in this condition of suspense I was being all the more killed. I wanted to be just as certain about things which I could not see as I was certain that seven and three make ten.”[vi]



What are the arguments that were so convincing to Augustine? As interesting as it could be to examine these, it would not be the most helpful approach for us. Let me explain.



 



Arguments need to be Contextually Relevant



The argument that Jesus fulfils the Old Testament prophecies was particularly compelling in Paul’s day when so many of Paul’s audience believed the Old Testament.  But how many nonbelievers today believe the Old Testament is authoritatively true? This same argument although true and useful today, is less powerful because most of our nonbelieving audience has little to no knowledge of the Old Testament and does not believe it is authoritative. We see this contextual responsiveness in how Paul himself switched his communication style in addressing Greeks. Paul adjusted his arguments to be contextually relevant. Similarly, the arguments that were compelling to Augustine in his context may not be as convincing to listeners today. An effective argument for one group would be irrelevant for another. We need to model our apologetics after Paul and recognize that our communication of truth needs to contextually relevant.  



 



God Respects Human Beings’ Choice



I need to be clear: I am also not arguing that Christianity can be proven like the mathematical equation 2 + 2 = 4. In Philippians 2, we are instructed that when Jesus returns, “all knees will bow and all tongues will confess that Jesus is Lord.” When Jesus returns in his glory, we, like John in Revelations 1, will fall flat on our faces. We will have no choice. Right now we are in the time in history where there is choice as II Peter 3:9 explains, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Once Jesus returns, the choice is removed.



Christianity is compelling because it explains the world that we know. Our job as believers is to help nonbelievers understand that the incredible word of truth is actually true and reasonable. As Augustine wrote after his conversion, “For who cannot see that thinking is prior to believing. For no one believes anything unless he has first thought that it is to be believed.”[vii]   



But the role of apologetics is essential. We need to intellectually challenge the fashionable philosophies and ideologies of our day. Because Augustine came to faith as a result of apologetics, he was committed in turn to persuasively lead others to faith. He was convinced that God uses argument and evidence to help people turn from falsehood to truth. As a result at different times over the course of his life, Augustine fought various opponents to the Gospel. He was an intellectual boxer who adjusted his tactics and arguments depending on his opponent. We need a new generation of Augustines who are eager to explain the word of truth to today’s world.



 



Purpose of these Articles



 



Mafalda Pereira (Flickr) (9)



At this point, a careful reader might ask, “where are your arguments for why Christianity is true?” It might sound odd, but that is not what this article (or series of articles on apologetics) is about. I am convinced that a large percentage of evangelical Christians believe that we should not persuasively communicate the Gospel. My intention has not been to advocate for a particular school of apologetics (evidential, cultural, classical, philosophical, or historical) or for the particular arguments that apologists from these schools advocate.



Before we can learn how to persuasively communicate the Gospel, we need to be convinced that it is our responsibility to do so. Secondly, I am trying to clarify the broader categories of a biblical approach to apologetics -- in effect how we communicate the “word of truth.”  



 



Early Church as a Model



The early church is a wonderful historical model that helps us to understand a biblical approach to apologetics. Why did the early church continue to grow for over 300 years, even when the church was often under siege and persecuted? What was so distinctive about the early church?  T. R. Glover, former Cambridge University lecturer in ancient history and author of The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, explained that Christians “‘out-lived’ the pagan, ‘out-died’ him, and ‘out-thought’ him.”[8]



1) The early Christians out-thought their contemporaries.



For the first 300 years of the early church, we see a commitment to persuasively communicating the gospel’s truthfulness. When Christians communicated their newfound gospel to Jews, they had to explain why the New Testament fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies and to answer Jewish questions and objections. When talking to Greeks, Jesus’ followers had to confront the Hellenistic worldview and explain the idea of one God in a world of thousands of gods. These early Christians also had to explain to the Roman authorities why they did not offer worship to the Emperor.  



The believers talked about Jesus and his Gospel wherever and whenever they could. Christians would go to shrines and talk to those coming to give a sacrifice. The unbeliever Lucian said that sometimes warning signs would be posted inside shrines, stating “Christians Outside.”[9]   Christians were not afraid of the pagan religions and challenged the pagans to curse them with their demons.



The early Christians were also not afraid of thinking. Clement, an early Christian leader, wrote, “The beautiful, wherever it is, is ours, because it came from our God.” Glover explains, “The Christian read the best books, assimilated them, and lived the freest intellectual life that the world had… There is no place for an ignorant Christian. From the very start every Christian had to know and to understand, and he had to read the Gospels; he had to be able to give the reason for his faith.”[10]



The early church communicated to nonbelievers why Christianity was true. As Glover explains “Who did the thinking in that ancient world? Again and again it was the Christian.”[11]



2) The early Christians out-lived their contemporaries



T.R. Glover in the Dale Lectures at Oxford University summarizes the astonishing way of life the early Christians embodied. 



“They were astonishingly upright, pure and honest; they were serious; and they had in themselves inexplicable reserves of moral force and a happiness far beyond anything that the world knew.”[12]



Early Christian leaders explained that the truth of Christianity was visible by how Jesus’ followers loved and cared for both fellow believers and nonbelievers. 



The author of the “Letter to Diognetus” wrote in the mid-2nd century to a Roman Governor explaining who Christians were:



“They are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all.”[13]



There was a distinctive reality of Christians’ love for one another. A common accusation against Christians throughout the Roman Empire was incest. Outsiders knew of the love that the “brothers” and “sisters” had for each other and they had no other way to explain this affection and love.



Some of the strongest evidence of Christians’ love and care for others comes from the gospel’s strongest opponents. The pagan Roman Emperor Julian in the 4th century complained that Christianity was growing so fast because of the “loving service rendered to strangers” by Christians who “care not only for their own poor but for ours as well.”[14]



3) The early Christians out-died their contemporaries



The unbeliever Lucian wrote disdainfully of the Christians who believe “they are immortal for all time and will live forever, which explains why they despise death and voluntarily give themselves up.”[15] But many nonbelievers were amazed by Christians’ courage in the face of death. Tertullian did not read the Gospels as a nonbeliever, until he saw the courage of how Christians were willing to die. “Every man who sees it, is moved with some misgiving, and is set on fire to learn the reason; he inquires and is taught; and when he has learned the truth, he instantly follows it himself as well.”[16] Tertullian illustrates this memorably:“the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”[17] Without this spiritual reality, even correct doctrine seems stale and artificial. But with the reality of changed lives and the persuasive communication of the gospel, Christianity spread quickly across the Roman Empire.



What made the early church’s ministry so effective? They were able to analyze and critique rival and alternative philosophies of life and explain why the Gospel was “true and reasonable”. They demonstrated by their lives the power and truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lastly, they were willing to die for their faith.



A picture of all three of these is Ignatius who was martyred in Rome soon after the turn of the 1st Century. He wrote a series of letters in which he confronted false teaching and called the churches to faithfulness. What happened as the result of his and other believers’ careful arguments, faithful lives and sacrificial deaths? The Gospel spread widely as Jews, Romans and Greeks were challenged by the truth, understood the truth and saw the truth lived out in front of them.  



Apologetics today must not be merely dry argument. Nonbelievers are determining whether the gospel is true and whether Jesus is who He claimed to be partly by the reality of our lives. Are we willing to sacrificially give ourselves to others? Do we live in loving community with one another and serve others? Can others smell the sweet aroma of the fragrance of Christ in our presence? Out of this context and reality our words gain credibility. Orthopraxy and orthodoxy are two sides of the same coin or they are a counterfeit currency.



 



-----------



[1] Some text in this article is taken directly or developed from my book Willow Creek Seeker Services: Evaluating a New Way of Doing Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996.



[2] Walter Hollenweger, Evangelism Today: Good News or Bone of Contention (Belfast, Ireland: Christian Journals Ltd., 1976) 80, 82; quoted in Guiness’s “Towards a Reappraisal,” 310.



[3] Henry Chadwick. The Enigma of St. Paul. (London: Athlone Press, 1969), 275.



[4] Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1969), 251.



[5] Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine, Trans. by Rex Warner. (New York: New American Library of World Literature, 1963), 109.



[6] Augustine, Confessions, 116.



[7] Vernon Bourke, The Essential Augustine (Indianapolis: Hackett), 22.



[8] T. R. Glover, The Jesus of History (New York: Association Press, 1917), Project Gutenberg ebook, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13335/13335-8.txt, 71.



[9] Glover, The Jesus of History, 203 .



[10] Glover, The Jesus of History, 204.



[11] Glover, The Jesus of History, 205.



[12] T. R. Glover, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire. (Washington: Cannon Press, 1974), 142.



[13] Christian Classics Ethereal Library. “ The So-Called Letter to Diognetus.” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.x.i.ii.html



[14] Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions, 2nd edition,(New York: NY, Penguin Books, 1990), 37-8.



[15] Glover, The Conflict of Religions, 162.



[16] Glover, The Conflict of Religions, 320.



[17] Tertullian. “Apologeticum.” http://www.tertullian.org/works/apologeticum.htm



 



Greg Pritchard earned his MA from Trinity School of Divinity before continuing on to finish his PhD at Northwestern University. The intersection of theology, history, philosophy and sociology is Greg’s primary focus both in teaching and writing. He has taught graduate-level courses on apologetics, theology, history, leadership, the New Testament, ethics, and Christian Thought at American, European, and Asian institutions of higher learning. His book, Willow Creek Seeker Services, has been published in four languages. In addition, Greg has worked as the COO at a Chicago investment firm.  Currently, he serves as the President of the Forum of Christian Leaders and as the Director of the European Leadership Forum. 



The Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) is the sponsor of the European Leadership Forum (ELF), which seeks to unite, mentor, and resource European evangelical leaders to renew the biblical church and re-evangelise Europe. This happens first at the ELF's annual meeting that occurs each May in Poland.  In addition to the ELF, FOCL is host to an online media library and learning community for evangelical Christians. Learn more at foclonline.org and euroleadership.org; or join us on Twitter @FOCLonline and Facebook Forum of Christian Leaders.


 

 


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Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
 
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EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.