Certified Apologetics Instructor

My Goal as an Apologist

The arena of Christian apologetics is experiencing a rise in popularity.  That is not to say that every person who calls himself an apologist is one. But, a quick glance will show that there is an opportunity for almost anyone interested to learn about apologetics easily.  Most of the Southern Baptist seminaries now have apologetics programs.  The NAMB began the CAI program that I am a part of, programs in apologetics at Biola and Liberty are thriving, and there is simply a rise in interest in the topic. In fact recently Lee Strobel said he believes that, “we are on the cusp of a golden era of apologetics.” If you are a reader of this blog, you realize that recently I launched an apologetics ministry of my own. Why would I do this if I believe there is a trend of a rising awareness in apologetics, and if apologetics is becoming more popular and maybe more successful?  There are a couple of reasons.  One is that I believe God has gifted me as an apologist.  Although, I hope it goes without saying that I would not launch a ministry if I did not believe I was gifted for it.  The most significant reason I have decided to launch an apologetics ministry is because I have the opportunity to fill a gap that I see in the current state of Christian apologetics.

Maybe I should say it like this, I’m not trying to be, or to compete with, William lane Craig or anyone of his ilk. My desire is not to engage in public debate with atheists or Muslims or anything of the sort.  Although I have begun writing a book, it is not academic in nature.  I believe that type of ministry which is largely academic is noble and wonderful, but it is not where my gifting lies, and it is not my goal as an apologist.

My goal and desire as an apologist is to encourage the church.

My call to the ministry was to the church.  I believe that God has gifted me to teach and explain in simple terms the concepts of apologetics, and I believe that these concepts are needed in the pews of our churches.  My desire is to come into a church for an apologetics weekend and at the end of the weekend those in attendance will be able more able to defend their faith than they were at the beginning.  I desire for people in attendance to have more confidence in the reasonableness of their faith.  I want church people to not have their confidence shaken by every atheist they hear from on TV.

I believe that there is plenty of room for a ministry of this sort in our churches and I believe that even if we are a cusp of a golden age of apologetics, it has not made it to the pews.  I have some anecdotal evidence of this.  Just look at this poll from my website.

Making Progress

In this world there are not many things I am actually good at.  In fact the list of things I am terrible at is very long.  I am terrible at anything that takes physical coordination.  I don’t play church league softball because I bring nothing to the team (anyone can ground out to the second baseman 3 times) I am pretty much horrible at every athletic endeavor.   Although I enjoy them, I am not very good at video games.  I have a terrible singing voice, and I don’t play any instruments.  I am not particularly mechanically inclined.  (Currently I can’t even get my lawnmower to start.) I think that is probably enough examples to make my point without being depressing. Even though the list of things I am bad at is extensive, there are a few things I am quite good at.  Fortunately, I know what those few things are.  I believe one of them is that I am a gifted teacher.

I believe that because of that gifting, God has called me to a profession that allows me to use it.  I would be a sin to allow the tools I have go to waste.

I love God’s word and I love apologetics.  You may recall I once posted about this love and the way that my life has progressed to where I get to teach regularly on apologetics.  Because of these 2 factors, I have for some time had a desire to become a NAMB Certified Apologetics Instructor. (CAI)  I think this is a noble attempt by the NAMB to have a certified group of apologists to recommend as it becomes more and more necessary in a culture which is moving further from being “Christian.”  This certification may turn out to be merely a stamp of approval from an organization I respect, but I believe that God has put this desire in my heart.

Part of the CAI certification process is a required course on public speaking.  It is called Dynamic Communicators workshop and it is put on by the Ken Davis Association. Next week I will post about my experience at this workshop and how I believe it has benefited me.  But in this post I want to ask my readers a favor.

Help me complete my certification.  I have completed steps 1 and 2.  All that is left is step 3.  In order to become a CAI, I must speak 30 times.  Currently I don’t have a church home so I have freedom to travel and speak in a variety of places.  (There is a church I attend regularly, but not where I am a member) Let me speak in your church.  I can do 1 lesson on apologetics or 30 if you want.  I can speak to youth or to adults.  You don’t have to pay me, I’m trying to complete my certification. (although it would be nice to get mileage if you are very far away)

If you recommend me to your pastor or to your church you will be helping me to realize a dream and to do what I believe is God’s will for my life.

I’ll conclude with just one word.


How Things Work Out

In 1992 I was 17 years old and a member of Concord Baptist Church in Hopkinsville KY.  One evening our pastor invited in a guest speaker named Fred Overton.  During the PM service he gave a lecture called "Is the Bible Reliable?"  This was my first ever exposure to something called apologetics, and I was fascinated. The lecture was 2 days long, so I invited my mom to come along with me to the Monday night session.  Normally, Mom went to another church, that's why I remember this story.

After the session we bought the workbook and I recall on the ride home saying that the seminar was completely fascinating and that I would like to do apologetics for a living, but, "Nobody could make a living doing that."  Smart, I know.

Mom's reply was predictable.  "He does."

This was long before I really had any idea what I wanted to do with my life and long before God called me into ministry.  At that point I was just concerned with where I would go to college. (Even though I never seriously considered any school other than UK.)  In fact, at that time I was fascinated with chemistry, and began college as a chemistry major.

Then in 1997, God called me into the ministry, and I answered.  (Just an aside here - I hate the term "surrendered" to the ministry.  That sounds like I lost some fight.  I just agreed.  There was no battle needed.)  My calling was clear, I was called to youth ministry, but that doesn't mean I have no other interests.  I was convicted further that in order to be the best youth minister I could be, to the glory of God, I needed to attend seminary.  I went to Southeastern Seminary and began in the youth ministry program.  During my second year, President Akin came on board and his administration began some curriculum changes.  When the M.Div. in Christian apologetics was added, I didn't even need to pray about it.  I changed my major within the week.

So what's the point of all this?

Yesterday I began teaching a course in Christian Apologetics at Carolina Bible College.  Though it is a very small class at a very small college, it felt like a dream realized.  It is amazing how God can work the circumstances of our lives to bring things about.  The ramblings of a very silly 17 year-old become reality 16 years later.   I for one, am excited about the future and to see where God will lead me next.

p.s.  I have shared with this blog before my dream of becoming a NAMB Certified Apologetics Instructor.  Fee free to click here to see how close I am financially.  (You'll probably need to use my gmail address)

100 Things to do Before I Die (okay...actually about 40)

I have long said that I have only 1 material goal in my life - visit and do something meaningful (experience the people or geography) in all 50 states - but I have recently seen some lists like this on different blogs, so I decided to make me a list of 100 things to do before I die. Most of them are just things it would be nice to do. But some of them I take seriously and actually work for. I’ll try to put the important ones at the top of the list, but outside of the top 10 they are pretty much just random.

Feel free to comment on my list, or put your own top 10 list in the comments.

44.  Win my fantasy football league again (Done 2009)

43. See the northern lights

42. Memorize the book of James

41. See one of my youth group alumni become a career missionary

40. Go on a foreign mission trip (to the third world)

39. Travel somewhere by train

38. Eat frog legs that I gigged myself. (I’ve done this many times but not in over 5 years)

37. See a World Series game

36. Earn a ThM (only because it’ll probably be a necessary step toward my PhD)

35. Get a passport

34. Donate to my alma mater

33. Witness 52 times in 1 year

32. Teach an ESL class

31. Eat a crazy expensive meal

30. Read 24 books in a year - Done 2008

29. Beat Phil Thomas at Scrabulous - Done 8-26-08

28. Have a really great looking yard

27. Grow a 100 lb pumpkin

26. Get 100% on one song at intermediate level guitar on Rock Band

25. Fish all the open lakes on Ft. Bragg (Done 10/24/08 Last one was Smith Lake)

24. Teach on a university level (Done, Though CBC is only in candidate status for accretidation)

23. Write a book

22. Lead 10 people to Christ in one year (2 so far this year)

21. Catch 20 different species of fish (5 so far this year)

20. See a race at Daytona

19. Go on a cruise

18. Catch a 10 lb bass

17. Become scuba certified

16. Get 500 blog hits in 1 day (Done 05/14/2012)

15. Write 500 blog posts (Done, Here is post #500)

14. Write a list of 100 things to do before I die ;-)

13. Make a budget and keep it

12. See a TV show taped live

11. Visit 6 continents

10. Catch a 7 lb Bass

9. Go peacock bass fishing in the Amazon River

8. Have me some kids

7. Earn a PhD

6. Be completely debt free

5. Go 3 months without missing a single day of quiet time

4. Lose 80 lbs

3. Get married

2. Become a Certified Apologetics Instructor (Done 08/11)

1. Visit and do something meaningful in all 50 states