Our initial program is called Skepticitis: Vaccinating Your Youth Against a Crisis of Faith. It is designed to give a broad overview of the field of apologetics by asking, and answering the following questions: What is apologetics? What is its scriptural warrant? What are its limitations? And where does the use of apologetics begin and end in relation to Faith? The 13 week series is adaptable to the traditional semester, but can be adjusted according the needs of the school.
In his book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church, and Rethinking Faith, David Kinnaman makes this statement regarding today’s youth: “We need to recognize the generational shifts from left-brain skills like logic, analysis, and structure to the right-brain aptitudes of creativity, synthesis, and empathy.” Heroes of the Cross agrees with Kinnaman, and we have therefore developed an approach that acknowledges these needs. In short, our teaching style dove-tails with the students’ learning style.
- Creativity: we employ creative techniques to maintain student attention and interest. Videos, visual props, role plays and mock discussions put the student in a semi-real yet safe situation which creates a level of confidence and assists with memory recall.
- Synthesis: Heroes of the Cross understands the ethos of this generation. Millennials are slow to abandon belief systems forged from early childhood. They do so only by thoughtfully considering and weighing their options over time, usually throughout their high school years. Heroes’ goal is to interrupt Skepticidal tendencies before they have a chance to develop and dominate thinking patterns. A well-timed Truth Serum vaccination will often preempt a crisis of faith.
- Empathy: This generation of learners is exceedingly relational. To be dogmatic, even with superior arguments is neither appreciated nor effective. Our approach is to ask questions that elicit a response, similar to the way or Lord approached the woman at the well, the crowd condemning the adulteress, or the rich young ruler. We teach that man suppresses the truth according to Romans 1; but that to speak without love is useless, as 1 Cor. 13 tells us. We impart the truth of 1 Peter 3:15, but emphasize the words, “yet with gentleness and respect”.
The goal by the end of the semester is to have equipped a generation of Christians that have been inoculated against the onslaught of secularism. Every student is prepared to take ownership of their faith; not just knowing what they believe, but why they believe it.
They will be certain of their Christianity; able to explain truth in love; and to engage a wayward culture with conviction, confidence and clarity, while keeping the Gospel of Jesus Christ close to their hearts. In short our goal is, by God’s grace, to create Heroes of the Cross.
The Role of Prayer:
Prayer is an essential part of our program. The ideal Heroes of the Cross curriculum includes a parent/teacher meeting, usually held on a weeknight prior to the start of the semester. This is our time to introduce the outline, giving the parents a sense of what their teens will be learning. We also give a list of prayer requests that they can be praying over during the course of the semester. This session also helps the parents interact with their teens on a weekly basis, discussing topics that were covered, and monitoring their student’s ownership of their faith and level of certainty of their beliefs.
During the course of the semester, students are made aware of local conferences, debates, and lectures that spur individual interest and independent study. With parental permission, field trips can be arranged to specific local events where students will experience top apologists, rub elbows with other kindred spirits, and purchase books and DVD’s. In this way they “get excited” about defending the great truths of their Christian heritage.
Reward and Reinforcement:
Everyone likes to be recognized for achievement. At the end of the semester, those who have attended the minimum number of classes will receive their own Hero of the Cross pin in a brief ceremonial way. The idea behind the pin is to give a tangible reminder to continue in the faith, even when the going gets rough, because that’s what heroes do.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is always front and center, and the focal point of all apologetic endeavors. Each of the critical apologetics topics below is covered in easy to understand language where possible. Hard concepts are explained using analogies with which the student is already familiar.
Students will walk away ready to reclaim and proclaim their faith. They will engage friends and relatives with renewed confidence. Religion will no longer be one of the most dreaded topics of public discussion.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor. 10:5
Apologetics Topics Covered:
- Introduction: What is Apologetics? What is a worldview?
- Why Does God Allow Evil?
- Is the New Testament Reliable?
- Does God Exist?
- The Evidence for the Resurrection
- Understanding Science and Evolution
- Is there Such a Thing as Absolute Truth?
- The Deity of Christ
- Are Miracles Possible?
- Archeology and the Old Testament
- World Religions: Islam, Hinduism, Eastern Religions
- World Religions: Mormonism, JW
- Conclusion: Q&A and Awards