An introduction to the rationale for apologetics and its place in contemporary multi-religious societies.
Students will be introduced to different methodologies and character qualities needed in responding in a Christian and Wesleyan way to questions about the Christian faith, practices, and community. How to discover local questions and sources of opposition and strategies for finding appropriate responses will be developed. Both classical and contemporary issues in apologetics are briefly addressed: the existence of God, the problem of evil and suffering, the authority of the Bible, the supremacy of Christ, the existence and purpose of humanity, current world views such as post-modernism (free thinker/agnostic which is the current western religion), and religions found close to the student. The importance of a good character will be emphasized. The use of visual arts and music as an apologetic tool will be explored.
When Christians dialog with others, many questions are raised. Some come from a moral rejection and some from competing worldviews that challenge the very basis of Christianity. A Christian should not respond from pride by using answers as a weapon to prove they are right. However, the example of Jesus shows us that many people need clear answers to difficult questions so they can consider His claims. Apologetic answers allow a Christian to use the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, etc., to reply with integrity and Christian grace to those who sincerely search for the truth. Respect flowing from holy love for our neighbor must inform all our best responses. At the same time, the positive expression of the arts can be a means of communicating the Christian worldview to contemporary cultures. For example, painting that celebrates beauty and wholeness communicates the goodness of God in creation. Music that penetrates the heart and imagination can change the perspective of a hostile individual. The course may require flexibility and creative teaching methodology. It will be important that students engage in their community.
Intended Course Outcomes through Engagements
Students will show growth in the following ways:
- Character Formation: Embody the truths of Christianity in their life and practice, so that people may see them as living examples of their teachings.
- Content Processing with Peers: Articulate responses to specific and common questions about the Christian faith and toward Christianity by alluding to Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.
- Ministry Capability Development: Develop methods to communicate the Christian faith in response to questions directed to specific faith affirmations and equip their members to be able to respond to these questions.
- Application in Mission and Community: Respond to various issues in their context, such as poverty, health, magic, spiritism, ancestral worship, etc.
- Asia-Pacific Module Handbook