(Photo: Liberty University)
Leading Christian apologists Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg will kick off their series of live national and global simulcasts by discussing "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask," which will be seen at more than 75 churches across the United States, Canada, and Australia, this Saturday.
Strobel and Mittelberg will be joined by university professors Craig Hazen and Douglas Groothuis at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo., to present "powerful responses" to six of the top questions that plague Christians today.
Organizers of the event say the speakers' answers will be biblical and backed up with logic and evidence.
"We hope that Christians will feel better equipped to get into conversations with their spiritually curious friends and neighbors," Strobel, best-selling author of books such as The Case for Christ, told The Christian Post. "Often, Christians shy away from spiritual discussions because they're afraid they won't be able to answer the person's questions."
Strobel said he believes people will emerge from the simulcast feeling more prepared to engage in evangelistic encounters. "And we think a lot of Christians will find their own personal faith bolstered and strengthened when they hear solid answers to the stickiest objections to Christianity," he added.
Hosting the conference is The Institute at Cherry Hills, an apologetics and evangelism ministry founded by Strobel and Mittelberg. The institute is aimed at innovating new approaches to defending and sharing the faith.
In an email exchange with CP, Strobel responded to a question about the importance for everyone (Christians and non-believers) to be tuned into this conference. He responded:
"First Peter 3:15 tells every Christian to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ – and to do that gently and respectfully. This event will help Christians be better prepared for opportunities to share their faith with others. This is especially important in our day when secularism is making inroads in America. The number of Americans who identify themselves as having no religious affiliation has almost doubled since 1990, to 15 percent. One in four adults under the age of 30 describes their religion as atheist, agnostic, or 'nothing in particular.'
"We urgently need more Christians who are ready, willing, and able to give good reasons for why we believe what we believe. That's why I've written The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, the Case for a Creator, and The Case for the Real Jesus and why we're doing this series of simulcasts. Our culture is shifting to become more skeptical about faith, and we need to respond with well-reasoned answers to the objections that are being raised. Fortunately, Christianity has a big advantage in the marketplace of ideas – we have truth on our side!"
He adds, "Time is short, the stakes are high, the opposition is mounting, and the opportunities are huge. Now's the time for churches and individual Christians to redouble their evangelistic efforts. And in our increasingly skeptical culture, that also means being prepared to defend why we believe what we believe. People have legitimate questions about faith – and I'm glad Christianity has powerful and persuasive answers."
Strobel emphasized that "God is still in the life-changing business."
He told CP the story of leading someone attending his "Introduction to Christianity," which he was teaching at Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, to Christ in 1992.
"Now, twenty years later, Tony Woods is leading the outreach and evangelism efforts at Harborside Christian Church in Safety Harbor, Florida – and he will be hosting our simulcast Saturday at that location," Strobel explained. "God changed my life, he changed Tony's life, and by His grace we're reaching out to others who are yet to be saved."
Two previous events presented by Strobel were "The Case for Christianity," which was a training event on the evidence for Christ, and "Unpacking Islam," where he and Mittelberg were joined by experts in Islam to explain what Muslims believe and why, and how Islam differs radically from Christianity, Strobel said.
"We're planning future simulcasts on 'Unpacking Atheism,' where we'll help Christians understand the challenge of the New Atheism and how to respond, and on 'The Case for Grace,' which will be based on my forthcoming book by that title. We'll be announcing specifics about those events soon," he said.
Mittelberg, who wrote the book The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, told CP he was excited to be joined by two great thinkers and communicators for the upcoming conference. Hazen leads the Christian apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California and wrote a novel that "teaches truth in a highly creative and entertaining way," called Five Sacred Crossings. Hazen will be responding to the question about Christianity versus other religions, Mittelberg said.
"Our other guest is Dr. Douglas Groothuis, who leads the apologetics program at Denver Seminary, and who recently published an incredible 750-page work called Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith – which won the 2012 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit. Dr. Groothuis will speak on the evidence that shows that Jesus was the Son of God," Mittelberg explained.
On the Web, conference information: http://www.chcc.org/institute_questions_incast.aspx and conference host sites: http://incastevents.com/questionshostsites/.