News, History, and Events

Interview: President Dr. Randolph Speaks on "Christian Apologetics"

January 04, 2007

Dr. David J. Randolph, President of Olivet University, will teach a Spring 2007 course entitled, "Christian Apologetics".  Dr. Randolph answered a few questions about the upcoming course in this interview: 

Hello Dr. Randolph!  Thank you for taking some time to speak about your upcoming "Christian Apologetics" course.

Question: Would you please give a brief introduction to this course?
Dr Randolph: Thank you for asking about our "Christian Apologetics" course which deals with a most important subject: how we communicate the Christian faith to those who are opposed or uncommitted to it. Christian apologetics defends the faith against opponents but also reaches out to them in a positive way. "Apologetics" comes from the Greek, "Apologia," which means presenting a subject in its best light. For example, when a person gave an "Apologia" for his life, he was not apologizing for it but showing how he came to his understandings and positions that distinguished him. Christian apologetics therefore presents the best case for Christianity over against its opponents and detractors. The Bible is basic to this task and other resources include history, experience, reason, imagination and art, and mission. We will deal with challenges to faith in these areas: God and Nature, God and Grace, and God and Glory.

Question: Can you tell us why the Apologetics is important in the modern world? 
Dr. Randolph: Apologetics is especially important today because of the many challenges to the Christian faith and life. We face these challenges in our personal encounters with other people, with organizations with which we compete, and with social broad social and cultural forces. While there are encouraging signs, Christian faith is under attack from Atheism, scientism, commercialism, and other faiths and forces. Christians are in competition with powerful forces and we must be able to give the reasons for the faith that is in us as Peter urged and to engage in the vital discussions of our day as did Paul. We must be strong in this arena and not be overcome if the Christian witness is to be faithful to our Lord and effective in our mission.

Question: How would today's believers use Apologetics and apply it to their lives?
Dr. Randolph: Today's believers use Apologetics every time they come into contact with unbelievers, consciously or unconsciously. Whenever someone challenges us to give a reason for our faith, or to account for a good God in bad times, our response is Apologetics.  By studying this field, learning the great resources of Bible and Tradition, and improving our own communication skills we can be more effective witnesses. The positive note is important because some of the greatest proponents of Christianity began as opponents, from Paul the Apostle to C.S. Lewis the Professor. Individuals like them and like you can influence multitudes. This is a special challenge at Olivet University where we are committed to employing new media and technology to communicate the Gospel in ways we will explore in this course.