The Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s Center for Apologetics and Worldviews presents evidence for the truth of Christianity, critiques worldviews that oppose Christianity, fortifies believers with a proper interpretation of Holy Scripture, and engages unbelievers in conversations leading toward the Gospel proclamation of forgiveness in Christ.
“Apologetics” comes from a Greek term meaning “make a defense,” for example, to prove something in a court of law by presenting evidence. The New Testament applies the term to the apostles’ proclamation of the Gospel (Luke 12:11, 1 Peter 3:15). The apostles provided eyewitness testimony (Acts 1:8,21–22) concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They also demonstrated with well-reasoned arguments (Acts 17:2,17; 18:4) that Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.
Christian apologetics began with the apostles, and it has continued throughout church history. In the second century, Justin Martyr prepared two “Apologies” for defending the Christian faith before the Roman emperor. He provided both historical and philosophical arguments to protect Christians from false charges of impiety and to affirm the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians today continue to demonstrate the truth of Christianity through apologetics.
Distinctive approaches to apologetics seek to winsomely communicate with varied audiences. For example, the ELS Doctrine Committee has outlined both a “broad” and a “narrow” definition of apologetics. “It is used in a narrow sense when referring to the presentation of rational arguments and historical evidence in defense of the truthfulness of Scripture against attacks, including the historicity of the events of the Old and New Testaments, especially the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In its broad sense, ‘apologetics’ includes the use of the law to show the folly of unbelief, and also the use of the gospel in giving the reason for Christian hope.”
Learn more about the center’s approach to apologetics and worldviews here.
For video archives of previous conferences and information concerning forthcoming conferences, visit the events page of the Center for Apologetics and Worldviews.
- Bethany Lutheran College Apologetics Webpage
ELS Apologetics Conferences
- “Biblical Identities in an Age of Wokism & Transhumanism” 2022 (click here for handouts and video archives)
- “Race, Justice, Mercy, and Jesus Christ: A Biblical Worldview Conference Addressing Tough Questions with True Answers” 2021 (Click here for handouts and Video Archives)
- “Why Does Moses Matter to Christians? Examining the Meeting Point of Ancient Inscriptions, Archaeological Discoveries, and the Hebrew Scriptures” 2020 (Click here for for PDF handouts and Video Archives)
- “The Christian Church amid Seismic Shifts,” 2020 (Click here for PDF handouts and Video Archives)
- “Making the Case for the Truth of the Bible: Bringing Jesus to My Unbelieving Neighbor,” 2019 (Click here for PDF handouts and Video Archives.)
- “A Reliable and Defensible Christianity for Today’s World: Equipping Christians to Defend and Share the Gospel,” 2018 (Click here for PDF handouts and Video Archives.)
- Bethany Lutheran College Apologetics Webpage
- Doctrine Committee Apologetics Study Document, “Confess and Defend: ὁµολογία and ἀπολογία”
- 6-Part Bible Study on Christian Apologetics:
Lutheran Sentinel Articles
- David Thompson “Saved by Apologetics?” (July-August, 2022)
- Daniel Ruiz “Creation Fall Redemption” (May-June, 2022)
- Andrew Das “A Supernatural Mark Attesting the Scriptures!” (March-April, 2022)
- Ryan MacPerson “Is the Church Really to Blame? Shedding Light on the ‘Dark Ages’” (January-February, 2022)
- David Thompson “Critiquing Worldviews Opposed to Christianity” (May-June, 2021)
- Andrew Das “Fortifying Believers with a Proper Interpretation of Holy Scripture” (September-October, 2021)
- Timothy Hartwig “Engaging Unbelievers in Conversation Leading Toward the Gospel Proclamation of Forgiveness in Christ” (November-December, 2021)
- Ryan MacPherson “Presenting Evidence for the Truth of Christianity” (March-April 2021)
- Allen Quist “What Is Christian Apologetics?” (January-February 2017)
- David Thompson, “Jesus’ Outrageous Claims and Apologetics: Who Do People Say that I Am?” (March-April 2017)
- Thomas Heyn, “Dead or Alive? The Apologetics for a Resurrected Jesus” (May-June 2017)
- David Thompson, “Reliability of the New Testament” (July-August 2017)
- Allen Quist, “Answering Objections from Darwinian Evolution” (September-October 2017)
- Aaron Hamilton, “Confronting the Problem of Evil” (Nov./Dec. 2017)
General Pastoral Conference Papers
- David Thompson, “Arming Our Youth to Handle Contradictory Worldviews,” General Pastoral Conference, October 2014.
- Thomas Heyn, “Incorporating Apologetics into the Ministry,” General Pastoral Conference, October 2011.
Synod Convention Essays
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary Resources
Lutheran Synod Quarterly Articles
- John Warwick Montgomery, “Should Christianity Be Defended?,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly, 11, no. 1 (1970): 1–15.
- John Warwick Montgomery, “The Apologetic Thrust of Lutheran Theology,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly, 11, no. 1 (1970): 16–39.
- John Warwick Montgomery, “How to Validate Gospel Truth in Our Time: An Illustration,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly, 11, no. 1 (1970): 40–57.
- Steven P. Petersen, “The Role of Apologetics in Lutheran Theology,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 24, no. 4 (1984): 31–45.
- Lyle Lange, “Lutheran Apologetics: From Our Classrooms and into the World,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 51, no. 4 (Dec. 2011): 331-374.
- Allen J. Quist, “The Doctrine of Creation in Lutheran Apologetics,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 55, no. 1 (2015): 9–43.
- Daniel van Voorhis, “Lutherans and the Defense of the Faith,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 55, no. 1 (2015): 45–46.
- Allen Quist, “Defending the Christian Faith,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 55 (Dec. 2015): 345-367.
- Allen J. Quist, “The Evidence for Easter,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly, 58, no. 4 (2018): 377–97.
- David Thompson, “A Confessional Lutheran Understanding of Christian Apologetics and Its Practice,” 60, no. 4 (2020): 291-344.
Reformation Lectures, Hosted by Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary
Related Events and Resources:
- Allen Quist, “Evidence for Easter,” 2018 (Click here for PDF and Video Archives.)
- Ryan MacPherson, “Easter Evidence: What Do the ‘Autopsies‘ of Jesus Reveal?” (2018)
- San Antonio Biblical Worldview Conferences:
- Allen Quist, Salem Lutheran Church Men’s Retreat (2018)
- Lutheran Youth Association Convention (2019)
- Peter Faugstad, “Facts, Not Fairy Tales”
- Ryan MacPherson, “Spiritual Self-Defense Bootcamp: Learn How to Talk about Jesus without Losing Your Faith”
- Issues, Etc. Radio: