By Kevin Schwittai
Why attend Be Ready 2015? In light of the current economic downturn, I can understand the lingering question, "Can I afford this?" I don't know how you can afford not to go.
This year, Faith Beyond Belief is proud to present the highly practical ministry of Stand to Reason, including Greg Koukl, Brett Kunkle, and Alan Shlemon, with special guest J. Warner Wallace. Stand to Reason's mission is to train Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defence for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square. This mission is what we believe will help Christians engage in everyday conversations as effective ambassadors for Christ.
In our culture many people have an a priori dismissal of Christianity. This is why many simply dismiss Christianity before even considering it. But why is this? Today many people dismiss Christianity in light of our views of today's hot-button topics. They see the Christian answers to these cultural issues, and believe them to be regressive and oppressive. This is then perceived as a warrant to simply dismiss Christianity, because all thoughtful and tolerant people have progressed beyond Christianity and are focused on building a better society. This cultural assessment means that people simply dismiss us without even considering what we have to say. This leaves us with the massive problem of how to reach our culture as we strive to fulfil the Great Commission.
How are we to reach our culture as ambassadors for Christ, then? If we wish to have an impact upon our culture, we will need to engage with it thoughtfully on these hot-button issues. Some of these issues include the prevalence of relativism, the reality of Hell, the reliability of the Bible, abortion, and sexual ethics, including both homosexuality and pornography. Part of this requires us to know our culture and to love the people around us enough to actually listen to what they have to say in order to respond thoughtfully. Another important aspect of how we reach our culture comes across in how we communicate our Christian convictions. Unfortunately, many Christians struggle to communicate their convictions in a meaningful way that our non-Christian neighbours find to be significant and truly engaging with their beliefs.
It is with this intention that Faith Beyond Belief has organized the 2015 Be Ready conference. We want to help equip Christians to thoughtfully engage with our culture as we are on mission to fulfil the Great Commission. We hope that this conference will help to equip Christians to be effective ambassadors for Christ in everyday conversations. This year, our speakers will address all of the hot-button topics mentioned above:
- Greg Koukl will address the area of relativism, and how we can tactfully engage with those who would claim to believe it.
- Brett Kunkle will handle the issue of how a loving God could send someone to Hell.
- Alan Shlemon will speak on how we can speak the truth in love on the issue of homosexuality.
- J. Warner Wallace will discuss the issue of the reliability of the Bible.
- Talks on the issues of abortion and pornography will be presented during breakout sessions.
Faith Beyond Belief hopes that this conference will not be a one-time exposure, but rather that it will be a great starting point for those who are new to apologetics, and a time of further equipping to seasoned apologists. We hope that after this event, Christians will feel more comfortable and confident as ambassadors for Christ in everyday conversations.
Making this conference a reality has been a labour of love by everyone involved. All the volunteers who helped organize the events have done so out of a heart to see Christians further equipped. However, many of them have made great sacrifices. All of us have given up many hours, not only to come together for planning meetings, but also to complete the various tasks assigned to us. While this sacrifice may have come at a cost to those of us involved, it also came with a unique blessing. We have all been stretched beyond our comfort zones and have grown as individuals. Some of us have learned new skills, but all of us have made new connections with people. I am sure that some of these new friendships will grow long past the conference.
Please consider coming to the upcoming Be Ready conference. The intention of Faith Beyond Belief, and that of the many volunteers who helped plan this event, is to help equip you as an ambassador for Christ in everyday conversations. We hope to see you this Friday and Saturday, February 27-28, at Foothills Alliance Church in Calgary. You can register online at bereadycalgary.ca or at the door.