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THE CELL LEADER’S MANUAL
An Apologetics Primer:

INTRODUCTION

GEM ’85, this rev. Aug 2002 & May 2003

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect . . ."     (1 Peter 3:15)


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INTRODUCTION: Peter exhorts us that, as Christian disciples, we must be prepared to give a reasonable answer for our eternal hope.  Thus, we see both the task of Apologetics and its method.  For, thoughtful Christians should be able to cogently respond to those who ask for the reasons behind our commitment of faith; and we must always do so gently and respectfully.

However, too often Christian believers in the Caribbean are not sure of what the Faith is, or of why we believe it.  So, when we are challenged we often seem to be vague, insecure, confused, or even foolish.  As a direct result, those who distort or oppose the gospel have been able to acquire an unwarranted aura of credibility, and have cast many people in the Caribbean — including many Christians — into confusion, unnecessary doubt, or even outright deception.

As a further damaging result the gospel often appears to be irrelevant or even absurd to many of the most thoughtful people in our region.  This obviously hampers our witness — “Why should we take you seriously?” — but it also cripples our ability to think, speak, work and lead with confidence in the school, on the campus, in the workplace, in government service, in the media, in the arts and culture and in the wider community.  In short, when we are not “prepared to give an answer . . . for the hope that [we] have,” it undermines our ability to be salt and light in a sin-darkened, deceived and confused region that hungers for a credible framework for thinking about truth, values and the way to build a desirable and sustainable future.

So, as educated Caribbean Christians, we must learn to handle key intellectual challenges and issues that we are likely to encounter in living, witnessing, studying, working and contributing to community development. 

Such issues typically hinge on:

(1) the reasonableness of the Christian faith and lifestyle in today’s high-tech, post-modern scientific age;

(2) the validity and proper use of the Bible as a primary authority for belief and behaviour;

(3) specific issues, such as secularism, the rise of the post-modern age, or the recently proposed Islamic alternative for understanding our past and building our future. 

In this primer, therefore, we will focus on: (1) the role of faith in all our reasoning; (2) the authority of the Bible: (3) several specific strategic issues in the Caribbean — with a view to helping us to begin to think through key issues as we prepare to serve Christ effectively in the Caribbean in our generation.

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NOTICES: This course module was originally created by Gordon Mullings, in 1985, for use as part of a manual for Cell Group Leaders for the UCCF, in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. It has been subsequently revised and developed, to date. (DISCLAIMER: While reasonable attempts have been made to provide accurate, fair and informative materials for use in training, no claim is made for absolute truth, and corrections based on factual errors and/or gaps or inconsistencies in reasoning are welcome.) FAIR USE: The contents of this module are intended for use as a support for learning about responding to the typical intellectual challenges to the Christian Faith and gospel that are commonly encountered in the Caribbean, especially in tertiary education and in commentary in the regional and international media. Permission is therefore granted to link to this page for fair use under intellectual property law, and for reasonable citation of the linked content on this site for church- or parachurch- group related training and/or for personal or academic use; this specifically excludes reproduction, linking or citation for commercial, controversial or media purposes without the Author's written permission -- especialy where matters relating to the validity and value of Faith/Religious/Atheological Commitments and Truth-Claims are being debated or disputed. PDF version available, under similar terms. COPYRIGHT:GEM 2002. All rights are reserved.