Thank you, Pastor David Thompson, and members of Faith Lutheran Church, for hosting the 2017 San Antonio Biblical Worldview Conference: “Contending for the Faith.” With four engaging presenters and a record attendance of well over 100 participants, this was a seminar to be remembered—and to be emulated in future conferences! For those who missed it, here’s a brief recap:
1. The Faith Once for All Delivered to the Saints
Pastor David Jay Webber led the first session, organized as a Bible study on the Epistle of St. Jude. He walked the participants through several key verses, with attention to parallel passages in the New Testament and insights gleaned from key words in the Greek text. Pastor Webber emphasized that Jude speaks of Jesus as a real person whose life was grounded in objective facts of history, and that people who are connected to Jesus experience “mercy, peace, and love” (v. 2). Christian doctrine comes from God’s Word, not human ideas, and is suited for teaching, reproof, correction, and training (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16). Those of us who have been blessed to know Jesus have opportunities to share His love, and to show His mercy, to others (Jude 22).
2. ’Midst Flaming Worlds in These Arrayed: How the Chief Parts of Christianity Equip You to Face Any Future
Pastor Jonathan Fisk identified several challenges to teaching the catechism in our postmodern, social-media-saturated age of short attention spans and narcissistic priorties. He affirmed that the catechism remains as relevant as ever, but suggested that “catechism” does not mean a particular book, nor does it mean a class that youth take for about two years before confirmation. It simply means “echo,” in the Greek, referring to a way of teaching the faith to all ages on all occasions. Pastor Fisk modeled an approach for “echoing” the Christian faith through meditation on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, pointing out that all of the chief doctrines of Holy Scripture are contained in these three simple things.
3. What to Do When Anti-Christian Worldviews Infiltrate the Classroom
My own presentation defined “worldview,” posed several questions that help a person to distinguish one worldview from another, and then traced the transformation in American culture from objectivity toward skepticism. Our nation was founded upon a Natural Law worldview that is largely consistent with biblical Christianity (although Christianity goes beyond natural law, importantly, in introducing the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ). Today, however, various skeptical worldviews dominate our culture, including Materialism, Pantheism, and Existentialism, all of which deny objective truth. Next I explained how those anti-Christian worldviews have transformed (post)modern education. Finally, I concluded with some suggestions for how Christians can address these challenges—whether in public, private, or home schools. To learn more, download my handout.
4. Defending the Defense of the Faith
Attorney Craig Parton spoke on the role of apologetics as a tool in service of evangelism. Although apologetics may be applied for the defense of any Christian doctrine, he argued that its most important use is to point people to the fact of Christ’s resurrection. Just as the apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts, used objective, factual evidence to build the case that Christ rose from the dead, so can we today. Having first established the fact of Christ’s resurrection, the apologist or evangelist next can address other questions, such as why Christ was crucified, how this connects to other doctrines—Creation, Baptism, etc.—and what the resurrection means for our salvation.
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of Into Your Hands LLC and the author of several books, including Rediscovering the American Republic (2 vols.) and Debating Evolution before Darwinism. He lives with his wife Marie and their homeschooled children in Casper, Wyoming, where he serves as Academic Dean at Luther Classical College. He previously taught American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College, 2003–2023 He also serves as President of the Hausvater Project, which mentors Christian parents. For more information, visit www.ryancmacpherson.com.