Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apologetics and high school students . . . finishing the thought.

So here's some final thoughts on my previous post.  A Facebook reader responded with:

This is very interesting to read but not at all surprising given our society's path it is taking towards social relativism and universalism. Also, I think that a lot of modern churches have stressed the importance of having an experience with God and what He can give you, not about what He has already done for us (died on the cross for our sins). If all we think about is how God will provide for us on a daily basis, we miss the bigger point. Without him dying on the cross, everything else is pointless.

I also think that education is changing.  My students have never been without readily available content, ever - such is Generation iY.  The truth is that I can lecture all day long about the evidence for Christianity and they can pull up multiple websites with the same content and opposing websites with false content while sitting in class trying to listen to me.  They have more facts than they can possibly process.

I suspect they process it all through a filter of emotion and experience more now than ever.  So I am trying to teach with these thoughts in mind:

Less talking at and more talking with.
Knowing more about God replaced by knowing God more.
Authentic experiences trump excellent experiences.
Conversation more important than the conversion (more on that in a future post)
Engagement is always the focus. Always.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apologetics and high school students . . .

I'm back in the classroom this year, teaching theology to juniors - just one section of 24 kids.  

I've observed that kids have changed over the last seven years since I last taught apologetics. All of the evidential facts that I used to put in front of them to give evidence to the reliability of Scripture and the resurrection was exciting!  The notion that they didn't have to throw their brains away to be Christians was life-altering for many of them.

While this was still true for some this year, I discovered that "facts" and evidence seem to be met with more and more apathy. 

So one day I asked, "Would you rather have me make an air-tight case for Jesus, or would you rather 'experience' Him - even if I can't define what that means?" They almost all chose the second. Interesting.

Maybe more on the larger meaning of this later . . .

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is a Lutheran high school?

I recently wrote the following piece for Lutheran High School's website:

A friend of mine once told me, "Lutherans are committed to receiving God's love, God's Word, and God's forgiveness.  We get it. We share it. And we leave the world a better place."

A Lutheran high school has the same mission.  You can find Lutheran high schools all over the country, all committed to the same thing: being academically excellent schools that God uses to transform the lives of others through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in John 10:27-28 - "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."

Jesus knows us.  And that same love and salvation that He extends to us through His death and resurrection is the same salvation that is proclaimed daily in our Lutheran high schools across the country.

Jesus knows us and in turn, a Lutheran high school knows and loves its students. The relationships formed at a Lutheran high school become the foundation for both academic excellence and spiritual encouragement. Lutheran high schools are communities of people dedicated to having a conversation about what God has done for us through His son Jesus Christ.  Those communities are then the perfect compliment to families and churches who value both reaching the lost and raising up Christian kids to become spiritual champions.

And that is why the environment of a Lutheran high school makes an instant connection with Christian families. One need not be a Lutheran to attend a Lutheran high school.  The core tenants of "grace alone," "faith alone," "Scripture alone" found in Lutheran theology and doctrine by their very nature resonate with all people in search of the truth.  They also draw in non-Christians who are seeking answers to the greater questions of life.

Indeed, Lutheran high school communities leave the world a better place.