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Apologetics Syllabus

Mr. Schmidtberger
Fall 2010
• Know that Christ is supreme and Lord over all; and is the way, the truth, and the life
• Understand that robust, orthodox Christianity is supreme over all other belief
➡ Atheism
➡ New Age Spirituality
➡ Islam
➡ Judaism and Islam
➡ Eastern Religions
• Know and articulate the concept of worldview thoroughly
• Understand our calling as culture makers
• Defend the faith against rival belief system, and how belief in the gospel and biblical
truth is makes more sense upon careful examination of the facts and review of
defeater beliefs and presuppositions, with a specific focus on the problem of evil
and the relationship between science and faith.
• Gain hands on experience defending the faith by approaching others and inquiring
about their beliefs and worldviews

Teaching Method
1. Traditional Lecture
2. Discussion - see explanation below
3. Readings following our textbook: Tim Keller’s The Reason for God (Dutton,
2008), a New York Times Bestseller. Keller is the senior pastor at Redeemer
Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, a congregation with a weekly attendance
6,000 and has sponsored over 150 church plants globally.
4. Assessment - tests, quizzes, and projects
5. Practicum - field trips and critical thinking

• Quizzes - You will have 15 quizzes throughout the semester. Each is 10 points, for
a semester total of 150. These will be at the end of every week.
• Tests - 4 total spread throughout the semester. Each test will be 100 points. See
the outline for tentative dates
• Participation - This is a subjective grade determined by your teacher. Each week is
worth 25 points for a semester total of 500 points. This is the majority of your
grade. Participation is determined by:
➡ Discussion - I understand as a whole this class is weak at discussing concepts.
If you do not contribute daily to discussion, you will not get full credit. Your
comments in class can be original, or personal insights from your engaged,
careful reading assignments.
➡ Preparedness and Punctuality - You must come to class on time and prepared,
with your textbook and other homework assignments, notebook and writing
utensil. Unless given specific permission from myself, students are not allowed
to bring their laptop to class.
➡ Attentiveness - Clearly demonstrated by note-taking. Frequently I will give
handouts, outlines, and teach using the blackboard and powerpoint. These are
teaching aids; students must focus on what I am saying, not necessarily what I
am writing. Look for the point of emphasis.
➡ Demeanor - Do not distract your classmates, instead encourage them to pay
attention and contribute to class discussion. Eating is not allowed in class, nor is
chewing gum or using cell phones without permission. If used, they will be
confiscated and turned into the office where your parents/guardians must
come pick them up.
➡ Absent - If a student is excused from school or class, he/she has the
opportunity gain participation points by scripture and catechism memorization.
If a student is unexcused, they will receive 0 points for the day.
• Homework - Quizzes will include questions from your homework assignments. This
includes all of the Reason for God and other assigned readings. Again note the
outline for specifics. Major concepts from the readings reinforce lecture material,
thus they are recommended for studying purposes. Take notes on your homework
to aid your studying.

Contact Information:
Work: 412-242-8886
Apologetics Outline
Fall 2010
I. Introduction
a. Definition
b. Historical development
c. Methodology
i. Evidential
ii. Classical
iii. Presuppositional
II. The Necessity of Apologetics: Welcome to Worldviews
a. MOVIE: Collision: Is Christianity Good for the World? (a debate between
Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson)
b. HW: Pratt ch. 1-7
c. Worldviews
HW: Movie Review based on John Frame’s Questions
i. The role of Worldviews (Rethinking Worldviews by Bertland)
1. Definition – what are they
2. Formation – how do we get them
3. Functionality – how do they work
4. Xn Presuppositions (“the four pillars”)
5. WV as a Belief System
6. WV as a story
7. Knowledge and Wisdom
a. Esther Meek Visit on “Can We Know God?”
September 14th
8. Cultural Apologetics
9. Worldview Apologetics
10. Unbelief
d. Test: September 17th
e. Case Study: The Da Vinci Code
i. Movie: the DVC
ii. How did we Get our Bible?
iii. Orthodoxy vs. Gnosticism: Which Christianity is True?
III.Defeater Beliefs
a. Introduction
HW: The Reason for God (R4G) Intro
b. There cannot be just one true religion
HW: R4G Ch. 1
i. Problem
ii. Pluralism
iii. Inclusivism
iv. Exclusivism
c. Theodicy – How could a good God allow evil, pain, and suffering?
HW: R4G Ch. 2
i. Problem identified
ii. Open Theist response
iii. Free will argument
iv. Fatalist response
v. Reformed argument
vi. Pastoral response
d. Relativism
HW: R4G ch. 3
i. Inconsistences
ii. Problems it creates
iii. The need and value of absolute truth
e. Church is responsible for injustice
HW: R4G ch. 4
f. How could a good God sending loving people to hell?
HW: R4G ch. 5
i. Problem
ii. The Misconceptions of Hell
iii. Answer
g. Reconciliation of Science and Faith
HW: R4G ch. 6 along with: Waltke and Keller White Papers and Francis
Collins on Biologos
i. Problem
ii. Biblical Solutions
1. Intelligent Design
2. Theistic Evolution (Keller white paper and Francis Collins)
a. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents
Evidence for Faith
b. Stephen Colbert Interview with Collins
3. 6 Day Creationism
h. Hermeneutics – can we trust the Bible?
HW: R4G ch.7 along with article on Gender Roles and Homosexuality
i. Problem
ii. On:
1. Religion
2. Sexuality
3. Gender Roles
4. Dietary laws
5. Discrimination/slavery
i. Outside reading: Sproul’s Knowing Scripture
j. Test: October 26th
IV.The Arguments for God (and Christianity in particular) (The Reason for God:
Part 2)
a. Intro to Part 2
HW: R4G Intermission
i. How Christianity interprets the world: Creation, Fall, Redemption,
Consummation/Glorification (the storyline of Scripture)
b. Clues for God
HW: Wright’s Simply Christian, R4G ch. 8
i. Justice, Relationships, Spirituality, Beauty
ii. Cosmological Argument for God
iii. Diversity implies the Trinity
c. Knowledge of God
HW: R4G ch. 9, Anselm on the Ontological Argument, Wright’s Simply
i. Ontological Argument
ii. Moral argument
iii. Teleological Argument
d. Problem of Sin
HW: R4G ch. 10
e. Getting the Gospel right: Christ’s Mission
HW: R4G ch. 11-13
i. The Cross
1. Did Jesus really die on the cross? Various Theories
ii. The Resurrection
1. Biblical Evidence
2. Historical Evidence
3. Circumstantial Evidence
f. Test: November 19th
V. Other belief systems
a. Abrahamic Religions
HW: R4G ch. 14 and Epilogue
i. Judaism
HW: the Book of Hebrews
1. Field Trip to Rodef Shallom and the University of
Pittsburgh for Worldview Surveys-- November 16th
ii. Islam
HW: Raymond Lull’s Critique of Islam, The Book of the Gentile and
the Three Wisemen”
b. Eastern religions
i. Hinduism
ii. Buddhism
c. Pantheism/Cosmic Humanism
HW: Jerram Barr’s Lecture on New Age Spirituality
d. Atheism/Secular Humanism
HW: Is Christianity Good for the World? Written debate between
Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, and articles by selected
VI.Cults -- If there is time.
a. Jehovah False Witnesses
b. Mormons
c. Christian Science
d. Test: January 7th
a. J. Mark Bertrand, RETHINKING WORLDVIEW: Learning to Think, Live,
and Speak in this World (Crossway, 2007)
b. Paul Copan, True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to the
Christian Faith (Baker, 2009)
c. William A. Dembski and Michael R. Licona ed., Evidence for God: 50
Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science
(Baker, 2010)
d. John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (P&R)
e. Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Dutton,
f. CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
g. --------, God in the Dock
h. Gerald Robert McDermott, What Can Evangelicals Learn from World
Religions (InterVarsity, 2000)
i. Richard Pratt, Every Thought Captive (P&R, 1984)
j. Vern Pythress, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Appraoch
(Crossway, 2006)
k. Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of a Christian (InterVarsity, 2007)
l. RC Sproul, Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics
(Crossway, 2003)
m. Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity
n. --------, For the Glory of God: How Monotheism led to Reformations,
Science, witch-hunts, and the End of Slavery (Princeton, 2003)
o. --------, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (HarperOne, 2009)
p. -------, Cities of God: the Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban
Movement and Conquered Rome (Harper SanFrancisco, 2006)
q. Douglas Wilson, Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief
(Canon: 1997)
r. Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens, Is Christianity Good for the
World? (Canon, 2008)
s. NT Wright, Simple Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
t. --------, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the
Mission of the Church (HarperOne, 2008)
u. --------, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (HarperOne,
v. Ravi Zacharias ed., Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend (Thomas
Nelson, 2007)
w. --------, End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (Zondervan,
x. --------, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian
Message (Word Publishing, 2000)