Apologetics and Acts 17

From the European Leadership Forum:

Despite its prominence historically, apologetics is seen as controversial in many Christian circles. Where practiced, contemporary apologetics is often characterised by a neglect of biblical foundations and models. Forum speaker Dr Lars Dahle wrote his PhD dissertation on Acts 17:16-34 as a case study of the biblical way to do apologetics.

We are pleased to present to you the following two papers written by Dr Dahle on apologetics.

Acts 17 As An Apologetic Model

“Acts 17:16-34 is the most extensive example in the New Testament of a dialogue with, and an address to, a pagan and pluralistic context. The passage clearly describes Paul as an apologist in the Athenian marketplace (the agora). It seems to have been recorded intentionally by Luke as a positive model from apostilic practice. The basis for this is found both in the fact that this passage fits a positive repeated pattern in Acts of key apologetic approaches and arguments and that Luke in the Book of Acts argues for the historical and theological truth of the Christian Gospel for Christian converts. This is done by Luke both to confirm the true-value of their faith and to give them tools and models for their own apologetic ministry”….

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Encountering and Engaging a Post-modern Context:
Applying the Apologetic Model in Acts 17

“Alister E. McGrath and Donald A. Carson are among the contemporary apologists who have reflected in depth both on the post-modern challenge to Christian apologetics and on how to apply the apologetic model in Acts 17: 16-34 to this specific challenge. In their most significant apologetic contributions, both authors rely on the Acts 17 model. Whereas McGrath interprets and applies Paul’s use of God-given points of contact in order to generate interest for the Christian Gospel — as inherently attractive — in a post-modern context, Carson interprets and applies Paul’s use of ‘the biblical storyline’ in order to confront post-modern beliefs with a coherent Christian worldview. This shows the legitimacy of the focus on Acts 17:16-34 as an apologetic model in the post-modern context”….

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Dr Lars Dahle is the Principal of Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication in Kristiansand, Norway, where he has lectured in worldviews, ethics and apologetics since 1991. Lars wrote his Ph.D. on Acts 17:16-34. It is entitled An Apologetic Model Then and Now? (Open University, UK). He is also the Chairman of Damaris Norway steering committee, serves on the Steering Committee of the European Leadership Forum and is the Director of the European Christian Communicators Network. He previously served as the Vice-Chairman of NKSS (the Norwegian student movement within IFES).