“In our highly pluralistic society, many people don’t find it adequate to simply say, ‘Here is what I believe.’ They want to be able to say, ‘Here is why I believe it, and here is why I would give it to you to consider amidst all of the other truth claims that are out there.’”
Paul Chamberlain, PhD, Director of the Institute for Christian Apologetics at TWU (ACTS Seminaries division)
Langley, British Columbia—On Canada Day, Trinity Western University will make Canadian history. July 1 is the day that ethics and philosophy expert Paul Chamberlain will begin his position as director of TWU’s new Institute for Christian Apologetics. Chamberlain will lead the institute, which is a part of the Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS) of TWU, to become Canada’s first degree granting program in apologetics, the academic study of communicating Christian faith in a manner that is credible and defensible in pluralistic arenas.
Designed for counsellors, youth workers, pastors or those looking to become skilled communicators of their faith, the two-year masters program will begin this fall and will offer day courses in addition to one-week and weekend courses to increase accessibility. Graduates of the program will earn a Masters of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) in contemporary apologetics. In addition, students who are in the Master of Theological Studies program can specialize in contemporary apologetics.
“In our highly pluralistic society, many people don’t find it adequate to simply say, ‘Here is what I believe,’” says Chamberlain, who received his PhD from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he specialized in ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of religion. “They want to be able to say, ‘Here is why I believe it, and here is why I would give it to you to consider amidst all of the other truth claims that are out there.’”
A well-respected lecturer who has guest appeared on radio and television programs across North America, Chamberlain has publicly debated professors and professionals across the country, including member of Parliament, Svend Robinson, and Dr. Faye Girsh, executive director of the largest right-to-die organization in the United States. It is these experiences that Chamberlain, a former professor of ethics, philosophy and apologetics at TWU and most recently, Canada’s executive director of Ravi Zacharias Ministries International, will share with students.
“I’ve been impressed with the revived interest among young people to know how to communicate their faith effectively and how to respond to the questions of those of other faiths or those of no faith,” says Chamberlain.
Because he received numerous calls from young people wanting to work with him, Chamberlain recently started the Apologetics Group, a group of university graduates with whom he meets to read articles and discuss current issues. It was their increased interest, along with the number of people who repeatedly attend apologetics seminars Chamberlain holds across the country, that prompted him to explore the option of establishing an institute.
“I began to look around and ask, ‘Where does a person go for apologetics training?’ In Canada, there’s virtually nowhere, and in the U.S., the options are minimal,” says Chamberlain, who will be joined by a list of expert instructors scheduled to teach at the institute. “I appreciate Trinity Western’s vision for launching a program like this. I believe it’s time for Canada to have a place where people, who are seriously interested in developing their skills, can receive training on how to effectively communicate their faith in our pluralistic society.”
Through the institute, Chamberlain also plans to stimulate research on contemporary issues—the same kind of research he carried out to author the books, Can We Be Good Without God? (InterVarsity Press, 1996), and Final Wishes: A Cautionary Tale About Death, Dignity, and Physician-Assisted Suicide (InterVarsity Press, 2000).
The institute will also hold one-day training seminars in apologetics, with the first seminar scheduled to take place this fall. For more information on the Institute for Christian Apologetics or on upcoming seminars, contact Mary West at (604) 513-2044 .
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,850 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2012-08-21