Has the art of respectfully discussing ideas been lost? This question was raised in the article Disagreeing Well, written by Stephen Kinsella, that discussed four foundational attitudes: the first three - listen well, maintain an open mind, and respect the person – apply to schools in general; the fourth - give reason for the hope you have – has particular application for discussion about the Christian faith.
In response to the positive feedback and interest in the article, a curated reference list of resources is provided to develop and support professional learning in our school communities. There may be benefits in incorporating these resources into staff professional learning sessions as they can form a framework for discussion and develop confidence amongst the school staff to engage with a culture of alternative perspectives in a post-Christian, post-churched world.
BOOK: Sam Chan (2018), Evangelism in a Skeptical World: How to Make the Unbelievable News about Jesus More Believable
‘Most Christians already know that they should be telling their friends about Jesus. But they have been poorly equipped with methods that are no longer effective in today’s post-Christian world. As a result, many people become frustrated, blame themselves, and simply give up. Evangelism in a Skeptical World is a textbook on evangelism that is ideal for the church or the classroom to equip Christians with the principles and skills they need to tell the unbelievable news about Jesus to friends in a skeptical world’.
Find the book here.
VIDEO: Sam Chan (2018), Evangelism in a Skeptical World Video Study, Session 11: Story-Telling the Gospel (one of 12 sessions available on two DVDs)
Watch the video here.
This series is an excellent resource for professional learning in schools. One session (30 minutes) could be incorporated into a staff meeting or other professional learning meeting and includes opportunities for staff to discuss, interact and practice strategies. Each video provides practical and engaging strategies for incorporating the Gospel naturally into our classroom conversations.
Find the DVD here.
BOOK REVIEW: Adam Ch’ng (2018), Critical Contextualisation: Sam Chan’s Guide to Evangelism in a Skeptical World
Ch’ng describes Chan’s book as ‘a fine example of John Stott’s “double listening”, with one ear to the Bible and the other to the modern world’. He suggests that when evangelising, many Christians continue to default to the biblically right categories of God as king, sin as rebellion, and the response as repentance. The difficulty with these terms is that they do not engage our culture at either the ‘emotional or existential level. While these categories are right and biblical, they no longer engage our culture at the emotional and existential level’ so we must find the sweet spot of ‘critical contextualisation’.
Find the Review here.
VIDEO: Tim Keller, Russell Moore, & Colin Hansen (2017), How Sharing the Gospel in Our Secular Age Is Different
Russell Moore and Tim Keller make observations about sharing the Gospel in a secular society where most people are unfamiliar with, or distrustful of Christianity. They discuss the importance of understanding the task, so we can adjust our engagement with people.
Watch the Video here.
JOURNAL ARTICLE: Barbara J. Fisher (2012), Exploring Worldview: A Framework
This article provides a general framework for exploring a worldview—in terms of defining, analysing, developing, testing and refining it. Several contemporary major worldviews—theism, pantheism and naturalism—are examined and compared. Fisher suggests that educators are ‘culture carriers’ and as education does not occur in a vacuum, it is essential that we recognise our unique role and have an appreciation of our own Christian worldview before we can understand someone else’s. This may require us to go beyond our comfort zone where multicultural and multi-faith classrooms have become the norm. This makes it essential for teachers to be aware of, and knowledgeable about contemporary worldviews. The summary chart comparing the three major worldviews is a useful reference tool for teachers.
Find the article here.
VIDEO: Joseph Backholm (2016), Gender Identity: Can a 5'9, White Guy Be a 6'5, Chinese Woman?
This video from the Family Institute of Washington explores the contemporary liberal insistence on ‘tolerance’ as the chief virtue. Tolerance, after all, means simply allowing others to do and/or say what we may not like and combines with the rather shallow set of habits and attitudes of ‘niceness’. However, both tolerance and niceness may simply mean not caring whether anyone is right or wrong, reasonable, unreasonable, or simply lazy, as long as no one bothers to challenge anyone else. This short film offers great opportunities to open discussions with our students about critiquing, explaining and understanding their own worldview and those of others.
Find the Video here.
ARTICLE: Jon Dykstra (2018), Am I A Chinese Woman? How Questions can Defend the Truth
‘A question isn’t the best response in every setting -they can be very helpful in asking people to explain their worldviews – but when it comes to teaching people the truth, we need to do more than ask questions. We’ll need to share God’s Word, let our listener question us, and offer explanations. That’s how we should talk to anyone interested in an honest dialogue.
But for all those shaking their fist at God, a good question may be the best response. We live in a time where every one of God’s standards is being attacked and it’s about time we were asking why.’
This article can be used with Backholm’s film to explore the method of asking calm, unassuming questions to understand the views of others.
Find the Article here.
BOOK: Gregory Koukl (2009), Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions
In the Tactics course, Gregory Koukl offers practical strategies to help Christians manoeuvre comfortably and graciously in any conversation about our Christian convictions to:
- initiate conversations effortlessly
- present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively
- graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking
- skillfully manage the details of dialogue
- maintain an engaging, disarming style even under attack.
Find a Video summary of the book here.
Find the Video here.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of EdComm or the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The intent is to promote thinking and discussion.