This is part two of a three part series (part 1 here) of reviews of the content of Biola University’s Distance Learning Certificate Program in Apologetics. The goal of today’s post is to briefly review the audio content of program. The final post will assess the overall program and the certificate quiz and process.
The quality of the audio recordings
First off, the quality of the audio recordings is excellent. Each CD case (DVD-stlye album) has two CDs inside. All are uniformly branded and labeled. These I immediately ripped to MP3 versions for iPod listening – but having the cases lined up on a shelf makes a good and tidy audio library suitable for lending to those who may need particular resources. Perhaps in the future Biola could make these sorts of audio lectures available as MP3 downloads or as one MP3-CD. At any rate, those who purchase this course at least can begin to build a good physical apologetics library.
The quality of the teachers
As listed in the previous review, there are some excellent teachers doing these lectures — each covering areas of their personal expertise. Biola has chosen some of the best Christian defenders for these lectures and the listener will not be disappointed by the speakers.
The level of the content
As for the level of the content, it should be noted that this is not advanced material. Many of the lectures are more of the “definitive” starting point for each topic. So for those newer to apologetics, these lectures will be fresh, meaty, relevant, and completely useful. For those who have explored some of these issues in more depth, these lectures will be appreciated, but may be a little old hat. This is not to say that they will not be useful to those already into apologetics, as they may help round out areas that one has not yet explored. In addition, you are getting 2 hours of content, which allows them to go deeper than, say, a 45 minute talk. But the main point to make here is that on a scale of “beginner/intermediate/advanced,” these are mostly beginner level, albeit great beginner level. Bottom line, if you haven’t mastered this content, then this content will serve you.
Some of the most notable content
A number of lectures really stood out of the twenty-four of them. Greg Koukl’s Responding to Relativism may be the best treatment you will find. Many have really been excited about John Mark Reynolds and his work after hearing his lectures in this course. And of course, J.P. Moreland’s contributions, including Christianity and the Nature of Science are top notch. It is likely that you will find a lot of great new material here that can be pursued in further study.
Who’s going to like this
If you are a student of apologetics, you will like this. Beginners will probably benefit and like it the most. So this is a great place to start in building a good base, as well as a good way to start to fill in gap areas in one’s knowledge base. This could also serve as a great resource for a pastor, youth pastor, or lay leader – and then make this part of your church library available to the congregation.
The benefit of this material
Some of the benefits have already been described above. However, it should be noted that upon completing the lectures, reviewing the included notes, and taking the quizzes, this can get you a certificate from Biola. You’re always going to learn more from material that you are hearing and reading at and being quizzed on. And finally, many of the outlines included here can serve well in putting together one’s own apologetics talks in church and other venues.