Michael Patton Interview Transcript

The following transcript is from an Apologetics 315 interview with Michael Patton. Original audio here. If you enjoy transcripts, please consider supporting, which makes this possible.

BA: Hello this is Brian Auten of Apologetics 315. Today’s interview is with Michael Patton. Michael is the president of Reclaiming the Mind and Credo House Ministries found at reclaimingthemind.org. This is a ministry of theological development for lay people. He blogs at Parchment and Pen at reclaimingthemind.org/blog and is also responsible for the development of Credo House of Theology found at credohouse.org. That’s a theological coffee house museum and book store. The purpose of our interview today is to talk about the interface between theology and apologetics, advice for studying theology and doing apologetics, and to hear about the work Michael is doing at Credo House. Well, thanks for joining me for this interview today Michael.

MP: Thanks for having me Brian, it’s great to have you…it’s great to be here, excuse me, I’m use to my own interviews that I do on my program.

BA: Well, I’d like to say thanks for your great resources, especially your interviews and the blog, the things you have available at reclaiming the mind and all of your theology program lectures have been real helpful for me.

MP: Ah, well great. Thank you so much. It’s fun, it’s what I love to do and it’s always nice as you know to see that it’s affecting people.

BA: Well, now you’ve even got a theology lectures iPhone ap or something, isn’t that right?

MP: Yea, we’re kind of jumping on the bandwagon like everybody else and putting together some applications and we’ve got a staff member, Tim Kimberly, who is on that cutting edge of all that stuff so he’s really good at putting together apps and theology apps so we got The Theology Program which is the core of our ministry on iPhone now. So if you search theology program or just theology, we were able to get that key word which nobody had taken yet as of a year ago and we took it, so anytime you type in theology we should always come up first.

BA: Well, it’s excellent. I was having a look at it today and it’s just chocked full of stuff…and a great resource. Well, we’ll link to that in the blog post but as we get started here would you mind telling our listeners a bit more about yourself and the ministry you are involved in for those who may not already be familiar.

MP: Sure, my name is Michael Patton, I usually go by C. Michael Patton and some people just know me as CMP from the blog. I am 39 years old. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma. I have been in ministry and I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2001. I was on staff at a place called Stonebriar Community Church that is in Frisco, Texas… north Dallas for about seven years, right after I got out of seminary, I went on an internship there and stayed there for a long time as a pastor and started a program called The Theology Program which is a programs of theological development for lay people, essentially taking the theological aspect of what I learned in seminary and giving it to lay people so that is what became a very big focus in my life because it was utilized by a lot of churches and utilized as curriculum until it eventually became a full time job and incorporated as a ministry called Reclaiming the Mind Ministries.

Just a few years ago we started our headquarters which is the first of hopefully a few of these which will hopefully come up over the years called the Credo House, the Credo House of Theology. It’s a coffee shop that is devoted to theological conversation but also we are trying to have the best coffee in the world, and I kid you not, we do have the best coffee in the world, we don’t take the coffee lightly because it is such an important bridge to bring in people from the outside world. It’s a great environment. Theologians all over the wall and theological phrases written in Latin where you have to ask what it means, and we’re trying a new thing bringing people on this bridge from skepticism, from suspicion to more of a comfort level to where we can discuss theological issues with an audience and so we have changed our name since then from Reclaiming the Mind Ministries to Credo House Ministries so that’s what many people know us as.

BA: It’s a great thing you are doing there and you really provide a lot of resources for teaching theology especially theology for the lay person and you’ve got a real big vision for that and I’m wondering, as you look at the church at large, what do you see in terms of maybe the average theological equipping that’s being done, what level would you like to see it at, and how can we make that happen?

MP: Well, you know I’m not quite as pessimistic as some people often are about the status of the evangelical church. I mean, I’m an evangelical and I love evangelicalism and I hold to evangelical theology pretty much on every turn. There is a lack, quite a bit, in the sense of availability and maybe just material that is out there or hope within pastors to press people hard. People may say I don’t want to press too hard or use these terms or bring up this controversial issue because it will run people off. I haven’t seen that in the last 12 years of doing theology. All I have seen is that when you do do these things and when we do press people and when you do put your confidence in them they really respond. I remember meeting Chuck Swindoll was the senior pastor that I went to and I remember very early on in my ministry in a pastor’s meeting, Chuck looking at all the pastors and saying, “Guys, don’t underestimate your people.” I think we underestimate people so often, we underestimate Christians and doing so we underestimate the liveliness of the Spirit of God within them and the desert that exists often whenever we withhold theology and say that it’s ivory tower stuff or it is stuff that is for people who are only interested or planning on going to seminary, this is for all of us, this is coming to know our God, it is saying that God has revealed himself and there are things about him that we can understand about him with great joy and excitement. Jeremiah says, as God spoke through Jeremiah, let not people boast in their horses or riches or own wisdom but him who rejoices, rejoice in this, that he understands and knows me and theology is the process of coming to understand God. And throughout the church, how is it, I think there is a pessimistic attitude that people are scared to bring theology to the people but I’m optimistic because I think the spirit of God living within us gives us the ability to be optimistic all the time. People will respond because it’s their God.

BA: Well, one of the things I’d like to talk about in the interview today is sort of this interface between theology and apologetics so I’m wondering how you would describe maybe the difference between apologetics and theology of course but also the overlap between the two and how do you think they should support one another?

MP: Well, when we created The Theology Program, it was a long process, it took me five years to go through and create workbooks and DVD sets for all 60 sessions, and it was going back and forth with different scholars that I have relationships with at different evangelical seminaries and it was a lot of fun.

One of the hardest things was at the very beginning we said, here’s what we’re going do. We’re going to create a theology program, were going to create a church history program and were going to create an apologetics program and they would all be separate but as we got into teaching people theology we found out you just can’t separate them. Whenever you’re teaching theology, you got to teach the history of theology and whenever you’re teaching theology you’ve got to get to the point where you’re defending it and so we found, or at least I found that apologetics is underneath the umbrella of theology, it is a subset of theology, it is something that you cannot distinguish from theology because it is theology and doing apologetics is a very personal thing especially for me. I am one who grew up in a Christian church, grew up in an evangelical environment but has gone through the process of really questioning those things quite a bit myself and it’s not so much questioning them because I want to be able to tell my friend, again maybe it’s the selfish part of my story, but in the end I wanted to be able to defend it to myself. I mean, I didn’t want to just be spouting things I had been taught just to tell the same things over and over again without ever having thought through it and so whenever you’re doing apologetics, I think you’ve got to see it as you are doing it with yourself, you know, you are defending it to yourself and to the degree that you’re are doing apologetics with yourself and ask the right questions and struggle with the issues yourself personally is the degree you are going to be effective when you are called upon to witness to someone else because especially in a post-modern world, especially in an environment where people are so skeptical, so suspicious, so doubtful and confused, they want to see some real, legitimate, authentic, theology that comes out of you and that is going to issue forth in your defense of the faith and so defending the faith is going to be absolutely, completely tied to your theology and the way you have thought through the issues that are essential to the Christian faith.

BA: Well, if I’m kind of following on there, I asked you a moment ago about the state of theological understanding of people in the church at large. What would you say about the theological understanding that you would like to see for those doing apologetics, and to kind of clarify, sometimes people get into apologetics without any kind of formal theological background and then perhaps go back to set those foundations in place… or some may neglect theology proper and are simply out there studying or doing apologetics in some fashion, what are your thoughts on how apologists, or budding apologists, maybe should be equipped theologically?

MP: Well, I think, whenever you teach something, you teach about five percent of what you’ve learned over the past week, a pastor giving a sermon, a regular sermon of 45 minutes, he’s not, at least he shouldn’t have, exhausted all of his resources. He has to have put this together and been very intentional about it because of the broader understanding and the theology is the forest and apologetics is the trees in this situation and you’ve got to know the forest before you get into the trees.

So whenever we are doing apologetics, I encourage apologists and people who are out there to defend the faith to seek to understand very broadly so they can decisively and incisively begin to answer the faith that we have and the questions that people have. If the person is what we call one and answer will in The Theology Program in class number 1, we say that some people are one and answer will, all you want is the right answer to the questions so you can be prepared, but if you approach it like that, just give me all the right answers and I’ll write it down with on a pen and paper and I’ll have it in my back pocket ready to answer the right question, you know somebody comes up to you and says if God exists why is there evil and you pull out your note pad and you say let me get to that part in my notebook hold on just a minute and you get to that page and you say oh here’s the page … it looks like because God has a greater purpose, a greater good planned, yep, that’s it…next question. That really looks like a lack of depth because you haven’t really wrestled with it yourself. And so whenever we are doing apologetics, this should come from the depths of our heart, the depths of our being, the depths of our understanding, and it’s not always about just giving an answer, it’s about giving an authentic representation of what we know. So many people just want to give an answer and they want to either look smart or sometimes just legitimize themselves. Many people get into apologetics out of insecurity. I think we can find this by people who are former atheists, we have so many of those who are out there on the internet right now who are out there blogging, debating, and they have their calling card “I used to be an apologist for the Christian faith,” and sometimes as you read their stories they were an apologist and they were so insecure and they were trying to be an “one answer will” and they weren’t really trying to wrestle with the issues at a profound level and therefore that type of apologetics failed them.

But the type of apologetics that is really seeking to come to know God and to say, Lord, I’m wrestling with you, I’m Jacob, who is ready to get my hip put out of socket because I want this blessing so badly, I want understanding, I want depth of my love for you to be birthed out of this wrestling match that I want to have with you and I know you’re going to win and I know my hip’s going to be out of socket. But that’s going to create an authenticity in me that will make me limp before people, be more real and more authentic and more real to myself as well and my faith more real.

BA: Yea, that’ really good Michael, and you know what you were saying reminds me of some of the things I notice when I was going through all of the different Theology Program lectures. One of the things you always emphasize is wrestling through all sides of the issue. And I know you hold a certain theological position, but you never put that as the goal that you are working towards in your lesson. Instead you present all the sides and you are presenting all the possible views. Can you talk about the importance of not just learning one perspective or being real narrow in our understanding of a theological position?

MP: Yea, definitely, we’re Protestants, we’re not Roman Catholic we’re not Eastern Orthodox. Catholics have a magisterial authority that they turn to, the Pope or the Counsels or the Magisterium. The Eastern Orthodox usually keep it with the seven counsels or and the traditions of the church. One of the unique things that we have inherited is this bible in every man’s hand idea. That is such a profound concept basically what we are saying is that we want you to know this yourself and we are so committed to you truly believing this yourself that we are willing to put a Bible in your hand and back off to some degree. It doesn’t mean that we disregard who has gone before us or what has gone before us or the aid of others, in the Credo House we have all the great theologians hanging up high, 20 foot high on the ceiling looking over us so that we have this idea of the traditions gone before us but in the end we have to hand it over to people. We can’t as pastors and teachers act as their magisterium and we have this risk that if we teach honestly and openly and not dogmatically and magisterially, if that can be a word, that God is in control and that God is going to be able to pull off what he needs to pull off and he will honor our teacher so when it came to different issues there are historic or contemporary legitimate options out there that people are arguing for you can’t hide it, people will find out later on. I mean you can’t shelter or put yourself out on an island and theologically try to train everybody to be reformed Calvinist, dispensationalist, or whatever it might be. But you’ve got to put a Bible in their hands and back off. And that’s what I try to do in my teaching is the best I can, I don’t always represent everybody perfectly but I try to understand ever body as well as I can.

When I was writing a section on Roman Catholicism and the Canon of scripture I spent two and a half years just talking to other Roman Catholics. Not just friends, but apologists for Roman Catholicism and trying to understand them and understand where they are coming from and I even went into a spiritual thing myself where I said “Lord, I don’t want to approach this as a one answer will, but I’m looking for the right answer and give it m,e” and hopefully I will put it in the notes for The Theology Program well, I want to know the truth and if any of these issues I need to change in help me to change.

So when every you are approaching theological issues and approaching apologetics there is a sense that you have to approach it at least from the human side that we could be wrong and if you don’t approach it like that all we are doing is engaging in a study of confirmation of prejudices. I’m going to study this to show that I am right, I’m going to preach this so I can get an amen. You’ve got to be willing to change, and the degree to which you are willing to change in all of your studies is the degree that you are going to come out of it confident in whatever conclusion you come to. Now I happen to come to the conclusion of the evangelical consensus about the central issues of the Christian faith and I’m glad I do but I still to the best of my ability wrestle with it.

BA: Very good, and I want to point people to The Theology Program as a good place to start for a great resource for theological training and a good starting point. Now talk about if you would, certain pitfalls that you see that come from neglecting theological training in whatever degree.

MP: Well, obviously, here’s the first place we’ve got to start, if we neglect theological training what we’re essentially saying, and theology is a big word, theological training sounds more academic or I could put is down a little lower, we’re neglecting coming to know our God at a deeper level. We’re saying to God, listen, you’ve revealed a lot about yourself but it’s a little too confusing so I’m not going to wrestle with it. We’re saying Lord, I know you want to come to know me and that’s fine, come to know me, but I can’t come to know you, you’re either, you can put it in a very positive sense, you’re too great for me to be able to define in human language, or I don’t have time for you, really is what we sometimes say and so the importance is this, say you just got married to someone and you say after a few months of marriage your wife sits down with you and says I want to know a little bit more about you, I know a lot about you, you know we’re married but tell me about where you grew up and what was it like with your relationship with your sisters and you would think that that’s great and you would think that’s a normal part of marriage and your wife turns around and says now let me a little bit about my past and about me and my personality and my likes and dislikes, let me tell everything about me and you say, no, I love you so much that I don’t really want to know any more about you.

I think that sometimes when we neglect theology that’s what we’re saying. God, cook my meals, God, contribute in the family circle, in very practical ways, make me feel better, at night time we will take turns with the kids, that kind of stuff, but I don’t want to get to know you in any profound sense and that is what he’s doing because he’s written a pretty big book both in the Bible and in the sky and said I want to tell you about me. I want to tell you a whole lot about me and I’m big enough and I’m powerful and I’m smart enough to make it to where you can actually understand a great deal of things and Moses at Sinai after he gave the commandments to Israel, the Swan Song, in Deuteronomy, he said the secret things belong to the Lord and often we look at that verse and we stop there and we think, oh yea, the secret things, those are very secret and the mysterious things and anytime there is a mystery in my life I will appeal to that verse. The emphasis of that verse is after the book but the things revealed belong to us. There’s a lot that has been revealed by God to us and they belong to us there are part of our cherished possession in so much as they give us an understanding of God and so you can come to know God, you can come to know him profoundly, yes, there’s people who agree on many different issues but that does not alleviate us of that responsibility of that wrestling match with the angel of the Lord.

BA: Well that’s great advice and good stuff there. Now your ministry does a phenomenal job of providing resources and a lot of the are free for training and equipping people to build this theological foundation but what kind of advice would you have for those maybe considering a more formal sort of training how does one know say that seminary is the right thing for them. Would you have any advice along that line?

MP: It all depends, if you are going into ministry I always tell people in the situation especially in the western world where we live and it’s so available you know you really need to get trained formally in some type of seminary. We’ve got enough of them that are good out there and there’s enough of us to be able to say we will trust in the Lord to provide for us if we are going into formal ministry of some sort and by formal ministry, I just mean full time, whatever that may be however, that is not for everybody and it doesn’t mean as I said earlier that we are not responsible to come to know our God more.

Whenever people are considering seminary the first thing I say is, this is the greatest benefit of some type of seminary, formal seminary is that you are really placing yourself under someone. You are placing yourself under the school, the professor, under the reputation of a seminary, whatever it may be but you are submitting to the an authority and we’ve got so much maverick theology going on out there and so many people that are discipled through blogs or just through the internet and we’ve got such great resources, I mean you and I both use these resources online and use the online avenue but in the end we really need to be under the authority of someone and be able to be told we are wrong, this was a bad paper, you are misrepresenting this person’s position, you preached and when you preach you’ve got this thing that aggravates me whenever you are up there on stage and you need to do something about that. All of these things from the most theological to the most pragmatic are placed under that authority of someone else and whenever you are looking for a seminary and whenever you are trying to contemplate going to seminary you need to say “why, why am I going to seminary?” and a lot of people will say “I can get education anywhere online, I can even go through The Theology Program” and I don’t tell people The Theology Program is a substitute for seminary in any sense. We need to be placed under the authority of people, we need to be humbled in many different ways the thing that we lose when we are talking about the internet and distance that is placed between us and our theological education is we lose that mentorship.

That mentorship is such an important part. You can’t be mentored by a screen, you can’t be mentored by a blog. If you get all your education online you will see just the drive-by shootings of people that are just posting things and they are not thinking about it and there is just no suffering whenever you can sign on to a site and put your name as “Doubting” and put whatever you want to on there and leave and you never come back. And you see that and you think it represents the theological community that is out there and we really need to take our training more seriously and I think seminary is a great place for that.

Whenever you are talking about seminary and how do I know whether to go, that’s really a different question, I think it has a whole lot to do with internal passions number one if that is what you are driven to do, and number two I don’t know which is more important internal passions or the second one is the encouragement of other people, the community of God, have they come in and encouraged you to do the same thing or is this just from you. I think whenever God makes major moves in our lives, he brings in other people to encourage us to do the same and then number 3 is open doors, financial doors, being accepted into a seminary is an open door in and of itself. I would say those three factors come in: personal passion, the community of God’s encouragement, and open doors.

BA: Great advice there Michael. When I think about the Credo House, a coffee shop with a lot of theology books inside and an atmosphere where people can connect and converse, the thing that comes to my mind is community and your mentioning there the importance of coming under the authority of others—but can you also talk about the importance of being with others who are, if you will, wrestling with the issues and discussing them and interacting about them, how beneficial is that and how is that part of the way the church should be growing together?

MP: I think it’s so much about our education. It’s very easy to get together with a bunch of people that already believe the same thing as you and agree with you and you are around them reading books that you all already agree with. Whenever you force yourself into a little bit more broad community it causes you to have to wrestle with things differently. When somebody comes in and there is an environment of honesty, an environment of openness, hey you can ask whatever questions you want, express yourself however you want, we’re not going to judge you or jump all over you, we’re not going to tell you you’re dumb, then people begin to open up and they begin to see, hey, this guy over here, he wrestles with this issue over here, he doubts, and he’s never really been established in the resurrection of Jesus, how can he, is he a Christian, I’m not sure anymore.

If those types of things cause us to wrestle with things more than we would with black and white paper or on the internet, you have to look people in the face and you have to work things through differently, you know, this guy’s been coming to the Credo House that is a Roman Catholic and my theology beforehand, kind of black and white on a notepad in my back pocket said that Roman Catholics can’t be saved but you know what, he seems to love Jesus and I don’t really know what to do with it now, this Charismatic guy who speaks in tongues, and I’ve never spoken in tongues and he’s sitting next to me and how can he believe the same way I do about the authority of scripture when at the same time speak in tongues, I thought people who spoke in tongues were at least not following the Lord as closely as I am. In community, in a broader community like that you have to wrestle with things differently, it’s real life and I’m not saying it dictates your answers but it does cause you get outside of those paradigms which so easily be set up or are isolated in our theological studies. You got to have people around you and you’ve got to see real life working out in them and not just yourself.

BA: Now, I know your time is limited but I want to ask you a few more questions to get your advice and pull from your areas of passion. When it comes to theology, what lesson have you learned from your experience that you want to impart to those engaged in theological studies.

MP: I think the first, most important thing, hands down is this, I may not have said this ten years ago but I can say this today, and like you said with passion, it’s very much a passion of mine every time I open up one of my classes for the first ten sessions of intro, we talk about this, theology is such an incredible blessing. Coming to know God is such an incredible blessing, understanding and knowing him is such an incredible blessing but it can create such an arrogance that is so diametrically opposed to that which we are learning about Christian faith we can get this sense to where we can actually belittle other people that do not understand or know things like us, we can carry ourselves theologically so arrogantly. I sometimes call this the dark side of theology and it is the dark side, sometimes I am scared because I’m going to create theological monsters. You know, I’m a Calvinist and I find this more in my Calvinistic circles myself, they can be so mean-spirited and sometimes I think to myself after I’m done or after somebody has been trained… was it worth it? “What happened Lord?” I would rather this guy go back to a state of ignorance, this baby-like state of loving you, than this teenager is a know it all and arrogant and I don’t want to put in front of anybody and I won’t allow to teach anything and this is the thing that I encourage people that if your theology doesn’t humble you more you are probably doing it wrong. If you don’t come out of it more gentle, more kind, more compassionate, more understanding and sympathizing and empathizing then your hip has not been displaced. You’re not limping, you’ve got to get out of this with a limp and it’s so important for us as people who passionately love the Lord, to not arrogantly promote him but to promote him with such gentleness and humility.

BA: Now from an apologetic perspective, I know our listening audience is going to be many of those who may be budding apologists, those who may be learning to defend the faith, wanting to be better at what they are doing, what advice would you have for them?

MP: First of all, we need apologists, we need people out there defending the faith, I think of people like Mike Licona and William Lane Craig and what they do, it’s so hard to put yourself in the circles you have to put yourself in all the time. It’s hard all kinds of circles no matter what you’re vocation in life, we are all called to be apologists but some of you are going to be specifically called to spend your life just defending your faith. One of the other things I would say more than anything else, make sure you can keep a tight connection with your Christian community. A lot of times young, budding apologists want to take on the world. They say, “I’m going to be able to defend the faith therefore I’m going read every single atheist book out there and I’m going to immerse myself in fellowship with atheists because if I don’t, I’m not going to be that strong,” and it’s kind of like if you worked out, you say I’m going to get in shape and you say I’m going to really pump up my muscles and you go to the bench press machine and you say I’m going to do this non-stop until my muscles are strong and you start bench pressing and after a while your exhausted and you can’t do it anymore and you have to take breaks, you have to let your muscles heal, you have to have that time of recuperation. Even the big body builders don’t work out every day on the same muscle group, usually they work out once a week on the same muscle group. I think it’s the same way whenever it comes to dealing with apologetic issues, dig into it deeply, back out, think about it, contemplate in it, go out with your friends, fellowship with other believers.

You can get so involved in contrary positions and contrary communities that the involvement itself can disturb your faith. Not the intellectual things they bring up but the actual involvement. For example, I may go out there and say, there’s a society out there called the Flat Earth Society or I’ve heard there’s a group out there that really believes in aliens and so all I’m going to do is study about UFO sightings and aliens and so you involve yourself in this community and conspiracy communities you know 9/11 didn’t really happen or we didn’t really land on the moon or we were the ones behind 9/11 and if you get around those communities and all you do is spend your time on there, I promise you that no matter how persuasive their arguments are they could be nothing, but the community itself will begin to erode you to beginning to consider those things. Sometimes people enter into this apologetics stuff and they think they are going to take on the world and then all of the sudden they begin to doubt their faith very profoundly and they have one or two choices they think, I’m going to get out of this apologetics stuff all together or I’m going to give up the faith which neither one of those has to happen. We’ve got to pace ourselves.

Make sure as Paul says in Romans chapter 1, “I long to be together with you while among you so we can be encouraged in the faith both yours and mine,” while we do not promote as apologetics the confirmation of prejudices, we do promote the confirmation of prejudices. I know that sounds weird but there’s a time when we do fellowship with other believers and bring ourselves up precisely because they believe the same thing that we do and do not neglect yourself of that if you want to have, ironically, a more objective approach and number 2 to stay strong in your faith throughout your endeavors. So young apologists really, that’s one of the main things they need to be concerned with especially with so much atheistic and non-Christian material available to them, you’ll never be able to read it all, you’ll never be able to answer every single question, just pace yourself.

BA: Well, I always ask my guests for their nuggets of advice and I have to say that that is up there in the top ten as far as one of my favorite nuggets there that you have provided and I appreciate that. Now finally Michael, I know that you’ve got a ton of resources for training and I know that I haven’t mentioned most of them so take a minute there and what one’s are you particularly excited about that you to point our listeners to.

MP: Well the main thing we’re excited about is the Credo House concept itself, it’s a coffee shop that is a bridge from a culture into theology and it’s a great coffee shop and we feel like it in and of itself on the walls is curriculum. It’s kind of a brand new thing and it’s going so well. I’m standing up here in the entry way of the Credo House and people are coming in left and right and having coffee and asking who the theologians are, lots of stuff, and that’s the main thing, we want to plant one of these in Dallas, is our next one but we want to keep on planting these to aid the church, to come alongside the church to help the church for fellowship among pastors, for a place that you can come and take a break and have a cup of coffee. That’s one of the main things that we do. Of course, there’s The Theology Program which is the most in depth you can get with regards to our curriculum and where it all funnels to. The Theology Program is available online, it’s available on DVD, you can find it all through our website through the iPad, iPhone, we’re continuing to come out with updates, we should have a new update in another month for the iPad and the iPhone. The Discipleship Program is a program is just 10 sessions, The Theology Program is very in depth we love for you to get it started in your church but be ready, it’s a big commitment, hour and a half a piece, probably you need to set aside two and a half hours every week for this. The Discipleship Program is something you would give to a brand new believer, help me be established in the faith, I just became a believer, what are the things I need to know about the Christian faith and we did the discipleship Program which is a DVD set along with a workbook and it’s got five sessions on what five things have all Christians always believed, what are the most important essentials of the five things we believe and the five things we do so it’s orthodoxy, right teaching, and orthopraxy, what do we do, that’s The Discipleship Program. Then we’ve got little boot camps as well that are four or five sessions a piece, Essentials of the Faith, Church History Boot Camp, boot camp on how to study the Bible, all of those things you can find on our website as well and they’re great resources for small groups, for large groups, for home schooling, or for just to take individually.

BA: Well, super. Michael, it’s been a real pleasure speaking with you and I appreciate your time and your ministry. Thanks for doing the interview.

MP: Same to you and all the Lord’s blessings to Apologetics 315. I really appreciate what you guys are doing; I’ve kept up with you a lot.

Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

Defenders Media provides media solutions to an alliance of evangelistic ministries that defend the Christian worldview. We do this by elevating the quality of our members’ branding to match the excellence of the content being delivered.