Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Mary Jo Sharp

Known for her expertise in public speaking and writing, Assistant Professor of Apologetics Mary Jo Sharp emphasizes relational connections in apologetic engagement. She has written the influential Bible study,  “Why Do You Believe That?” and is a contributor to several collected works of apologetics including, “A New Kind of Apologist,” and “In Defense of the Bible.” She also regularly writes curriculum with LifeWay Christian Resources.

Visit HBU.edu/MAA and ConfidentChristianity.com.

 

Mary Jo Sharp, HBU assistant professor of Apologetics and author, joined Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University, to discuss the vital role of apologetics in the modern Church.

After becoming a Christian during her college years, Sharp says she began to doubt the Christian faith because of the behavior of some who identified as Christ-followers. Her cynicism ultimately led her to seek truth even more, and Sharp earned a degree in apologetics from Biola University. Her study was the impetus for her blog, “Confident Christianity.”

“We live in a time in which people reject biblical authority. They don’t reject it for good reasons – it’s not that they’ve taken time to carefully investigate for themselves. It’s kind of where we are as a culture,” she explained.

While many of the anti-Christian soundbites are not thoughtful arguments, they can leave the faithful at a loss for how to respond.

“Apologetics is not something that has been in our churches,” Sharp says. “We need to teach it in the Church so the first time people are encountering it, it’s in a safe place.”

Through her blog, Sharp seeks to help people know what they believe, and then learn to listen to others, question them, and formulate responses.

Earning a degree in apologetics takes learners further into both the need for the Christian faith and the reasons for its relevance and truth.

“Right now, we need to provide solid, strong answers to some of these soundbites we’re hearing that are just false,” Sharp says. “They’re not coming out of deep investigation into the truth. I can’t just sit in the pew and not look at the world; I have to give a defense.”

Sharp and Johnston each emphasize the foundational nature of teaching Christian principles within the home. Ultimately, apologetics is for every Christian.

Watch or listen to the complete podcast on HBU.edu.

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dr. Phillip Tallon

Dr. Philip Tallon is chair of the HBU Apologetics department. As a professor, he researches the intersection of theology, culture and the arts. His books include “The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith,” and “The Poetics of Evil.”

Visit HBU.edu/MAA and PhilipTallon.com.

 

Dr. Philip Tallon leads Houston Baptist University’s prestigious Apologetics program. He talked with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for HBU, about the program and the importance of the area of study.

“Even though we’re fairly new on the scene, we have one of – if not the best – apologetics departments in the world,” he said. “We have students from all over the world.”

The program has two tracks: cultural and philosophical apologetics. The cultural track looks at the ways that the arts and other forms of cultural expression point to Christian truths. The philosophical track explores traditional topics and questions such as the nature of evil and the evidence of God’s existence.

“The word ‘apologetics’ comes from the Greek word ‘apologia,’ meaning defense,” Tallon says. “It’s offering a reason for the great hope we have as Christians. Apologetics is for everyone. Anyone who is seriously interested in ministry should study it.”

Tallon says that basic biblical literacy or even commonly accepted ideas are not culturally shared as they once were. “Not that long ago in the West, Christians would not be called upon to defend and explain their beliefs,” he said. “There has been a decline of cultural Christianity in America and the surrounding world. We are seeing a rise in skepticism and even in hostility to Christian values. It’s just not the case anymore that Christianity is given deference to answer the questions of what it means to be human, what the nature of the world is and what morality consists of. There are no more free rides for Christian beliefs. We need to be prepared to encounter and face these questions.”

Apologetics study is ideal for ministry leaders, teachers, writers and every believer.

Watch or listen to the complete podcast on HBU.edu.