LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–During the early life of the Christian church, the apostle Peter charged the believers to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
A new doctoral emphasis at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to help students do just that.
The Louisville, Ky., seminary has added an apologetics-intense field of emphasis within its doctor of philosophy program, allowing students to equip themselves with the tools needed to defend their faith. The field of emphasis, which falls under the seminary’s school of theology, is officially titled “apologetics and worldview studies.”
James Parker, Southern Seminary professor of worldview and culture, will oversee the new program.
“There’s a constituency of people who want to learn more,” Parker said. “It’s just needed in our culture — people who are better prepared to be able to defend their faith and to respond to the objections to the faith in our culture at large.”
Parker, who said he believes the doctoral emphasis is the first of its kind in the United States, said a knowledge of apologetics allows Christians “to be able to give intelligent, coherent, articulate responses to attacks, and to be able to present a coherent, intelligent, articulate case for Christianity in view of the multitudinous of attacks that come from every side.”
While students will focus on Christian apologetics, they will also study various worldviews.
“Everybody has a certain set of assumptions about the nature of reality, the nature of God, the nature of morals, the nature of death and what’s on the other side of death,” Parker said. “A worldview is that set of assumptions that people hold.
“Worldview studies is an attempt to help equip people to understand that, so that one understands their worldview and one understands other worldviews. One can really understand where a person’s coming from better than that person understands themselves — if one understands the other person’s worldview. People often don’t understand that they have a worldview. They’re operating out of a worldview, but they don’t realize it.”
Apologetics and worldview studies are the third field of emphasis within the doctoral program’s worldview and culture division of the school of theology. The other two emphases are Christian philosophy and Christian ethics.
There has already been a great interest in the new emphasis, Parker said, noting, “As we looked around, we found that there seemed to be a very high level of interest in doing it.”
Applications are being taken. For information, call 1-800-626-5525, ext. 4119.