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Thoughts for the Thinking Student
  • How do we Teach these Things?
  • Notes / Further Reading

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Thoughts for the Thinking Student

Jerry Solomon

  1. How do we teach these things?

    At this point you may be wondering how you can apply some of these suggestions with students. The following ideas are offered with the belief that you can use your imagination and arrive at even better ones.

    1. First, do role plays occasionally. This can be done either with an individual or a group of youth.

      For example, if you are working with a group, find someone from outside your church or school that the students do not know. This person should have a working knowledge of the ways in which non-Christians think. Introduce him to the group as a sociology professor from a nearby college or university. Tell the students you recently met the professor in a restaurant, at a lecture he was delivering, or devise some other scenario. Also mention that the professor is doing research concerning the beliefs of American teenagers and he would like to ask them some questions. Then the "professor" should begin to ask them a series of blunt questions regarding their beliefs. The six world view questions we discussed earlier in this essay are apropos. The idea of all this is to challenge every cliché the students may use in their responses. Nothing is to be accepted without definition or elaboration. Within ten minutes of the closing time for the meeting the pseudo-professor should tell them his true identity and assure them he is also a believer. After the students gasp, tell them you are planning a teaching series on apologetics so they can be better prepared for the issues that were raised during the role play.

    2. Second, devise a special course on apologetics for high school seniors . Don't just give the students answers to the major apologetic questions; challenge them to struggle with the questions before providing a succinct, understandable response. Use a variety of teaching techniques: role plays, debates, trials, and guest speakers (even a non- Christian professor) are some of the methods you may want to employ. Many fine books on apologetics are available for use as texts for the course. Two that can be understood easily are I'm Glad You Asked, by Kenneth Boa and Larry Moody (Victor Books), and Know Why You Believe, by Paul Little (InterVarsity Press).

    3. Third, write to the colleges and universities that are of interest to your students. Ask to receive a catalog that includes course descriptions. Look through these descriptions and discuss the world views that are espoused. For example, the majority of course descriptions within the sciences are going to emphasize evolution. Read what is openly stated, as well as what is not stated, and talk about the assumptions that are inherent in the synopses.

    4. Fourth, purchase a few textbooks that are required for courses at a nearby institution. (Buy used books, if possible.) Preferably these books should include a diversity of basic texts in the sciences and humanities. Skim them with your students in order to determine the world view of the author; then discuss the implications of this world view. For example, if you are investigating a psychology text that strongly implies the writer is a naturalist, he is not going to assert that man is made in God's image and that he has a sin nature. Instead, you will probably read that man's problem is either his environment or his genes. Encourage your students to debate such observations in light of a Christian world view.

    5. Fifth, if you live near a college or university, ask to be put on their mailing list for those interested in special campus lectures by visiting scholars. Take your students to one of these events (especially if they are free) and encourage them to take notes. (This can be a good exercise in itself, since they will have to do it in college.) Either immediately or soon after the event get the group together and discuss the points that were made during the lecture. In particular you should help them see the assumptions that supported the lecturer's position. Lead them to ask if the lecturer was in agreement with a Christian world view.

    6. Sixth, show students, by example, how to ask good questions. For instance, if a naturalist professor begins to decry the moral condition of society, she is borrowing such a position from a world view other than her own. Thus it may be legitimate to ask what brings her to the conclusion that rights and wrongs exist. And how does she determine the difference? Another role play in this regard can be effective.

    7. Seventh, encourage the students to not only visit a campus in order to get a "feel" for the social life, but the academic life as well. If there is a Christian ministry on the campus (hopefully this is true), talk with someone in the ministry who can give you honest responses to questions concerning how the beliefs of Christian students may be challenged. Then ask if they provide a resource for such challenges. If they don't, ask if such an organization exists on the campus. Also ask if there are committed Christian professors at the school who are willing to be of help.

    8. Eighth, sometime during the students' senior year (probably shortly before they graduate) get them and their parents together for a special time of prayer for their future. Make this a time of concentrated prayer. Don't deliver a sermon or Bible study; pray. More often than not the students will not forget this, nor will their parents.

    9. Ninth, consider sending students to a Probe Mind Games Conference. Or, better yet, organize one of these conferences in your own community. Probe travels around the country in order to help youth, college students, their parents, and the church at large prepare for contemporary life.

    Whether it is through Probe, or through your energies, we must do what we can to help our students prepare for the intellectual challenges of college life. Their future, as well as the future of the church, will be highly affected if our future leaders are those whose minds have been taken captive by Christ (Colossians 2:8).


    1. John Myers, ed., "Bulletin Board," Campus Alert (November 1997), 7.
    2. J. Stanley Oakes, "Tear Down the System," The Real Issue (November/December 1993), 11.
    3. Ibid.
    4. George Marsden, The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (New York: Oxford, 1994), 430.
    5. Ibid., 432.
    6. Martin Anderson, Imposters in the Temple (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 138.
    7. George Keller, quoted in "Examining the Christian University," D. Ray Hostetter, Messiah College President's Report (September 1993), 3-4.
    8. Ethan Bronner, "College Students Value Money Over Mind, Survey Finds" The New York Times on the Web (12 January 1998), 1.
    9. John R.W. Stott, Your Mind Matters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1972), 10.
    10. Carl F.H. Henry, The Christian Mindset in a Secular Culture (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1984), 145-146.
    11. Anonymous, John Myers, ed., Campus Alert (November 1997), 4.
    12. Ibid., 5.
    13. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV (Nashville: Broadman, 1931), 626.
    14. Ibid., Vol. III, 274-275.
    15. Paul E. Little, Know Why You Believe (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1968), 5.
    16. Kenneth Boa and Larry Moody, I'm Glad You Asked (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 1994), Table of Contents.
    17. Arthur F. Holmes, All Truth is God's Truth (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977), 16.
    18. Ibid., 27.
    19. Brian J. Walsh, and J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1984), 185.
    20. J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1997), 22.
    21. Ibid., 24.

    For Further Reading

    Boa, Kenneth, and Larry Moody. I'm Glad You Asked: In-Depth Answers to Difficult Questions about Christianity. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1994.
    This wonderful book is a thorough guide through apologetics. It is exceptionally clear, accurate, and very helpful. A leaders' guide is available for those who are interested in small group studies.

    Moreland, J.P. Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1997.
    This text presents a logical case for the role of the mind in spiritual transformation. Moreland challenges us to develop a Christian mind and to use our intellect to further God's kingdom through evangelism, apologetics, worship, and vocation.

    Sire, James W. Chris Chrisman Goes to College. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.
    In a very engaging style, Sire provides the reader with insights into the major world views on our campuses and at the same time tells the story of the questions, doubts, discoveries, and joys of several college friends. This book is highly recommended.

    ________. The Universe Next Door. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.
    This is a foundational text on the subject of world views. The student who grasps this book's content will have an understanding of the intellectual challenges he will face in college and in life.

©1998 Probe Ministries
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