TilledSoil conference 4x6 card

TilledSoil.org – Who are we? What do we do?

In Commentary, Foundations, Housekeeping, In the News by Steve Wilkinson4 Comments

This evening, we will be participating in the Apologetics Canada Conference 2012. We are very excited about this event, what we will be learning, and the time we will be sharing with excellent speakers, friends, and apologetics colleagues. Since we will be running a promotion at the event, we wanted to write up an article to introduce new folks to our site. But, since this post will be a bit more personal than our About page, it might be nice for our current readers as well.

TilledSoil.org was started to fill what we believe to be a huge hole in apologetic training among Christians; the nurture of such training within our churches. In fact, we believe this to be a huge hole in education and disciple-making in general. Put this in context of the culture in which Christians find themselves today, and this moves from important to crucial. Just read some of the comments on our About page by some of the top Christian thinkers and apologists!

This hole is represented by the graphic for this article (which matches the promo at the conference). The current state of apologetics is typically made up of conferences, books, DVDs & CDs, web sites, and podcasts. We’re not putting down these modes of education; they are excellent and we can use even more! However, the downside is that they often reach those already sold on apologetics and miss the majority of people in the pew. While this group of professional apologists and their students are doing tremendous work, there simply are not enough of us. We need to find a way to increase our numbers, exponentially. As conference speaker J. Warner Wallace has often said, we don’t need more million-dollar apologists; we need more one-dollar apologists. (1)And before you reach to guard your wallet, don’t worry, it’s just a catchy slogan… I know of no apologist really making millions! Professional apologists are in this because we love Christ, not to get rich. (We can use many more of both, but hopefully you see his point.)

TilledSoil decided to focus on meeting Christians where we think we can find most of them; our churches. We want to create droves of those ‘one-dollar’ apologists, and hopefully some of them will also go on to become ten, one-hundred, one-thousand, and even million-dollar versions. To do this, we have designed a basic-training, of sorts, apologetics program that we can present in a day or a few sessions. The point of this isn’t to turn out fully-ready apologists, but to put the basic concepts in mind and to introduce (and provide) resources for further study. Our experience has been that once people are exposed to Christian apologetics (often for the first time), they hunger for more.

We also realized that most churches simply do not have the resources to provide this kind of training. They could purchase a curriculum, but without a trained apologist leading it, it will be much less effective. (2)Again, more good curriculum is needed, but people learn more from an experienced teacher. That’s why people pay so much money to go to university or seminary vs. just buying some books.

We basically come into churches, alongside pastors and teachers, to provide interactive training in Christian apologetics. This begins at a ‘whet the appetite’ day course, and can transition into more in-depth training with a longer course, or training on a specific apologetic topic.

Our model:

To put trained apologists in place, supporting various geographical areas, through long-term relationships and training.

Some of our core principals for this training and our ministry:

Hands-on – as much as possible, we strive to keep class sizes down so learners have the opportunity to interact with the instructor. We feel this is the best mode for learning, so is important whenever possible.

Inter-denominational – we recognize different groups of Christians hold various positions on various apologetic topics. We do our best to explain and interact with the various positions, even when the instructor personally disagrees. We try to balance this, however, with being true to Scripture, and not simply compromising in order to be overly-ecumenical. This is a tough balancing act, and we probably won’t be able to please everyone. But, we promise we will do our best in this effort. If you read some of the articles on this site, you should get the feel for this (even more so, as we add writers who might disagree with one-another). We try to fairly represent positions, but point-out (or rule-out) views which are problematic or non-Biblical. (3)Note that our instructors are allowed to favor a particular view and point out why they hold that view and feel it to be superior. We might also be tough on aspects of a particular view that don’t seem quite right, even when it is the most commonly held view. The goal should always be to seek truth, but to leave room for discussion where there is disagreement in things which aren’t as certain.

Respectful – Hopefully this goes without saying, but our instructors do their best to be respectful to everyone. They work to balance the material they are presenting with the views present within the group, while maintaining a fair and orderly environment for the other learners.

Accurate – We try really hard to present accurate information and constantly correct aspects of our curriculum and this site that we find to be in error, or which could be better explained. As you read the articles here, you will often encounter updates, corrections, and clarifications. We’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong, as we seek truth!

Integrity – It is bad enough when we fail as sinful people in our personal lives, as we all do. But, worse, is when we fail in the actions of doing Christian ministry (apologetics or otherwise). Too often, even in Christian circles, behavior can fall to the level of “good-ol’-boys club” politics, defaming others, or lying and deception to benefit the ministry. (4)Ministries, even though Christian, are made up of sinful human beings. People are often shocked to find similar behavior in the Church as in the rest of the world. This shouldn’t shock us, but Christian ministries SHOULD work diligently to be different. We at TilledSoil feel strongly that we not fall prey to this type of behavior. We also feel we should not “aid and abet” this type of behavior when we see it taking place. This won’t always make us popular, but we believe it to be the right thing to do. And, we ask your help in this; point out our failures in this regard as we teach and write. We promise to do our best.

We need your help:

  1. Please keep our ministry, as well as all other ministries of the church, in your prayers.
  2. Please invite us to your church to assist in the advancement of apologetic training.
  3. If you are able to help us financially, please contact us.
  4. If you are an apologist who wants to help in the effort and has a broad level of apologetic training, please get in touch with us. We would like to get to know you and see if you are a good fit for what we are doing.
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