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Apologetics for Men

November 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

In 2012 Carl Beech, Andy Kind, and I got together in a room in Chesterfield to talk about how we could help with the tough questions that are asked both of ourselves and of our faith. Carl – as the then head of Christian Vision for Men (CVM) – wanted to reach the men of the UK with the good news of Jesus. Andy – the comedian and storyteller – wanted to blend his comedy with his apologetics passion. I – fresh out of my training with The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics – was eager to get stuck in where there was a need. And this is how the Demolition Squad was born.

Now three years in, with articles written, podcasts attempted, and conferences attended we’ve pulled together some of best content and blended it with a fresh, funny (thank you, Andy) voice in one book: The Ultimate Survival Guide: How to talk about God, the Bible, and stuff.

The Ultimate Survival Guide: How to talk about God, the Bible, and stuff

CVM are taking orders online now

25+ Common Objections Covered

Talk about Jesus anywhere and you will inevitable face questions in response. This is as true in the UK as in other countries. However each culture will frame questions in a particular way and with a particular emphasis. The challenge that Carl, Andy, and I faced was how to answer the questions being asked from men in the UK. Not this narrows the scope of book to too fine a spectrum, the book is still broader than something aimed at bird watching enthusiasts from Hull, for example.

Over the first three years we employed different tactics and approaches, and having distilled all our thinking, writing, and speaking we came up with three areas of questions tackle in the book: Scientific and Logical Objections, Personal and Emotional Objections, and Biblical Objections.

Scientific and Logical Objections

From ‘There’s no such thing as absolute truth’ to ‘Science has replaced God’, the challenges come thick and fast in this category. We’ve focussed on 8 challenges:

  • There’s no such thing as truth
  • There’s no proof for God
  • Science has disproved God
  • The Universe is just there/has always existed
  • Who created the Creator?
  • We evolved out of chaos
  • So many different religions…they can’t all be right!
  • What about people who haven’t heard about Jesus?

Personal and Emotional Objections

Because man is not a purely rational being, many objections to faith will take a more personal tone. From ‘Is it a weakness to need to believe in God?’ to questioning the good and bad that religion – and Christians – have done, there are many responses to tackle here. We again chose 8 questions to focus in on:

  • Christianity is intolerant
  • Christians are hypocrites
  • All religion is brainwashing
  • Look at all the harm that religion has done
  • It’s just wishful thinking
  • You don’t have to believe in God to be a good person
  • A God of Love wouldn’t send (good) people to Hell
  • But Stephen Fry said it

Biblical Objections

The Bible is hugely important to our faith. Christians read it, believe it, and base their lives on what it says. So can we trust it? Sink the Bible, and you sink Jesus. But if the Bible can sustain its claims of divine inspiration & authority then Jesus is real, what happened 2,000 years ago really took place, and we have some thinking to do! We provide answers to 9 questions in this section:

  • All religions basically teach the same thing
  • Jesus wasn’t a historical figure, but was based on pagan myths
  • The Bible has been doctored and corrupted
  • Jesus didn’t think of himself as divine
  • I believe Jesus was a just good moral teacher
  • The Bible is irrelevant, outdated and outmoded
  • God is a moral monster
  • Jesus didn’t rise from the dead
  • Why did God kill his own son

Oh, and the Problem of Suffering, too …

This one is a biggy, so we added an extended section at the end of the book dedicating more time to unpacking this particular challenge and explore some of the hopeful replies that Jesus offers in response. Read an extract from this section on the CVM blog.

The Ultimate Survival Guide is now available to pre-order from the CVM website.

Quickfire: CVM Training Day

Date: Saturday 8th February
Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Location: Rising Brook Church, Stafford

This Saturday I will be heading to Stafford to give a talk at the CVM Training Day: Quickfire. Looking at the topic ‘Conversion Through Persuasion?’ I’ll be presenting a 20-minute TED-style talk covering the use of arguments, illustrations, and questions in our evangelism to men.

There are 8 other fantastic speakers presenting on a range of topics to equip as all as we seek to tell more men about Jesus.

Booking is available online.

Demolition Squad Update

September 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

In November 2012 the Demolition Squad was set up at Christian Vision for Men (CVM). Since that time Andy and I have got to work, writing blogs and engaging in the debates that followed.

As well as writing the blogs we had a great time at the annual summer conference, The Gathering (video coming soon!). Getting the opportunity to equip Christians in the UK with tools to share their faith was exciting and rewarding. Andy and I had a lot of fun!

Listen to the Demolition Squad podcast in iTunesNew Podcast

Our latest development from Dem Squad R&D is the new Demolition Squad Podcast. Starting with Intolerance Andy and I chat about a variety of issues confronting the message of Jesus. We engage serious topics with a splash of humour and hope that these talks are useful and thought-provoking.

View the podcast in iTunes or Feedburner.

Recent Blog Posts

The last 9 blog articles from Andy and myself.

Latimer Minster have recently launched a new devotional series on the books of Psalms. For the next 6 months we will be taking a Psalm a day and reflecting on it. My first reflection, on Psalm 5, is below.

Why not add this to your daily devotional? Sign up to the Latimer Minster mailing list to receive an email with the Psalm of the day.

Click to sign up for daily emails
Click to sign up for daily emails

Psalm 5: Protection in the Midst of Danger

There are two things that strike me as I read the second half of this Psalm. Firstly, David isn’t afraid to ask God for protection for his own responsibility. The nation of Israel had many enemies. As king, it was David’s job to protect the nation. The presence of conflict was never far from David and he grew to know God as the provider of his own, and his family’s protection.

This is rooted in David’s unswerving confidence in God’s assured love. In verse 7 we see that it’s by God’s ‘great love’ that David petitions God. This love is a divinely protected, confident favour towards David and it is the same resolute love Jesus offers his hearers in each of the Beatitudes. It’s a blessed, steadfast assurance and it’s strong enough to stand on.

David knew both the reality and source of the danger that faced him, and even more importantly, the source of his strength he would need to take his charge and confront that danger. He was fighting the battle that needed to be fought and he was fighting it the way it needed to be fought.

Continue reading …

C.S. Lewis: A Life

Author Alister McGrath launches his new biography in Oxford on Thursday 2nd May

Alister McGrath’s new biography of C.S. Lewis, C. S. Lewis: a Life: The Story of the Man Who Created Narnia, has recently gone on sale.

To celebrate the launch of the book The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics are hosting a book launch at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford on Thursday 2nd May. See below for further details.

Alister McGrath and everyone at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics would love to invite you to the launch of his new book, C.S Lewis: A Life on Thursday 2nd May at 7pm at Blackwell’s Bookshop. For free entry, please email the RZIM office to confirm that you would like to attend.

There’s more info about the book launch on the attached flyer but you can ignore the £3 entry fee if you email us (as above).

C S Lewis: A Life has already had some great endorsements, including one from A N Wilson, who wrote what many regarded as the definitive biography of Lewis back in 1990:

There have been plenty of biographies of Lewis – I once wrote one myself – but I do not think there has been a better one than Alister McGrath’s.

RZIM Europe are Hiring

February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Keen to work in a growing, exciting ministry based in Oxford? RZIM are currently hiring for four positions.
RZIM - Join the Team

RZIM currently have a number of job opportunities for the following positions:

(The deadline for applying for the above roles is 1 March)

(The deadline for applying for the above roles is 9 April)

Click on the above job titles for further information about the roles.

It was a great privilege to study under Professor John Lennox last year. Here’s a recent clip of his November 2012 debate at the Oxford Union.

You can catch Professor Lennox, along with Amy Orr-Ewing and the RZIM team at the Oxford Training Day on Saturday 26th January.

Confidence in the Truth

Featuring: John Lennox, Amy Orr-Ewing, Keith Small, Tanya Walker
Location: Examination Schools, 81 High Street, Oxford
Date: January 26th 2013 – 8:45am start

For more details and to book online visit the event page.

The Radcliffe Camera

In February last year, whilst visiting Oxford for the day, I paused for coffee at G&D’s with a friend. Over the light chit-chat my friend, Tom, found out that I was leaving my job to study full time. “Why not come and study in Oxford?” he asked.

And so, in October I found myself in Oxford starting the one-year programme at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Talk about your weak links coming into play.

Or talk about a God with purpose and destiny for your life.

I have found that opportunities for the next thing in life often pop up in a way one could hardly anticipate in advance. And so the next step in my life followed suit.

After a great week of mission in Sweden and another week in east-London earlier this year, one of my tutors came up to me and said, “We’re looking to launch an apologetics missional community in the heart Oxford. Will you come and lead it?”

And now, as I type, we are four days out from the launch of Latimers Oxford, a missional community in the heart of Oxford.

Dreams and prayers and planning have converged. A team has formed and is gelling together. A vision has blossomed and people want to be a part of it.

Latimers Oxford is a fresh shoot of the growing Latimer Minster church in Beaconsfield. We are a group of people gathering together to worship, pray, and get engaged in mission. The focus of the mission component is mission through apologetics – that is, dealing with people’s objections, intellectual and emotional, that they might see Jesus.

I fell in love with Oxford last year. This city of great heritage and history has played and continues to play such an important role in this nation. Great waves of revival and reformation have rippled out from this City of Dreaming Spires.

I long to see the vision of giants of the past sustained. Men like Wycliffe, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, Wesley, Wesley, and Whitfield.

The Hub
The Hub on Turl Street, where we meet every Sunday 3-5pm

Jesus’ hope is powerful to change lives, communities, and whole nations. We at Latimers Oxford seek to play our part in proclaiming the risen Christ as Lord and Saviour in our city.

We kick off the Sunday meetings with a look at the life and death of Hugh Latimer, the namesake of our little group. If you’re in Oxford why not join us? We’d love to have you.

Latimers Oxford meets every Sunday 3-5pm at The Hub, on Turl Street. Additionally, we meet to pray every Wednesday at 7am in Starbucks on Cornmarket Street.

Follow Latimers Oxford on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m speaking at the Making A Difference festival in Newham, London this Saturday (1st September 2012). If you’re in the area, join us!

Each seminar will be followed by Q&A.


Don’t All Religions Lead To The Same God? – 1:30pm

If God Is Good, Why Does He Allow Suffering? – 3:15pm

Find out more and register for both sessions here.


UPDATED: Christ Church, 663 Barking Road, London E13 9EX

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After spending a numbers of years working in evangelism and training around the world I returned to my home country in 2009. I returned in part because Carl Beech, leader of Christian Vision for Men (CVM), asked me to come back and work for the organisation.

Having seen a little of evangelism in overseas countries I was keen to stuck in on the ‘home front’. Through my 19 months at CVM I saw much of the country, much of the desire for people to share their faith with their friends, and the enormity of the task at hand.

During my time overseas I came to see the need for effective apologetics in evangelism. Apologetics, put simply, is dealing with people’s objections that stop them seeing Jesus. I grew to enjoy the discipline, find I had a gifting in the area and the desire to grow in it.

Every culture has its own challenges and obstacles. My time with CVM helped me to understand some of the current problems men face in the UK in their faith today.

In 2011 I was released from my position in CVM to study at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. My time in Oxford boosted my foundation in Christian Apologetics and opened up new areas of engagement to me.

Now I get to put all of this together!

It’s with real excitement that I can announce that Andy Kind and I will be heading up the Demolition Squad, the new apologetics arm of CVM. Through this new initiative we will be bringing apologetics training to the hundreds of men’s groups up and down the country that are fighting hard to see their families, friends, colleagues etc. come to know Jesus.

There is lots more to come, but for now read all about it here.