Defenders Club hosts speaker Craig Hazen
GCU’s student apologetics club, Defenders, hosted its second public event last week, featuring guest speaker Dr. Craig Hazen, founder and director of the Master’s in Apologetics program at Biola University in southern California. Hazen shared his personal experience as an apologist and spoke on the topic of “Christianity in a World of Religions.”
Hazen brought humor to what often is regarded as an austere and intimidating field. He encouraged students to be confident as they approach discussions with others, reminding his audience of God’s power to work through His children.“The more you study, the sharper and more exact a tool you become in His hands,” he told the audience.
Hazen offered a general principle of engaging in discussion: “Ask of them as they ask of you.” When people come with challenging questions, ask for their opinion, he said. Find out what they are really saying, he said, and show that you value their opinion by listening.
In his discussion on Christianity and other religions, Hazen spoke on why a thoughtful individual would start a spiritual quest with Christianity. He offered four reasons:
First, Christianity itself invites people to test it. Other religions, such as Buddhism, are all about a focus inward and can’t be measured. But with Christianity, evidence for and against can be offered, and it actually means something. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ has not been raised, then our faith is useless. Hazen pointed out that Paul hung an entire message on a single thread. “Thankfully, the evidence for the resurrection is so strong that the thread is made of some kind of unbreakable titanium alloy,” he said confidently.
Second, Christianity is the only religion that offers grace as an entirely free gift. ”What college student doesn’t love things that are free?” Hazen quipped.
Third, Christianity portrays a believable representation of the world. Unlike many Eastern religions, which deny that there is evil in the world, Christianity teaches that the hurt we experience is real — and is something that God plans to end someday.
Finally, Christianity is centered around Jesus, a figure who appears in various forms in many religions. ”If every religion wants a piece of Jesus, why not go to the source?” Hazen said.
Hazen, who spent almost two hours speaking and conversing with students, ended with a request for students to take seriously the need to share truth with those around them.
“Take great ideas, package them in great creative vehicles and let them run amok in modern culture,” he said.
Defenders meets at 7 p.m. Mondays in Room 206 of the College of Arts and Sciences building. For more, go to facebook.com/groups/defendersgcu.
President Matthew Mittelberg said the club welcomes all backgrounds.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to attend our events,” Mittelberg said. “We want to have a respectful conversation and offer a place where people can openly ask their questions about Christianity.”