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“Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) neatly sums up the unease that many Christians feel at certain times. We not only live in a postmodern age that is highly sceptical of any truth claim, but believers are told by the new atheists that there is almost certainly no God. The result is that many people experience a nagging sense of uncertainty; an attitude epitomised by the journalist John Humphrys in his book, In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist.

How then should Christians deal with the issue of doubt? Do other competing worldviews really offer the kinds of proof that Christianity supposedly lacks and what responses should we give to those who are sceptical about aspects of our faith? Could it even be possible that doubt might actually be a positive force that invites us to grow in our faith and understanding?

Doubt is a day of apologetics training designed to tackle vital questions such as these. The event aims to help Christians develop a confident faith that is able to respond to the important issues today without ducking the difficult questions.

Speakers
Alister McGrath title
Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath is Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College, London, Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He travels extensively to speak at conferences and missions. His writings include his acclaimed book on apologetics, Bridge Building, his widely popular Christian Theology: An Introduction and various titles on science and religion, such as A Fine Tuned Universe and The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology. He has also written a number of titles on atheism including Dawkins’ God, The Dawkins Delusion? and The Twilight of Atheism.

John Lennox title
John Lennox

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, and Adjunct Professor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is also a Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Saïd Business School, Oxford University. Interested in the interface of science, philosophy, and theology, he lectures worldwide and has written books on Christian apologetics, including God’s Undertaker, Has Science Buried God? and Christianity: Opium or Truth? (the latter co-authored with David Gooding). In the past four years, Professor Lennox has debated a number of the world’s leading atheists including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

Amy Orr-Ewing title
Amy Orr-Ewing

Amy Orr-Ewing is Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and Training Director for RZIM Europe. She gained a first class degree in Theology at Christ Church, Oxford University, before receiving a Masters degree in Theology at King’s College, London. Amy has written two books exploring key questions in apologetics: Why Trust the Bible? which was shortlisted for the 2006 UK Christian Book Awards, and But Is It Real? She has contributed to the books Beyond Opinion, God and the Generations and Worth Knowing: Wisdom for Women. Amy speaks and lectures on Christian Apologetics worldwide, at events such as Keswick Convention, and the European Leadership Forum, Hungary.

Michael Ramsden title
Michael Ramsden

Michael Ramsden has been European Director of the RZIM since 1997 and is joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and Lecturer in Christian Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Brought up in the Middle East before moving to England where he worked for the Lord Chancellor’s department investing funds. While doing research in Law and Economics at Sheffield University, he taught Moral Philosophy and lectured for the International Seminar for Jurisprudence and Human Rights in Strasbourg. Michael has been invited to lecture to the White House staff in Washington DC and addressed leaders at NATO HQ in Brussels, Members of the European Parliament, as well as bankers and investment managers on the current global financial crisis. Michael is also involved in a number of initiatives to equip and train emerging leaders and evangelists throughout Europe and has contributed to the books Preach the Word! and Beyond Opinion.

Walker title
Walker

Tanya Walker is an Associate with RZIM Europe and a guest lecturer and tutor for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Having gained a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Christ Church, Oxford University, she went on to work in various politically oriented roles. Recently she completed an MA at The School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and is currently studying for her PhD. She is married to Toby and they are based in London.

Talks
Session 1

Alister McGrath
What is doubt? And why do we doubt? Alister McGrath sets doubt in a broad intellectual and cultural context, helping us to see how it is an inevitable aspect of the life of faith. More importantly, it can be a powerful stimulus to growth and maturity in faith.

Session 2: Doubt and Confidence

John Lennox
This talk will compare and contrast the use of both the Bible and science as ways of establishing truth. When we read scripture, for example, what can we learn from the experiences of individuals such as Zacharias and Thomas (in Luke and John’s gospel respectively)? Furthermore, how do we balance our theological knowledge with the latest findings from the world of science?

Session 3: Helping the Believer Think, and the Thinker Believe

Michael Ramsden & Amy Orr-Ewing
Some people view apologetics as an academic discipline that is only for those capable of gasping complex intellectual argument, whilst others think it must have something to do with apologising for one’s faith. In reality the word simply means giving a reason for your faith and, as C. S. Lewis points out, it is not whether you use an apologetic in answering someone’s question, but whether the apologetic you use is a good one. During this session, Michael Ramsden and Amy Orr-Ewing will explore the state of evangelism in the world today and will share some thoughts about the major contemporary challenges faced by those of faith.

Session 4: Cultural Doubt

Tanya Walker
We are living in a multi-cultural country with increasing exposure to different cultures and religions from all around the world. Are we able to continue to make absolute truth claims even amidst increasingly diverse understandings of truth? And, if so, how do we meaningfully communicate these truth claims in contexts that assert relativism on the basis of different cultures and religions?

Timetable
8.45 Doors open
9.00 Arrive, Registration & Coffee
9.25 Welcome, Introductions, and Worship
Michael Ramsden
9.45 Session 1: Doubt
Alister McGrath
10.45 Coffee & Tea Break
11.15 Session 2: Doubt & Confidence – A Biblical and Scientific Perspective
John Lennox
12.15 Question & Answer
John Lennox
12.45 Lunch
1.45 Session 3: Helping the Believer Think, and the Thinker Believe
Michael Ramsden & Amy Orr-Ewing
2.15 Coffee & Tea Break
2.45 Session 4: Cultural Doubt
Tanya Walker
3.45 Final Question, and closing remarks
Michael Ramsden & Amy Orr-Ewing
4.30 Depart
Further Details

Getting to the venue
The venue is St Aldates Church located on St Aldates street opposite the entrance to Christ Church College in the centre of Oxford.There is no parking at the church and we recommend that if you are planning on driving to use the Oxford Park & Ride.

~ Car Parking
Alternatively, there is a public car park in the city centre called the Westgate Centre, following signs for public parking approaching the city from the south (Abingdon Road) or west (Botley Road). Parking is NOT affordable, so expect to pay upwards of £15 for a full day.

~ Rail Routes
The rail station is 15 minutes walk from St Aldates Church and serves the network section between Reading and Birmingham among other destinations. Please consult National Rail Enquires for train times and route planning.

~ Bus Routes
The main bus station at George St. is 10 minutes walk away and serves all major routes throughout the country. A particularly good option if travelling from London; use the Oxford Tube or the Oxford Express. Alternatively, consider the Oxford Park & Ride.

When to arrive
Registration starts at 9:00am, with the Welcome, Introduction, and Worship session starting at 9:25am. Please don’t arrive earlier than 8:45am when the doors open.

What to bring
We will supply all materials (pens, paper, etc.). We will also be hosting a book store where purchases can be made with cash or card payments.

Lunch
All delegates will receive a sandwich lunch.

Recording of Talks
We will be making recordings of all the talks, these will be made available for download.

Please remember to review our Terms & Conditions.