Saturday 4 December 2010

David Benson on Shaping the Thinking of Teens Outside the Church

Scripture Engagement links to some helpful-looking work by David Benson (including his Master’s thesis from Regent College, Vancouver) on how to help teenagers engage with Scripture.

They note:

‘Most of our Scripture Engagement tools are geared toward teens who are relatively open to the Scriptures though perhaps struggle to see the relevance. But what about the antagonistic atheists and seculars who favour naturalistic science over the implausible supernatural; the untrusting skeptics and agnostics who find the historical and moral assertions in the Bible literally incredible; or the confused seekers and New Agers who want meaning to their life but are suspicious of any (religious) truth claims – no matter how seemingly relevant – lest they be duped and lose their “freedom”?’

Benson’s resources aim to ‘unpack a pre-evangelistic conversational strategy that challenges, informs, and inspires teens to see the Bible as plausible, credible, and relevant’.

Benson’s model, which he is using in Australian schools, is one of ‘apologetic triangulation’. He takes his cue from ‘the discrete approaches’ of Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, and Rob Bell, finding in them ‘three distinct angles on commending the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures to a diverse adolescent audience’.

1. The Bible is plausible

Aim: opening ears by undermining secularism

Strategy: logical verification (reason)

Mode: challenge

Model: Francis Schaeffer

2. The Bible is credible

Aim: establishing trust through advancing credible truths

Strategy: empirical verification (evidence)

Mode: inform

Model: Lee Strobel

3. The Bible is relevant

Aim: arousing interest by engaging experience

Strategy: existential verification (experience)

Mode: inspire

Model: Rob Bell

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