About four years ago we had the idea to start a missions training school in Parma.The Cerasino’s and the Arbortivi’s called it, “Progetto Archippo” after the admonition to Archippus in Colossians 4:17, ““Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Once you understand it, it turns out to be a good name for what they are doing here. You can find them on-line at progettoarchippo.org. Basically they have attempted to bring together in partnership about fifteen active mission agencies in Italy for the purpose of equipping indigenous believers for ministry.
When John Haley (ACCI’s Executive Director)was visiting Jarrs in Waxhaw, North Carolina he made acquaintance with South African, Simon Brace Director of SES TEAM Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte. While talking together, Simon learned of my involvement in Norway and Italy. Both Norway and Italy turn out to be strategic locations for the vision of SES’s mission vision in Europe. The SES mission focus is called TEAM ( Truth Evangelism and Apologetics Mission).
As Simon and I became friends we began to dream together and this month, October of 2011, two important things will have taken place.
SES Charlotte and Progetto Archippo, Parma
SES and Progetto Archippo partner to host an Apologetics Conference in Parma, Italy with teaching guests, Ray Ciervo, Ted Wright and Kent Suter.
SES Charlotte and Ga Ut Center, Oslo, Norway
Then at the end of the month Headmaster, Johannes Redse of Ga Ut Centre (Normisjon), Oslo, Norway will visit SES in Charlotte during their annual apologetics conference when some 6,000 people will be in attendance. It is ACCI’s hope that we will be able to formalize a teaching and credentialing relationship between Southern Evangelical Seminary and Ga Ut, Oslo.
Why is apologetics so necessary in Europe? Why can’t people just pray and present the Roman Road, Bridge to
Life or Four Spiritual Laws? Simply stated, because people in Europe have no Christian memory and what Christianity they do have knowledge of is grossly distorted. They are not looking for answers in God. Ever since the Enlightenment and the age of reason, Europe has secularized. They are not asking the questions American missionaries are providing answers for. They have been impacted by the ideas of Darwin, Voltaire, Hume, Camus, Sartre and other anti-theists. Hence, they are totally unaware that Christians have intelligent answers regarding origins, ethics, meaning and ultimate purpose of life. As Ray Ciervo said, “Apologetics removes the brush (misconceptions) that stands in the way of belief.”
This weekend, more than sixty people attended the SES Apologetics Seminar. The teachers were often peppered with bright questions from those in the audience that wanted clarification. It would be impossible for me in this brief blog to tell the reader of every occasion when the light went on and people “got it!”