Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management Apologetic (C2QMA). Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Wikipedia
“Jesus is the perfect apologist and critical thinker.” If you take any example of how Jesus addressed people and topics, he has the “perfect” (ideal) response that I think falls within a “predictable” format: Motivation, Action, Feedback, Learning. These components can be aligned within a cycle for learning and development referred to as the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle.
- Plan – Motivation
- Do – Act
- Study – Feedback
- Act – Learning
Overall Premise: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mathew 5:48, NIV). Striving to be more perfect requires that variation from the ideal be reduced – the gap between the actual situation and what the ideal or perfect situation would/should be.
For every student of Apologetics, isn’t the expectation that students will learn to be a more effective apologist which will result in bringing more people to Christ? If so, wouldn’t this be an example of “reducing variation?”
Take any example of Jesus’ interaction with people:
- Motivation. What was Jesus’ motivation?
- Action: Given a respective situation, what did he do and say?
- Feedback: What was the result of his actions on others? Was variation reduced, e.g. did his actions have positive effects, were more needs met?
- Learning: What was learned by those that heard or later read about the situation? What did they do with what they learned? What has been the effect of their respective contributions?
Application from the Perspective of God
- Motivation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
- Action: God gave His only begotten Son who provided the example for perfect, taught, provided examples, recruited disciples, performed miracles, was crucified, died, buried, and resurrected. His life validated prophecies in the Old Testament and his life and works are documented in the New Testament.
- Feedback. For over 2,000 years, individuals have accepted the truth of Christianity and embraced God’s plan for them. Many in turn have shared the gospel and brought even more people to Christ.
- Learning. The Apologetics Master Program at CCU is an example of building a capability to expand the number of apologists to reach even more people. And with current communication technologies, there are EVEN more opportunities to reach more people by providing the right message, at the right time to the right audience.
The Case for Christ. A practical application to help assess the format for learning and development is Lee’ Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”. His book was also turned into a movie. When reading the book or viewing the movie, can you answer the following questions?
- Motivation. What led to Strobel’s desire to challenge and then “Make the Case” for Christ?
- Action. What did he do to confirm or refute his theory?
- Feedback. What information did he obtain that convinced him of the Truth of Christianity?
- Act. How did he apply what he learned? How was this shared with others? What has been the effect and long-term result? One of the outcomes led to the development of the Apologoetiuc program at CCU.
The Master’s Program in Apologetics at CCU provides another illustration.
- The “motivation” includes the desire to bring more people to Christ.
- The “Action” is represented by the course curriculum.
- The “Feedback” would include student evaluations and feedback, enrollments, and the success of graduates. Feedback would also be used to make course and program improvements.
- The “Story” (Learning) would include how the program is marketed and the testimony from students on the success they have had in applying their new skills and capabilities in bringing more people to Christ.
- Motivation – What motivated you to enroll in a course/program? What are your expectations?
- Action – Includes enrolling in a course and meeting requirements.
- Feedback – Provided throughout each session by the instructor and fellow students
- Learning – Continually refining respective apologetic methods. Further and future learning and application opportunities are supported through repeated cycles of the PDSA.
My father was told by his doctor that he needed to adopt a better diet and exercise program or his health would continue to deteriorate and would lead to a shorter life. With the love and support of my mother and family (Motivation), my Dad changed his habits (Action). The Feedback provided by the Doctor indicated that the changes were effective. My dad lived a healthier and longer life (Learning/Story).
Deming reinforced that application of the PDSA Cycle or process is executed in the context of a system that can lead to profound knowledge:
- Psychology (Motivation)
- Systems (Action)
- Variation (Feedback)
- Knowledge (Learning)
In summary, regardless of the level – scholars to children, isn’t the aim always to reduce variation from the ideal that can be supported through a shared method?