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Overview

The Foundational Apologetics course encourages and equips Christians to have natural conversations about their faith and to respond to the tough questions of our day.

Live contact times vary. Select the course date and time that works best for you.

Course date(s)

This engaging and stimulating 10-week course is delivered online but retains the journeying-in-community element that has been central to OCCA over the last 20 years. Students will have access to filmed lectures and will gather online for weekly live, interactive seminars with their lecturers.

The course is part-time and can be accessed from anywhere in the UK and beyond. You don’t need any prior theological training to participate – the material is designed to be accessible and relevant for anyone who is looking to engage thoughtfully and meaningfully with questions about faith and today’s culture.

Topics include: Critical Thinking, The Existence of God, Science & Religion, Worldviews and Human Value.

Each session also focuses on a tough question, such as ‘Why isn’t God more obvious?’‘If Christianity is good, why has it caused so much harm?’, ‘Do science and faith mix? and ‘How can anyone believe in a dead man rising?’ among many others.

What can I expect?

In advance of the live sessions, students will need to watch a pre-recorded lecture on topics such as: Critical Thinking, The Existence of God, Science & Religion, Worldviews and Human Value. This material is designed to introduce concepts and provoke thought, in preparation for the online discussion time.
Live seminar evenings will begin with an encouraging bible devotional and time of prayer, followed by an interactive Foundational Apologetics discussion, during which the lecturer will invite students to engage with and respond to the topics and questions that were raised in the pre-recorded video.
Live meetings will be highly interactive, giving students the opportunity to ask questions, discuss thoughts and share ideas together. Students will learn as part of an online community and will be encouraged to have further discussions with each other outside of class. Students will also complete one practical assignment as a means of consolidating and applying the skills learned.

In the second part of the evening, the group will watch a pre-recorded talk on a Frequently Asked Question, such as: How can we have meaningful conversations about faith? Do science and faith mix? Why would a good God allow suffering? How can anyone believe in a dead man rising? The discussion time afterwards will explore the topic further and provide practical advice for tackling objections and questions that may arise.

  • 16 pre-recorded lectures which form the basis for seminar discussions.
  • 20 hours of contact time with lecturers, spread across 8 weekly seminars (with a break over half-term)
  • One assignment to put theory into practice (including a short written reflection on a conversation)
  • Attend at least 75% of the live contact time sessions (Thursday 6:30-9pm UK time) and;
  • Complete all prerequisite activities including watching all pre-recorded videos and completing the two assignments.

Learn More

Foundational Apologetics Course Dates

Currently the live contact time is Thursdays 6:30-9pm (UK time). We understand that this doesn’t work for people in different time zones, so please keep in touch with us through our newsletter so that we can let you know when the new date(s) and times are released.

Summer Course

25 April – 27 June

Autumn Course

Dates coming soon.

Western time zone (new)

Details coming soon.

Eastern time zone (new)

Details coming soon.

Learn More

Lessons & Descriptions

In a world of challenges and questions, this lecture champions Christian apologetics. It tackles objections, encourages sincere listening, highlights the growth potential in healthy questioning, and emphasises that apologetics, rooted in Jesus’ teachings, and early church practices can deepen faith and spark fruitful conversations with seekers. It advocates a culturally engaged, biblically rooted, and evidence-backed approach, merging apologetics with mission and evangelism to lead people toward faith in Jesus Christ.

Increasingly the Bible feels remote for people who have not grown up in a context of faith. In this session we will examine some of the reasons we can give for the Bible being trustworthy as a text as well as being worthy of attention in the midst of busy lives. The reliability and the relevance of the Bible matter for us as Christians as well as being areas we might find ourselves needing to talk about with friends exploring faith.

In this lecture, we explore how worldviews shape us. We define and categorize them, stress the importance of mapping, discuss their daily impact, and address guiding others in belief exploration. Understanding worldviews is crucial, as they deeply influence our perspectives, attitudes, and responses.

This lecture is a response to ‘religious pluralism’ which maintains that the various religious cultures around the world can offer a path to knowing God. Examples of religious pluralism will be provided. I argue that there is objective truth contrary to pluralism, that various founders of religions pointed in different directions, so it makes no sense to amalgamate them. I also demonstrate that religious pluralism is a truth claim that dismisses other truth claims and is therefore no more tolerant than Christianity. I then present a case for why Jesus is unique amongst the world religions.

The question of whether there is good evidence for God is one that Christians are bound to keep encountering, particularly in post-Christian cultures where the idea that the world is the handiwork of a creator seems very far from obvious to many people. In this seminar we look at three arguments for God’s existence that have generated much discussion not only amongst philosophers but also beyond the confines of the academy, namely: the argument from cosmic fine-tuning, the argument from morality, and the argument from consciousness.

Coming soon…

This lecture explores the Christian approach to understanding God, emphasizing that it’s not just intellectual but also deeply relational. It introduces ‘theology’ as a tool for this understanding, touching on topics like Christology and God’s transcendence. The lecture contrasts natural theology, based on nature and reason, with revealed theology centered on Jesus Christ as the divine revelation.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in human history, and yet many today find it difficult to believe it could be anything more than a myth or a fairy tale. However, because the resurrection is an historical event it is also an event that can be studied historically. With this in mind, the key question this lecture shall address is: “Is belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ a rational belief?” And we shall address this question by asking two related questions” “What is the historical evidence for the resurrection?” and “Are there any plausible alternative explanations for the historical evidence, other than the Christian one?”

In this lecture we will explore the role of Apologetics in proclaiming the gospel. We will consider some of the objections to apologetics and demonstrate how putting the Bible at the centre of our apologetics helps avoid some of the pitfalls. We will look at some examples of how the Bible has been used during church history and then consider how we can use the Bible today.

For any who have experienced abuse within the church, whether by a leader, or by someone who has used theology to defend their actions, this question can loom large. Whether a first-hand experience, or witnessing another suffer, harm done in the name of God causes untold damage. In this lecture we will think about Christianity’s chequered past, what this means for the truth claims of the Christian faith, and what it means for Christians struggling to reconcile a faith they love with acts they hate.

A lot of people these days really don’t care if Christianity is true, if they can’t see how it’s at all relevant to their lives. So, in order for Christian apologetics to be effective today it must go beyond merely helping people to see that Christianity is true, to helping them see that it is also relevant. With that in mind, this lecture will introduce the notion of existential apologetics, as well as the importance of demonstrating the way in which Christianity offers a better story than competing cultural narratives. And it will finish by offering some concrete examples – that you could use in an evangelistic context – of the way in which Christianity offers a more satisfying account of reality by addressing our deepest questions and satisfying our deepest needs.

Women have experienced oppression within many religious communities around the world, including Christianity. Does that mean that the Bible has encouraged Sexism? What can we know about what God thinks of women? In this lecture we will be exploring a number of ways we can approach this these questions and how they could help us to talk to anyone who wants to engage a Christian on this topic.

Coming soon…

For many years now, people have raised questions about the Christian sexual ethic, both for heterosexuals and those identifying as LGBT+. In the last few years, one particular objection has been around whether ‘traditional’ views on christian sexuality are actually harmful to those aiming to follow them. During this talk, we will look at this question in particular. We will evaluate the concept of ‘harm’ in this area; we will look at if/when God asks us to make difficult decisions; and whether we harm ourselves when we choose to be celibate or abstinent. We will finish by looking at what relational intimacy is available to a single person following Jesus.

Given that you’re on this course, it’s likely that you’ll be enthusiastic about sharing your faith in Jesus with others, or maybe you’d like to get to that place! But how do you actually go about doing it, and what may be some of the obstacles for you? We’ll be focussing on three areas in this topic: 1. Welcoming people into our lives, 2. Working at our answers and 3. Wonder – infusing creativity and narrative into our conversations.

In this lecture on the meaning of pain, various worldviews— including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Atheism—are explored in their responses to suffering. Each worldview offers unique interpretations, from seeing pain as a test from a divine being to a result of individual actions across lifetimes. The Christian perspective posits that while suffering is a consequence of human rebellion, it is Jesus Christ who provides hope and meaning, emphasizing God’s compassionate response and the eventual triumph over suffering and evil.

Payment options

Check out the different payment options available for the Foundational Apologetics Course

Cost & Payment option

Tuition for the course is £380 and can be paid online when signing up. If it is helpful for you, there is also an option to pay in three monthly instalments.

Group Discounts

Get 10% off when you sign up as a group! That’s £38 off the course fee, which means you only pay £342 per person. We’d love you to take part along with your church team, small group, family, or friends. Email us to get your special discount code: courses@theocca.org

Bursaries

Limited bursaries may be available. Please contact us if you are interested in applying for a bursary.

Meet your lecturers

Our team speaks in a variety of settings about the big questions of faith, life, and meaning; from community cafes to universities, from local schools to the marketplace, and are here to help you learn how to answer those same big questions! Through the live and interactive element of this course, your lecturers will support you as you grow in confidence to share your faith with the people in your life and community.

Lecturers may vary slightly between courses. 

Photo of Alanzo Paul
Alanzo Paul
Alanzo's work focuses on addressing metaphysical and existential questions. He has a degree in Theology from the University of Oxford, and a Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Toronto.
Photo of Ben Thomas
Ben Thomas
Ben qualified as a Doctor in 2003, working full-time in the hospital setting with the exception of one year where he pursued training in Theology and Apologetics at the OCCA and the University of Oxford. In 2016, he obtained a Consultant post in Neurosciences Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, but now works part-time alongside his role at the OCCA. Ben has particular interests in the intersection of Christian faith and sexuality, gender, medical ethics and psychology. He has spoken numerous times to young people and adults in churches, conferences and mission events across the UK & in Australia. In his attempts to work out what it looks like to follow Jesus well, he is also a keen runner (Forrest Gump style!), musician and cook and loves spending time with family, friends and God-children.
Photo of Charlie Styles
Charlie Styles
Charlie is the executive director of OCCA. He loves teaching the Bible and is never happier than when helping people grasp life-changing spiritual truth for the first time.
Photo of Clare Williams
Clare Williams
Clare's work focuses on questions of race, justice and culture, and what the Christian message has to offer these contested issues. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and has Masters degrees in Leadership, Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity.
Photo of John Lennox
John Lennox
John is Chaplain and Speaker at OCCA. He is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University (emeritus) and speaks on the interface of science, philosophy and religion.
Photo of Lara Buchanan
Lara Buchanan
Lara has a specific interest in studying the impact of Jesus’ life and teachings on the flourishing of individuals as well as communities. She holds qualifications in History, English Literature, Education, Apologetics and Theology.
Photo of Max Baker-Hytch
Max Baker-Hytch
Max is Academic Consultant & Tutor at OCCA. His research focuses on the philosophical arguments for theism, the rationality of belief in God, divine hiddenness, and the historical credibility of the New Testament. Max has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Oxford.
Photo of Sara Stevenson
Sara Stevenson
Sara is passionate about exploring questions raised by Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. She has an MSc in Philosophy of Science and Religion from the University of Edinburgh, and an Education Degree in Religious Studies.
Photo of Simon Edwards
Simon Edwards
Simon's work focuses on presenting and defending the Christian faith in a way that engages with the big questions of our culture. Previously a lawyer, Simon holds qualifications in Law, Economics, Education and Theology,
Photo of Tom Price
Tom Price
Tom is passionate about philosophy and theology. He has an MA in Christian Apologetics, and is currently working on his doctorate in Theology, Philosophy and Film.

Frequently Asked Questions

This course is open to anyone over 18, with no specific educational requirements. However, in order to complete the course please be aware that you need to attend at least 75% of live contact time sessions (Thursdays 6:30-9pm UK time) and complete all pre-required material including watching pre-recorded lectures, and assignment.

Unfortunately the evening sessions are a required part of the course – you’re expected to attend 75% of them. If you can’t make these, keep an eye out for our other courses and events that will be coming soon!

The total time commitment per week is 3 hours: 30 minutes in preparation watching a pre-recorded lecture, and 2.5 hours live contact time.

The assignment is a conversational interview with a friend, with a short written reflection to upload.

We do offer group discounts – contact us to find out more! We’d love for you to take part along with your household or church group. Every member of the group will still need to register individually, using a special link.

Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome! We have a whole mix of backgrounds so please don’t think this course isn’t for you – if you have any specific queries about whether this course is right for you, please do contact us.

Yes there will! In addition to this Summer 2024 course which starts in April 2024, we will run the Foundational Apologetics course again in September 2024 (Autumn term) and in the new year (2025).

It isn’t! Check our other courses and events, including our free Confident Faith series for small groups, the One Year Hybrid course, and our summer events in Oxford.

Tuition for the course is £380 and can be paid online when signing up. If it is helpful for you, there is also an option to pay in three monthly instalments.

Group Discounts

Get 10% off when you sign up as a group! That’s £38 off the course fee, which means you only pay £342 per person. We’d love you to take part along with your church team, small group, family, or friends. Email us to get your special discount code: courses@theocca.org

Bursaries

Limited bursaries may be available. Please contact us if you are interested in applying for a bursary.

Still have more questions?

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What our students are saying…

  • I enjoyed the Q&R. Not only did I feel heard and understood, but all the responses of lecturers to my questions really widened my scope of knowledge.     

    Pehan. D Alumni
  • Although apprehensive  beforehand, I really enjoyed the assignment. It was rewarding and enlightening to actually practice apologetics. The principle of responding to an individual rather than an argument and of listening well really came through clearly and will stay with me.

    John. B Alumni
  • The speakers,[have] been a tremendous help and encouragement in my personal evangelism. It is easy to get discouraged but having this course has been a help.

    Nick. E Alumni
  • When I started this course the first thing I said to my family is how grateful I was that every week we spend time with one another.  I love seeing all the beautiful faces of different colours and hearing all the different beautiful accents of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and knowing we are all there for one purpose - we want to share the Gospel effectively.  I love hearing the discussions and even coming to know a little about them personally.   It is a blessing to be able to interact with the OCCA speakers, and I find the little devotional time in the beginning enriches our time together.  This is truly the best online course I have taken in apologetics.

    Candice. C Alumni
  • It is very encouraging to see people from all over who are passionate about reaching the lost in whichever vocation and location the Lord has put them in. 

    Earl. A Alumni