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The Leading Apologetics Center among
Biblical and Confessional Lutherans

What Is Apologetics and Is Christianity Defensible?

Christian apologetics is the discipline of providing evidence for the truth of Christianity, including the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the only Redeemer from sin, death, and the devil. Throughout the centuries the Christian church has maintained and demonstrated that Christianity is defensible in many ways that can fortify the believer and help bring the unbeliever to faith in Christ. (For a Lutheran defense and understanding of apologetics, click here)

What Is a Worldview and How Does It Relate to Apologetics?

A worldview – like an ideology, philosophy, religion, or metanarrative – is a set of related assumptions by which a person views, understands, interprets, and judges the world in which he lives. It is like putting on a particular pair of glasses that, depending on the lenses, determine to what degree a person sees the world and life as they should be seen.


A worldview addresses concepts such as God, religion, creation, origins, man, ethics, sin, life, death, the afterlife, purpose, truth, language, history, corruption, order, beauty, marriage, sex, gender, education, science, art, vocation, authority, progress, suffering, etc. A biblical/Christian worldview is to be all inclusive. Other worldviews (non-Christian religions, Modernism, Postmodernism, Cultural Marxism, Secular Humanism, LGBTQ+ ideology, Neo Darwinism, and more) address most if not all of these as well.
Christian apologetics provides evidence against false worldviews while providing evidence for the biblical worldview. For more info, go here.

Accordion FAQ Page
What We Do

The Center for Apologetics and Worldviews (CAW) provides and promotes evidence for the truth of Christianity and identifies and critiques worldviews at odds with the Christian worldview. We do so to fortify Christians in biblical truth and prepare them to defend the Christian faith with gentleness and respect so Christ, the only Savior, may be shared wisely and boldly in these post-Christian days.

CAW provides information and educational opportunities for congregations, pastors, families, teachers, colleges, seminaries, schools, and our church body. These include:

  • Essays and articles.
  • Conferences featuring experts in various areas of apologetics and worldviews.

    • Since 2018, CAW sponsored seven conferences at Bethany Lutheran College. Between 2003 and 2023 our director hosted a dozen worldview conferences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, and Illinois. Most of these have been recorded and can be accessed here.
    • Our next apologetics conference is June 20 at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato MN. For a downloadable bulletin insert, click here.
    • We intend to establish regional conferences beyond Minnesota, working with congregations, schools, colleges, and other groups who could co-host a conference.
  • Q & A flyers/inserts dealing with challenging questions (for churches, schools, homes).
  • Bible studies
  • Easy-to-learn apologetics methods for Christians and congregations for evangelism and the defense of the faith (scheduled for December 2024).
  • Apologetics and worldview materials for children and youth for use in Christian schools, home schools, and within families (scheduled for 2025-2026).
  • A “Presenters and Topics” list for congregations, schools, colleges, and conferences (currently being updated).
  • A podcast that will include commentaries and interviews (scheduled for 2025).
To view these many of these resources, including videos of conferences, click here.
Whom We Serve

CAW aims to serve and provide support for all Christians, churches, schools, and organizations. And, of course, we will seek ways and opportunities to serve non-Christians, being “prepared to give a defense to anyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you, but to do so with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

As a center of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (the ELS, not the ELCA) we especially seek to assist our congregations, Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato MN), Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (Mankato), our schools, our missions, along with our brothers and sisters in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), and other confessional Lutheran church bodies (like the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod - LCMS). Though we are limited due to our size and personnel, we will do our best not to be stingy with the gifts and resources God has graciously given us.

Where We Stand

CAW, as an organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, professes Holy Scripture as the only source and standard for Christian doctrine and practice, while recognizing the Lutheran Confessions, as contained in the Book of Concord, as the correct exposition of Holy Scripture. Within this biblical, Lutheran framework, the center follows the examples of the prophets and the apostles in pointing to evidence both within and beyond the Bible and offering well-reasoned arguments when demonstrating the truth of Christianity.

As a confessional Lutheran organization, CAW is committed to important and distinctive biblical teachings, including a proper understanding of:

  • The law and the gospel
  • Man's depravity and God's amazing grace
  • The centrality of Christ
  • The limitations of reason
  • Justification by grace alone, through faith alone, for Christ's sake alone
  • The power, sufficiency, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture
  • The distinction between the two kingdoms (sometimes called Church and State)

We balance “God has given me…my reason and all my senses…” with “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith…” (1st and 3rd Article Explanations, Small Catechism).

For a more detailed explanation of our distinctively Lutheran approach to apologetics, please refer to “Confess and Defend,” a study document prepared by our Doctrine Committee and the General Pastoral Conference essay “Confessional Lutheran Understanding of Christian Apologetics and Its Practice.

Our History

Events leading to the launching of CAW stretch back over twenty years ago with numerous apologetics and worldview conferences hosted at a retreat facility operated by Bethany Lutheran College in northwest Wisconsin.

Similar conferences later were hosted in Texas, Minnesota, and Illinois. Following one of the conferences in Texas, several pastors and professors sat down to prayerfully consider the establishment of an apologetics center for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Meanwhile, the synod's Board for World Outreach was contemplating similar plans. A resolution adopted at the synod's annual convention in 2017 established a committee to sponsor short-term programs and explore long-term sustainability. The committee hosted conferences at Bethany Lutheran College in both 2018 and 2019, and in 2019 the convention authorized the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Rev. John Moldstad, Jr., to move forward with the establishment of an apologetics center. Meanwhile, an anonymous donor provided start-up funding through a challenge grant to be matched by other donors. With God's blessing, the center was established in July 2020. Dr. Ryan MacPherson served as the first director through the summer of 2023. Rev. David Thompson accepted the call to be the new director and began his duties in February of 2024.

As of 2024, we are the only Lutheran church body that has established an apologetics board and a center to carry out this work (efforts are being made or considered elsewhere, which we welcome and encourage).

Though CAW is a synod endeavor, it is self-supporting and dependent on donations for conferences, office space, director's salary, production of resources, etc.

How We Operate

CAW is governed by the Apologetics Board of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The board includes pastors, laymen, and professors. The president of the seminary, Rev. Timothy Hartwig, and the vice president of the synod, Rev. Michael Smith, serve as advisory members. The current board chairman is Dr. Doyle Holbird, professor at Bethany Lutheran College. Rev. David Thompson serves as the CAW director.

Though CAW is a synod endeavor, it is self-supporting and dependent on donations for conferences, office space, director's salary, production of resources, etc.

For more details and to view the synodical Guidelines for the Apologetics Board and CAW, click here.