One of the largest and fastest growing churches in America seeks to set a new model for evangelical churches with their announcement Sunday of Dr. Jeremiah Johnston as Associate Pastor of Apologetics & Cultural Engagement at Prestonwood Baptist Church and Dean of Spiritual Development at Prestonwood Christian Academy, in Plano. Texas.
In this dual role Johnston will be responsible for training church and school leaders in biblical apologetics and developing certificate programs for lay leaders, parents, and pastors through events, teaching and preaching series, and conferences. He will focus on equipping Prestonwood’s ministers, staff, and key leaders how to address the most pressing questions challenging believers to effectively share their faith in a post-Christian world.
Johnston is a sought-after New Testament scholar, the President and Founder of Christian Thinkers Society, and an author and co-author of 10 books and Bible studies. He completed his doctoral residency in Oxford and received his Ph.D. from Middlesex University in the U.K. He holds advanced degrees in theology from Acadia University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and previously taught Early Christianity at Houston Baptist University.
“The addition of Dr. Johnston and his expertise and spiritual gifting will help undergird what we instill at both the church and school,” said Dr. Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, a multi-site megachurch with over 49,000 members.
“We live in an ever-changing world and a culture that is constantly shifting, and as believers we need to be firm in our foundation so we may stand strong for truth in all areas of life,” said Graham. “This partnership will become a model for churches and schools as we seek to engage–with our biblical worldview–an increasingly hostile and secular culture.”
“I am thrilled with Jack Graham’s vision to add the powerful and persuasive apologetic voice of my friend Jeremiah to the pastoral team at the church and Christian school,” said world-renowned apologist Lee Strobel, bestselling author of The Case for Christ and founding director of the Lee Strobel Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics at Colorado Christian University.
“I believe the addition of trained evangelists and apologists in every church and Christian school is a critical way to equip Christians to be strong salt and bright light in our increasingly skeptical culture,” said Strobel.
“Apologetics is paramount to addressing the questions people have today,” said Johnston. “People see Christianity as an answer to yesterday’s questions and think it offers no relevance today. We need to translate our faith language into what C. S. Lewis calls the ‘cultural vernacular,’ in order to answer the questions people are asking.”
Johnston said the most common questions he fields in his apologetics ministry include, “Who is Jesus?,” “If God is in control, why is the world full of fear, panic, and anxiety?,” and “What do I do when God seems silent?”
“My prayer is that church leaders will follow Prestonwood’s example and Dr. Graham’s desire to take the truth of the sufficient Scriptures and the best intellectual tools of our day, such as evidence, rhetorical arguments, philosophy, reason, and show how learned thinking can serve the propagation of the Gospel,” said Johnston.