Digital ToolKit for Christian Teachers
Christian teachers are called to bring Christ into every aspect of their teaching. This includes the teaching of the Bible, the focus of this curriculum, but also includes every aspect of their teaching. To do this we need the best tools to help us understand at depth the faith which we are called to both live and proclaim. This resource is called a ToolKit because like a tradesperson who has a set of tools they use to solve whatever problem they are confronted with, teachers should have a set of digital resources they use to get access to reasonably detailed and authoritative information on the wide range of topics they need to deal with as a teacher practicing Christian Education, and to allow them go as deep as they need or wish to go in order to serve the Lord. The resources below are designed to help teachers develop a deep understanding of Christianity, as well giving ready access to answers when they are needed quickly. To achieve this, teachers should make themselves familiar with all the links and bookmark them so they can have easy access at any time. The target range is Years 7-12, due to the kind of questions and issues that teachers need to address at these Year levels. However, all teachers will find some useful material here. The links are listed under relevant headings, with some links appearing under many headings. Most of the links have an annotation to assist teachers to choose which link will give them the most help. Links do tend to become inactive, so if you discover an inactive link, please report it at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be either corrected or removed. If you have an additional link that you believe would be useful, feel free to submit it for consideration.
Bible Software and Online Bible Study
https://www.logos.com/ - premier digital Bible and Theological study resource. Has a range of options from basic onwards. Fully integrates all resources making any kind of study a matter of a few clicks
https://logoscloud.com/ - subscription option of the Logos platform with a very large range of resources at a very good price
http://www.theword.net/ - very functional, with good range of resources, free ones tend to be older but option available to purchase some more recent material ***Windows devices only
http://www.e-sword.net/ - see comments above, but is available on all platforms including Mac, iPads and iPhones. May have to pay for the App though on Apple devices.
https://lumina.bible.org/about/ - has a nice library of articles on a variety of topics and a platform which can operate on any device. Again, some older resources
Online Bible Study
https://www.bible.com/ - the online version of the YouVersion Bible app for tables and phones. Has a very wide range of versions, search features and a range of videos on the life of Jesus
https://biblia.com - bibles, search features and a library when you register for free
https://www.biblegateway.com/ - range of Bible, search options and other references
http://www.biblestudytools.com/ - range of Bible, search options and other references
https://lumina.bible.org/about/ - has a nice library of articles on a variety of topics and a platform which can operate on any device
In Romans 1:18-23, Paul says that God has revealed himself to all people, but that we, in our sin, have turned away from him and worshipped the creation instead. Apologetics is that area of Christianity in which this revelation of God by God to the world is explored and used as a means of breaking down the arguments people have against hearing the gospel, or as a means of strengthening people against doubts. As such apologetics covers a very wide range of subjects. Far more than most people could hope to competently answers at any depth. However, the Lord has blessed us with a very wide range of resources put together by very many gifted people, gifts from the Lord to the Church. The websites below have been chosen both because they are accessible and because of the quality of the material. Some of the sites are quite academic and others are more popular, and in at least one instance there is not agreement on important areas. So, teachers should exercise their own judgement on the material or perhaps consult with their school leadership. The list of sites is in no way exhaustive.
On the question of the value of apologetics, the Bible both affirms its importance and also its limits. Passages like Luke 1:1-4 and 1 Peter 3:15 use a method of arguing for the truth of the Gospel based on historical evidence and reasons of many kinds. Coupled with Romans 1, the use of arguments of all kinds is part of the preaching of the Gospel. However, as Romans 1 says clearly, also see Ephesians 2 and 6, people turn away from the truth not because there is a lack of evidence but because of a spiritual blindness or hardness of heart. They love their sin. Hence, if people are to come to faith, then more than arguments are needed. This is the work of the Holy Spirit and ultimately the final ground of our faith in Christ. Indeed our knowing Christ at all is a work of the Spirit. Rational arguments in the end deal only in probabilities. We, by our reason, cannot reach God, only God can reveal God, and this is what the Holy Spirit does. In seeking to reach our students then, the distinction between what we can achieve with arguments and what the Holy Spirit does needs to be kept in mind and made the basis of the change we seek to take place in our student’s lives. The obvious, but not only, application being all must be done in prayer.
This quote from Calvin puts it beautifully:
Faith as the work of the Spirit
But faith is the principal work of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the terms commonly employed to express his power and working are, in large measure, referred to it because by faith alone he leads us into the light of the gospel, as John teaches: to believers in Christ is given the privilege of becoming children of God, who are born not of flesh and blood, but of God [John 1:12–13]. Contrasting God with flesh and blood, he declares it to be a supernatural gift that those who would otherwise remain in unbelief receive Christ by faith. Similar to this is that reply of Christ’s: “Flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father, who is in heaven” [Matt. 16:17]. I am now touching briefly upon these things because I have already treated them at length elsewhere. Like this, too, is the saying of Paul’s that the Ephesians had been “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” [Eph. 1:13]. Paul shows the Spirit to be the inner teacher by whose effort the promise of salvation penetrates into our minds, a promise that would otherwise only strike the air or beat upon our ears. Similarly, where he says that the Thessalonians have been chosen by God “in sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth” [2 Thess. 2:13], he is briefly warning us that faith itself has no other source than the Spirit. John explains this more clearly: “We know that he abides in us from the Spirit whom he has given us” [1 John 3:24]. Likewise, “From this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” [1 John 4:13.] Therefore, Christ promised to his disciples “the Spirit of truth that the world cannot receive” [John 14:17] that they might be capable of receiving heavenly wisdom. And, as the proper office of the Spirit, he assigned the task of bringing to mind what he had taught by mouth. For light would be given the sightless in vain had that Spirit of discernment [Job 20:3] not opened the eyes of the mind. Consequently, he may rightly be called the key that unlocks for us the treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven [cf. Rev. 3:7]; and his illumination, the keenness of our insight. Paul so highly commends the “ministry of the Spirit” [2 Cor. 3:6] for the reason that teachers would shout to no effect if Christ himself, inner Schoolmaster, did not by his Spirit draw to himself those given to him by the Father [cf. John 6:44; 12:32; 17:6]. We have said that perfect salvation is found in the person of Christ. Accordingly, that we may become partakers of it “he baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and fire” [Luke 3:16], bringing us into the light of faith in his gospel and so regenerating us that we become new creatures [cf. 2 Cor. 5:17]; and he consecrates us, purged of worldly uncleanness, as temples holy to God [cf. 1 Cor. 3:16–17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21].
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 541–542.
Recommended Reading List
http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/03/apologetics-reading-plan-for-beginners.html - Selected list of 10 titles in apologetics to gain a solid grasp of the main issues and main lines of thought and evidence
http://www.allaboutworldview.org/# - very wide range of articles/videos. This link goes to the Worldview section
http://alwaysbeready.com/ - apologetics with a wide range of articles and other resources from a variety of sources on key issues
http://www.apologetics.org/ - site dedicated to the views and apologetic approach of C S Lewis
http://www.apologetics315.com/ - apologetics site with a very wide range of short articles and videos on a very wide range of subjects and key people.
https://beliefmap.org/about-us/ - this is a fairly new site and aims to be a kind of pocket apologetics site, giving brief descriptions and points on a range of important issues
http://creation.com/christian-apologetics-questions-and-answers - Australian Creation Ministries International Site. Focused mainly on the Creation/Evolution questions, it nevertheless has a very wide range of articles and resources on very many aspects of Christianity. High quality material, always very well referenced. Publishes a popular lay Creation magazine and also a technical level academic journal. Strongly Young Earth position.
https://answersingenesis.org/ - USA counterpart to Creation Ministries International, the centre of Ken Ham’s ministry
http://biologos.org/ - site dedicated to bridging the gap between Science and Christianity. Has adopted the position that Evolution is the means by which God created. Strongly Old Earth position. PLEASE NOTE: This site is included not by way of agreement but to give access to a position which is held by many Christians in some form or another. There are of course a variety of positions on Evolution/Creation. The websites above represent only two, though arguably the two most important.
http://www.christiananswers.net/ - popular level site with hundreds of articles on all aspects of Christianity. Has a great movie review section.
http://www.evangelicalresources.org/ - smaller site but very focused on contemporary issues
http://www.garyhabermas.com/ - website of Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University. Articles and Videos; focus on the historicity of Jesus
(for the US site, the link on the Veritas Global to the US site does not appear to be working) - Veritas was started at Harvard University. It schedules world renowed Christian thinkers from all walks of life to give presentations to university students on the key topics of today and how Christianity relates to them. These sometimes take the form go debates with other leading thinkers. Those presentations are videoed and made available on this website for free. There is a large range of topics covered, with the lectures not being over ally technical, yet intellectually challenging. Suitable for Yr 11 and 12 students, and those who are academically more able.
http://impact360institute.org/ - Focus is on the development of a Christian Worldview, especially for High School and University age students. Has a number of options including Gap Years, Immersion and Online courses. Uses Digital Learning platform for online courses.
http://www.josh.org/resources/apologetics/videos/ - website of Josh McDowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Josh has a ministry in apologetics for decades and focuses on the historical evidences for Christianity, especially the resurrection, and issues related to Christianity. This link is to the videos section.
http://www.labri.org/ - the official page of the organization started by Francis Schaeffer. Apart from resources, L’Abri also offers the chance for students to spend some time with them, perhaps as part of a Gap year.
http://www.monergism.com/topics/apologetics - huge range of resources from a Reformed (in general following after the legacy of John Calvin but in no way limited to Calvin) perspective. This is the Apologetics page
http://mygenes.co.nz/ - Academic website, but also suitable for serious readers, dealing with the scientific evidence relating to the possible causes of homosexuality.
http://normangeisler.com/ - website of Norman Geisler, one of the premier apologists of the Evangelical Church for the last 50 years
http://www.osguinness.com/ - website of a major Christian thinker Os Guiness
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/ - this is William Lane Craig’s site. He is world recognized philosopher, and one of the foremost Christian philosophers in the world at the moment. His work is suitable for stronger students and especially those in Years 11 and 12, and particularly for those who intend to go onto University. He has written a number of books, including ‘Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview'
http://www.ttf.org/ - Trinity forum is aimed at Yr 11-12 students and those in the early years of university. It has a variety of resources and programmes which aim to show how Christianity relates to the great issues of our day
The Church is a community which embraces all nations, all languages and all cultures, It extends all over the world geographically and through time. We are in fellowship with all those who call on the name of Jesus Christ, and God has given us all to each other as gifts by which we might all move together to the fullness of Jesus Christ. Church History is not somebody else’s story, it is our story, and it is not dead, it is alive for the very issues they faced and the decisions they and to make are the ones we face today. As such their story is a blessing to us from the Lord, there for us to be blessed by as we take the time to learn from them. To be truly Christian is to be in fellowship with this great cloud of witnesses, which we do by looking at Church History.
https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/ - access to online version of the Christian History Magazine. Great articles at the right depth for students and teachers. Makes Church History very real and interesting
http://www.monergism.com/topics/history-christianity - many articles on every era of Church History
https://soundcloud.com/5churchhistory - 5 min sound bites on Church History. More focused and so detailed but at 5 mins each easy to digest
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/hall.htm - similar brief overview of various eras with links for more detailed information
http://www.theopedia.com/church-history - great timeline overview of Church History, with brief outlines and links to other sites and resources
http://www.amazon.com/Church-History-Plain-Language-Fourth-ebook/dp/B00GCG55EM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1439040763&sr=1-1&keywords=church+history+in+plain+language - This is the Kindle version of Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley. This could and perhaps should be used as the basis for teaching Church History to students along with the Christian History Magazine
Digital Presentation and Interactive Lesson Creation Websites
https://www.zaption.com/ - turn online videos into interactive lessons with trackable student responses
http://nearpod.com/ - turn slideshow like presentation lessons where you can track student response
https://sway.com/ - create digital presentations
https://www.emaze.com/ - create digital presentations
https://stileeducation.com/ - create interactive digital lessons with student responses fully trackable and marksbook included. Very wide range of presentation and response options
Theology and General Resources
The following resources serve two purposes. First, there are a very large number of articles, videos and audio files on almost any topic you could think of in relation to Christianity. They are therefore a huge resource which can be searched relatively easily to find what is needed. Second, there are resources here which any teacher, or student, can use to deepen to their theological knowledge from a new believer through to graduate level, if so desired. Christian Education ideally requires a sound theological foundation. Few have the time to study full time, but a small amount of study done over time very quickly mounts up and will make a difference to our teaching and our lives. Some attempt has been made to give a range of positions, with comments on the perspective of the resource attached to the link.
https://bible.org/ - popular level articles on a very wide range of topics
https://www.biblicaltraining.org/ - free online training from new convert through to undergraduate levels from world class scholars. Includes video lectures, audio lectures and supporting notes. Broad Evangelical, with a tendency to a Reformed perspective.
https://bible.org/taxonomy/partner/reclaiming-mind-ministries - PowerPoint course covering all areas of Theology, easy follow and suitable to be used selectively with students or for self study
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ - premier Christian magazine with articles on all major questions facing Christians today. Some limited free access but for a subscription access available online to all issues. Very large range of short to long articles. ***Highly Recommended
http://www.christianpost.com/ - in the same vein as Christianity Today, somewhat more conservative in perspective, very large range of short to long articles ***Highly Recommended
https://www.covenantseminary.edu/resources/ - free access to wide range of Covenant Seminary courses at undergraduate level in video and audio form with supporting notes. Reformed perspective.
http://www.desiringgod.org/ - extensive ministry started by John Piper, covers very wide of topics couple with systematic exposition of various books from a Reformed perspective
http://evangelicalarminians.org/links-and-books/ - Theology from an Arminian perspective
http://www.monergism.com - Theology from a Reformed perspective. Huge range of articles on almost any possible question.
http://www.renewaltheology.net/ - theology from a Pentecostal/Charismatic perspective NOTE: In general Christian Schools focus on where the various denominations/fellowships agree and avoid issues which tend to divide.
http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/ - Evangelical/Reformed perspective that especially seeks to address current issues
http://www.timothykeller.com/blog/ - Tim Keller blog. Thoughtful reflections on Christianity and the modern world