Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; ~1 Peter 3:15
Episode 1: What is Apologetics?
My name is Brian D. O'Connell. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and three precious children. Being a husband and father is such a joy! My family and I enjoy traveling to different states and countries as well as eating foods from all over the world.
My Teaching Journey
My journey in teaching began 24 years ago, teaching Tae Kwon Do to people of all ages in Folsom, California. Since 1996, I have taught numerous subjects, ranging from English, to Math & Science to Apologetics and Theology. I have also taught in a wide range of settings from a private residence in Korea, while I was serving in the United States Army, to public schools in Tulare and Napa counties, to a private school in Napa and teaching Bible studies and Sunday school classes. Each of these different teaching opportunities has shaped me into the teacher that I am today. Although it is true that I like teaching. I enjoy learning even more! It is this love for learning and answering difficult questions that I desire to impart into each of my students.
Apologetics In My Life:
When I first became a Christian I was so excited to share my newfound faith with my unbelieving friends. However, I soon found that I did not have answers to the difficult questions they were asking. When I would approach people at my church and ask questions that I had about the Bible, I was frequently told that I just needed to have faith. This answer troubled me because I felt like there should be good answers to difficult questions. Eventually I got a job at a Christian bookstore and it was there that I first learned about the field of apologetics.
Since learning about the field of apologetics I have not stopped soaking up as much information as I could get. Based on my love for studying the word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the council of my pastor, I enrolled into Talbot, School of Theology at Biola University. After a year of my studies, I relocated to Napa, California, where I took a part time position as a Theology and Apologetics teacher at a local Christian school affiliated with my church. That position grew into a full time position as a Ministry Associate at the church. When the Director of the school unexpectedly stepped down, I was asked to step in as the full time Director of the school. It was during this time that I discovered how much I loved teaching. I had ample opportunities to teach the students, but I was also teaching regularly in the Adult Sunday School at the church. After several years of acting as the Principal, a mutual decision was made to close the school, and instead of continuing to remain on staff with our church, I decided that I would pursue employment in the secular world so that I can interact with nonbelievers in order to apply my love for Apologetics. I recently worked as a Special Education Science teacher and gave the gospel and used my love for apologetics frequently.
My own personal schooling had been put on hold because I had gotten married and started having children. Thankfully the Lord had other plans! Although I was no longer attending Talbot, I received a flyer in the mail stating that Biola had a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics. I was thrilled! With the support of my wife I enrolled in their program and had the absolute privilege of studying Apologetics formally. After several years of formal training I earned a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics through Biola University.
Over the years I have enjoyed teaching apologetics and helping people answer the difficult questions that I myself had once had. I believe this is a passion that God has given to me. My wife and I have seen the Lord use my apologetics lessons in our friend’s lives. I am now furthering my education by completing leveling work in pursuit of a PhD in Apologetics and Worldview through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in Kentucky. My desire is to take my love for apologetics and teach students at the university level who will then share their knowledge with their local churches. I have seen the impact that apologetics can have on strengthening the faith of the believer and tearing down the strongholds of the nonbeliever. I believe that there is a huge need for Christians to be prepared in the field of Apologetics and desire to help people of all ages become equipped and able to give the reason for the hope that they have ask commanded in 1 Peter 3:15.