It didn’t take long to convince me that Christianity wasn’t true. After trying many times to answer reasonable questions posed by my friends, it was obvious I had no clue how to defend my Christian convictions. So, I gave up on Jesus.
Fortunately, a Christian university professor I spoke to years later wasn’t as ill-prepared as I was. Though I posed the same questions asked of me years ago, it didn’t even cause him to flinch. Rather than losing his faith, he helped restore my faith. He was persuasive, yet gracious. He shared the truth of Jesus with me in a way that was simple and clear.
Can Christians learn to be like this professor? Yes. That's why I've devoted my life to training believers to articulate their convictions in a winsome manner.
If you’d like to see your group equipped to change their world for Jesus, then look at the work I’ve been doing. You’ll find that even complex issues can be made accessible and easy to share with others. Let’s partner together to make Christianity something worth thinking about.
Alan is turning the tide on Christian training. He knows many believers aren’t equipped to persuasively share their convictions with our culture. It’s difficult. People often view Christians as anti-science, anti-choice, judgmental, homophobic, and intolerant. They see the Church as backward-thinking.
Though they’re largely mistaken, that perception repels people from the truth of Jesus. Worse, many Christians struggle to respond in a persuasive, yet gracious manner. They don’t feel confident to engage people in conversation about their convictions.
That’s why Alan has dedicated his life to training Christians to thoughtfully articulate their faith and values. He realizes that when people are properly equipped, they’re more confident about talking with others. Because they become more skilled in maneuvering in conversation, they’re more effective at sharing their faith.
Prior to training Christians, Alan worked in hospital-based physical therapy for ten years. He trained people who could no longer walk, stand, or even sit to rebuild their strength, gain confidence, and physically achieve former levels of function.
During this career he still served the body of Christ by teaching and was a bold witness for Jesus on bioethical issues at hospitals in Southern California. The positive reaction he received from students and coworkers propelled him to turn his full-time attention from working with physical bodies to spiritual ideas. That transition brought him to work with Stand to Reason.
Alan’s work represents the best in Christian thinking and the art of conversational persuasion on challenging issues of our day. In fact, he has distinguished himself in training Christians about the most controversial issues of our time like evolution, abortion, relativism, homosexuality, euthanasia, cloning, and Islam. His broad experience allows him to bring clear thinking to almost any issue.
Alan’s training incorporates three components. First, he equips people with the knowledge to form a foundation of belief. Second, he teaches them to communicate their knowledge in ways that are persuasive and clear. Finally, he shows them how to make the manner of their approach warm, friendly, and gracious. What makes his training unique is his ability to make complex issues accessible to anyone--adult or youth audiences.
Alan graduated from California State University, Long Beach and a holds a Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He has been a guest on both TV and radio, and has spoken to thousands of adults and students across the country at churches, conferences, and college campuses. He lives in San Diego, California with his wife, Jennifer, and two children.
What people are saying about Alan Shlemon...
Alan Shlemon is one of those rare "go-to" people with regard to thoughtful Christian engagement. He is always incredibly well studied on the subjects he addresses and he presents his ideas in a crisp and compelling way. Perhaps most importantly, Alan models a way of speaking the truth in love that we all need to follow. He truly is a winsome and attractive ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ and an effective advocate of the great ideas that ground our faith commitment.
Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D.
Founder and Director of the MA in Christian Apologetics, Biola University
Author of Five Sacred Crossings
“Alan Shlemon and Stand to Reason provide a valuable service to both the body of Christ and to our local church. With thousands of people coming each weekend, it’s impossible from both a time and research perspective to stay on top of all the important theological, apologetic, and social issues that impact our people. Alan has successfully resourced our congregation and staff over the years with a strong grasp of theology and the contemporary issues. He always does so with, truth, grace, humility, and persuasiveness.”
Larry Osborne, Ph.D
Senior Pastor, North Coast Church
Author of A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God and Sticky Church
"Alan is a rare and much-needed voice for today. He has a sharp mind, a compassionate heart, and a deep understanding of both contemporary culture and Scripture. Alan brings a fresh perspective to help the church effectively reach a new generation."
Youth Speaker & Apologist
Co-author of Understanding Intelligent Design
“Alan is a talented, winsome thought provoking teacher and speaker. He is adept at topics ranging from Islam to Bioethics. Through his work with STR, he does a masterful job of equipping thinking Christians to deal effectively with the religious and moral issues central to our faith.”
Tim Mosteller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California Baptist University
"Consistent with the brilliant vision of Stand to Reason, Alan Shlemon is a knowledgeable and winsome defender of Christian faith and values. Alan persuasively communicates not only the truth of Christianity against false ideas and religions, but also the virtues of Christianity as he speaks with gentleness and respect. Christians and non-Christians alike will benefit from the work Alan Shlemon is doing with Stand to Reason for the cause of the gospel."
Roger N. Overton
Co-editor of The New Media Frontier and blogger at ATeamBlog.com
“Alan Shlemon was the keynote speaker for our FOCUS series yesterday and he did an outstanding job. His presentation on the Columbo technique was invigorating and intellectually satisfying. Students are already using this tactic in their witnessing and his talk has generated a tremendous amount of high-quality conversation throughout the campus.”
Michael Buratovich, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Spring Arbor University
“Alan Shlemon is an excellent thinker and wonderful asset to Stand to Reason. He is great on the life issues, but I’ve been even more impressed with his understanding of Islam and how Christians should handle the homosexuality issue. Alan truly knows his stuff, and he presents it in a thoughtful, humorous, easy-to-understand way. He’s incredible at making personal connections with students, building relationships through conversations and games that the students never forget. I’m looking forward to working more with Alan in the future, and I would encourage you to do the same. Alan’s work is effectively equipping Christians to defend their views on some of the most controversial topics being talked about right now.”
Director of Education & Public Relations, Right to Life of Central California
“Alan spent one entire day training our teens to dialogue intelligently, calmly, and persuasively about abortion. The teens were impacted beyond description, being able for the first time to feel confident about articulating their pro-life beliefs in a persuasive manner. Alan is a powerful teacher, and is also personable so that the teens felt really comfortable with in-depth discussions with him. He has since been a guest speaker for both teens and adults at several of our statewide events. I highly recommend Alan Shlemon as a skilled teacher."
Executive Director, Oregon Right to Life
"Alan Shlemon is a gifted and knowledgeable teacher and a tremendous asset to the Body of Christ. But more than this, Alan is also a very personable and authentic speaker who has the ability to communicate truth while connecting deeply with those he teaches. He understands the issues surrounding Islam, (as just one example), and he delivers the information in a way that is compelling and informative. Along the way, Alan became a friend of our church family and a respected resource for the future. It was a joy and a privilege to have him lead our retreat and we’re looking forward to having him back soon.”
Senior Pastor & Church Planter, The Rising Tide
Founder & Host of PleaseConvinceMe.com
“Alan Shlemon is a very gifted presenter of challenging topics that help people think more clearly about their faith. He is a popular speaker at North Coast Church. Alan is very down to earth & practical, helping people to formulate questions, answers & reasons to those who want to discuss what it means to have a Christian worldview.”
Senior Pastor, North Coast Church
We had a fantastic 4-week series with Alan…I did not get to reiterate my sincere thanks to Alan for his excellent teaching for our class. The size of the class grew from week to week as word spread, and we had over 100 in attendance yesterday. Alan is a very gifted teacher and we loved having him back again to lead our class.
Steven E. Sletten
Bel Air Presbyterian Church
“Alan was excellent - he made complicated issues very manageable for high schoolers.”
Anaheim Magnolia Christian School
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If you would like to have Alan speak at your event, here is a list of topics he is prepared to cover. To find out how to schedule Alan, contact Dawnielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closer Look at Islam
Islam is gaining more attention every day, but popular beliefs about Islam seem to be missing the true nature of Muslim beliefs and practices. Alan will demystify what Islam really teaches and examine how it stacks up to Christianity, giving you a better understanding of Muslims and their faith.
How to Reach Your Muslim Neighbor
Nearly 20% of the world’s population is Muslim. That’s a lot of Muslims. But sadly, few Christians are trying to reach those Muslims with the truth. Alan will teach you a powerful tactic to help reach your Muslim neighbor in a way that builds common ground, respects their faith, and uses their own scriptures to point them to the truth.
The Qur’an: A Word from God?
If the Qur’an is a true revelation from God, then Islam is true and Christianity is false. So what reasons are there for rejecting the Qur’an as a divine revelation? Alan answers this question for you in this teaching.
Islamic Jihad vs. Christian Jihad
There’s a lot of talk about jihad in a post 9/11 world. Is it a real Islamic teaching? Some spokesmen for Islam say yes while others say no. Alan will walk you through Islam’s authoritative sources to get the definitive answer, then he’ll answer the next most asked question: Isn’t a form of jihad found in Christianity too?
Women in Islam
Many alleged spokesmen for Islam claim that women are granted equal rights and respect in Islam. But what does the Qur’an and other authoritative sources in Islam say? Alan answers that question by laying out a method that helps you determine whether a practice or teaching is truly Islamic or not.
Muslim Followers of Christ?
There's a growing movement among American missions to encourage Muslims to retain their religious identity in their journey following Christ. But is this approach biblical? Alan makes sense of all the competing arguments and explains the concerns with this new technique.
The Muslim Challenge
How well would you fare in a conversation about your faith with a Muslim? Want to find out? Alan will role-play a Muslim for your group so they can interact with Islam’s ideas and arguments. You’ll quickly find out how prepared Christians are to respond to the challenges leveled by Muslims. Not only is this experience eye-opening, but it will motivate people to learn more about reaching Muslims with the truth.
Ambassadors for Christ: The Essential Skills
Did you know you represent Jesus in everything you do and say every day? Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are all ambassadors for Christ. How well do you represent your King in the areas of knowledge, wisdom, and character? Get trained so you fulfill your role as a knowledgeable, winsome, and persuasive representative on critical issues of the Christian worldview.
Tactics in Defending the Faith
Have you ever been tongue-tied in a conversation about religion? You just need a few tactics—tools to help you maneuver in conversation no matter what the subject. You’ll learn how to recognize faulty reasoning, expose bad arguments, and use questions instead of statements to make your point. I guarantee that with these tactics you will be able to make an impact in any conversation, on any topic, and with anyone.
Why Should We Trust the Bible?
It’s popular to beat up on the Bible these days, but most critics are uniformed and pass on urban legends about its unreliability. Since the Bible is foundational to our faith, responding to these attacks is necessary. Alan will help you sort through the nonsense and provide a helpful mnemonic so the facts undergirding the reliability of the Bible are at your fingertips.
Never Read a Bible Verse
Are you interpreting the Bible correctly? Though anyone can pick up the Bible and learn from it, it’s also possible to miss the proper meaning of passages written in a different time, culture, and language. In this teaching, Alan will show you how to apply three simple principles to everyday Bible reading so you accurately interpret God’s Word. You’ll be amazed how proper biblical interpretation will help you glean new insights from familiar passages, correct mistaken understandings of the text, and deepen your appreciation for the Bible. This is a must-take class for every Christian eager to accurately understand and be transformed by God’s Word.
Philippians Read the Right Way
If you’re reading Philippians like a book, there’s a good chance you’re missing its main message. Books can be read in multiple sessions, one chapter at a time. But letters are meant to be read in one sitting. When you read Philippians like a letter, you get the big picture of what Paul – and the Holy Spirit – was concerned about. In this talk, Alan will teach you about Philippi and the relevant historical context that clarifies the point of this epistle. In the process, you’ll learn a few important principles of biblical interpretation and discover the significant application God has in store for His followers today.
Bad Arguments against Religion
There might be some good arguments against religion, but these aren’t them. We’ll take a look at some of the most common arguments offered against religion and show what’s wrong with them. Arguments like, “God can’t exist if evil exists,” “science has disproved religion,” “there is no truth,” or “Christians are intolerant” are just a few that you’ll be equipped to address.
If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil?
The problem of evil is the atheist’s favorite objection to God. If God is good and all-powerful, how can He exist if He allows evil to continue? Though this sounds persuasive, this challenge is riddled with difficulties. Alan will walk you through the solutions to this challenge and explain why the problem of evil is not only a problem for theists, but also for atheists. And far from undermining God’s existence, the presence of evil turns out to be powerful evidence that God is real.
Dead Men Rise
“If Jesus did not rise, then your faith is worthless.” The Apostle Paul’s sobering words make the point clear: The Christian faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus. What reasons, then, do we have for believing this foundational doctrine? Alan equips believers with the knowledge to be confident in the resurrection and know how to share it with others.
Truth and Tolerance in a Whatever World
“It’s true for you, but not for me.” That’s relativism in a nutshell, but it’s also the motto that represents the reigning belief system in our country. We’ll look at how relativism has infiltrated morality and religious belief, and how we’re being pressured to follow the culture’s lead. Then we’ll offer some tools to respond to this problem.
How to Stay Christian in College
Christians in college are compromising their faith or ditching it all together. Evolution, religious pluralism, abortion, tolerance, homosexuality, and relativism are just a few topics that challenge their convictions. We’ll take a close look at each of these ideas and learn to adequately respond to them so believers have a better chance to stay Christian in college.
Homosexuality: Truth and Compassion
Homosexuality is here to stay. It’s becoming more a part of our culture every day, but Christians aren’t prepared to respond in a truthful and compassionate manner. We’ll study essential issues of homosexuality so you’re prepared to articulate the biblical position, what causes homosexuality, how to treat homosexuals, and how to respond to same-sex marriage.
Same-Sex Marriage and the Future of Family
With new legislation for same-sex marriage, the future of family is at stake, and the legal implications will likely lead to restrictions in religious liberties. What are you doing about it? Do you know how to explain why we should reject same-sex marriage and why homosexuals should join us in this opposition? In this timely session, Alan will help you understand these issues and train you to defend the future of family.
Making Abortion Unthinkable
Abortion kills more children in one day than the number of people who died on 9/11. You’ll learn the best and most effective arguments against abortion without having to appeal to the Bible. However, instead of learning to debate this issue, you’ll learn how to dialogue—how to graciously persuade people of the truth on the most important social issue of our day.
Tactics in Defending the Pro-life View
Once you’ve learned how to make abortion unthinkable, you’ll want to focus on tactics. These are logical and conversational skills that will enhance your ability to communicate your pro-life convictions and respond to challenges. Alan will walk you through each tactic with real-life examples that demonstrate how good skills can change minds.
Pro-life 201 - Advanced Pro-life Apologetics
Once you’ve mastered the basic pro-life tactics in Making Abortion Unthinkable, you’ll want to take the next step. This advanced pro-life apologetics class will help you understand and respond to more sophisticated academic arguments. You’ll learn how to respond to various forms of the bodily rights arguments like Thomson’s Violinist, as well as non-standard arguments like twinning/recombination, brain death as a case against embryonic life, the legal/moral implications of capital punishment, and many others. Alan will also teach you his strategy to answer every argument in defense of abortion. Once you’ve learned this material, you’ll be ready for anyone and anything.
Pro-Life Field Training
Whether you're a pro-life beginner interested in learning the arguments, or you'd like to become a more effective advocate for the unborn, or you're simply looking for an unusual option for a retreat, Alan has created an immersive pro-life experience for your student or adult group. The training—a mixture of classwork and in-the-field experience—provides rigorous instruction in the art of pro-life persuasion using proven scientific and philosophical arguments, role-play of common abortion-related conversations, and real-life engagement/discussion with pro-choice advocates. At the end of the classwork portion, your group will be taken to a local urban area to survey pedestrians about their views on abortion, creating opportunities for you to practice your newly-learned pro-life skills. It's an event that's certain to test, sharpen, and strengthen your pro-life ideas and arguments. (Length of time: two to four days. Groups in Southern California need not schedule the training on consecutive days.)
Making Sense of Bioethics
Abortion, stem cell research, cloning—these are cutting edge issues, but ones that can be confusing to many Christians. With this training, you will not only understand the ethical reasoning involved with each of these issues, but you'll be able to persuasively share your convictions in a way that takes biblical principles on these issues seriously.
Euthanasia: The Ethics of Life and Death
Everyone dies. Sometimes, however, how one dies can get complicated. We’ll make the topic less confusing by giving Christians some handholds on the issue—some basic tools to navigate through different end-of-life scenarios. By keeping some important distinctions in mind, you’ll be able to apply biblical principles of human dignity to the topic of euthanasia in a way that makes sense.
The Death of Humanness
Advancements in stem cell research, cloning, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia have muddled moral distinctions about human value. As a result, some human beings can be killed with impunity. Which ones? The ones who don’t meet the standards our culture sets for human value. What characteristics are required, and who decides? Not only does Alan reveal the answers, but he also explains why you won’t always make the cut.
Why I’m Not an Evolutionist
Evolution is a controversial issue. To many, those who deny evolution are in the same class as flat-earthers. In this talk, Alan carefully outlines why he rejects evolution—not for religious reasons, but for scientific ones. He exposes the weakness of the two essential pillars of Darwinism in a way anyone can follow. There is no need to pit “faith” against fact to refute evolution. An awareness of a few scientific realities is all you need.
The Case for Intelligent Design
Are humans merely the products of chance, time, and slime? We’ll learn the most compelling reasons some scientists are embracing the idea that an intelligent Designer best explains the evidence in the universe and biology. Drawing on the latest scientific trends, we’ll look at arguments that will equip you to engage our culture in a winsome and persuasive way.