Bringing Apologetics Out of the Ivory Tower

The News Magazine of HCU

Master of Arts in Apologetics Online Co-Founder of “Thinking Out Loud”

Cameron McAllister was the exact kind of student faculty members were seeking when the Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA) Online degree was launched in 2013. Living in Atlanta with his wife and children, Cameron enrolled in the program through HBU’s Pampell Online Division.

Dr. Philip Tallon, Dean of HBU’s School of Christian Thought, describes Cameron as “a bright and hardworking student” and “gifted writer” who was one of the top students in the MAA online program. “He could never have made it to Houston to study with us, but thanks to online learning we got to have two wonderful years with Cameron.”

Graduating with a degree in philosophy & religion from Toccoa Falls College, Cameron credits his father’s impactful footprint in ministry for inspiring him to pursue a graduate degree in apologetics.

“I’m a third culture kid, born on the mission field in Vienna, Austria. Our family moved to the States in 1998. My dad, Stuart McAllister, has worked at the intersection of evangelism and apologetics for over 30 years, and his life and work is ultimately what inspired me to pursue apologetics at a graduate level,” said Cameron. “My dad has had the most profound impact on my life and ministry.”

The father/son duo chronicled the intergenerational faith dynamics of their own household in “Faith That Lasts: A Father and Son on Cultivating Lifelong Belief.” A former staff writer for Christ & Pop Culture, Cameron’s writings have also been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Think Christian, and Fathom Magazine.

He was drawn to pursue his online apologetics degree at HBU because of the program’s emphasis on the imagination, shares Cameron.

“Frontline apologists often have a reputation for being cerebral and insular, devoting much of their time to questions that only apologists and academics find interesting. HBU offers a more well-rounded approach, one that takes into account the challenge of talking to people in the regular circumstances of their lives. By focusing on the imagination–a bridge between the head and the heart–these professors help to make intellectual conversation interesting,” said the 2018 HBU graduate.

The mission of HBU’s Master of Arts in Apologetics online program is to develop students who are capable of serving their community and the Church successfully in a variety of vocations, including academic, parachurch, and ecclesiastical professions.

Since obtaining his MAA degree, Cameron has been busy establishing his own footprint in ministry as co-founder of “Thinking Out Loud,” a non-profit organization that aims to bridge the gap between discipleship and apologetics.

“We’re a non-profit dedicated to moving apologetics out of the ivory tower and into your living room. Our vision is to see ordinary Christians advance the credibility of Christ. To that end, we offer training for fellow Christians and local churches on how to bring hope to an increasingly jaded culture,” shared Cameron.

As a part of his nonprofit, Cameron also produces a podcast, “Thinking Out Loud: Look for the Lightbulb,” where he, and co-host, Nathan Rittenhouse, talk about current events and Christian hope in twice-weekly episodes, covering a wide-range of topics from “Faithfulness in a Fickle Culture” to “Evil in the Age of Google” to “Why Are Christians Deconstructing Their Faith?”

“The podcast is widely distributed and he speaks frequently on college campuses,” commends Tallon, who is co-writing a book with Cameron on theology and horror films.

As he ministers to students on various college campuses through his nonprofit, Cameron believes that “we’ve moved from an era when students wanted to know about your beliefs to one in which they want to know who you are.”

“In this sense, the stakes are higher. Arguments alone won’t be sufficient. Strong communicators and TED- talkers are a dime a dozen. Students need to see that we’ve set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts and it will be that transformation that piques their curiosity,” he shares.

His advice to prospective students thinking of enrolling in HBU’s Master of Arts in Apologetics Online program is “to learn about the epistemic value of the imagination,” an answer he admits may run the risk of sounding a bit abstract.

“In our modern world, we often associate the imagination with fantasy or extraordinary creativity. Though it includes both of those things, the imagination is simply part of how we make sense of the world and if we fail to take this into account, our arguments will ring hollow for many people. As you’ll learn in the program, this is part of what makes C.S. Lewis so compelling. Even when he’s not giving you wonderful stories, his arguments always arrive in the garb of vivid imagery and this is part of what gives him such force and clarity. As an instructive exercise, take a highlighter and underline all of the imagery in Mere Christianity and you’ll get the picture,” said Cameron.