A General Introduction
Mission Statement & Statement of Faith
Areopagus Articles
Board of Directors

A Retrospective on the Past, a Vision for the Future

The Areopagus was founded in 2003 by Dr. Jefrey Breshears as a Christian education teaching ministry. For several years Dr. Breshears had taught seminars on Christian history, apologetics, and cultural issues in various Atlanta-area churches, and the Areopagus was established with the intention of creating a Christian study center that would function as a community of scholars, students, and spiritual seekers as well as an apologetics-based networking center for the metro-Atlanta area. Dr. Breshears chose the name “The Areopagus” for its significance in the ministry of the apostle Paul as he propagated the gospel among learned Greeks in the city of Athens (ref. Acts 17:19) and because of its historical connotation as an intersection of Christian faith and secular culture. In 2004 the Areopagus was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian ministry, and since that time we have sponsored nearly 140 seminars, forums, workshops, and other events that have served nearly 5,000 attendees.


Prior to founding The Areopagus, Dr. Breshears taught U.S. history, the American political system, medieval European history, and ancient history, philosophy and religion at Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. In the last few years before he left GSU to concentrate on the Areopagus, Dr. Breshears often met informally with students in a local tavern near campus for focused discussions on history, philosophy, politics, social and cultural issues, and the Christian faith. As a result of these sessions he began to sense the need for a Christian education ministry that would integrate cultural studies with a biblical worldview such as the philosopher Francis Schaeffer had pioneered with his L'Abri Christian study centers.

It was also during this time that Dr. Breshears and his wife, Dollie, were hosting the Tolstoy Society, a monthly book club that focused on spirituality literature. Following one of these sessions, Jack Baggett suggested that they rent a vacant storefront in a local shopping center and begin showing and discussing Teaching Company DVD lectures on history, philosophy, religion, and other topics. Over the next few days Dr. Breshears ruminated on the idea and was inspired to propose something more comprehensive: a Christian study center in the metro-Atlanta area that would sponsor forums with notable Christian scholars and thinkers along with offering advanced-level seminars in Christian history, apologetics, and spirituality.

The vision for the Areopagus germinated over the next couple of years as Dr. Breshears researched the idea to determine if there was an existing model for an urban study center that could be adapted for the Atlanta area or a network of study centers that the Areopagus might join. His research revealed that most Christian “study centers” were actually just ministries of particular churches, and virtually all were located on the church campus. This not only compromised the concept of a Christian study center as an interdenominational ministry but also limited its appeal in terms of attracting spiritual seekers and non-Christians. Furthermore, the classes that many of these study centers offered were typically little more than Bible studies or topical discussion groups. Dr. Breshears envisioned a seminary-level curriculum that would challenge and inspire Christians to broaden and deepen their understanding of the Christian faith through a systematic offering of courses in church history, apologetics, comparative religions, Christian spirituality, and literature and the arts – and supplemented by forums and workshops with outstanding Christian scholars, thinkers, and artists. Eventually, he concluded that the Areopagus should be a totally unique ministry with a dual emphasis on Christian apologetics and spirituality, and that its mission and methods should to be innovative and Spirit-led rather than imitative and formulaic.


Along with Dr. Breshears, the founding members of the Areopagus board of directors included David Ott, Billy Ray Burkett, and Rev. Spencer Haygood. The first Areopagus-sponsored event was a 12-week seminar early in 2003 on the topic, “Alternative Universes: A Survey of Basic Worldviews,” at Cumberland Community Church in Smyrna. This was followed by similar seminars on “The Historical Quest for the Real Jesus,” “A Seminar in Christian History,” “Beyond the Bible: A Survey of Early Christian Literature,” “C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity,” and “Original Intent: Restoring a Proper Relationship Between Church and State” – all taught by Dr. Breshears. Many of those involved in these early courses were drawn from an apologetics ministry at Cumberland Community Church that had been founded by Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig during his tenure at the church, but over time these Areopagus seminars began to attract serious students and a loyal core group of supporters from throughout the metro- Atlanta area, many of whom have been involved in the Areopagus ever since.

Beginning in 2003 the Areopagus developed an extensive and substantive curriculum of seminary-level courses in Christian history, apologetics, and spirituality. Many of these courses are taught by Dr. Breshears, but others have featured a number of guest instructors including pastors and professors from local seminaries and universities. (Please see pages 6-9 for a complete listing of seminars, forums, and workshops.) The core curriculum is the Areopagus Christian Studies Institute (ACSI), a trilogy of courses that includes:

  • Seminar in Christian History: A two-year (four-semester) study of the major people, events, and themes in Christian history from Jesus through the Reformation era.
  • Frontline Apologetics: A two-year (four-semester) study of the biblical, rational, and factual bases of the Christian faith that equips Christians to understand their faith and communicate the unique truth-claims of the Christian faith more effectively in the midst of our increasingly pluralistic and skeptical culture.
  • The Inner Journey: An Introduction to Christian Spirituality: A two-year (four-semester) study that focuses on the great classic literature in Christian spirituality and the cultivation of traditional spiritual disciplines.

In September of 2003 the Areopagus sponsored the first Areopagus Forum at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church featuring Christian philosopher Dr. Paul Copan on the topic, “Defending the Christian Faith: Responding to Challenges from Skeptics.” Since then, the Areopagus has sponsored more than a dozen Forums including:

  • “The Great Resurrection Debate,” a DVD presentation featuring Dr. William Lane Craig and Bishop John Shelby Spong;
  • “Intelligent Design: A Scientific Challenge to Neo-Darwinian Evolution?” by NASA engineer and author, Dr. Mark Whorton;
  • “Who Were Adam and Eve? The Question of Human Origins” by Dr. Fazale Rana, a biochemist with the science-based Christian apologetics ministry, Reasons To Believe;
  • “Christianity in Eastern Europe Under Communism,” by Romanian scholar and apologist, Dr. Alexandru Neagoe;
  • “Upon These Rocks: The Current State of Biblical Archaeology,” by Dr. Ed Bez, archaeologist and president of the Legacy Museum;
  • Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a film presentation and panel discussion with a local Muslim imam and Dr. Sasan Tavasoli, one of the world's foremost scholars of Islam;
  • “Why Atlanta Needs an Active Apologetics Community,” by Ranald Macaulay, a son-in-law of Francis Schaeffer and the director of Heritage House, a Christian apologetics ministry in Cambridge, England;
  • “Current Controversies in Science and Christian Faith,” with Christian apologist and author Dr. Paul Copan;
  • Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a review and critique of the controversial Ben Stein documentary on Intelligent Design and academic freedom featuring a panel discussion with Dave Richardson of Faculty Forum at Georgia Tech, Dr. Richard Howe, professor of philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary, and Bruce Phillips of the Areopagus; and
  • “The Renovare Conference on Spiritual Renewal,” an Areopagus co-sponsored conference with Richard Foster, president of Renovare and the author of Celebration of Discipline, and Dr. Dallas Willard, a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and the author of The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God.

In the fall of 2008 the Areopagus will sponsor two forums: a conference on “Contemporary Issues in Biblical Archaeology” with Dr. Ed Bez of the Legacy Center in Suwanee, Georgia, and Dr. James Fleming of the Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia; and a forum with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries on “Understanding Islam,” featuring three of the world's foremost Christian scholars in Islamic studies, Dr. Josh Lingel, Dr. Sasan Tavasoli, and Dr. Jay Smith.

Beginning in 2004 the Areopagus began hosting a monthly God In the Arts (GITA) session exploring theological themes in movies and popular music. Since then, we have offered reviews and critiques of thought-provoking films such as The Mission, About Schmidt, The Life of Brian, Luther, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Munich, and Babette's Feast – among others. GITA presentations have also included several music reviews, including two by Dr. Breshears: “The Jesus Movement Off the Record,” an historical retrospective on the Jesus movement of 1968-76 based on the popular “Jesus music” of the period, and “The Gospel According to Dylan,” an analysis of spiritual and biblical themes in the music of Bob Dylan. In addition, the Areopagus has hosted annual SongSharing Sessions at Thanksgiving and in December with “The Best The (and Worst) Christmas Music Ever!” (For a complete listing of GITA presentations please see pages 6-9.)

In the summer of 2006 the Areopagus inaugurated another monthly presentation, The Areopagus Book Review Forum (ABRF), which provides reviews and critiques of significant books that informed Christians should know. Most ABRFs include a PowerPoint presentation along with an interactive discussion of the book, and among the featured selections have been Stephen Barr's Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Hugh Ross' Creation as Science, Alister McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism, Ronald Sider's Rich Christians In an Age of Hunger, Francis Collins' The Language of God, Juan Williams' Enough: The Phony Leaders and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America, Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity? and Antony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In addition to these and other notable books in history, theology, apologetics, science, and culture, the Areopagus also featured author Wayne Federman in May 2007 for a discussion of his biography of the life and spiritual odyssey of basketball superstar Pete Maravich. (For a complete listing of ABRFs please see pages 6-9.)

The Areopagus House

The ministry of the Areopagus extends beyond the seminars, forums, and workshops that we sponsor. In November 2005 we moved into a beautiful lake-front office at 3095 Johnson Ferry Rd. in Marietta that was donated by Lynn and Fred Hanna, and the “Areopagus house” has served ever since as the venue for our board meetings and contemplative prayer workshops as well as a meeting place for Sunday evening worship services for CentrePointe Christian Community. In April 2006 Dr. Breshears led an Areopagus-sponsored Christian History of Israel, and in May he lectured in Romania at the Areopagus Christian Study Center in Timisoara (no affiliation with our Areopagus) and at the Baptist Seminary in Bucharest, the largest of only three evangelical seminaries in the country. As a result of these contacts, the Areopagus now sponsors the Areopagus Scholarship in Christian Apologetics to educate and train students at the Baptist Seminary to defend the integrity and truthfulness of the Christian faith in a nation where Christians have suffered so much repression throughout the 20th century.

The continued expansion of the Areopagus has been made possible by an exceptionally gifted board of directors that has provided guidance and support for the ministry from the outset. In 2005 attorney Mike McKeithen joined the board, and the following year he helped oversee a reorganization of the ministry that has been vital in terms of our ongoing development. Bruce Phillips also joined the board in 2006, and the following year Bob Christensen came on board as our website manager and IT specialist. In addition, the Areopagus added three more directors early in 2008: Cathy Stebbins, Jim Motter, and Richie Willard.


The Areopagus schedule for 2008 features a full slate of seminars and forums as we continue to expand the scope of our ministry into more churches and other venues and help equip more Christians for effective ministry. Over the past five years the Areopagus has built an impressive seminarylevel curriculum in Christian education, brought together a talented and gifted staff, and established a reputation for for providing first-rate seminars, forums, and workshops on issues of vital concern to Christians who want to broaden their understanding of the Christian faith and deepen their commitment to Jesus Christ.

Looking ahead, the time has come to establish a permanent Christian study center in the metro-Atlanta area that will serve as an interdenominational community and networking center for Christian apologetics, spirituality, and the arts. In order to accomplish this, as well as to sustain our current level of ministry and continue to broaden our outreach, we need to solidify our funding base, which requires the financial support and involvement of individuals, churches, and charitable foundations that share our vision for ministry. In the midst of a society that has lost its moral bearings and is being irreparably corrupted by the insidious forces of secularism, compulsive materialism, and mindless hedonism, the ministry of the Areopagus is all the more essential in terms of equipping Christians to engage our culture intelligently and effectively with the transforming truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.