Georgios Kalantis is a student at Union’s Athens Learning Community studying towards an MTh. He graciously shares his story of how he came to study with us and how Union is helping him in his ministry work.
For the last 7 years I have been leading an apologetics ministry in Athens, “Imago Dei”, which was one of my dreams ever since I was a Biology undergraduate. For the record, I was born in a typical eastern-Orthodox family and I became a Christian believer while studying Biology. I have a master’s in Philosophy of Science and I am also a PhD candidate in Philosophy. The ministry’s activity began while I was doing my undergraduate study and up to this day we have managed to provide training in apologetics to Christians in the Athens area, while presenting the Gospel to non-Christian audiences. From this semester I will be teaching apologetics at the Greek Bible College, while being in charge of “Imago Dei”. In the future, when time allows, I hope that I will be able to get involved in the Church planting work that is ongoing in Athens as well.
“Studying at Union provides crucial learning in order to serve God effectively”
Evangelical churches in Greece have been in a state of introversion at least since the 1960s, as far as I can tell. The minority mentality surely plays a part, since in a land of 11 million people only 20.000-30.000 are evangelicals. Apologetics ministry is a means through which we hope we can encourage our Greek brothers and sisters to share the Gospel in a land which is hostile to it.
While being in charge of Imago Dei, I felt God’s calling to serve Him as a pastor, something that hadn’t concerned me before. It was then that my friends at the Bible College told me about the MTh program, and it was a fine opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge of Reformed Theology, something for which I am really grateful to God.
“If we are to serve God with integrity we have to be good theologians and I am certain that the MTh program is a priceless source of learning towards that goal.”
I think that the main challenge in preaching the Gospel in Greece (apart from overcoming the aforementioned introversion and the sect-psychology it sometimes leads to) is to discern the main influences that shape today’s cultures. Being raised as Greeks sometimes makes it hard to distinguish not only the features of our mentality but also the factors that have led to it. For this reason a great deal of study is needed along with interaction with our fellow Greeks - plus a loving community that will welcome people and draw them to Christ- in order to find ways to preach the Gospel in a language non-Christians can understand. This is the main goal for our apologetics ministry, and I think it’s the same with church planting.
Studying at Union provides crucial learning in order to serve God effectively and in a biblical way, either in doing apologetics or in assisting the synod of the Greek Evangelical Churches as a preacher. My personal theological horizons have widened since I began my MTh studies and the knowledge we gain is amazing. If we are to serve God with integrity we have to be good theologians and I am certain that the MTh program is a priceless source of learning towards that goal. I am grateful for this, and I am certain I am not the only one!