The Mars Hill Exchange is an ongoing conversation about Christian witness in the 21st century. Taking our cue from Paul’s speech on Mars Hill in Acts 17, we believe that the church is being called to a fresh encounter with culture. While we affirm more traditional understandings of apologetics that focus on intellect and logic, we propose a more holistic approach that addresses both mind and heart. This “cultural apologetic” seeks to present Christianity as both reasonable and desirable. Our hope in these discussions is to empower churches – and particularly pastors – to embrace cultural apologetics as an essential element of witness in a disenchanted world.

Spring 2021 Symposium

Cultural Apologetics and the Church

“Jesus and Politics”
Mike Erre

Mike Erre is a Teaching Pastor at Journey Church in Brentwood, TN. He is also the founder of the VOX Podcast and author of several books: The Jesus of Suburbia (2006), Why Guys Need God (2008), Death By Church (2009), Why the Bible Matters (2010) and Astonished (2014). He is the proud husband of Justina and father of three incredible children. Mike has been an adjunct professor at Biola University and has spoken at many different colleges, conferences and retreats throughout the United States.


“Jesus Is Better”
Jon Tyson

Jon Tyson is a pastor and church planter in New York City. Originally from Adelaide, Australia. Jon moved to the United States over two decades ago with a passion to seek and cultivate renewal in the Western Church. He is the author of Sacred Roots, A Creative Minority, The Burden is Light, and Beautiful Resistance. Jon lives in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan with his wife and two children. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Church of the City New York. Learn more at


“The Display of God’s Triumph in an Enslaved World”
Timothy Gombis

Timothy Gombis is professor of New Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of Power in Weakness: Paul’s Transformed Vision for Ministry, The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God, and a commentary on the Gospel of Mark. His podcast is called “Faith improvised,” on which he explores how Christians can fruitfully engage in contemporary political and cultural issues.


“Cultural Apologetics for a New Generation”
Gavin Ortlund

Gavin Ortlund (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a scholar, pastor, and writer who serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Ojai in Ojai, California, and is the author of a number of books, including Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn’t, Retrieving Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation, Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals, and Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage. He blogs at