Directors

Bob Christensen

Posted: Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Bob ChristensenI grew up in Nebraska and developed as a young Christian leader through the InterVarsity chapter at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where I studied Electrical Engineering. After partially completing a Masters of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, my father died in an accident and I returned to the dairy farm.

Two years later I had the privilege to open and manage a Logos Bookstore, again in Lincoln, as a ministry to University students and faculty. That was one of the most rewarding periods of life, in spiritual terms. I followed Jim Carlson, founder of Logos, to Spring Arbor Distributors where I gained experience in managing computer operations and software development. After a few years at EDS/General Motors and a couple of ERP software firms, I landed in the Atlanta area with a job transfer. As an entrepreneur, I have started two Internet-based companies and am currently consulting on various web-based software projects.

My wife, Cindy and I have three teen-age daughters(!) and I have two older children and four grand-children(!). We worship at The Bridge church in Duluth; we are small group leaders and participate in—as well as lead—other ministries in the church.

My passion is to see High School & College students grow deep roots in the Bible and become skilled at articulating and defending a Christian worldview—especially in the antagonistic, hedonistic, secular university environment. I long to see young Christian leaders emerge as leaders in the modern-day battle against the forces of evil that are set on destroying both Christianity and our very civilization. And I feel it is a privilege to partner with Dr. Breshears and The Areopagus in educating and motivating the church in and around Atlanta.

Richie Willard

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

A native of South Carolina, I graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Management and Information Systems. After working for 4 years as an IT consultant in Houston, TX and Atlanta, GA, I moved to Maryland to accept a fellowship position with the Trinity Forum Academy. My studies at the Academy focused on the Christian worldview, the history of economic development, and the relationship between market economics and Christian ethics. Once I completed my fellowship position at the Trinity Forum Academy, I accepted an offer with a management and IT consulting firm in Atlanta. I’ve been working in Atlanta since 2004.

As a Christian, I am committed to understanding our times in light of Scripture and to following the central call to follow Christ. My focus of study includes economics, political philosophy, epistemology, and cultural apologetics. I believe in responsible cultural engagement, and I believe in the work that the Aréopagus does in the Atlanta area. The Aréopagus is a vital part of the Christian witness in the Atlanta area.

My wife Vanessa and I live in Cumming, GA, with our young daughter Raegan, and we are members of Perimeter Church (PCA) in Duluth.

Bruce Phillips

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

My years spent growing up in a mainline church in New York in the 50s encouraged knowledge about Christianity, but did not lend itself to commitment or passion.  Years of secular education with a bent toward the sciences took their toll, and resulted in a twenty-five year self-imposed exile from a relationship with Christ.  During that time I married Pamela, we lived and worked for many years in Asia and the UK, had four wonderful daughters, and arrived in Atlanta in 1989 as seekers who knew there must be something more to life.
A chance invitation from a daughter’s friend took us to the periphery of Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta.  Because God is good we actually listened.  And as we always do, we read everything in sight!  Today we are a family of believers – with passion and commitment!  Our youngest is already in graduate school, so our goal now is to share with others what we have learned raising young Christian adults who are equipped to “do battle” with the conflicting worldviews they meet in our secular and pluralistic society.

By day I am a Certified Financial Planner™.  We remain actively involved at Eastside where I teach apologetics. Though I love history, philosophy and theology, I maintain a strong interest in science-based apologetics.  The opportunity to serve with and support Jefrey in his efforts at the Areopagus has been a great blessing.  Come join us!

David Ott

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I hold a B.A. degree in History from Wake Forest University and have earned Continuing Education credits over the years, especially through the Lay Institute of Theology. As a Lutheran layman, I have become a serious student of theology and church history, and for fifteen years I have taught adults advanced-level classes in my church. I have served several terms on my Church Council and have been in leadership in Learning Ministries for over 25 years, and I served as a founding member of the Board of Trustees for Whitefield Academy, a Christian college preparatory school in the Atlanta area.

My wife, Susan, and I live in Sandy Springs with our two daughters and son. Another daughter is married, and we have one grandson. I have worked in the automobile business for over 35 years. When not studying or teaching, I enjoy my other passions – being in the great outdoors, hunting and fishing.

Jim Motter

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I was raised one of six children in a traditional American family in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I attended a Baptist Church until the age of eleven, but soon thereafter developed a disinterest in Christianity which lured me away from the faith. I was no atheist, nor an agnostic, but I was an “apatheist” and my digression lasted several decades.

Thankfully, my spiritual wandering did not go unchallenged. My return to faith has been rich with spiritual encounters, including: an evening with a mysterious minister, a series of meetings with a brilliant Catholic priest and the great blessing of knowing Dr. Frank Harrington of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, one of the nation’s truly great preachers. It was Dr. Harrington who convinced me that belief is not a matter of blind faith, but involves imagination and reasoning. It was Dr. Harrington who also introduced me to the writings of great thinkers who just happened to be Christian. This included C.S. Lewis, but also G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, Francis Schaeffer and others. He made church sermons resonate with truth.

My passion in life is to introduce people to the life and writings of Lewis. My teaching emphasis is on Lewis’ great masterpieces: especially Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce. And I have built similar college-level courses, one on Lewis’ uncommon multi-faceted genius and another on his profound views on epistemology, or “how we know things.” Like C.S. Lewis, my hope is to convince new readers to search for truth with an open and engaged mind and to consider the eternally valid insights of history’s greatest thinkers with eyes untainted by “chronological snobbery.” I consider C.S. Lewis to be the most erudite person in the history of Western civilization, and I see his extraordinary writings as the “Cliffs Notes of the Wisdom of the Ages.” If his role was to “distill” wisdom, my intent is to “unpack” Lewis for those interested in knowing the thoughts of one widely- considered to be the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th century.

As an Associate Director of The Areopagus, I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and work with this Atlanta-based apologetics organization.

Rae Mellichamp

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1962 and then served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force (Strategic Air Command and Alaskan Air Command) for two and a half years. Upon completing my military service, I worked as an engineer in industry for another two years and then returned to academia where I would spend the next 40 plus years of my life. I received a Ph. D. in Engineering Management from Clemson University in 1969, and began teaching in the College of Business at the University of Alabama, retiring as Emeritus Professor of Management Science after 25 years and a very satisfying academic career.

During my years as a university professor I was fortunate to be able to work for most of the time in an emerging new field—knowledge-based systems, a branch of the discipline of Artificial Intelligence. In this connection, I conducted research and consulted for some of the leading organizations in the country including AT&T, General Motors, NASA (The Space Shuttle program), and the U.S. Army (Star Wars program). And as university professors must do, I published scholarly articles in such journals as The Harvard Business ReviewManagement ScienceDecision SciencesExpert SystemsInterfacesIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering,The Journal of Intelligent ManufacturingSimulation, and IEEE Networks.

In the summer of 1970, my wife Peggy and I attended a conference for Christian professors at Arrowhead Springs, California, sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ where I was challenged to consider how I could use my influence as a Christian professor in the lives of my students and colleagues, in the teaching and research activities of my university, in my academic discipline, and in attempting to restore truth to the culture. We joined Crusade as associate staff members in 1972 and helped to launch Crusade’s faculty ministry, Christian Leadership Ministries. Upon retirement from the University of Alabama in 1994, we joined Crusade full-time and have continued working as faculty representatives with the faculty ministry which is now Faculty Commons, a network of about 10,000 Christian professors and academic staff in the U.S. and abroad. We have spoken professionally and from a ministry perspective to faculty, faculty wives, and student audiences on over 100 university and college campuses in the U.S. and a dozen other countries in the last 15 years.

Our involvement in faculty ministry has focused on developing strategies and materials for equipping university and college professors for becoming effective representatives of Christ in the academy and in the culture. To this end, I have written a couple of books and numerous other pieces including, “Ministering in the Secular University; A Guide for University Professors and Staff”“Go Fast, Turn Left: Simple Instructions for Following Jesus”“What Would Jesus Do at Your University?”“How to Make Tenure”“Ministering with Professors”, and“Christian Faculty Discipleship Curriculum (Volume 1 & 2)”. One of the important challenges in equipping university professors is to provide them with an understanding and appreciation for apologetics, hence my interest in and support for The Aeropagus.

Mike McKeithen

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition by parents who insisted I be at church whenever the doors were open, especially for any youth activities. Like many I drifted away from God and the church while working my way through college (BBA in Management, Georgia State University), followed by service in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer in Viet Nam (1968-69). Returning to civilian life I graduated from law school (JD from Emory University) and began my career in law as a commercial real estate attorney, which I continue to practice in Atlanta.

My parents’ (followed by my wife’s) insistence on church attendance paid off later in my life when, similar to the experience of C.S. Lewis, I slowly became aware of the signs that a loving and forgiving God placed along my path. I discovered apologetics beginning with Lewis’ Mere Christianity and then was led to Dr. Breshears and Areopagus. This ministry has much to offer in filling the void for those like myself who thirst for a deeper understanding of faith and reason.

My wife, Darlene, and I are blessed with two married daughters and three granddaughters. We are members of Mt Bethel UMC, where we are active in missions and in the youth programs as 7th grade Sunday school teachers and small group leaders. I have also served on the Mt. Bethel Board of Trustees. Darlene and I also serve as members of the Board of Directors, and we are the Volunteer Coordinators of Children at Risk Programs for USAffairs/Romanian Ministries, Inc., a Knoxville, Tennessee faith-based U.S. non-profit organization that supports several Christian programs and homes for orphans and abused and abandoned children in Romania.

It is a blessing and privilege to serve as a Director, Secretary, and Counsel to the Areopagus. More importantly to my walk in faith and understanding of reason, it is a blessing to have the opportunity to attend the intellectually stimulating programs offered by the Areopagus throughout the year.

Randy Hough

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I was a nominal Christian on and off for most of my life, never fully committed because of a parade of questions concerning the God of Christian theism. No one seemed to be able to provide answers that I found satisfying. I remained a skeptic for many years. During an extended period of searching and questioning, I was haunted by an ever-present emptiness, the origin of which I could never identify. After being evangelized by a friend and invited to join him at Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia, I gave myself to Christ in June of 1992. Both my wife, Luci, and I were baptized by immersion on the same night following a public profession of our faith in Jesus Christ.

The foremost commitment in my life is to Christ. I am convinced that I am called by Him to defend the Truth claims of Christianity through an intense study of Holy Scripture, material related to apologetics, and through teaching others about systematic apologetics. I have been most influence over the past 18 years by my studies of Christian Theism and its opponents. Of most significance in this period of study was the felt need to study the Scriptures more deeply as a process to better know my Lord. In short, one must know what and who one is defending before one can set out on their proper defense. As a consequence, I have read and studied a wide variety of topics including those on philosophy (I am a humble Thomist), Biblical hermeneutics, church history, Christian ethics, eschatology, scientific naturalism and defenses against the theory Darwinian evolution, contemporary moral and political issues, and many others. I continue to take courses at Southern Evangelical Seminary and at The Areopagus while teaching organized classes on related topics.

My interest in The Areopagus was sparked by a realization that I knew little of church history. After enrolling in several courses led by Dr. Jefrey Breshears, I became aware of the broader scope and aspirations of the ministry, all of which met my vision of what needs to done at the local-church level to better prepare believers to carry out the Great Commission while simultaneously defending the truths of our faith. In my opinion Jefrey and the board have ploughed new ground and set up a strong foundation from which to grow an exceptional teaching ministry, one that will surely bring glory to the name of God. I believe I am prepared both academically and spiritually to work toward the fulfillment of that vision, and I am honored to work along side those who have done so much to make this ministry a success.

Dr. Jefrey Breshears

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Prior to founding The Aréopagus in 2003, I taught history, philosophy and religion for eighteen years at Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, and Reformed Theological Seminary.

I attended Jacksonville State University on a baseball scholarship, and following my graduation in the early ’70s I worked for Capitol Records in Atlanta. It was during this time that I experienced a spiritual conversion, after which I left Capitol and worked for several years in the Christian book and music industry with Word, Inc. and Sparrow Records. In the early ’80s I co-founded and edited Crossroads: An Atlanta Christian Forum, a monthly publication that focused on religious issues and events in the Atlanta area. Crossroads was highly-acclaimed but struggled financially, so we eventually ceased publication and I enrolled in graduate school at Georgia State University to study history.

Following the completion of my doctoral studies I stayed on and taught at Georgia State and later at Kennesaw State University and Reformed Theological Seminary. Over the years I taught courses in Church History, Old Testament History, Ancient History, Philosophy & Religion, Medieval Europe, Modern Political Ideologies, American History, and the American Political System. I also developed an original course, “American History Off the Record: How Popular Music Echoes American History in the 20th Century.”

Over the years I felt led into more direct areas of ministry, and in the early 1990s I pastored the Marietta Community Church, a nondenominational church that started in a home and later met for worship at MUST Ministries, a local homeless shelter. I left Georgia State in 1999, whereupon I began an itinerant teaching ministry in churches in the metro-Atlanta area, offering courses in Christian history and apologetics.

Among the many influences on my life and work over the years, foremost are the lives and testimonies of my parents, Edd and Lucille Breshears, and the Christian home they provided. Due to their prayers and the loving support of my wife, Dollie, I eventually committed my life to Christ. Other significant influences at the outset of my Christian life included the Jesus Movement of the early ’70s, the Berkeley Christian Coalition and Radix magazine, and the apologetical writings of Francis Schaeffer. Later, The New Oxford Review provided some welcomed spiritual and intellectual stimulation, Mother Earth News helped retain some connection to sixties’ idealism, and The Wittenburg Door provided many hours of sober reflection and comic relief. Among the books that impacted my life were Gene Edwards’ The Early Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, William Estep’s The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, Ron Sider’s Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger, and The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. In more recent years the contemplative Christian tradition and a regular practice of meditation have been my primary sources of inspiration.

Millie Atkinson

Posted: Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home in the Lower Richland community outside of Columbia, SC. I accepted Jesus into my heart in the 3rd grade at the local public school after a student teacher from Columbia Bible College visited my classroom and shared the Gospel. My family led by example as we were active in Lebanon United Methodist Church.

During my young adult years I did not walk close to the Lord, but by His grace He drew me back to Him when our children were young. We joined Mt. Bethel UMC in 1988. Unfortunately, I did not know the Bible and I remember praying about 20 years ago, “Lord, I want to know you better.” He answered that prayer by opening up a Disciple Bible Study Class which I was in for 2 years. After that a friend invited me to Bible Study Fellowship which I have been active in for the last 18 years. Bible Study Fellowship is an interdenominational Bible study in which you study small sections of the Bible each year covering most of the Bible over a 7 year period. Truly it is through this study that I have come to know the Lord.

By profession I am a registered nurse, having graduated from the Medical University of S.C. and later getting my Master’s Degree in Counseling. I worked at the Medical University of S.C. for 9 years before moving to Marietta with my family. For 10 years I worked part time in pharmaceutical sales.

I have a wonderful Christian husband, Paul, and two beautiful Christian daughters.

Presently I am serving as a full time volunteer in Bible Study Fellowship as a Discussion Leader and working with women of all ages at Mt. Bethel in “The Circles” or teaching Bible Study in the summer.

Over the past few years I have become increasingly concerned about our culture, which seems to be unraveling before our very eyes. The Areopagus has provided a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how Christians can face the challenges and opportunities of living in a post-modern and post-Christian society and culture. It is a privilege to work with Dr. Jefrey Breshears in this ministry.