Apologetics Solas

Big News – Andy Bannister becomes the new full time director of Solas


A few years ago Gordon Wilson, the former SNP leader, and myself met together and discussed how we could encourage Christianity in the public square and encourage Christians to get involved.  We did not want a political organisation but rather one that practices and trains in persuasive evangelism.  So we set up the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.   It began very small, but the Lord has blessed in such wonderful ways.  Today I rejoice at being able to say – I resign!  At least from being the director of Solas.  I will of course continue to be involved and to do what I am currently doing – however we have a new full time Director.

Last year I read The Atheist who didn’t exist by Dr Andy Bannister and was so impressed by it, on a moment of inspiration I phoned him in Canada and asked him if he would consider coming to Dundee to run Solas.  To cut a long story short, he didn’t say no!  Over the past few months things have worked out from this tentative inquiry to today where Andy has taken over as the director.  I am so thankful to the Lord and am really looking forward to working with him.  This is a quantum leap for Solas!

This is the press release and also a short video explaining what Solas is all about.

Dr. Andy Bannister, former Canadian Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) , has become the new full-time Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity from 1st September 2016. Building on the work of David Robertson whom he succeeds in this role, Andy will lead the Solas team in their drive to carry the Christian message into the public square and to train and equip churches across Scotland and further afield to articulate the relevance of faith in Jesus Christ.
Andy and his family are moving to Scotland from Toronto where he has headed the revitalisation of RZIM Canada, an organisation dedicated to engaging sceptics, doubters and seekers with the Christian message, as well as equipping Christians to articulate what they believe with clarity, conviction and compassion. Andy will continue to serve RZIM as an adjunct speaker. Before Canada, Andy was based near Oxford and has a background in philosophy and theology—including a PhD in Islamic Studies from Brunel University.
An experienced speaker, writer and teacher, Andy has spoken widely—including at universities across Canada, America and Europe, as well as in business and parliamentary settings, in churches and on TV and radio. He has also been involved in numerous interfaith dialogue events, especially with the Muslim community, including a recent dialogue at Canada’s second largest mosque in Toronto. Andy enjoys addressing audiences both of Christians and those of all faiths and none on issues relating to faith, culture, politics and society.
Andy is the author of two books: “An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an” [http://bit.ly/2csUaY2], a ground-breaking study that applies computerised analysis to the Arabic text of the Qur’an to demonstrate how it was first composed; and “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Terrible Consequences of Bad Arguments)” [http://www.theatheistwhodidntexist.com], a fast-paced mix of comedy and theology that untangles some of arguments advanced by popular media atheists like Richard Dawkins. Andy also wrote and presented the documentary series Burning Questions for Canadian television.
Solas was founded in 2010 by David Robertson, who will remain very much involved with the organisation. David writes: “I am delighted to be handing over the leadership of Solas to Andy Bannister and to continue my own work as Associate Director. This is a major and exciting development and something for which I have been praying for a long time.” David Randall, chairman of the Solas Board, also welcomes the appointment and believes that Andy’s gifts and energy will strengthen the mission of Solas to communicate the gospel in today’s public square.
Andy has long had a love affair with Scotland, being an avid mountain climber, hiker, and landscape photographer. He and his family are thrilled to be moving from Canada to Scotland and looking forward to engaging in conversations about faith in the public square, serving the Scottish churches and Christianity community, and helping equip Christians to speak persuasively and confidently about Jesus Christ to their friends, neighbours and colleagues.
For more information about Solas, Andy Bannister, or David Robertson, please contact:
Solas Centre for Public Christianity
Swan House, 2 Explorer Road, Technology Park, Dundee, DD2 1DX
Or call 01382 525 021 or visit http://www.solas-cpc.org.



PS –

Contrary to rumours, I have not died, I have not been sacked, I have not been sidelined, I am not ill, I am not moving on to pastures new, and most of all, I have not given up! it seems as though people have read (or not read) the Solas press release about the appointment of Dr Andy Bannister, put two and two together and come up with five!

The appointment of Andy is a step forward both for Solas and for me personally, not a step backwards! As I have repeatedly said, Solas is not my baby, and even if it were, the baby has now matured! I am more than happy to hand the directorship over to Andy and to work with him in the proclamation of the gospel throughout Scotland, the UK and indeed the rest of Europe. I will continue to do what I have been doing; writing, debating, defeating secularists and proclaiming Christ! I am not stepping down, I am stepping up!


PS. it was somewhat amusing and sad to see the secularists objections to Andy coming – especially the fact that he is a foreigner who wrote a book about atheism, and threatening to report us because of that! I’m not sure that I would call an Englishman a foreigner, but even if you do, we are Christians and we welcome ‘immigrants’ from across any border. We don’t do racism – we leave that up to the atheists!


  1. good news. But, and there’s always a but. Will the Scottish people listen to a foreigner?

    “How lovely on the mountains
    Are the feet of him who bring Good News” Is 52:7

  2. “People in Scotland are more open to the gospel… and the the church is less prepared to communicate it”


    I don’t know to what degree it is a factor of the spiritual climate we are currently in or if things have always been this way with the “religious” preferring comfort and getting what they like than the risk that comes with war, and we are in a war. I get the sense that there are those that would engage in battle if it were not for the scary guns firing back.

    “We don’t need to retreat… from places of power” is a call to arms. Is the church ready for that? “In such a way that engages people” in the public square. This might explain some of the frustration you have expressed church goers experiencing.

    It seems that leadership of the Church is challenged both to communicate the gospel in relevant ways in the public square and also to win back people faithful to Christ who are frustrated with their experiences in church.

    Congratulations to Andy Bannister on gain his position as director of Solas. I wish him all the best with that and with whatever new pastures this frees you up to be involved in David.

  3. “I am not moving on to pastures new… it seems as though people have read (or not read) the Solas press release about the appointment of Dr Andy Bannister, put two and two together and come up with five!”

    David, I wrote “I wish [Andy Bannister] all the best with that and with whatever new pastures this frees you up to be involved in David.” Do you deny that no longer being the Director of Solas frees you up for other things? Has it got that bad in the climate you are in that someone can’t offer you a simple wish for all the best without it being assumed they has been some kind of misreading or twisting of a press release made by Solas?

    I’m discouraged by your PS with the allusion towards my comment David. I would respectfully ask that you consider the intention of what I wrote and what an appropriate Christian response might be. .

      1. Hmm ok perhaps there was a bit of me reading into your comment something that wasn’t there. I’ll go that far and apologise if that is what I have done. Mind you I can be forgiven for reading into the “pastures new” if you were not alluding to my comment.

        But at the same time I would ask you to consider if you are projecting about sensitivity, if your PS wasn’t showing showing a need for a thicker skin in the climate we are in.

        Seriously, all the best for yourself and Andy in these challenging and exciting times!

  4. Many years ago when Andy Bannister was working on his PhD (on oral tradition in the Qu’ran, I think), I was beset by a group of Muslims who mocked the Bible for its inaccuracies due to the distance in time between the events of Jesus’ life and the dates the Gospels were written down. Andy came to my rescue and turned the tables on my Muslim interlocuters by pointing out some embarrassing facts about the convoluted origins of their holy book. They went away with their tails between their legs!

  5. I’m not being sensitive, neither am I a prophet, nor a secularist, but I’m not really surprised at the use of the term “foreigner” by nationalistic inward-looking secularists. When I used the phrase it was meant to be with some humour from an Englishman, and not to be taken up by secularist. I wasn’t aware it had/has been used elsewhere.

    Any opposition from secularists is to be expected, entirely predictable, but it is somewhat infantile and pathetic. It puts a smile on my face. Where God is at work there will be opposition.

    A more interesting response would be from the CoS and other Christian organisations.

  6. Thrilled to be joining the team! (And I’m hoping being of Yorkshire/Lancashire blood and having lived in Canada for six years, that will offset some of the “Oh, no, he’s English!” panic (and my wife is Swedish, so more points there🙂).

    Seriously, an honour to be joining the Solas team, working with David and the crew, and coming to Scotland. Living in a Scotland has been a dream of mine since my teenage years — and I’ll now have no excuse not to finish my Munro bagging!

  7. Welcome from an English reader.

    But it must be hard being you – always at war with yourself. Or which side won?

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