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.
PRESS RELEASE: NEW DIRECTOR FOR THE SOLAS CENTRE FOR PUBLIC CHRISTIANITY — DR. ANDY BANNISTER
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 www.solas-cpc.org.
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!