From its inception, in September, 1996, until somewhere in the middle of 2002, Apologetics Index was a one-person ministry operated by Anton Hein.
Anton Hein, was born and raised in Amsterdam -- the capital of the Netherlands and home of Apologetics Index. Aside from brief periods in Switzerland, Germany, and England -- as well as a 16-year detour in the USA - he has lived here his entire life.
In September, 2002, Anton married Janet. Born in England, she was raised in Ireland, and has lived in Holland since 1987.
Ruud Hein, Anton's brother, lives in Canada with his wife and children. His programming skills keep our sites running.
David Mckie lives in the USA and moderates our discussion list.
David Anderson helps out with research, counseling and our Twitter religion news stream. He was born and raised in Colorado, and now lives in Amsterdam with his wife and family.
Jacob de Vries hails from a farm near Amsterdam and helps with research.
Eveline De Jong counsels people who have been caught up in abusive churches. She divides her time between a home in the Netherlands and an tiny apartment in Spain.
Ian Reilly helps us in the offline part of our ministry. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland he now lives and works in Amsterdam with his wife and children.
We're also blessed with a small but dedicated group of helpers and supporters.
We are evangelical Christians. However, in large part due to the fact that we are uncomfortable with much that is said and done in the name of Christianity, we prefer to refer to ourselves as "followers of Jesus."
Our offline ministry includes
- providing counseling and practical help to people in need,
- teaching fellow-Christians to understand and apply God's grace and mercy - gifts that set Christians free from legalism, and instead allow us to become expressions of Jesus who lives in and through us (see Galatians 2:20).
- providing a research and training library of Christian books and other resources,
- providing hospitality to Christians who need a time-out, as well as to Christian ministers visiting - or on their way through - Amsterdam, and
- leading a House Church.
Our guiding scripture is Jesus' mission statement, which we see as our 'job description' as well:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
Anton has been a follower of Jesus for 45 years. He has been involved in lay counter-cult and apologetics ministry for 38 years - and has engaged in online apologetics since the days of 300 baud modems and 50MB hard drives. If you've been online long enough, you may remember him as the 'co-sysop' of the (pre-World Wide Web) Christian BBS Abba II, a participant on GEnie's Religion RoundTable, and the publisher of an electronic newsletter, the "Christian Press Report" -- the forerunnuer of Religion News Blog. He was an enthousiastic Prodigy user from day one, and has even been a charter subscriber of what was then a small outfit called AOL...
In 1993 and 1997 Anton was diagnosed with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome), which for many years he had to such an extend that it was difficult to keep a regular work schedule. At one point doctors declared him "100% disabled," in large part due to his erratic, CFS-related sleep-wake 'pattern' (which wasn't much of a pattern at all).
Ssome time around March 2005 Anton's condition has improved much. Since then many of his CFIDS symptoms have disappeared -- with the exception of short-term memory problems and a still erratic sleep/wake 'pattern.'
Janet is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She works primarily, but not exclusively, with abused women. She is an empathetic, skillful counselor, both face-to-face and online. Janet was born in England, and raised in Ireland. She has been a Christian for 27 years.
Coincidentally, Janet has Fibromyalgia, which is believed to be related to CFIDS and has many of the same symptoms.
However, while the Fibromyalgia condition remains, in recent years Janet's condition has greatly improved.
Update, April 2010: Still going strong.
Ruud, Anton's brother, is an extraordinarily skillful Wordpress web site programmer and SEO specialist. As our sites continued to grow - outgrowing various server and software solutions in the process - Ruud has for many years worked behind the scenes to keep them online. He also publishes his own web sites, including the highly-acclaimed GoodNewsBlog.com
- David M.
David Mckie, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, moderates the Apologetics Index discussion list. He is a long-time, well-informed Christian who keeps his fingers on the pulse of teachings and practices within Christian churches.
- David A.
David Anderson and his family exchanged a backyard view of Colorado's Rocky Mountains for, as he puts it, a 'frontyard view of a pancake-flat country with lots of tall people.' Dave -- who initially moved to the Netherlands for his IT job and then stayed because he and his wife fell in love with the country -- describes himself as a 'personal, one-on-one evangelist -- whether in person or online.' They have a son and a daughter who also lives and work in Holland. Dave keeps the RNB Twitter stream humming with religion news items, and he and his wife help with both research and counseling. They are long-time Christians with experience in missions work, youth work, Bible teaching and leadership training.
Jacob de Vries and his wife Anneke used to grow flowers for a living. Now retired they live on their farm in the Netherlands where two of their five children continue the family business. Jacob provides wise counsel, helps us with research and increasingly is involved in the editing and updating of Apologetics Index. Both Anneke and Jacob enjoy teaching other Christians about God's grace and mercy. They have a heart for Christians wounded by other Christians.
Eveline de Jong is a retired social worker who counsels people who have been involved in abusive churches, cults or other abusive relationships. She's been a Christian since 1951.
Ian Reilly was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has been a follower of Jesus for over 23 years, and he is an evangelist in heart and soul. He is gifted in other areas as well, including his work (construction), leading worship, and sign language. Now living in Amsterdam, he and his wife (from Syria) also minister to Muslims.
- Helpers and Supporters
In additional to the above-mentioned people we're blessed with a small but dedicated group of friends from around the world who help and support us in various ways.
As followers of Jesus Christ (Christians), we believe and defend the basic, essential doctrines of the historical, Christian faith as taught in the Bible. (See our Statement of Faith). However, we reject the cultural, denominational, and "spiritual" baggage many churches have managed to add over the centuries.
Instead, we feel very much "at home" with the "Core Values" of Christian Associates International (CAI) (Note 1). We like the balanced viewpoints these values represent - and try to incorporate them in our ministry as well.
In the spring of 2003, amidst much prayer and the input of trusted fellow Christians, Janet and Anton felt led to start an english-language house church. This was done in part because - due to our respective, fluctuating health problems - at times we were unable to attend even the nearest church. Over time, we have also seen how well the house church approach fits in with the ministry the Lord has given us.
Our thoughts on house churches (home fellowship groups) are largely along the lines of those described in "The Church Comes Home," by Robert and Julia Banks.
We remain in fellowship and relationships of mutual accountability with fellow Christians whose discernment and counsel we trust. We receive encouragement, advice, and practical help from a number of wonderful people.
Bottom line: we believe in practical, relevant Christianity: walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk. We love to see Jesus minister healing to His people - healing of body, mind and spirit. Therefore, we live to see the Gospel preached to the poor, the captives released, the sick healed, and the oppressed set free (Luke 4:18-19).
Questions? Feel free to contact us.
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