Reflections on the 2011 Apologetics Conference

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Considering how long it’s been since I’ve got to write, I’m wondering if I should have begun with “I’m not dead yet!” No. We had a busy conference and I had to get caught up on my emails and then there’s work as well as getting ready for my parents coming by today and staying the weekend so we had to pick up the apartment, add in to that that our cat has developed fleas and that increases our need.

The wife and I both went to the conference the whole time for both days. We started off going to a session for her on the apologetics of horror. My wife happens to enjoy the horror genre. I can’t really get into it at all. Hence, we take turns deciding who will choose a movie on movie night. (Exception could be going to a movie theater)

The next talk we went to was on women celebrating being women. I suggested that my wife go to this one as I thought it would be directed towards her and something she’d enjoy more. I believe she did and I got to share some of my own thoughts afterwards with the presenter when it was finished.

We next went to a talk on addressing the homosexual agenda, which gave her the added benefit of getting to contribute, seeing as when my wife was in high school, she interacted with several people who were homosexual or bisexual. They knew her views on homosexuality and they respected her because she did treat them like human beings, an approach that the speaker liked.

After lunch, our next talk was listening to Gary Habermas. He’s always a favorite of us seeing as my wife grew up knowing him and refers to him as “Uncle Gary.” He was also the man who married us. His talk was on conquering emotional doubt. Yeah. We’ve heard it several times before but hey, it’s him and we wanted to hear it again.

After that, it was my talk on Jehovah’s Witnesses and “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” It wasn’t my finest performance as seeing as I had a powerpoint so I could do quotes, I ended up pretty much reading out everything. I’m not a speaker that’s used to using Powerpoint so I have more practice to do on that.

I believe after that we went to hear my wife’s Dad, Mike Licona, give a talk on Jesus’s resurrection and if it was physical or spiritual. Most amusing was in that talk when someone asked during the Q & A, “Yes. Concerning Matthew 27. Just kidding!” I’m not sure how many other people got the joke, but the Mrs. and I got a laugh out of it.

The highlight after the dinner for me that weekend was actually the talk by Josh McDowell. I’m not a fan of him really on many apologetics issues, but this talk was one that had me paying great attention as he spoke on pornography today and how prevalent it is in our society with even children 4-5 years old viewing internet pornography. His research is in a work called “The Bare Facts.” I highly recommend this. We simply must do something about this problem.

Greg Koukl gave a great talk then on bad arguments against religion. Koukl is an enjoyable presentable due to his more common sense approach. He’s not going into deep philosophy per se, although those issues are in there. He’s giving common parlay for the common man on the street.

The evening ended with Mike again as he gave a talk on if Jesus is the only way. Mike did an excellent job as he freely admits when he is still struggling with a topic and doesn’t go along with the party just for the sake of going along. On the essentials however, he’s a force to be reckoned with. We pray that this controversy that he’s been put through soon ends.

The next morning began with a talk by Dembski on theistic evolution. Now my thinking on the topic is that the evolution debate really doesn’t matter. It’s been a secondary debate we’ve allowed ourselves to be dragged into. Still, if someone like Dembski thinks that the case can be made using ID, more power to him. I do not doubt that Dembski is an extremely intelligent and educated man. While I do not agree with the approach, if he thinks he can do it, let him.

Our next talk we went to centered around the future of mankind with technology and was quite revealing as there was talk about trans-humans, cyborgs, and post-humans. Where are we going to be in the future? I wonder how a blog like this will be done ten years from now. Are we starting to push the envelope too far?

We then heard a talk about the uniqueness of Christianity to which it was not only a good talk, but there were some very amusing powerpoints throughout it.

After lunch, we returned to hear Frank Turek interviewing William Lane Craig on his recent U.K. Tour, a tour in which for some reason Richard Dawkins was conspicuously absent, but we know that this absolutely cannot be due to cowardice on the part of Dawkins. Surely not!

Craig then gave a talk on the problem of evil. It was a very good talk, although I do hope Craig will start saying more on the emotional problem of evil as well. It could be however that that would be for more personal one-on-one talks rather than a general talk to an audience.

Gary Habermas gave a great talk on the Shroud of Turin. Even if one does not think the Shroud is authentic, there is much about it that needs to be explained. A funny part in his talk was how he told about a Christian who gave a reason for thinking it was a fraud. He said that the Christian was a speaker and he wouldn’t give a name, but his initials were “Josh McDowell.” If you haven’t looked into the Shroud, it’s a fascinating topic.

Finally, Frank Turek wrapped us up with a talk on the existence of God. He’s the kind of guy one often has to prepare oneself for as his style is very much in your face with a lot of humor thrown in.

My overall impression was that this was a very good conference. My wife is not into apologetics like I am and she still enjoyed it. We also got stressed on the importance of bringing apologetics into the church more and more. I’m hopeful that next year I will get to speak again. It was a great honor to do so this year.

Okay. Next time I hope to be able to write on Inerrancy again. With my folks in town, that might not happen until Sunday or Monday.

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5 Responses to “Reflections on the 2011 Apologetics Conference”

  1. Devin Pellew Says:

    Nick,

    I enjoyed reading your reflections on the apologetics conference as I myself also went and shared many of the same great experiences.
    One thing that took me by surprise that maybe you could elaborate a bit on is your comments about Theistic Evolution.

    You said ” Now my thinking on the topic is that the evolution debate really doesn’t matter. It’s been a secondary debate we’ve allowed ourselves to be dragged into.”

    I am curious as to why you would say this dosent matter. Whether one is an old erath creationist or a young earth creationist, both are legitimate views because there is some room in the text where one may view the word “yom” as longer then a 24 hour day.

    However I fail to see at all how the text of Genesis teaches Darwinian evolution. I would be interested in your thoughts on that.

    As far as saying it does not matter, it seems like the whole reason Jesus died on the cross to redeem his Elect was because of a literal sin and a literal fall by a literal Adam.

    Jesus refers to a literal Adam in Mathew 19:4 and Mark 10:6. Adam is also listed in the genealogy leading to Christ. We are told in Romans 5:12 that it is mans sin that brought death into the world.

    It seems to me this issue not only matters but is foundational. What are your thoughts my friend?

  2. apologianick Says:

    Note that the topic is only on macroevolution and not Adam. I have a number of friends who are theistic evolutionists and are very orthodox in their thinking and hold to a literal Adam.

    The problem with Genesis 1 is that it’s being interpreted in a concordist approach. In other words, we’re reading it as if it was a scientific account. I think a better approach can be found in the Literary hypothesis. An excellent look at this can be found in John Waldon’s “The Lost World of Genesis One.”

    What then does the text say about evolution? Nothing. What about how long it took? Nothing. Now this does not mean I believe macroevolutionary theory, although my main problems with it are philosophical rather than scientific. That is simply because I do not claim to know the science.

    The argument is that we’ve been reading Genesis 1 and 2 wrong for years because we do think in terms of chronology and science. Waldon brings out other writings at the time and shows the parallels between them and Genesis. It does not call into question the Inerrancy of the text. It simply means one interprets the text according to the way it would have been understood.

    Does this put any danger on Adam? Not a bit. I hold to a literal Adam. If I was a theistic evolutionist, which I’m not, I’d just say that was the means God used, although it could have been a special work on his part at one point to give a soul. That’s not my position and one can simply visit theologyweb.com and go to a section where Christians can debate this and ask for theistic evolutionist replies to how Adam was made.

    I also take this approach because I do not want my views married to the science of the day. It works great now, but it might not always. Hence, I don’t even think that Craig’s first and second arguments are sufficient as they need Thomistic back-up. My goal is to convert the skeptic to Jesus, not to a view on creation.

    So, when he comes to me and says “I believe in macroevolution.” Fine. Let’s talk about what damage you think that does to my belief system. “I believe in a multiverse.” Fine. Why is that a problem for me? “I believe in an eternal universe.” Cool. How does that go against my theism?

    The metaphysical arguments are far more convincing.

  3. johnathan Pritchett Says:

    Nice recap. My wife isn’t all that into apologetics either, but sounds like she would enjoy that conference. Hopefully we will get to attend one soon.

    I too, could care less about getting bogged down in physics and biology. I like Dr. Reynolds approach to cultural apologetics, Holding’s textual apologetics, and Licona’s Resurrection apologetics stuff. Add to the the Gospel and the rest is not that interesting to me…though I love hearing good presentations on that stuff and am glad people are doing it…but I prefer not to wade into that either, and there is too much other stuff to read than the latest I.D. book.

    As for powerpoints, when I started giving presentations, I started with powerpoints…and I would forget that I would have to change slides and remember that I still have to memorize the material and can’t just read off it.

    What helped me here was to either simplify my powerpoints from like 20 slides to 3 or 4 or so, or make them silly and goofy with lots of pics.

  4. apologianick Says:

    Thanks Johnathan. Someday if I’m over there or you’re over here we should get together and definitely have our wives meet!

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