Defend The Faith Day Three

What happened at the third day at Defend The Faith? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today was the last day of the conference for us. Not because it’s a bad conference or we just want to go home. Not at all. Allie just has a women’s retreat that she had booked months ago before we ever heard about the conference and she has to be home so we can take her to that. Still, I will make tomorrow’s post and Friday’s about the conference. Unfortunately, my guest for Saturday on the show had to cancel and I figure it’s both my Mom’s birthday and I have to pick up Allie from the retreat, so why not just have some time of rest?

The day started with David Calhoun giving a version of Lewis’s argument from reason. This one has some points that are not exactly found in Plantinga. It also doesn’t depend on your stance on if evolution is true or not. The only one it says is not likely true is purely naturalistic evolution. If you have a theistic evolution of sorts, then your position is still safe.

The next session was one of Tom Gilson speaking on a new twist on the quadrilemma he has come up with, according to Dan Wallace. His approach is to look at Jesus as the person of impeccable moral character and also all-powerful and asks how hard it would be to imagine the typical illiterate fishermen created such a character. My description cannot do the argument justice so I recommend you click the link and check it out for yourself.

After a lunch, Allie and I went to a breakout session of Tom’s again. Let me mention at this point to please be praying for Tom with a foot injury he has. In this talk, he talked about missions and apologetics. This was one of the best sessions I attended as we talked so much about what the average college student believes today. They have misconceptions about love, sex, they’re relativists, they’re naturalists, they are experiencing freedom for the first time, they lack a sense often of obligation or responsibility, and usually they rely on Google scholarship.

Of course, this is a generality, but much of it applies in various degrees to American college students. This is our mission field. We are no longer living in the 1950’s. It was the discussion in the classroom that made this one so great. Tim McGrew and Tom were usually together and Tim was sitting in the audience for this one and he had a lot of good things to say.

Next we went to a talk by Sarah Ankemann on morality and making a case for absolute morality. Might I say at this point also that it’s great to see more women getting involved in apologetics? It’s usually a man’s field, but we need both sexes to be involved. A lot of interesting discussion came about in this one as well and we do plan on having Sarah come on the show in April to discuss autism since she has a son on the spectrum.

Then came my time to speak. I spoke on Gentlemen, We Are At War. I had a full classroom so much so that some people came in and left. The audience was entirely receptive and I pointed out the dangers that are usually faced on the internet. More people need to learn how to deal with popular internet skeptics and various theories like Christ mythicism and the pagan copycat idea. Many people in the audience thanked me for the talk which was incredibly warming to hear and humbling at the same time.

After a dinner, Tim McGrew and I again spent some more time working on Bayes’ Theorem together. I’ve said before what a great figure Tim is and I mean it. In fact, when I saw him last tonight, I had to give him a hug again, and I think it was a sad moment for both of us. I think we’ve both enjoyed getting to connect with each other and it will always be a special memory. We’re both hoping we can do it again next year.

But you need to know the final talk was Gary Habermas. He spoke on emotional doubt and while it’s a talk I’ve heard several times before, I always hear something new in it. If you struggle with doubt, I really urge you to go to this web site and listen to his talks on the topic and also download two books he has for free on the web site. They will be a great help if you apply them.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow Allie and I head back, but it’s been a great time here in New Orleans. We really hope we can come back again next year!

In Christ,
Nick Peters


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2 Responses to “Defend The Faith Day Three”

  1. Vincent S Artale Jr Says:

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

  2. edwardtbabinski Says:

    EDITED MY ORIGINAL COMMENT, please refer to this one instead.

    I don’t think illiterate fisherman wrote the Gospels. I think Greek speaking believers did. I also suspect that by the time tales of Jesus had passed from person to person and along the roads out of Jerusalem to the rest of the Hellenized world, some of the stories probably grew, and indeed had to grow if people seriously wanted to compete for adherents in that world back then.

    I’ve had contact with McGrew concerning his attempt to resurrect Blunt’s undesigned coincidences argument, and Habermas on the developments in the resurrection story. My impression was that Habermas is a nice guy, pretty even keeled.

    McGrew seems more up and down, perhaps more sarcastic at times, and also more maudlin if he thinks the case requires it in his preaching, plucking those heart strings like when he began preaching an early sermon about his personal discovery of Blunt’s apologetic arguments, and how wonderfully amazing he found them. Trouble is none of them prove anything. Such coincidences provide yet more evidence of the development of Gospel stories over time. In some cases a copyist of a later Gospel might even fill in the blanks of some earlier story with some incidental feature of a later retelling. But in the majority of cases you can see that the story’s base is derived from Mark as utilized by Matthew and Luke. John also combines elements found in earlier Gospels. I point out some Gospel trajectories in my conversation with Habermas above. But I have collected others since then. The Gospels do not interlock like a glove, they developed over time, one after the other. Mark most likely first and shortest. Markan priority is agreed on by the Christian authors of a new commentary titled, The Gospels and Acts (The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible) by Wilkins, Michael, Evans, Craig A., Bock, Darrell, Kostenberg (2013). And when it comes to the feeding of the multitude tales the authors of that apologetics commentary don’t mention the undesigned coincidences argument. In fact they admit the location of where such a feeding took place is difficult to harmonize and so they wind up hypothesizing that there might have been a second Bethsaida, though I have heard others suggest up to three Bethsaidas..The trouble is that it’s only in the late Gospel, Luke, where the location is specified as being other than simply “the wilderness.” And Mark, the earliest Gospel confuses matters by suggesting that apostles sailed for Bethsaida AFTER the feeding. Neither is there any apologetic import at all to Jesus asking “Philip” the question where to buy food in the fourth Gospel, especially if the Bethsaida they were in was not even the same one where Philip lived. So Blunt focuses on a hypothetical question of little import in order to conduct his apologetic argument. In the earliest telling it’s not even Jesus asking the question of Philip but instead it’s the apostles asking the question of Jesus. John switches things round because that’s how his Jesus talked, asking questions like that to take command of a conversation. Also, the towns Jesus visited were small, so it’s not like you needed a special person to find fish on the side of the town facing the lake. Just head toward the lake. John also has Jesus alone hand out all that food (to something like 20,000 people), unlike the synoptics. Again, John’s focus is on Jesus taking command. Also the Bethsaida we do have evidence for is not far from Capernum, and Jesus had apostles from both places. Most appear to have been Galileans who fished for their living, knew about nets and fish, etc. They would have sold their fish in both nearby fishing towns and all of them probably known where the market was. In short, Jesus could have asked any of them the same question. Blunt’s case is no case at all. But McGrew acts like he has scored a victory in trying to resurrect nonsense.

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