Last weekend, Jodi and I went to the 2014 New England Apologetics Conference, hosted by Ratio Christi and Victory Christian Church in Connecticut. I was there as part of the group of plenary speakers that included Michael Licona, Alex McFarland, and John DePoe. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and learning throughout the conference.
There were nearly 300 in attendance, which is not only good for the New England area, but also good considering it was the very first conference hosted by the church. The church leadership was warm, hospitable, and really took care of us while we were there. We really appreciated everything they did for us!
The conference, as a whole, I think was a success. The main aim of the conference was to educate and equip believers and to challenge unbelievers, seekers, and skeptics. The believers were to be roused from their intellectual slumber by being motivated to take part in apologetics. The unbelievers were to be challenged by the fact that it is indeed rational to believe in God and to be a Christian.
Mike Licona spoke about Jesus being the only way to Heaven (touching upon issues like inclusivism/exclusivism, those who have never heard, etc.). Alex McFarland covered issues such as absolute truth and the value of reason. His talks were the closest to sermons, having several stories illustrating the practical value of apologetics. Licona also spoke about the Resurrection, given that he is one of the world’s leading experts on the Resurrection. John DePoe covered arguments for God, including the argument from reason. I thought that was the most interesting, as he presented it about as simply and completely as one could do in the context of a lay audience. They were all very impressive!
I don’t remember precisely when this was done, but Jodi leaned over to me at one point and said something like, “We’re out of our league here!” I laughed, but I had been trying to tell her that since before we came! When it was time for my talk, I was definitely excited. I spoke about the need for philosophy within the contexts of theology and apologetics. After my talk and during a break, a man came up to me and we discussed whether or not Christ could have sinned. He told me that he’d never thought about that issue before; I was so excited to have been a part of stimulating his thinking on such theological and philosophical topics! I also loved meeting everyone! Overall, this conference was definitely a success, and I hope they put it on next year.
On a slightly related note, I would love to speak at any conferences or in the context of any churches that would want to have me with respect to apologetics. I have spoken on biblical, theological, and philosophical topics, and enjoy interacting with believers on these issues in a polite manner. Contact me if interested!