This conference is part of a series of events where Brett Kunkle and Amy Watts from Stand to Reason, and Jay Watts from Life Training Institute are speaking in New Zealand. See here for a list of all their speaking engagements.
Can we still know what is true? How does truth matter to my life, today? And is it worth believing in Christianity in a world filled with reasons for doubt? Come and wrestle with these questions and more from our collection of engaging and entertaining speakers from America and New Zealand.
WHEN: SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER
TIME: 10:00am – 4:00pm
WHERE: St Paul’s Church, 28 Symonds Street, Auckland CDB
COST: $10 at door – includes lunch
10:00am Registration and Welcome
10:30am Jay Watts – Life Training Institute
Does Truth Matter?
What is Truth? Are there things we can know for sure? Jay discusses common objections to truth and shows why it is important to faith and our search for God.
11:30am Brett Kunkle – Stand to Reason
Is One Way the Only Way?
Brett examines some common objections to Christianity’s claim to be the only true religion then builds a careful case showing how Jesus is the only way to God.
12:30pm Lunch (pizza provided)
1:00pm Breakout Session 1
(choose from one of the following)
Jay Watts: How to discuss your faith with others.
Amy Hall: If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil?
Brett Kunkle: Is Christianity Intolerant?
Zach Ardern: Are Science and Faith compatible?
2:00pm Breakout Session 2
(A repeat of all breakout sessions)
3:00pm Q&A Panel with all speakers
4:00pm Close of conference
This conference is part of a series of events where Brett Kunkle and Amy Watts from Stand to Reason, and Jay Watts from Life Training Institute are speaking in New Zealand. See here for a list of all their public speaking engagements.
Brett, Jay and Amy are warm and engaging speakers who travel the world equipping the Christian church to defend the faith. They have a special ability to communicate complex issues in easy to understand ways and will be in Tauranga for this special Thinking Matters event you won’t want to miss!
WHEN: SUNDAY 16th SEPTEMBER
TIME: 12:30pm – 6:00pm
WHERE: Bethlehem Community Church, 183 Moffat Rd, Tauranga
COST: $20 at door
12:40pm Jay Watts
Back To The Cross – Apologetics and Evangelism
How the Gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses our full worldview while defining how we relate to the information and experience in our lives.
1:30pm Breakout Session 1 (Choose from one of the following)
Amy Hall: If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil? How can we reconcile the existence of evil with a good, powerful, omniscient God?
Brett Kunkle: Is Faith a Blind Leap? Does true faith have anything to do with knowledge, reason and evidence?
Jay Watts: Does Truth Matter? How to reach people who deny that absolute truth exists or can be known.
2:15pm Afternoon Tea
2:45pm Breakout Session 2 (A repeat of all breakout sessions)
3:45pm Brett Kunkle
Tactics In Defending Your Faith
Learn specific skills to help engage others in friendly conversation and present Christ in an intelligent yet gracious way.
4:45pm Q&A Panel with all speakers
6:00pm Close of conference
Billions profess to believe in the historical existence, death, and supernatural resurrection of Jesus. Should such claims be believed on “blind faith” or are there good reasons for believing the resurrection is the most fantastic fact of history?
In July and August, The Upper Room is organizing a series of events on the evidence for the resurrection. Christianity stands or falls on the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without it, our faith is merely one religion among many. If you’re someone who would like to get better acquainted with not just the reasons for why Christianity is rational, but why Christianity offers ultimate hope for the human condition, we’d encourage to attend.
- Concise Outline of Evidence for the Resurrection
Tuesday 24 July, 7.30pm
- The Case for Christ with Lee Strobel
(DVD screening followed by discussion)
Tuesday 31 July, 7.30pm
- Deeper Investigation of the Evidence (Part 1)
Tuesday 7 August, 7.30pm
- Deeper Investigation of the Evidence (Part 2)
Tuesday 14 August, 7.30pm
- Deeper Investigation of the Evidence (Part 3)
Tuesday 21 August, 7.30pm
- Debate: Did Jesus Rise from the dead? Dr Gerd Ludemann vs Dr William Lane Craig
(DVD screening followed by discussion)
Tuesday 28 August, 7.30pm
All events are without cost. The Upper Room is located at 10a Clayton Street, Newmarket. Visit their website here.
Come to Reason Ministries have posted the audio from the debate between apologist Lenny Esposito and atheist Richard Carrier:
(If you’re having trouble accessing the audio, you may need to like the Come to Reason Facebook page). The exchange took place on Wednesday, May 23, at the University of California.
Lenny Esposito is president and founder of Come to Reason Ministries. He is a contributor to the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students and has written articles that have appeared in The Los Angeles Times and the Southern California Christian Times.
Richard Carrier is a historian and philosopher, specializing in the philosophy of naturalism and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. He is the author of several books including Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith and Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism.
In the latest issue of the Enrichment Journal, Professor Paul Copan has an excellent response to the New Atheist claim that the God of the Old Testament is evil (also see his article on whether God is just a crutch for the weak). In the essay, Copan also deals with the Mosaic Law and the mistaken assumption that it presents a normative pattern for the consistent Bible believer. Since the topic of the Bible’s evolving ethical standards has recently come up on the blog, I thought it would be worth quoting Copan’s comments here:
First, we are not to equate Mosaic legislation with the moral. Laws are often a compromise between the ideal and the enforceable. The Mosaic Law is truly a moral improvement on the surrounding ANE cultures — justifiably called “spiritual” and “good” (Romans 7:14,16) and reflective of Yahweh’s wisdom (Deuteronomy 6:5–8). Yet it is self-confessedly less than ideal. Contrary to New Atheists’ assumptions, the Law is not the permanent, fixed theocratic standard for all nations.
Polygamy, for instance, is practiced — contrary to God’s ideals in Genesis 2:24 and contrary to the prohibition in Leviticus 18:18 — perhaps in part because its prohibition would have been difficult to enforce, even if the biblical writers hoped for something better (cp. Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:3). Like divorce and other inferior moral conditions (cp. Matthew 19:8), polygamy was tolerated rather than upheld as an ultimate moral standard.
Second, the Mosaic law reveals God’s forbearance because of human hard-heartedness. Matthew 19:8 indicates that divorce was permitted — not commanded — because of hard hearts; it was not so “from the beginning.” The same can be said of a strong patriarchalism, slavery, and warfare common in the ANE context; these are in violation of Genesis 1,2’s creational ideals. Rather than banishing all evil social structures, Sinaitic legislation frequently assumes the practical facts of fallen human culture while pointing Israel to God’s greater designs for humanity.
God shows shows remarkable forbearance in the OT: “He passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25, NASB); elsewhere Paul declares: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30,31, NASB). In the OT, God puts up with sinful human structures as less-than-ideal.
Third, the Mosaic Law — an improved, more-humanized legislation — attempts to restrain and control an inferior moral mindset without completely abolishing these negative structures. While negative aspects of slavery are retained, slaves achieve astonishing rights in contrast to the rest of the ANE. Even so, Deuternomy 15 expresses the hopeful goal of eventually eradicating slavery while both (a) diminishing the staying power of slavery in light of the exodus and (b) controlling the institution of slavery in light of the practical fact misfortune in a subsistence culture could reduce anyone to poverty and indebtedness.19
The same kind of progression is evident in legislation regarding women, primogeniture, and the like.
Fourth, the Mosaic Law contains seeds for moral growth, offering glimmers of light pointing to a higher moral path. Yes, God prohibits worship of other gods, but His ultimate desire is that His people love Him wholeheartedly. Love is not reducible to the Law’s restraining influence, and enjoying God’s presence is not identical to idol-avoidance.
The model of Yahweh’s character and saving action is embedded within and surrounding Israel’s legislation — a “compassionate drift” in the Law, which includes protection for the weak, especially those who lacked the natural protection of family and land (namely, widows, orphans, Levites, immigrants and resident aliens); justice for the poor; impartiality in the courts; generosity at harvest time and in general economic life; respect for persons and property, even of an enemy; sensitivity to the dignity even of the debtor; special care for strangers and immigrants; considerate treatment of the disabled; prompt payment of wages earned by hired labor; sensitivity over articles taken in pledge; consideration for people in early marriage, or in bereavement; even care for animals, domestic and wild, and for fruit trees.20
In their zealous preoccupation with the negative in OT ethics, New Atheists neglect these warm undertones in the Law of Moses itself, exemplified in Yahweh’s gracious, compassionate character and His saving action.
Fifth, the Mosaic Law contains an inherent planned obsolescence, which is to be fulfilled in Christ. Despite the significant moral advances at Sinai, the Law is not the final word. God promised a new covenant that would progress beyond the old (e.g., Jeremiah 31; Ezekiel 36,37). According to Hebrews, Jesus brings “substance” to the OT’s “shadows,” fully embodying humanity’s and Israel’s story. Thus, stopping at OT texts without allowing Christ — the second Adam and the new, true Israel — to illuminate them, our reading and interpretation of the OT will be greatly impoverished. If the NT brings out more fully the heart of God, then we must not let the “tail” (the OT) wag the “dog” (the NT) as the New Atheists commonly do.
Read the rest of the essay here.
Dr Peter Williams discusses the evidence for the resurrection at the Lanier Theological Library (Houston, Texas) on April 7th. Dr Williams is Warden of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.
HT: Justin Taylor
Read the whole article and Copan’s explanation of each point here.
Jerram Barrs will be visiting New Zealand next month and City Presbyterian Church is hosting him for several public events. Barrs is Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture and Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Before taking up his role at Covenant, Barrs helped found the English L’Abri where he worked for 17 years. He has a passion for helping equip and encourage Christians to grow in their relationship with Christ and to learn how to glorify Him in all of life. Barrs is also the author of numerous books including The Heart of Evangelism, Learning Evangelism from Jesus, The Heart of Prayer, and Through His Eyes: God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible.
Popular understanding of the biblical view of women tends to suggest that the God of the Bible is misogynistic. But is this popular understanding an accurate one?
Join Jerram Barrs as he addresses the questions and issues surrounding God’s view of women. This is a free public talk and is open to anyone of all faiths and none (and both genders) who are wrestling with or have questions about this issue.
The talk will begin at 7:30pm. Light refreshments and a Q&A session will follow the presentation.
When: Wednesday 20th June from 7:30-9pm
What does it mean to profess faith in Christ while pursuing our various professions? What does it mean to follow Christ in the 9-5 of life? How does our relationship to Christ bring deeper joy and meaning to our career? Join Jerram Barrs as he explores the Bible’s teaching on these and other questions related to the relationship between faith and work.
When: 22nd & 23rd June (7p-9:30p Friday, 9:30a-2p Saturday)
Where: City Presbyterian Church, 283 Karangahape Road, Auckland
Cost: $50 ($25 for Uni Students) Attendees can register and pay the day of the conference or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to pay and register online.
For more details visit the City Presbyterian Church website or email email@example.com.
Dan Wallace (professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary):
“NT scholars face an embarrassment of riches compared to the data the classical Greek and Latin scholars have to contend with. The average classical author’s literary remains number no more than twenty copies. We have more than 1,000 times the manuscript data for the NT than we do for the average Greco-Roman author. Not only this, but the extant manuscripts of the average classical author are no earlier than 500 years after the time he wrote. For the NT, we are waiting mere decades for surviving copies. The very best classical author in terms of extant copies is Homer: manuscripts of Homer number less than 2,400, compared to the NT manuscripts that are approximately ten times that amount.”
To illustrate this, Mark at Visual Unit has produced a great infographic comparing the NT manuscript evidence with other ancient writings:
For other helpful diagrams, illustrations, and infographics related to the Bible and Christianity visit Visual Unit.
HT: Tim McGrew
“. . . A Shot of Faith to the Head takes the best tools of top-notch apologetics and philosophy and puts them in the hands of every believer. Even better, it’s easy and fun to read, winsome, witty, filled with sharp thinking, and well-researched. As a professor and pastor, I’ll be assigning this book in my apologetics courses and would recommend it to every Christian. It displays strategic answers to questions and objections every Christian has encountered.” – Justin Holcomb, pastor, Mars Hill Church and adjunct professor of theology, Reformed Theological Seminary.
“To our shame, the response of Christians to challenges to our faith can often be dismissive, shallow, defensive, or disrespectful. On the other hand, we can err too much on the side of tolerance for error when truth is under siege. In Inerrancy and Worldview, Vern Poythress shows us how to be neither fools nor cowards. Through intelligent, informed, insightful, and respectful engagement, key foundational faith defeaters taught in many disciplines at every secular university are explained and critiqued from a biblical perspective. Poythress challenges the challenges to biblical belief at the root of their assumptions. We are left with a solid basis and defense of the Christian way of thinking. Inerrancy and Worldview should be required reading for all who want to think more deeply about their faith and defend it within a skeptical culture.” – Erik Thoennes, Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; Pastor, Grace Evangelical Free Church, La Mirada, California
(Visit the author’s blog here).
“The New Atheists are certainly vocal, but are they also reasonable? In this remarkably accessible book, David Glass exposes their frequent failure to understand what they attack, meticulously assesses their arguments, and then goes beyond critique to present a many-sided positive case – scientific, historical, and philosophical – for Christian theism. No other work on this subject combines such wide scope with such consistently high quality.’ – Timothy McGrew, Professor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University; Director, The Library of Historical Apologetics
In Why Jesus?, the popular apologist examines humanity’s deep spiritual hungers and the common solutions presented by mass-marketed leaders of pop spirituality (Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, and so on). Ravi Zacharias exposes the empty promises of those who peddle spiritual advice at the expense of careful thinking and experiential wisdom. The book shows why issues of exclusivity, authority, and relevance are always pertinent to conversations about spirituality, and ends with a plea for people to understand Jesus as Truth. – Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources and author of Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope.
Paul Copan addresses the charge that the Christian God is egotistical and self-centered. The talk was given at Sanibel Community Church on April 15, 2012. Copan is Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. For more on the topic see his book, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God.
Next week Thinking Matters Tauranga is starting a new series titled Is the Bible Reliable? Building the Historic Case.
Is the Bible a book of myths and fairy tales, or is it a book of history and truth? This DVD series provides a thorough overview of major archaeological and historical discoveries that demonstrate the veracity and accuracy of the Bible. This series will help you to respond to critical arguments against the historicity of the Bible with solid evidence, and gain a better understanding of the geography, culture, and history of events in the Bible.
View the trailer and get more information here.
TIME: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
WHERE: Bethlehem Community Church, 183 Moffat Rd, Bethlehem, Tauranga, New Zealand.
FORMAT: 60 minute DVD lessons followed by discussions. This is the second set of DVD’s from Focus on the Family’s True U series and is presented by Dr Stephen Meyer (author of Signature in the Cell).
Over the last few months we’ve been hosting a formal written debate between myself and Malcolm Trevena on the historicity of the resurrection (see here, here, and here). Unfortunately I have decided to formally close the debate.
Before setting out on the exchange, Malcolm and I both agreed to several rules or guidelines for the debate. One of these was that we would reply to our opponent’s posts within five days. At the time, this sounded like it would afford plenty of opportunity to respond adequately to each other and keep the debate moving swiftly. While writing my opening statement however, I quickly realized that this would be a struggle to maintain. I therefore suggested to Malcolm that if he wanted to take a week or two to write a good response, then this would be fine with me and we could count the original guideline as flexible. Afterall, we are both active people with full, active lives. However, it has now been 5 weeks since I have heard anything from him. Not just a response to my first response, but any communication whatsoever. And so I believe it best that we close the debate and open it up to the readers for their comments.
I thought I would offer four reflections on the debate ending.
William Lane Craig offers historical and Biblical evidence for the conclusion that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Q&A follows the main presentation.
The lecture was delivered at Southampton Civic Hall, on the 2011 UK Reasonable Faith Tour. The tour was sponsored by Damaris Trust, UCCF, and Premier Christian Radio.
Next month, Laidlaw College will be hosting Biblical Scholar, Dr Dirk Jongkind (Research Fellow in New Testament Text and Language at Tyndale House, Cambridge) for two lectures on the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts and the make-up of the New Testament canon. Dr Jongkind is an international expert on New Testament manuscripts and both events should be well worth your time.
Before the time of printed books, the New Testament was copied by hand. Errors are easily made and may even undermine the reliability of a text. What sort of things did go wrong in the copying of the Bible? How much deliberate editing was going on? And are the conspiracy theories right this time? We will think about the earliest evidence, look at some of the arguments made by every side, and get an overview of what sort of discussions are currently going on regarding the Greek text of the New Testament. No need to know any Greek.
We have not only the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we have also some other gospels, which are not part of the Christian New Testament. Among these are the Gospel of Thomas, of Mary, and even the Gospel of Judas. The last one was only re-discovered a few years back. What is there in these gospels, and why do they not form a part of the books the church uses?
Attendance is free but for catering purposes, please RSVP to Anne Segedin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Monday 19 March 2012.
For more info about about Dirk Jongkind, go here.
By: Stuart|12 February, 2012|Categories: Debates . Resurrection|Tags: debate . evidence for the resurrection . Historical Jesus . Jesus . reliability of the Bible . reliability of the gospels . Resurrection
This is the first reply in a formal written debate between Stuart McEwing and Malcolm Trevena. The question of the debate is “Is the resurrection of Jesus fact or fiction?”
I would first like to thank Malcolm Trevena for his opening statement responding to my defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. I am grateful for the importance he places on the truth of the matter and that he chose to attack my arguments without attacking me. I hope to replicate this gentlemanly manner.
To begin I would like to look back and recall my opening statement.
In support of my first contention that there are at least four facts which any adequate historical hypothesis must explain, I offered four facts, namely, the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances, and that the disciples radically came to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, and also outlined the reasons why each of those facts are commended to us by the majority of experts in the relevant fields.
In support of my second contention, the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead is the best explanation of the aforementioned facts, I assessed that hypothesis using the conventional criteria historians use for determining the best explanation.
I concluded that Trevena, in order to establish that the resurrection of Jesus did not occur, in the absence of some overwhelming proof of atheism, must propose an alternative naturalistic explanation of those facts which exceeds the resurrection hypothesis in fulfilling those criteria.