Updates and information on the latest apologetic events near you.

Auckland Event: God in the Light of the Critics

On Saturday the 29th of May, TANSA (Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa), in conjunction with the Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, will be holding a seminar on God and the new wave of  atheism. The event brings together speakers from a variety of theological and confessional commitments to interact with the new cultural movement of skepticism.

When: Saturday May 29, 9am – 3.30pm

Where: Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, 1043 Beach Road, Long Bay (ph 473 2600)

Cost: $20 / $15 students and unwaged

Schedule

9.00  Registration

9.30  Welcome: Nicola Hoggard Creegan (Chair of TANSA, and lecturer at Laidlaw) and John Fairbrother (Director of Vaughan Park)

9.45 Tim Meadowcroft (Senior Lecturer at Laidlaw) Pascal’s Bus: A Conversation between Blaise Pascal and the British Humanist Association Buse.s

10.30 Morning Tea

11.00 Judith Brown (Adjunct lecturer, Laidlaw) Tracing the way Home: the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

11.45  John Bishop (Professor of philosophy, Uni of Auckland)  Some Thoughts on an Alternative to a ‘Personal omniGod’ Theism.

12.30 LUNCH

1.30  Peter Lineham (Professor of History, Massey) A History of Atheism: from Paine to Dawkins

2.15  Nicola Hoggard Creegan  Deeper than Darwin

2.35  John Fairbrother Thank God for Atheists

For more details phone Nicola @ 021 376 045 or check out the TANSA website.

Together for the Gospel (T4G) Conference (Day Two)

Here are the videos from the main sessions on day two of the conference (Chris Gatihi at Pilgrim in Conflict has helpfully posted notes on each of the sessions as well).

Session 4: Thabiti Anyabwile — ‘Fine-Sounding Arguments’ — How Wrongly ‘Engaging the Culture’ Adjusts the Gospel

Colossians 1:24-3:4

  • Paul’s Purpose (1:24 – 2:5)
  • Paul’s Philosophy (2:6-2:15)
  • Paul’s Practices (2:16-2:23)
  • Paul’s Perspective (3:1-4)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10940130[/vimeo]

Session 5: John MacArthur — The Theology of Sleep! (Mark 4)

Mark 4

How do we approach evangelism?:

  • Humility
  • Obedience (Mark 4:21-22)
  • Diligently (Mark 4:23-25)
  • Confidence (Mark 4:30-32)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10941231[/vimeo]

Session 6: John Piper — Did Jesus Preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism?

Video to come.

Full manuscript available on the Desiring God website here.

Luke 18: 9-14

– Did Paul Get Jesus Right?

– Aspects of the Pharisee’s Righteousness in Luke 18: 9-14

  • Moral
  • Religious
  • A Gift from God

– Only One Thing Missing:

– Jesus: God’s Righteous One

– Implications:

Implication 1: Jesus’ Gospel Is Also Paul’s
Implication 2: Nothing We Do Is Basis for God’s Acceptance
Implication 3: Our Standing with God Is Based on Jesus, Not Us
Implication 4: Transformation Is the Fruit, Not Root, of Justification
Implication 5: All Our Goodness Is Evidence and Confirmation, Not Grounds
Implication 6: The Gospel Is for Every Person and Every People
Implication 7: Jesus Gets the Full Glory

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10951333[/vimeo]

Together for the Gospel (T4G) Conference (Day One)

Over the next few days, several evangelical pastors and thinkers will be gathering in Louisville, Kentucky, for the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference. If you’re like me and stuck in a different part of the world, than hearing about the convergence of erudite, Biblically-minded thinkers like Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and Mark Dever is difficult to cope with (those of us in Auckland do have the option of the Stand Together for the Gospel conference this weekend, however).

For those of us who are unable to attend, here are several summaries of the day’s first round of talks from those who were there (please make sure you check out the original fuller posts). I’ll update with the audio, when it becomes available.

Session 1: Mark Dever — The Church is the Gospel Made Visible

(notes by Justin Taylor and Chris Gatihi at Pilgrim in Conflict)

Watch the video here.

Ephesians 3: 8-11

You can lose the gospel by not proclaiming it clearly, but you can also work against the gospel by the life your congregation lives.

1) How is God’s nature and character displayed in the church?

  • Holiness: Distinct lives point to a distinct God. Our lives should be marked by God’s holiness and by the fruit of the Spirit. Our distinct lives should make clear what the gospel is like. There is a difference between sinners and repenting sinners. Holiness is freedom.
  • Love: we are to be distinct from the world by the kind of love we have for others despite the inconvenience it may be to us.
  • Authority: David’s last words (2 Samuel 23:3-4) show us that authority is a good and life giving thing. Ever since the Fall, Satan has been trying to tempt us to think otherwise. He wants us to think that love and authority can’t go together. But God can love us and rule us and correct us because He’s trustworthy.Our right use of authority in our congregation reflects God’s authority.

2) How is the truth about human beings displayed in the church?

  • We were made in the image of God, and that value should be reflected in our churches. We should have relationships across typical boundaries.
  • Our congregational life should also acknowledge that we are fallen. We are not the assembly of the self-righteous. An understanding of depravity sets us up to understand church membership, because we are already redeemed but God is not yet finished. It frees people to confess their sins to one another. We know there’s something not right, and we’re the ones who can tell the truth about that.

3) How is the truth about Jesus Christ displayed in the church?

We are the people who bear his name and his purpose. We are his body, his temple. How do we make Christ visible? Through our teaching and our constant worship. Our lives should display not only Christ’s person but Christ’s work. We demonstrate our love across differences and across denominations.

4) How is the right response of the gospel displayed in the church?

  • We are to teach and model repentance and faith. We repent of our selfishness. The Christian life is personal but not private.
  • Congregations are groups of people acting upon things they cannot see. It is a community based on God’s promises. The Word should be central in our churches. Sermons should be central because they hold our God’s promises to us.

Do you want to see your church do better at evangelism? Then help your church be a better church. Our churches are meant to depict the truth of the gospel. We are to be the appearance of the gospel to the world. This is the clearest picture the world sees of who God is and his will for their lives.

Session 2: R C Sproul — The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel — What I Have Learned in 50 years

(Notes by Chris Gatihi at Pilgrim in Conflict, also check out What is the Gospel?, on the Ligonier Blog, which features some of Sproul’s message)

Watch the video here.

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1

1) The Danger of Messing with “Mr. In-Between”

In the Old Testament, one of the problems the people of God dealt with in every generation was syncretism, which means to blend the elements of pagan religion (worship of foreign gods such as Baal and Asherah poles) and the religion of Israel. This kind of synthesis can be referred to as “Mr. In-Between.”

Examples of contemporary synthesis:

  • Evangelicalism and Naturalism
  • Evangelicalism and Existentialism
  • Evangelicalism and Marxism
  • Evangelicalism and analytical philosophy
  • Evangelicalism and process philosophy

2) The Danger of Messing with the gospel itself

Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide were the two doctrines that seemed like the bedrock that all of evangelicalism could build on. But then confidence in Sola Scriptura began to be compromised. And then eventually we hit rock bottom when controversy erupted over Sola Fide.

At the heart of this discussion on the nature of faith is the topic of justification and imputation. Is the ground of my justification something I can get for myself? Or is it something that must be alien to me, that I must get from somewhere else? There is no “Mr. In-Between” here, no matter what some have tried to say.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together represents the ultimate synthesis that obscures the great antithesis of the gospel.

And today, we see attempts to improve the gospel. But the gospel is primarily about Jesus, who He is and what He’s done.

Our greatest challenge is with respect to our personal fidelity to the gospel.

It’s not our gospel. It’s God’s gospel. And there’s no way to improve it.

Session 3: Al Mohler — How Does it Happen? Trajectories Toward an Adjusted Gospel

(Notes by James John Hollandsworth at Light Along the Journey and Chris Gatihi at Pilgrim in Conflict)

Watch the video here.

Galatians 1:8-9
1 Timothy 6:3
2 Timothy 1:8-14
Jude 3

The New Testament is really clear about the realities of a false gospel. Yet there is seeming ignorance to the danger of false gospels in the church today. But if we love Jesus, we must love and guard the gospel.

Examples of the different trajectories that result in an adjusted, altered, and eventually wrecked Gospel:

1. The modern trajectory: Liberal theology, neo-orthodoxy, and the like, where in the name of logic and rationalism the Gospel is stripped of anything supernatural.  It is “demythologized” so that it can be believed by “modern” man.  The result is that “theological liberals want to rescue Christianity, but they instead end up burying it.”

2. The post-modern trajectory: In contrast to modernists that want to establish that Biblical theology is false, post modernists reject objective truth altogether, so that Biblical truth is neither true nor false, but simply has subjective value.  “Truth” is considered to be of value simply in its metanarrative meaning.

3. The moral trajectory: These philosophers are repulsed by Biblical concepts such as hell, depravity, & atonement, so they appeal that there is a “higher morality” than the so-called primitive systems of Christianity.  In essence, these philosophers demand that God conform to their own notion of fairness.  “People want God to be fair, but “Perfect” is infinitely superior to fair, & Perfect cannot be interrogated by fair.” (meaning that our imperfect limited concept of fairness as fallen finite humans cannot judge the fairness of an infinite perfect being)

4. The aesthetic trajectory: Embraces only the “good & beautiful” and rejects anything that offends like depravity or atonement, ignoring the fact that our fallen natures cannot be trusted to make accurate assessments of what is truly beautiful about the Gospel.

5. The therapeutic trajectory: Where we only find ourselves as sick, but not sinful, and the Bible is self-help, but not a source of external rescue from hopeless depravity.

6. The pragmatic trajectory: Truth ends up not being a foundation but only a tool to obtain the desired result.  Managerial expertise and methods can produce apparent and quickly gratifying results, but “It produces crowds, but not churches, results, but not regenerations.”

7. The emotional trajectory: When we lean toward teachings and experiences that have positive emotional reward, but lean away from anything that has emotional cost.  This leads to feel-good theology that avoids anything in Christianity that isn’t palatable.

8. The materialist/prosperity trajectory: Prosperity theology follows a trajectory that is not only false but makes God out to be a liar. This is where we come to think that we can have our best life now. This trajectory comes from seeking instant gratification. “It’s only “Your Best Life Now” if you’re an unbeliever.”

Some causes of doctrinal drift:

  • Doctrinal Fatigue:  having to go against the cultural tide and repeatedly defend Biblical theology over and over can lead to just tiring of it.  But fatigue is disastrous to the metal of a bridge, the pilot of a plane, or the pastor of a church.
  • Embarrassment: of the scandal of the Gospel, so that you progressively let go of doctrines that are uncomfortable to unbelievers.  But “The Holy Spirit alone can make the Gospel credible.”

Expository preaching is the best safeguard against doctrinal drift.

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?'” John 6:66-69

How will we respond to this same question that Jesus asked His first disciples?

Christianity On Trial

Just a reminder about our second forum event to be held this Tuesday (March 16th) at 7pm. Last night’s panel went well, and we were really pleased with the turn out. This next panel will be focused more on the New Atheist’s arguments against Christianity and we look forward to some good discussion. Please join us!

Christianity On Trial

Time: 7pm, Tuesday March 16
Location: 260 – 098
Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland

Today, many best-selling atheists argue that belief in God is delusional and a roadblock to political, moral, and scientific progress. In this public Q and A event, several of New Zealand’s top Christian thinkers come together to consider popular arguments against Christianity and whether belief in God is merely a consequence of superstition and credulity.

Speakers:

  • Jeff Tallon (PhD) is Distinguished Scientist at Industrial Research Ltd and a former Professor of Physics at Victoria University. He is internationally known for his research in high-temperature superconductors, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2002 was awarded the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s highest science award.
  • Matthew Flannagan (PhD) lectures in the History of Philosophy at Laidlaw College and specializes in applied ethics and the interface between philosophy and theology. He is a prominent New Zealand Christian thinker, debater and blogger.
  • Michael Drake (DipTeach) is the principal of Carey College in Panmure and a pastor of the Tamaki Reformed Baptist Church. He has been involved in advocacy for Christian schools and in raising issues about race, education, and Christianity before Parliament. He is also a TSCF Associate Chaplain at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
  • Joe Fleener (MDiv) lectures in Old Testament, Church History, Christian Worldview, Apologetics, and Christian Ethics at The Shepherd’s Bible College.

Support this event on Facebook.

Has Science Disproved God?

This March, Thinking Matters is coordinating two events at Auckland University with the Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship. We’re excited about the speakers that we’ve organized and are really looking forward to the discussion over two great nights. The events are open to both university students and the public, so if you’re in Auckland, come and join us.

Here are the details for the first event (theatre locations will be announced in the next few days). The second event (Christianity on Trial) will occur in the following week (head over to this page to get the full information for that event).

The Thinking Matters Forum

Has Science Disproved God?

Time: 7pm, Thursday March 11
Location: OGGB4
Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland

Have the discoveries of modern science proved that belief in God is irrational and untenable? Does faith hinder or inspire scientific research? In this public Q and A event, several of New Zealand’s top scientists and Christian thinkers come together to examine the claims of popular atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, and explore the the credibility of God in the context of cosmology, biology, and physics.

Speakers:

  • Neil Broom (PhD) is Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at The University of Auckland. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2008 and is the author of the book How Blind Is the Watchmaker?: Nature’s Design & the Limits of Naturalistic Science.
  • Jeff Tallon (PhD) is Distinguished Scientist at Industrial Research Ltd and a former Professor of Physics at Victoria University. He is internationally known for his research in high-temperature superconductors, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2002 was awarded the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s highest science award.
  • Robert Mann (PhD) previously taught biochemistry and environmental studies at the UoA and and has been on the council of the NZ Association of Scientists.
  • Matthew Flannagan (PhD) lectures in the History of Philosophy at Laidlaw College and specializes in applied ethics and the interface between philosophy and theology. He is a prominent New Zealand Christian thinker, debater and blogger.

Support this event on Facebook

Update: For those who weren’t able to attend the event, here is the audio: Thinking Matters Forum: Has Science Disproved God? (Right-click and “save as” to download the file)

Thinking Matters Forum at Auckland University

This March, Thinking Matters is coordinating two events at Auckland University with the Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship. We’re excited about the speakers that we’ve organized and are really looking forward to the discussion over two great nights. The events are open to both university students and the public, so if you’re in Auckland, come and join us.

Here are the details. We’ll announce the theatre locations this week.

The Thinking Matters Forum

Has Science Disproved God?

Time: 7pm, Thursday March 11
Location: OGGB4
Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland

Have the discoveries of modern science proved that belief in God is irrational and untenable? Does faith hinder or inspire scientific research? In this public Q and A event, several of New Zealand’s top scientists and Christian thinkers come together to examine the claims of popular atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, and explore the the credibility of God in the context of cosmology, biology, and physics.

Speakers:

  • Neil Broom (PhD) is Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at The University of Auckland. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2008 and is the author of the book How Blind Is the Watchmaker?: Nature’s Design & the Limits of Naturalistic Science.
  • Jeff Tallon (PhD) is Distinguished Scientist at Industrial Research Ltd and a former Professor of Physics at Victoria University. He is internationally known for his research in high-temperature superconductors, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2002 was awarded the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s highest science award.
  • Robert Mann (PhD) previously taught biochemistry and environmental studies at the UoA and and has been on the council of the NZ Association of Scientists.
  • Matthew Flannagan (PhD) lectures in the History of Philosophy at Laidlaw College and specializes in applied ethics and the interface between philosophy and theology. He is a prominent New Zealand Christian thinker, debater and blogger.

Support this event on Facebook

Christianity On Trial

Time: 7pm, Tuesday March 16
Location: 260 – 098
Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland

Today, many best-selling atheists argue that belief in God is delusional and a roadblock to political, moral, and scientific progress. In this public Q and A event, several of New Zealand’s top Christian thinkers come together to consider popular arguments against Christianity and whether belief in God is merely a consequence of superstition and credulity.

Speakers:

  • Jeff Tallon (PhD) is Distinguished Scientist at Industrial Research Ltd and a former Professor of Physics at Victoria University. He is internationally known for his research in high-temperature superconductors, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2002 was awarded the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s highest science award.
  • Matthew Flannagan (PhD) lectures in the History of Philosophy at Laidlaw College and specializes in applied ethics and the interface between philosophy and theology. He is a prominent New Zealand Christian thinker, debater and blogger.
  • Michael Drake (DipTeach) is the principal of Carey College in Panmure and a pastor of the Tamaki Reformed Baptist Church. He has been involved in advocacy for Christian schools and in raising issues about race, education, and Christianity before Parliament. He is also a TSCF Associate Chaplain at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
  • Joe Fleener (MDiv) lectures in Old Testament, Church History, Christian Worldview, Apologetics, and Christian Ethics at The Shepherd’s Bible College.

Support this event on Facebook.

The Thinking Matters Forums are organised by an interdenominational group of Christians dedicated to addressing the difficult questions about faith, truth and life. Our website can be viewed at www.thinkingmatters.org.nz

UPDATE (1/03/2010): The location for the second lecture has been confirmed.

New audio from 2009 Apologetics Symposium

New Reformation Press has just made available the lectures from an Apologetics Symposium that was hosted earlier this year at the Zion Lutheran Church. The Symposium was focused on introducing the task of apologetics and offering a defense of the historcity and truthfulness of the Scriptures. The lectures were conducted by Rod Rosenbladt, a professor of theology at Concordia University and co-host of the radio program “The White Horse Inn”, and Craig Parton, a trial lawyer and US director of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights. Both are strongly influenced by the great apologetist, John Warick Montgomery, and use the evidentiary approach of a court room in their defense of Christianity.

The six sessions are being offered as a set for $9.99 but you listen now to the first two foundational lectures for free.

The lecture titles:

  1. Why Defend the Faith at All? – Craig Parton
  2. Intro to Apologetics – Rod Rosenbladt
  3. Historical – Legal Apologetics – Craig Parton
  4. What Non Christians Ask – Rod Rosenbladt
  5. Islam, Cults and the New Age – Craig Parton
  6. A Lutheran Defense of the Biblical Gospel – Rod Rosenbladt
  7. Q and A – Rosenbladt and Parton

Richard Dawkins is coming to NZ

As a part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, zoologist and popular atheist Richard Dawkins has been invited to speak in Wellington early next year. Dawkins is the author of many landmark books on evolution, including the recently published “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution”. He will speaking at the Festival as apart of the Writers and Readers Week, along with influential philosopher and atheist Peter Singer.

Dawkins is no stranger to controversy, and indeed has invited it openly himself, with his polemical writing and often incendiary comments.  He has been described as “Darwin’s Rottweiler” and a “fundamentalist” in the service of the evolutionary cause. Dawkins’ previous book, The God Delusion, sold more than 1.5 million copies but has been criticized as unsophisticated, prone to caricature and ultimately out of its depth, with even some atheists embarrassed and cringing at some of its claims. But if there’s one thing Dawkins is good at, it’s at stimulating debate. Let’s hope his arrival will encourage the right kind of debate, with more light than heat.714blog_richard_dawkins_2

Darwin was Wrong – Conference and Webcast

I have recently been listening to some dialog on the topic of Creation and Evolution, and have generally found it very frustrating. It seems to me that the proponents of each view are, on the whole, talking past each other. Creationists say transitional fossils, claimed necessary by Darwin himself for his theory, are largely missing. Evolutionists on the other hand concede that they are missing (Gould) or that they are not missing (various people), both of which support evolution. My plea — can we please have definitions spelled out clearly before these discussions, and can we have the evidence honestly put in front of our eyes. Hand-waving arguments are just not sufficient! Anyways…

This conference — full of PhDs — looks like it might be a bit interesting.  I hope they release the MP3s or videos online.

http://logosresearchassociates.org/coming_events.htm

October Events in Auckland

Faith at University

What are the common issues that Christians face in their study at university? This symposium will seek to address that question and help to introduce young people to the challenges and skills necessary for their faith to survive the tertiary environment.  Guest speakers include Paul Windsor, Dr David Richmond, Doug and Puti Wilson, Yael Klangwisan (Laidlaw College), and issues discussed will be university life, how Christians can impact the university, how a career as a scientist can relate to faith, and apologetics in the academy. This has been set up particularly for young adults and Year 13s, and will feature Scripture Union, TSCF, Student life, and Thinking Matters.

Get in quick and email youthgroup.lcc@gmail.com or register via their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124180167831

When: Friday 16th Oct, 7:00 – 9:30pm
Where: Lynfield Community Church, 35 the Avenue, Lynfield

Thinking Biblically in a Postmodern World

Dr. Bryan Martin will discuss post-modernism and how this new cultural and philosophical mood relates to the Christian worldview.  Bryan is the director of Biblical Foundations at the Hamilton Christian School and is married to Laura and they have three young children. He has trained as a teacher at the University of Waikato and has since graduated with degrees in Divinity and Ministry from The ‘Masters Seminary’ in the USA. After nine years in full-time ministry, including four years of pastoring a Church in the UK, Bryan now lives in hamilton, NZ, where he serves as an elder in his home church.

When: 17 & 18 Oct
Where: Manurewa Bible Church, 84 Maich Rd
Cost: Donations are encouraged to help cover costs

Timetable:
Sat
2-3: Understanding our Times: What is Postmodernism?
3.15-3.45: Afternoon Tea
4-5: Irreconcillable Differences: Post-Modernism and the Bible
5.15-6.45: Fellowship Tea
7-8: A New Church in Town: Understanding the Emerging Church
Sunday
10-12.15 Divine Architecture: Following the Master’s Plan for His Church (regular Sunday Service)
7-8 Courageous and Unashamed: Impacing our generation with the Gospel

(source: Joe Fleener at Emeth Aletheia)

Unlimited Apologetics: Faith and Science symposium

Stuart McEwing will be delivering three talks: “The Argument from Evolution,” “Conflict in the Conflict Thesis?: Historical Perspectives in the Relationship Between Science and Christianity” and “The Death of Science in the Modern Era?”.

When: Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 7-9pm.
Where: Encounter Christian Centre, 495 Rosebank Rd, Avondale.
COST: Free

Evangelical Philosophical Society 7th Annual Apologetics Conference

Come, Let Us Reason (November 19-21, New Orleans, Louisiana)

Rooting Your Faith in Knowledge

Grow in your understanding and articulation of what Christianity claims and learn from notable apologists like J.P. Moreland, Greg Koukl, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, Sean McDowell, Gary Habermas and many other top-notch leaders. Learn More >>>

Unfortunately this is not in New Zealand.

Saddleback Apologetics Conference

The MP3s are up and ready to listen (or you can watch)

Here are the names of the speakers:  Dinesh D’Souza, Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Greg Koukl, Darrell Bock, and JP Moreland. What a fantastic lineup!!!

Here is the page:

http://saddleback.com/mediacenter/services/currentseries.aspx?site=yDi0V4EwP58=&s=OsqcpA0SUkE=

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/ should have the MP3s linked pretty soon…..