Deeper Waters Podcast 2/21/2015: Tawa Anderson

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was in New Orleans for the Defend the Faith conference, I met many great speakers there. I met many fine and wonderful minds that are highly skilled in apologetics. I met many that are great inspirations for us all and are simply remarkable with the way that their brilliant intellects work.

I also met Tawa Anderson.

Just having some fun there. 🙂

When we were deciding which breakout sessions to go to, I figured I knew a lot of the material already, so I’d let Allie choose. Allie wanted to go see Tawa speak because she has an interest in worldview thinking and that happened to be the topic that Tawa was speaking on. For many in apologetics, it can be a basic topic, but it’s really quite in-depth and quite central to everything we do, so why not have him discuss it on my show? This Saturday, we’ll see that happen. So who is Tawa Anderson?

Tawa profile pic

According to his bio:

Tawa Anderson is Chair of the Philosophy Department and Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Apologetics at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK.  Tawa presents papers regularly at professional philosophical society meetings, has written a number of journal and magazine articles, and is the co-author of a worldview textbook used at OBU (and hopefully soon to be published and accessible to the broader public).

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Tawa earned his B.A. (Political Science) at the University of Alberta, and an M.Div. (Pastoral Ministry) from Edmonton Baptist Seminary (now Taylor Seminary).  Tawa served as English Pastor of Edmonton Chinese Baptist Church for seven years before returning to school to earn his Ph.D. in Philosophy, Apologetics & Worldview from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  A husband and father of three, Tawa is passionate about equipping the church to understand, explain, and defend the truth of the Christian faith.  He has led apologetic workshops, seminars, and conferences at churches throughout western Canada, Kentucky, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Tawa enjoys speaking on a broad range of apologetic topics, with particular passion for matters regarding: (1) Truth, Relativism, and Postmodernism; (2) The Textual Integrity and Historical Reliability of the New Testament; (3) The Historical Jesus; (4) The Resurrection of Christ; (5) Worldview; (6) The Need for Apologetic and Worldview Training in Contemporary Christian Churches; and (7) The Question/Problem of Evil/Pain.  Tawa blogs (with intermittent dedication) at www.tawapologetics.blogspot.com

Allie and i got to know Tawa very well at the conference and at some meals got to see him interacting with visitors on very deep levels. Also amusing was getting to see him do a mock debate with Gary Habermas on if Jesus rose from the dead where he played the role of Bart Ehrman. We suspect he won’t want to do that again. That was not recorded and/or streamed by the conference so if you regret missing it, just make sure to come next year!

Tawa did a great job of taking the serious topic of worldview thinking and making it accessible to everyone in the room and we’re sure to see the same on the Deeper Waters Podcast. Be looking for the next episode in your podcast feed soon.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Defend The Faith 2015 Afterthoughts

So what do I conclude after a week in New Orleans? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

At the start, one word that comes to mind to describe the conference is “intense.” As I was telling a friend on the phone about it just now, we pretty much got up at around 7 A.M. every morning and stayed at the conference and got back around 9 P.M. and then just wanted to go to bed. I have no idea how I managed to get a blog in. I did not get in as much reading this week, but I think that’s acceptable.

I think it’s wonderful that this is going on and I thank Rhyne Putman and Bob Stewart, who are largely the two that I understand are arranging everything, but I do want to say something about a week long conference of intense learning in New Orleans for a week that I am sure they’d be some of the first to agree with.

It’s not enough.

In fact, Dr. Stewart and I talked about this on the air some. What would make this so excellent is if other people saw the model taking place in New Orleans and said “Let’s take this elsewhere.” Perhaps other seminaries might want to hold similar conferences as well. It would be wonderful if every Christian seminary out there was dedicated to helping our church defend the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

Let me suggest an even better idea, and I know this could be a pipe dream.

It would be better to see area churches doing it.

Here in Knoxville, we do have a chapter of Reasonable Faith and if a local church wants us to have a “God’s Not Dead” meeting, we do it. We might not have a lot of people show up, but we are thankful for those who do. The sad reality is that too often churches are some of the most opposed to this kind of thing. It would be like saying we want you to feel safe while you walk down the street in a dangerous part of town, but we’re not going to bother teaching you martial arts or give you a gun and show you how to use it or anything like that.

In the past, we heard about Christians being thrown to the lions to be devoured.

Today, Christians are throwing one another to the lions.

New Orleans should not be an isolated event, but it should be a model to follow. So you might be thinking “Our church is small! We can’t get William Lane Craig or Mike Licona or Paul Copan or Gary Habermas to come!”

So what?

When we hold a “God’s Not Dead” conference, we don’t have any big names. We just have us. We just have some local guys who have studied apologetics and know how to make a case for what we believe. In fact, that can be something better since it shows the person in the pew that it’s not beyond them. I honestly suspect most people if given the chance to learn this would want to do so and would benefit greatly from it.

I’m thankful for Defend The Faith 2015 and the work of Stewart and Putman. My prayer is that it doesn’t stay there. If you were at this conference and liked it, try to do likewise in your area. It starts out small, but working together, we can all make a difference.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Defend The Faith Day Four

What’s been going on at the Defend The Faith Conference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well readers, I have some egg on my face. There had been some misunderstanding on our itinerary on my part and our flight back to Knoxville isn’t until tomorrow. Oh well. That meant we missed a talk so I can’t comment on that, but we did really appreciate what all else that we did get to hear.

So the first talk we heard today was from Gary Habermas dealing with doubt, this time being intellectual doubt. Of course, there was still some overlap with the emotional doubt and it mainly covered ways of thinking. He also encouraged us that when we talk we make sure that we focus on the essentials. Believe it or not, a lot of times Christians can get incredibly side-tracked by non-essential doctrines and start thinking that those belong in the center along with the resurrection.

After a lunch, we next went to hear a Tim McGrew session, naturally, where he talked about treasures new and old. This time, he was talking to us about the value of reading old books. There are many works of apologetics written in the past that are still relevant to us today. These include writers other than G.K. Chesterton, one of my favorites, as well.

After that, we went to part two of a mock debate as it were on the resurrection between Tawa Anderson who was playing the role of Bart Ehrman and Gary Habermas. I had been telling Tawa that he did a great job in his discussion on worldviews, but that I had no doubt that he was going to get his tail kicked in a debate with Gary Habermas. I was right. What makes Habermas such a formidable opponent is he also knew Ehrman’s material backwards and forwards.

We went out to a nice lunch after that with Tim McGrew, Tom Gilson, and some others at a local burger and fries joint which naturally became a time of great discussion. Tim also started teaching Allie how to do Sudokus seeing as she’s wanting to learn how to improve her thinking and showing them that they have nothing whatsoever to do with adding. It’s just logic.

The evening ended with a lecture by Paul Copan, co-author of Did God Really Command Genocide who was speaking on just that topic. This was a great talk to hear and it was interesting how many questions had to do with the interpretation of Scripture. It makes me think that this is an area that we’re going to have to work on because it seems too often that many evangelicals are letting their conclusions, such as inerrancy, sometimes drive interpretation, without realizing that if Scripture is inerrant, sound interpretation will not be a problem.

Now tomorrow is definitely the day that we are flying back, but we have had a great time at the conference and we’re so thankful to have been invited. I plan on making one final post on the importance of a conference like this tomorrow.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Defend The Faith 2015 Day Two

What has been happening at Defend The Faith? Let’s Plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today has been an active day at the Defend The Faith conference hosted by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We started with a talk from Tim McGrew on the evidential value of the Book of Acts, which was certainly an eye opening talk. Next we followed with a talk from Rob Bowman on the travesty of an article from Newsweek. Let’s just say that it was like using a tank to squash a slug. Again, these talks will all be online for a limited time after the conference for free so please take advantage of that time!

After a lunch, we went to hear a talk first from David Calhoun about the role that films can play in apologetics. I did realize exactly how out of the loop I am about so many great movies, excepting when the topic of Harry Potter came up seeing as I know the series very well as a fan and was able to make my own contributions at that point. There are definitely some movies I wouldn’t mind watching now.

We followed that up by going to hear Keith Loftin give a case for mind/body substance dualism. I found this one to be quite technical but quite good as well. I was surprised to see NDEs not covered well and I did ask about them which got us to discussing the research of Gary Habermas, who I must highlight because he will in fact be speaking tomorrow.

After that, many of us who are speakers got to go out to dinner together at a nice seafood restaurant. I did order a shrimp platter but there was no way I could go through all of it. Allie got herself some pasta. Meanwhile, I just got to enjoy great conversation with Rob Bowman, Rhyne Putman, Tom Gilson, Fred Smith, Tim McGrew, Bob Stewart, and so many others who were there. I considered it a real privilege. The people running this conference are so kind and generous. Allie and I have felt like honored guests.

After that, Tim and Allie and I went back to his apartment. Why? Because Tim is wanting to teach me Bayes Theorem, especially because it seems to be so misused, especially by a certain prominent blogger that is popular amongst atheists. I’ve got a lot of work cut out for me, but Tim is a really encouraging guy and takes the time to explain and says to not worry about mistakes. They will happen.

We went back to the seminary then to hear James Walker of Watchman Fellowship give a great talk on worldviews and different perspectives people hold on religion. Watchman Fellowship also has available all their profiles that they’ve written on various topics of religion available for purchase as a file you can carry on your mobile device, which could be quite helpful to get.

After that, Allie and I went back to Tim’s apartment for a little while where he had a few people there just discussing apologetics and how important it was. If only we could get more youth ministers especially to see the need imagine what a difference we could make in the world and it was wonderful to see young people really eager to know how to defend their faith.

Well that’s all it’s going to be for tonight. Allie was starting to fall asleep while we visited Tim and not because he’s boring. He’s not. It’s just because she was so tired and frankly, I am too. Tomorrow is my day to speak so I hope you all will pray for me that I will give an effective talk that will bolster up the Gospel.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Defend The Faith Conference Day 1

What’s going on at the Defend the Faith 2015 Conference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’re noticed my presence on Facebook has been lacking lately, it’s because I’ve been at the 2015 Defend The Faith Conference in New Orleans. It’s been a big thrill for me. The only other time I’ve been west of the Mississippi was as a small child when I was visiting Memphis and we went across it just so I could say that I had been in Arkansas once.

The day started off with a great talk by Douglas Groothius. He spoke on the necessity for God in order to have a foundation for moral law in society. It relied on an essay that was actually written by the atheist Arthur Leff. The talk left us all a lot to think about including the increasing danger that is going on in a society that wants to give more and more power to the state.

After that came one of my best moments. Finally, I got to meet the one and only Tim McGrew.

NickandTim

Tim McGrew is the professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University. In fact, when he was introduced later this evening, it was said that he had fan boys and some people had traveled for miles just wanting to meet Tim McGrew. I turned to Allie and said I couldn’t help but wonder who would be so excited about traveling for miles to meet Tim McGrew. In the Christian Apologetics Alliance, McGrew is a legend.

Meeting him was a thrill because he is also so much of what I want to be. Do I mean all the knowledge he’s gathered over the years? Obviously. But I include in it that Tim has a great heart. He has become one of my dear friends who I can turn to when I’m in need and the investment he’s put into my own self has been stellar and I hope to be able to give back to others the way Tim has to me someday.

He and Tom Gilson gave a talk then on Peter Boghossian, quite appropriate since on Unbelievable?, Tim had massacred Boghossian’s chickens. Gilson and McGrew showed how Boghossian is trying to dissuade people with his street epistemology. I’ve written on Boghossian’s work myself. Boghossian does want an army of street epistemolgists who I have also had run-ins with. The church is blessed to have a presentation like that of Gilson and McGrew’s that shows the problems with Boghossian’s approach.

After lunch, we went to some break-out sessions. I wish I could talk about them all, but I can’t, but for those interested it is my understanding they will all be available online afterwards. The first one we went to was by Tawa Anderson. At this point, I had left every choice to my wife since I wanted to see what she’d be interested in. She made a fine first choice. It was a talk on worldview thinking and I was highly pleased to see it involve a scene from the Matrix. Worldview thinking is extremely foundational and so many people just miss it.

Next was a talk by Justin Langford. This one dealt with the topic of forgery in the NT. I have reviewed Bart Ehrman’s book as well here and here. Langford did something interesting in showing us two texts and have us guess which one was canonical. I must confess that I did not get each one right. To be fair, the first one did throw me some since I recognized Jude but knew he was quoting 1 Enoch which left me wondering a bit. We also had a good discussion on if a new book had been found and we knew it had been written by Paul should we accept it into the canon. I argued no since part of it was recognition by the church universal. Someone else answered yes. I think Langford went more for my side, but it was an interesting discussion.

Finally, we went to a talk by Tim McGrew and Tom Gilson that turned out to be about how we could do apologetics faithfully. McGrew asked us what we would like if we could have one wish that would help our ministries. I answered financial stability, which I think several people resonated with. Allie asked about how she could incorporate apologetics into her art. McGrew really liked her question and is still thinking about it.

The evening ended with McGrew giving a talk on how not to read the NT which dealt with Jesus Interrupted and yes, I have responded to that as well. McGrew gave a devastating presentation that showed that Ehrman quite frankly isn’t really honest with the data a number of times. It was quite a thrill also to have him refer to my work on Raphael Lataster. It’s a great way to see members of the body working together and building one another up.

On our way back to the hotel, we also got to ride some with James Walker of Watchman Fellowship. Expect him to show up on a future episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

Overall, we’re having a great time here in Louisiana at the conference. That’s about all I can say here. It’s getting late and I’m tired so we’re going on to bed because we have to get up early for another day of apologetics tomorrow. I have been pleased with this conference so far and I suggest if you’re interested in apologetics, try to make it out next year.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/27/2014: Bob Stewart

What’s coming up on tomorrow’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Normally I write this post on Thursday, but since yesterday was Christmas, I decided to write about that instead. Now that the holiday is passed, let’s talk about what we’ll be talking about on the show.

Next month, there’s a big annual apologetics conference that will be going on. That is the Defend The Faith conference. It’s held every year in New Orleans. This year you will find such great speakers there as Gary Habermas, Tim McGrew, Paul Copan, and many more. In fact, if you’re interested in Deeper Waters, please be sure to be there because I’ll be in one of the breakout speakers speaking on Wednesday. The person who contacted me about this and someone who is integral to the conference itself is Bob Stewart.

BobStewart

So who is Bob Stewart?

Robert Stewart is Professor of Philosophy and Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as Greer-Heard Professor of Faith and Culture.  He has authored or edited several books.  He is also general editor of the Studies in Christian Apologeticsmonograph series from B&H Academic.  He has also published articles in numerous books and journals.  He also has spoken in university settings in North America and Europe.  He and his wife, Marilyn, have three adult children.

Why is it that these conferences are going on and why should you care? What does it take to have a conference like this and why would a Seminary be interested in the concept? Bob Stewart has been doing Christian apologetics for several years and we’ll be talking about the importance of the conference in New Orleans which could carry over to many other conferences as well.

Along with that then, we’ll be talking about the importance of apologetics in general. If you are going to a Seminary, should it matter to you if the Seminary has any interest in apologetics or not? Does this really matter to the church or should it belong in the hands of an elite few? Can what is said at a conference really have any relation to what is going on at the church? Can the life of the mind really help to inform us in our worship?

It’s been my personal hope that apologetics is starting to come on the rise in America and one of the reasons for thinking that is the rise of the new atheism and other movements like this. These issues are becoming so common that having some sort of apologetics knowledge before too long will be unavoidable. The more people become aware of conferences like this, the stronger our churches will become.

I hope you’ll be watching your ITunes feed for the newest episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast where I am honored to get to interview Dr. Bob Stewart. Also, if you happen to make it to the conference in New Orleans, try and find me and hopefully attend the session I’ll be speaking at. It would be great to get to meet anyone who is a fan of the blog and of the podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters