A Personal Update

What’s going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those of you who might not follow me on Facebook, I wanted to give a personal update. Some of you might suspect this is about the divorce, but no, it is only in a tangential way about the divorce. One thing I decided early on was I was not going to be a victim. I could lie down and be bitter and mourn, but that would do me nothing.

Keep in mind I am not denying there was no mourning at all. There was and that is good and healthy. There were and are a lot of painful emotions to work through. Even to this day, the divorce hits me hard on some level everyday and I notice ways that I am different as a result, such as I do tend to be much less trusting of people nowadays. After all, someone who made a major promise to me shattered that promise.

One night in talking to some friends on Facebook Messenger, I remember somehow the suggestion coming up about how I could continue my education as well. I have gone down that path and I do have a job where I am earning money, even though I do not like it, and I have been saving up. I am still quite hopeful to get scholarships, but I have completed an application process.

My pastor told me that since I attend a Southern Baptist Church, which I found through DivorceCare, that my tuition would be automatically reduced if I attended a Southern Baptist Seminary. I asked him for a list and saw that New Orleans Baptist was on the list. I knew a number of people down there and their strong apologetics focus so that meant my path was decided easily.

I believe it was a week ago today that I got the news that I have been accepted. I was also told that I would get my degree faster, which is the goal, if I were to move down to New Orleans myself. Right now, I am trying to do all I can to find out about employment, a church home, scholarships, and where I will live on campus.

So this update is also a request to those who want to contribute to this cause and have supported me on this journey and want to keep supporting me. I think the only furnishing in the apartments they have is a desk, so no doubt, I will need much of my own furniture so someone who is local and has something they want to donate, that would be fine. As I said, I have been saving money, and I am frugal, but I do not know for sure about scholarships entirely and there are living expenses.

My apartment will be one that is pet-friendly. My cat is a non-negotiable as he has been my companion for about a decade now and I refuse to leave him behind, especially since now I am the only person he truly trusts completely. He has been abandoned by enough people in his life and I’m not going to be one of them. However, I will be paying for vet care for him and other such necessities. If they have a Banfield down there, great, as I am part of their program. If not, I will have to do something else.

Of course, there’s other needs. I don’t know if the apartments include coverage of electricity, internet, water, etc. at this point. There is health and dental and vision insurance. There is auto insurance. I also have to keep up my cell phone and groceries and other living expenses.

While I am seeking employment down there, the ideal would be able to have enough coming in that I can do full-time ministry work. That way I can do all the work for my classes easily and I would be thrilled to get the podcast up and running again and have more time for writing ebooks. I also would like to be able to pay someone who can help me make YouTube videos.

At this point, I do receive a good number of donations, but the more that come in, the easier it gets for me. There are two ways you can donate. You can regularly donate through Patreon. That can be found here. You can also contact Mike and Debbie Licona and ask how you can donate in a tax-deductible means for me.

My plan for now is to be working on a Master’s in Philosophy first. I plan on focusing on my Thomism and learning how to better defend the existing of God and the reality of miracles. While doing that, I will continue learning Greek as I have a New Testaments scholar friend who teaches me and if I find someone there who can teach me in person, all the better. Then when I get both of those taken care of, I plan to do a PhD on the New Testament on the topic of the resurrection of Jesus.

Even if the semester hasn’t started yet, I plan to move down there as soon as I can. I want to get settled in, work at a good church if possible, make new friends, and I have no objections if I find a special lady down there who wants to partake of the journey with me. Thank you all for your support and prayers in this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

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 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

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