Nearly 2,000 people from around the country and beyond gathered at Calvary Church in Charlotte recently for Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics.
That title may sound serious, but there were moments of light relief, such as when the conference was called to order by Seminary NAO robot, D.A.V.I.D. (Digitally Advanced Virtual Intelligence Device).
Long a leader in apologetics training, the seminary hosts the annual conference for the purpose of equipping Christians to defend their faith in a society that often believes Christianity and science are at odds.
Not so, said some of the nation’s leading authors, scientists, archaeologists, researchers, educators, theologians and apologists who took to the platform and addressed topics including astronomy, Darwinian evolution, genetics, and many more.
Keynote speaker Dr. Hugh Ross, for example, an astronomer and founder of Reasons to Believe, delivered a compelling presentation on the scientific discoveries surrounding trans and extra dimensions, noting how these can support scriptural claims. The Discovery Institute’s Dr. Michael Behe, a professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, presented both a challenge to Darwinism and evidence of a genetic revolution that radically redefines the debate about Darwinism.
Similar to other years, the conference was not only for scientists and astronomers. Individuals from all walks of life attended, and there was something for all people of faith.
For the first time, a women’s pre-conference was held and headlined by the seminary’s Nora Hale, Dianna Newman, and Nel Brace. The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Chelsen Vicari discussed how to answer feminists’ arguments within the Evangelical community. Educator Carol Ardizzone presented on Common Core; and Enough is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes spoke on Internet Safety.
Author David Limbaugh, a seminary online student, spoke about his new book, “Jesus on Trial,” which recounts his journey from devout skeptic to devout Christian. Father-son team Josh and Sean McDowell – each well-known in his own right – appeared together for the first time in candid discussion about what it takes to pass on the faith to the next generation.
And Tim Goeglein, vice president at Focus on the Family and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, delivered a talk on Faith in the Public Square.
The purpose of this conference is to help inform and inspire Christians so they are able to defend their faith with an ever growing confidence in a world that is increasingly antagonistic to those who believe in the authority of Scripture. Through presentations by leading experts who addressed topics ranging from faith in the public square and the historicity of Noah’s flood, to the limits of Darwinism and evidence for Christ’s physical resurrection, the conference provided scientific, historical and cultural confirmation of the eternal truths of God’s holy word. We believe that many were blessed, many were encouraged, and all were better equipped to defend their faith.