(Photo: Hamilton Strategies)
The Southern Evangelical Seminary is partnering with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to deliver what promises to be an exciting series of presentations by many prominent apologists during the 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference in Charlotte, N.C., starting Friday. Dr. Richard Land, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will be inaugurated as the fourth president of Southern Evangelical Seminary prior to the conference Thursday evening.
The premise of the two-day event titled, "Reasons for the Hope," is designed to deepen participant's understanding of subjects related to science, culture, and other religions.
"I think the single greatest factor has to be that we as Christians are seeing how we are losing the culture to anti-Christian worldviews," said Eric Gustafson, director of Development Southern Evangelical Seminary.
On the conference website, Zacharias is quoted, "In Christian engagement, the goal is to win the person who is of the other worldview - not to destroy the person."
Organizers promise to deliver a host of prominent apologists speaking on engaging topics. For example, from the schedule of many speakers and topics, Tom Woodard, author of Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design, is presenting a session titled, "Darwin, Design, and the Stories We Tell: The Rhetoric of Science in Scientific Apologetics." Don Deal, director of Worldview Evangelism and Apologetics for Meekness and Truth Ministries, will be discussing "Does DNA = God?" In the "Christianity & Culture" track, Josh McDowell's presentation is titled, "The Perfect Storm: Four Cultural Trends That Challenge Every Truth We Know."
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend, twice the number of participants at last year's event. Although the projected attendance is not the largest in its conference history, the surge is due, in part, to the hot topic of the crossroads between Christianity and science. Additionally, organizers say the increase in expected attendance is attributed to the stronger presence of social media in promoting the event.
Gustafson said that the demographics of attendees this year is broad, and includes pastors, Christian educators, and parents, who want to be better equipped to raise their children in an increasingly secular society.
"We also have a lot of professionals, including doctors, engineers, and scientists who want to better understand how evidences from their own fields points to the truthfulness of Christianity," said Gustafson.
During the conference, there will be three tracks featuring dozens of topics that will be presented by renowned speakers and experts. One of the discussions will include a debate between Jason Lisle, a scientist from the Institute for Creation Research and Dr. Hugh Ross, a scholar from Reasons to Believe, an organization that equips people to engage in the integration of science and Christianity. Their dialoge will focus on their theological and philosophical reasons regarding astronomy and the Earth's age.
"If participants are thirsty for high-quality apologetic training, be prepared to take a drink from a fire-hose," said Gustafson.
In addition, another in-depth topic of discussion will entail the apologetic methodology called presuppositionalism, which involves the idea of divine condescension. The conversation will focus on the role of presuppositionalism and young-earth creationism, which argues that the world was created in six days.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to listen in on topics including climate changes in the 21st century and being spiritual but not religious, among others.
The 2013 National Christian Apologetics Conference takes place from Friday, Oct. 11 to Saturday, Oct. 12. For more information visit www.conference.ses.edu.