This coming Friday, March 4th, the 5th Apologetics Canada Conference kicks off at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, BC, Canada. I can hardly believe it has been five years since I attended the very first one. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it this year, which is disappointing for me because I love meeting all of my apologist friends and experiencing the excitement of so many people interested in Christian apologetics (a Christian apologist’s dream!).
But one of the main reasons I’m bummed is that one of my favorite Christian apologists is going to make his 3rd appearance at this year’s conference!
J. Warner Wallace
If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Jim, you’re really missing out. And, if you haven’t heard him give one of his presentations, immediately put that on your todo list, whether in person at the conference, or by viewing one of his YouTube videos. (Actually, just go watch it, as this is the presentation you may have missed two years ago.)
I first ‘met’ Jim back in early 2010 after I had been listening to his podcast and checking out his excellent collection of resources over at Please Convince Me. I really liked the intro/outro music he was using for the podcast and reached out to Jim, asking who the band was. This started a bit of conversation between us, as I had pointed out the very meager start of my own apologetics ministry website. (The band was Apt Core, in case you’re curious.)
What I admired about Jim, was how carefully he addressed issues and how fair he was to opposing points of view, and/or kind to opponents he had as guests on his podcast. The depth of his research, even down into original sources, was impressive, especially given he was working full-time as well as leading a house-church. And the approach he used to Christian apologetics – given his background in cold case homicide investigation – was something quite unique. I had to know more.
Two worlds collide – in a good way!
I also happened to be in graduate school/seminary at the time at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, Canada. So, when I learned that there was going to be a local apologetics conference, I was pretty excited. I made contact and attended the conference, where I met Andy Steiger, the director of Apologetics Canada. The first conference went even better than expected… they actually had to turn away people lined up to buy tickets at the door, due to fire codes. To see that kind of turnout, as someone studying Christian apologetics, had me overjoyed!
Andy expressed interest in learning more about what I was working on with TilledSoil, so we arranged to meet for coffee soon after the conference. During our chat, he asked if I knew of any interesting Christian apologists. I quickly thought of Jim, as well as Mary Jo Sharp, as people I’d run across who I thought would be very interesting to bring up to the conference in the coming years.
Imagine how thrilled I was when when I learned that the second Apologetics Canada Conference would be featuring both J Warner Wallace and Mary Jo Sharp, along with Dr. J.P. Moreland and Dr. Paul Copan. That’s an impressive lineup, and Jim hit it out of the park with his keynote.
But, not only that, Jim spent a great deal of time hanging out with everyone who volunteered to work the conference. He ate lunch with us, he prayed with us, he sat at the merchandise tables and got to know us, as we got to know him. He even helped setup, and if I recall, tear down. And while I would NOT want to tangle with him in a dark alley (even a well lit one!) – with the best of my spidey sense in operation – he’s one of the nicest, most genuine guys you’d want to meet. I’m honored to call him a friend, even though our time of interaction has been quite limited.
Jim is now a full-time Christian apologist and speaker in great demand. He has authored (at least) two best selling books, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe.
He is someone you definitely don’t want to miss, either in person or at least by familiarizing yourself with his great body of work. You can find out more about Jim by visiting his website, Cold Case Christianity.
Also check out this recent interview of J. Warner Wallace, “Accidental vs. Evidential Faith,” w/ Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (another person and ministry you should become familiar with).
And, if you have children… or know any
If you have kids, or know any kids, there is another very important reason you should be at Apologetics Canada Conference 2016, or at least check out another of this year’s speakers.
Natasha is a Christian parenting blogger and author who I was very glad to see listed on this years’ conference roster. I ran across Natasha’s blog, Christian Mom Thoughts a while back and interacted a bit in the comments. Since signing up for her newsletter and keeping track of her blog a bit, her heart for our kids and a wealth of apologetic parenting advice has become very evident.
This is not my area of expertise, and it is an extremely underserved area of ministry. Most Christian apologists focus on high-school through college ages and adults. But, we absolutely need to start educating our children in Christian apologetics at a much earlier age. Natasha is very specially gifted to help us, as both apologists and parents, in this endeavor.
She also has a new book out, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith. In fact, the book was just released yesterday!
Since the multi-generational nature of of the Christian church is crucial, we all have a duty to be apologists to the kids around us, even if we have none of our own. And if we do have our own children, there is no better influence in their lives than their parents. We need to be prepared to give an answer to our children for the hope that is within us, not just for the atheists we meet. Please go meet Natasha if you can, or at least check out her excellent work.
And the rest…
If Jim and Natasha weren’t reason enough to check out this conference, there are many other notable speakers.
- J. Warner Wallace – Dusting for God’s Fingerprint: Evidence for God from Design
- Dr. Denny Burk – What is the Meaning of Sex?: Navigating the Gender Minefield
- Dr. Timothy Muehlhoff – God Conversations: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love
Rethink Crisis of Faith (20 minute TED-Talks style):
- Michael Minot – The Beckoning: From Skepticism to Truth
- Abdu Murray – A Son from a Stone: From Islam to Christ
- Natasha Crain – A Quiet Crisis: From Nominal to Passionate Faith
- Abdu Murray – Understanding the Muslim Mindset
- Craig Hazen – Christianity and the Challenge of World Religions
- J. Warner Wallace – Cold-Case Resurrection
- Michael Horner – Did God Really Command Genocide of the Canaanites?
- Andy Steiger – Man vs Machine: The Battle for Personhood
- Chris Battle – Boulevard of Broken Dreams: How Addicted Persons Get on and off the Road of Bad Decisions
- Natasha Crain – Apologetics for Parents: The Why, What, and How of Teaching Kids Apologetics at Home
- Dana Goodman – In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning
- Ken Keis – The Quest for God’s Purpose in Your Life
- Michael Minot – Observations from the Flight Deck of a Former Atheist
- Dr. Timothy Muehlhoff – God Conversations: Using Illustrations to Explain Your Faith
- Stephen Mulder – Better Together: Why Spirit-Empowered Communities are Key to Gospel Advance in Canada
- Richard S. Park – Christian Art & Cultural Analysis
- Nadine Sands – From Worrier to Warrior: Finding Courage, Hope and Joy after a Terminal Diagnosis
- Gary Stevenson – A Taste of Theo’s Feast: Edible Apologetics
- Logos Bible Software – Delivering Insight: An Introduction to Logos 6
I should add that if you can’t attend, do keep an eye on the Apologetics Canada Store, as I think they will be making recordings of the whole thing available for ~$25. That’s hard to beat!
If you are in Eastern Canada, be sure to check some of these same speakers and more in Barrie, ON on April 22-23, also including Amy Orr-Ewing and Craig A. Evans.