"Evidence: Signs of Things Unseen"
EVIDENCE 2014 is a conference in Christian Apologetics at Fresno Pacific University.
DATE: 21-22 February 2014, Friday evening, 6-9 PM and Saturday morning, 9 AM until noon.
LOCATION: Butler Church, 4884 E Butler Ave., Fresno, CA 93727. Corner of Chestnut and Butler Avenues.
Please SCROLL DOWN for full information and conference registration.
Why a conference on “Christian apologetics”?
Non-Christians sometimes assume that faith in God is simply believing without a good reason: “blind faith”. Even experienced Christians sometimes act as if this is the case.
However, Christian apologetics challenges that common misunderstanding. Christian faith DOES have good reasons to offer, and Christian apologetics is the art of “giving an answer” (I Pet. 3:15) and presenting evidence for Christian belief.
Evidence 2014 is an educational and exploratory opportunity for believers and unbelievers alike. The conference will demonstrate what Christian apologetics has to offer both to the religious seeker and the Christian looking for a more grounded faith. It will feature a wide variety of talented, expert speakers, who will present evidence for the biblical worldview as this relates to other/world religions and secular worldviews.
Conference registration costs $40 for wage-earning adults buying tickets at the event.
Free registration for all high-school and college students. Students, please register IN ADVANCE ONLINE so that we have a seat reserved for you.
$10 discount for online registration. SEE ONLINE REGISTRATION BUTTONS BELOW. REGISTER TODAY!
Select a theme above for a list of presentations on that theme.
John Bloom, PhD in Physics -- “Scientific Naturalism Faces Intelligent Design: The Mystery of a Fine-Tuned Universe.”
Josh Brahm, Right to Life of Central California -- “Responding to Secular Views of the Human Person in Dialogues about Abortion.”
Jän van Oosten -- “Christianity among the World Religions: How Christianity Alone Birthed Theology, the Cradle of the Natural Sciences.”
Craig Hazen, PhD in Religious Studies -- “Christianity and the Challenge of World Religions: Why Jesus is the First New God You Should Sample.”
Angulus Wilson, University Pastor at FPU -- “Jay Z and Jay-hovah: The Religion of the Big Apple, Where 'I Did It My Way.' ”
Kristen Davis, Doubtless Faith Ministries -- “Paganism and Neo-Paganism: A Christian Diagnosis and Response.”
See tabs above for summaries of each conference presentation.
Christianity and the Challenge of World Religions: Why Jesus is the First New God You Should Sample
There is a common assumption that all religions are fundamentally the same. Through his doctoral studies in comparative religions, Dr. Hazen discovered nothing could be further from the truth.
The major world religions are remarkably different--and Christianity is a strange standout among them all. Dr. Hazen's presentation will show the five key ideas that set Christianity apart from the others. He will also show, through fact and story, why a rigorous religious seeker should start her exploration with Christianity.
Are we lost in the Cosmos? Are we a meaningless speck of sand on an infinite beach of space? Such was the impression that astronomy gave for many people during the last century, until recent discoveries showed us that the universe is exquisitely tuned to accommodate us -- to accommodate fragile human life and to give us a rare position in the universe, a relatively dark spot in our galaxy, where we can see beyond our solar system to distant stars, nebulae, and galaxies.
For many scientists today, it is evident that a super-intellect has set up the physics and chemistry of the universe so that we can be here, so that we can live biologically and thrive intellectually. This stunning shift in perspective has vast implications for how we think of ourselves and of the Creator who put us in this very special spot in the Cosmos.
Hip-Hop and Spiritual Warfare: Is There a Difference between Lecrae and Jay Z?
Although some modern-day Christians do not believe in spiritual warfare against Satan, the world, and the flesh – not in any real sense – Scripture and early Church history validate the existence of these three enemies that oppose the Christian and the mission of the Church. As Rev. Wilson will show from biblical sources and current-day examples, an invisible war is taking place in our universe. And the battles that are raging in the spiritual realm can be seen on a physical level (Eph. 6:12–18) – in schools, in neighborhoods, and in many aspects of youth culture, such as Hip-Hop music. These are “signs of things unseen”.
Hip-Hop culture is a powerful force, not only in Los Angeles or New York but across the globe, where many young people idolize and imitate the sounds, images, and ideas being marketed and broadcast by Jay-Z (“Jay-Hovah”) and others in the Hip-Hop industry. For that reason, there is a significant body of research and scholarship about Hip-Hop. In this workshop, Rev. Wilson will summarize some of this scholarship and expose the dynamics involved in the spiritual warfare between the gods of Hip-Hop (sex, money, power, ego, rebellion, “street cred”) and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paganism and Neo-Paganism: A Christian Diagnosis and Response
From time immemorial, people have tried to control their circumstances and the world around them. Out of a desire for stability and a sense of control, people have dabbled in magic, mystery religions, placation of the gods and various other means to master the world around them and bring about what they desire. It has even been argued that Christianity is the by-product of this pagan worldview and merely borrowed its dying and rising Savior story in an attempt to create a new and desirable religious system.
We will explore the rituals and beliefs of the magic arts and ancient religions. We will then uncover the re-emergence of these magic arts within contemporary society, examine how the early church interacted with magic, and discuss how modern Christians can dialogue with individuals of these belief systems. Unfortunately, those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!
The abortion debate often becomes a discussion about what a person is and whether the unborn count. There are multiple secular views of the human person in moral philosophy and legal theory, and these secular views have affected abortion law. How can an articulate Christian respond to them?
Josh will discuss the counter-arguments that he has found most successful on college campuses, talking to hundreds of pro-choice people from all walks of life. He has been surprised recently to find that the most persuasive arguments against legalized abortion are not often made by pro-life advocates. Josh will teach what he calls the “most undervalued argument in the pro-life movement” and respond to the most common objections from today’s philosophers.
Christianity among the World Religions: How Christianity Alone Birthed Theology, the Cradle of the Natural Sciences
While it is fashionable, perhaps even hip, in some circles to suggest that all world religions are essentially the same, the reality is that Christianity--at its core--is remarkably different. These core differences have led to surprisingly different outcomes and benefits for those societies that have embraced Christianity.
In this session, Rev. van Oosten will explore such diverse outcomes as the free market, secular society, science, and volunteerism, showing how each of these phenomena is the result of a singular cause. That cause is the unique religion we term “Christianity”. You may be shocked, but you will not be bored by this session. Rev. van Oosten will explore some of the social benefits of Christianity that the media rarely cover and that many North Americans take for granted.
Craig Hazen, PhD in Religious Studies, Prof. at Biola University, La Mirada, CA
John Bloom, PhD in Physics, PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Prof. at Biola University, La Mirada, CA
Angulus Wilson, University Pastor at Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA
Kristen Davis, DoubtLess Faith Ministries, Jacksonville, FL
Josh Brahm, Right to Life of Central California
Jän van Oosten, Senior Pastor of New Covenant Community Church, Fresno, CA
Book/materials tables from our conference partners and sponsors
Representatives from local chapters of leading Christian apologetics organizations and ministries
- Bios: Our Conference Speakers
- Craig Hazen
- John Bloom
- Angulus Wilson
- Kristen Davis
- Josh Brahm
- Jän van Oosten
Select a Bio above to learn more about conference speakers.
Craig J. Hazen is a Professor of Comparative Religion and Christian Apologetics at Biola University and Director of the Christian Apologetics Program. He is the editor of the philosophy journal, Philosophia Christi. He has authored or contributed to a range of scholarly works including To Everyone an Answer, The Apologetics Study Bible, and the break-out new novel, Five Sacred Crossings.
Hazen holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, a degree in Biological Sciences, and has studied International Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. At Biola he was named the winner of the Fischer Award for Faculty Excellence, the highest faculty honor. Prof. Hazen has lectured all over North America and Europe on the evidence for the Resurrection, religion and science, and Christianity among world religions. He has also lectured multiple times in the White House and on Capitol Hill. He is a former co-host of a national radio talk program and a regular on-camera expert for broadcast television. He and his wife, Karen, live in southern California with their four children.
John A. Bloom is a Professor of Physics and Chair of the Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering Department at Biola University. He is the founder and academic director of Biola’s Master’s Degree program in Science and Religion, which started in 2005.
Dr. Bloom holds two Ph.D.’s, one in Physics from Cornell University and another in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Old Testament History and Languages) from the Annenberg Research Institute, which is now the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned seminary degrees.
Dr. Bloom’s research interests cover a range of topics relating Christianity and science. He has published articles on intelligent design, ancient creation myths and the Bible, fulfilled prophecy, and human origins.
Angulus Wilson is the University Pastor and Dean of Spiritual Formation at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California. The Office of Spiritual Formation organizes College Hour at FPU (our weekly chapel services) and other special events training students in a Christian and biblical worldview. Evidence 2014 is one of those special events, aimed at FPU students but also reaching other to other students and adults of any age in Fresno and the surrounding area.
Rev. Angulus Wilson is also the founder and pastor of New Beginnings Community Baptist Church in Fresno. He is also the founder of Angelos Biblical Institute, an organization bringing training to church planters and pastors around the globe, including a recent summer conference in Capetown, South Africa (see video).
In 2006, Kristen went to Israel to explore the world of the Bible. In 2009, she went to India to study Middle Eastern religions first hand, and in 2010 she went to Jerusalem, Israel for an archaeological dig with Dr. Randall Price at the Temple Mount Sifting Project and the Western Wall Plaza Excavation.
Kristen has a Bachelors of Science in Religion (Summa Cum Laude) from Liberty University and a Masters of Arts in Christian Apologetics (Highest Honors) from Biola University. She is a newly appointed Adjunct Professor, teaching ethics at Southeastern University (Jacksonville campus). She also teaches classes at various churches around Jacksonville, Florida, including Mandarin Presbyterian, Chets Creek Church, and her home church, The Church of Eleven22.
She did her Master's thesis with Biola University on the religious artefacts of Tel Dan (Tel el-Qadi) during the Late Bronze and Early Iron ages, to see how the religious archaeological remains relate to the Biblical conquest account. She is an Associate of Associates for Biblical Research and the Founder of DoubtLess Faith Ministries.
Josh Brahm is the Education Director for Right to Life of Central California and host of the globally-heard podcast turned radio/TV show, Life Report: Pro-Life Talk. Real World Answers. He blogs at JoshBrahm.com and his articles are regularly reprinted at LifeNews.com and Live Action News.
Josh’s primary passion is helping pro-life people to be more persuasive when they communicate with pro-choice people. That means ditching faulty rhetoric and tactics and embracing arguments that hold up under philosophical scrutiny.
Scott Klusendorf, founder and president of Life Training Institute and author of “The Case for Life,” sums up Josh’s expertise in one sentence: “Josh is an excellent communicator, a rising star, and one of the most talented young pro-life apologists I know.”
Rev. Jän van Oosten is the founder and Senior Pastor of New Covenant Community Church in Fresno, CA.
Pastor Jän (pronounced "yahn") van Oosten was born in Reno, Nevada and was raised in Portland, OR and Fresno, CA. He graduated from Fresno State with a degree in Art History with a minor in European/American History. He is also a graduate of the Mennonite-Brethren Biblical Seminary at Fresno Pacific University.
In 1987 he accepted the challenge from the Northern California district of the Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) to plant a church in the growing suburbs of northeast Fresno. The result of this was New Covenant Community Church. NewCov’s first service took place in September of 1987 at Kastner Intermediate School. Since then the church has moved to its current campus on Nees Avenue and grown into a church of over 2,000. Rev. van Oosten is an experienced teacher/preacher and includes in-depth lessons in theology and Christian apologetics as part of his ministy at NewCov Church.
Pastor Jän has remained active in church planting, served as the Director of Church Planting for Converge Pac-West, developing and pioneering the LEAD Team system for church planters. Most recently, Pastor Jän has been working in Europe with the International Baptist Conference on their Nordic-Baltic Initiative.
ONLINE REGISTRATION FOR EVIDENCE 2014
Conference organizer: Bruce Boeckel, PhD email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 559-433-5337
Host institution: Office of Spiritual Formation at Fresno Pacific University
Websites: Rev. Angulus Wilson, University Pastor, Director of the Office of Spiritual Formation
Partner institution: Program in Christian Apologetics & Program in Science and Religion, Biola University
Partner in ministry: Thanks to Don Hester and Chris Hunt of Third Column Ministries in San Francisco (a ministry in Christian Apologetics) for setting up this website and providing technical support.