Alisa Childers Brings ‘Crisis of Faith’ Story to Southern Evangelical Seminary’s National Apologetics Conference Next Month
Childers Joins SES President Richard Land, Michael Brown, Richard Howe, Gary Habermas, Chip Ingram, Stephen Meyer, Jeff Myers, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek and Many Others at Oct. 11-12 Event in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Nearly 20 years ago, Christian pop group ZOEgirl released its debut single “I Believe,” written by member Alisa Childers who, 10 years later, wasn’t so sure what she believed.
It was during a “crisis of faith” that the former contemporary Christian music recording artist was helped by Southern Evangelical Seminary’s (SES, www.ses.edu) National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA).
“When I first started to walk through a crisis of faith years ago, it was the lectures from this conference that I listened to over and over again,” she said. “Many of these speakers were the ‘lifeboats’ God sent to help address my doubts and answer my questions. It’s a fabulous apologetics event put on by a fabulous seminary.”
Now, Childers has come full circle and will serve as a main speaker at this year’s conference, set for Oct. 11-12 at Calvary Church in Charlotte—the very same conference that helped strengthen her faith at a difficult time a few years earlier. SES’s two-day event will kick off in just under a month and will bring together some of the nation’s best minds, along with Childers, to address the most pressing cultural and religious issues of our day.
Growing up, Childers said her parents modeled “genuine Christianity,” studying the Bible, holding devotions, and praying together as a family. After ZOEgirl was formed in 1999, she spent several years touring, missing many Sundays at church and isolating her a bit from the Christian community. She began to wonder if true discipleship in the church existed. Once touring stopped, just as Childers and her husband thought they’d found their church community, her faith began to unravel. It was during a Bible study when the pastor she deeply respected called himself a “hopeful agnostic.”
Meeting after meeting, the pastor threw out objections to Christianity, and Childers had no answers.
“He would make a claim, and then I’d go home and try to study it. And then it was confusing, and I didn’t know where to turn,” she said.
Four months in, Childers and her husband left the church.
“After we left was when the real dark time came because all of these objections and all of these claims against Christianity had now been planted in my heart,” she said.
Throughout her life, she had always turned to the Bible as her source of truth. But when this pastor had knocked “the legs out from under the Bible,” Childers felt lost.
While in her car one day, Childers began listening to a man on the radio who addressed nearly every objection with which her previous pastor had grappled. The man was Ravi Zacharias, and through his ministry she heard about Southern Evangelical Seminary. She listened to every podcast on the SES smartphone app, captivated by this approach to questions on Christianity that was both intellectual and yet sincerely caring. Childers audited her first SES class in 2014 as a stay-at-home mom.
“We can’t teach our kids that the Bible is God’s Word if we’re not prepared to explain to them why we believe that,” she said. “They’re asking different questions. My goal with my kids is to make them aware of some of these questions so that they won’t be rattled or rocked one bit when a skeptic, or even somebody they love and trust, brings these objections about their faith to them—that they’ll be fully prepared.”
Building on that knowledge she gleaned from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Childers has an apologetics blog geared toward people like her who have had their doubts.
“SES was a lifeboat for me,” she said. “You learn what the objections are. You learn how to defend [the Bible] to people who might object to its validity. In the classroom and in conversations with other students, I was encouraged to think about it for myself.”
Besides Childers and SES President Dr. Richard Land, speakers at the 2019 conference next month will include Michael Brown, Gary Habermas, Chip Ingram, Stephen Meyer, Jeff Myers, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek and many others. A dialog titled “What Does It Mean to Say the Bible Is Inerrant?” between Richard Howe and Mike Licona is on the schedule as well. The conference will also include a special tribute to Dr. Norman Geisler, SES’s co-founder, longtime professor and President Emeritus, who passed away July 1.
Hundreds have already registered for the 26th annual conference, with the theme of “Why Truth Still Matters.” It is an annual destination for longtime attendees, while new attendees discover SES and this powerful event every year. For over a quarter-century, SES’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics has provided Christians with the tools, knowledge and motivation to defend their beliefs in a culture that is sometimes hostile toward Christianity.
Tickets for the 2019 NCCA are on sale now. Ticket add-ons such as a free prospective student luncheon and the “Reasons to Believe VIP Experience” are also available. For information or to register, visit conference.ses.edu.