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Richard Howe and Dan Barker to Debate Whether There Is a ‘God Who Speaks’ at Upcoming Southern Evangelical Seminary Apologetics Conference

Two-Day Event in October Brings Together Critical Thinkers and Well-Known Apologists to Equip Christians to Defend the Faith


CHARLOTTE, N.C.Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), which for 25 years has been educating Christians about how to best defend their beliefs, will offer a rare opportunity for believers to engage in a unique debate between SES Emeritus Professor Richard Howe and minister-turned-atheist Dan Barker.

Howe and Barker will explore the powerful question “Is There a God Who Speaks?” at SES’s 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, one of the largest events of its kind, which will delve into headline-making topics on Oct. 13-14 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The timely theme for the 2017 conference is “Pursuing a Faith That Thinks.”

“For a quarter of a century Southern Evangelical Seminary has been encouraging intelligent and honest debate about the most controversial topics in our culture,” said SES President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land. “This year’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics will be no different. The highly anticipated debate between Richard Howe and Dan Barker will help conference attendees truly think through their faith and consider this crucial question, ‘Is there a God who speaks?’ This debate will follow the worldwide premiere of a new film by the American Family Association, ‘The God Who Speaks.’ The film and the debate will inspire and encourage believers both to defend their faith and to equip them to do so more effectively.” 

The new American Family Association (AFA) film “The God Who Speaks” explores the overwhelming evidence for the Bible’s inspiration and authority through some of the most highly respected voices within Evangelicalism. The film answers some common objections and testifies to the devastating impact that follows the denial of biblical authority. The film also underscores the utter trustworthiness of the Bible’s claims. “The God Who Speaks” will be a valuable resource for decades to come, helping many of today’s biblically challenged Christians to better defend their faith in a culture that is often hostile to Christianity. SES’s Howe also served as a consultant on the film.

The AFA-sponsored debate between Howe and Barker is set for 7-9 p.m. Oct. 13, and conference attendees will have the opportunity to view the film in two parts that day: from 2:45-3:45 p.m. and from 4-5 p.m. Participants will have a chance to reflect on the film over dinner before the debate.

An SES Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics, Richard Howe earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Arkansas. He is a contributing writer for the Christian Apologetics Journal, has contributed to several apologetics books, and speaks widely at churches, conferences and university campuses on issues concerning Christian apologetics and philosophy. Howe is president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College, a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He co-authored with SES co-founder Dr. Norman Geisler “The Religion of the Force.” 

A self-proclaimed Christian evangelist by age 15, Dan Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1975. He preached for 19 years and maintained a music ministry. Barker gradually “outgrew” his religious beliefs; “If I had limited myself to Christian authors, I’d still be a Christian today,” Barker says. “I just lost faith in faith.” He announced his atheism publicly in January 1984 and tells his story in “Losing Faith in Faith” and “Godless.” Barker was elected co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2004, co-hosts Freethought Radio and is a contributing editor of Freethought Today. He travels the world giving lectures, performing concerts and participating in debates.

The two-day SES conference welcomes the nation’s top apologists, who will give the thousands in attendance new presentations on studies, research, history and insight into apologetics and other intellectual, scientific and religious fields. In addition to Land and Geisler, confirmed speakers include Michael Brown, Gary Habermas, Ken Ham, Greg Koukl, J.P. Moreland, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others.

Read more about Southern Evangelical Seminary and SES President Dr. Richard Land, as well as his radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, here.

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.