Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Upcoming Apologetics Conference Addresses America’s ‘Theological Problem’
SES President Dr. Richard Land: Shameful Gap between Sound Doctrine and Sound Practice Is a Disgrace to the Gospel—‘Why Truth Still Matters’ Conference in October Will Focus on This Disconnect
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Southern Evangelical Seminary’s (SES, www.ses.edu) annual apologetics conference will kick off in just over a month, and will bring together some of the nation’s best minds to address the most pressing cultural and religious issues of our day.
Hundreds have already registered for the 26th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) with the theme of “Why Truth Matters,” and it is an annual destination for longtime attendees, while new attendees discover SES and this powerful event every year.
SES President Dr. Richard Land recently addressed America’s “theological problem” in his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, and specifically talked about how the upcoming conference will delve into some of these issues.
“Research indicates that cultural Christianity is in decline in the United States, which will bring about inevitably negative cultural and social consequences,” Land said. “But one good result may be in the growth and flourishing of even more traditional Christianity. As merely cultural Christianity wanes, the more faithful, traditional Christianity practiced by true believers who are living out their faith will stand in even more vivid contrast with the mere civic or country club Christianity in America. One of the causes of the decline in cultural Christianity in America has been the hypocrisy of Christians who claim to be Christian and talk the talk but do not walk the walk.
“The shameful gap between the orthodoxy—sound doctrine—and orthopraxy—sound practice—of too many Christians has been and is a disgrace to the Gospel,” Land lamented. “Far too many professing Christians claim Jesus as Lord but, in reality, live as if He were merely their relationship advisor, financial consultant or merely a lucky charm. The often-staggering hypocrisy of too much of the American church often suffocates the witness and stifles evangelism and discipleship. We claim Jesus is Lord of all, and yet too often we have the same divorce statistics as the general society, and there is very little difference between our lifestyle and the general public.”
Land pointed to the African proverb that says, “Tell me and I will listen; show me and I will believe.”
He explained, “American Christianity needs far lower doses of telling and far larger doses of doing. Faithful witness, costly discipleship and convictional Christianity will quickly separate the doers from the talkers and lead to an ever clearer distinction between the real thing—orthodox, traditional Christianity—in contrast to its merely civil residue.
“Rampant homosexuality, same sex marriage, sex changes, transgender people on the cover of TIME, epidemics of sexual abuse of children and sex trafficking, horrific levels of illegitimacy—all of these are symptoms of a cancer eating away at the soul of our society and that cancer at its core is a selfish, immoral philosophy that worships the narcissistic holy trinity of ‘I, myself and me.’ America’s problems are theological and moral, not political.”
Five years ago, Land continued, First Things published an insightful article by its editor R. R. Reno titled ‘The Empire of Desire’ that traces the intellectual and spiritual roots of a pervasive and growing philosophy, which declares all values relative and enshrines “the supreme redemptive power of desire in all its primitive polymorphous perversity.”
“Reno devastatingly concludes, ‘The greatest threat we presently face is not Islamic terrorism, global warming, nuclear proliferation, genocide or poverty, pressing as these problems may be. The antinomian revolution in the postmodern West poses a more fundamental existential threat to the human future because it erodes the cultural capital necessary to respond to these challenges and to others,’” Land commented. “May God preserve us and allow the blind to see; may we reject the philosophical cancer that is eating our soul and return to the Judeo-Christian faith of our fathers.”
These concepts and topics link directly into SES’s curriculum as students delve into Christian apologetics, how it applies to practical daily life, and how to rationally, intelligently and lovingly defend the historic Christian faith. At SES, students also debate news and commentary through its “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” program. Offered primarily at just a few top-tier universities around the world, SES’s PPE program introduces students to a Christian perspective of how philosophy, politics and economics intersect, focusing on the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Karl Marx, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Sirico, Jay Richards and others. In the creation of SES’s PPE program, the realization was made that virtually all cultural issues will have the potential to relate to the studies in the concentration, according to Land and other architects of the program. Nearly every issue that creates discussion and debate in our society is connected to what SES teaches through PPE.
For 26 years, thousands have attended SES’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics, set this year for Oct. 11-12 at Calvary Church in Charlotte. For over a quarter-century, the annual conference has provided Christians with the tools, knowledge and motivation to defend their beliefs in a culture that is sometimes hostile toward Christianity.
Besides Land, speakers at the 2019 conference this fall will include Robert Bowman, Michael Brown, Alisa Childers, Gary Habermas, Chip Ingram, Stephen Meyer, Jeff Myers, Hugh Ross and Frank Turek. 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.
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 more information or to register, visit conference.ses.edu.