Search Results for: Craig J. Hazen

Interview with Craig J. Hazen: Five Sacred Crossings

We interviewed Craig J. Hazen, Editor of Philosophia Christi, about his new book Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel Approach to a Reasonable Faith (Harvest House, 2008). If you are in the Southern California area, Biola University is sponsoring a “Five Sacred Crossings” event on May 8th at 7:30 pm. Register here.

How would you characterize Five Sacred Crossings?

That’s pretty straight forward. Five Sacred Crossings is a novel, pure and simple. The best way to capture the genre is to compare it to Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code is a fast-paced, page turning mystery novel that packed into its center is some teaching about the origins of Christianity. Unfortunately, Dan Brown bought an ugly package of historical gossip and unfounded nonsense as the “suppressed truth” he was hoping to reveal to the world. But what better way to communicate such things than for a couple of years to have every other person on a given airliner reading about it! Dan Brown had the wrong message, but the right vehicle to disseminate it.

What I attempted to do was similar except that I packed into the core of the mystery novel key elements of the Christian worldview that make Christianity attractive and grounded in knowledge.

A funny side point is that the knowledgeable folks at Harvest House decided to position Five Sacred Crossings as a book of apologetics and not as a novel because the Christian fiction genre is so over saturated right now. They wanted my new book not to be lost in that category. Hence, they helped come up with a subtitle “A Novel Approach to Reasonable Faith.” So I don’t know where you will find Five Sacred Crossings in the bookstore – in the apologetics/religion section, or in the fiction section.

Without giving too much away, can you say what the book is about?

The book is about a few weeks in the life of a college professor and brilliant natural linguist named Michael Jernigan who takes a college class through some teachings called “the five crossings” that he learned about in the Cambodian mountains as a young soldier in the Vietnam War. Through these teachings, and raucous discussion among a group of very diverse students, the class learns how the wisest of people approach life’s biggest questions. The book is punctuated by an intense story about an Indonesian terror cell in the college town. I certainly won’t tell you how it ends, but I’ve been stunned by the fact that about a dozen grown men (not to mention the scores of women) have contacted me to tell me they couldn’t put it down and were in tears when they finished it.

Why did you write it?

It seems to me that Christian philosophers, apologetics, and theologians in our generation have done some extraordinary work in re-establishing the intellectual credibility and the integrity of the Christian worldview in a secular and pluralistic age. What we haven’t done, though, is find new ways to communicate these great truths to the masses who are so confused on issues of religious truth and the meaning of life. I thought I would try my hand at writing something that would appeal to people I know who would never read an apologetics textbook or a philosophy article in an attempt to engage them with clear thinking on the issues that matter most.

Who is your intended readership? And can you tell us about some of the reaction to the book?

I had certain folks in mind when I was putting the story together. Think about the millions of people who watch Oprah every day – they are open to spiritual and religious ideas, but want to connect with them first on an emotional level. They are open to thinking about the big issues if they are presented in a relevant and engaging way.

Forget about my intended readership for a moment, though. The book has been out long enough so that we know who is reading it – and it is really remarkable. Everyone you can imagine. Octogenarians, non-Christians, teenagers, women, men, people who haven’t read a novel in decades, Christians, people in the highest ranks of the federal government, major TV stars, pastors, atheist college professors, a woman from Liechtenstein, a stuntman from Brazil, an Israeli soldier, a missionary in Cambodia, and on it goes.

As an evangelical Christian, it is very exciting to receive feedback from non-Christians who are reading it and caught up in the story and the ideas presented. I’ve heard dozens of accounts from unbelievers who read the story and then contacted me or other Christian people they know. The book really throws them for a loop. They resonate with all five of the “crossings” and find the main character very attractive—but at the same time they know that these are Christian ideas being presented. It’s as if they needed to hear the big issues of the Gospel in a compelling new way. I intentionally wrote this book to break down stereotypes of Christianity and provide a fresh look at eternal truths. As one life-time agnostic told me after reading it, “we’ve got to talk about this – if this is how you look at the world it is far more rational and attractive than I have assumed.”

Why should philosophers and apologists read fiction?

Christian philosophers and apologists need to read fiction (and poetry, and listen to music, and at least occasionally watch films and TV) in order to be culturally relevant. Jesus led his revolution primarily by telling unforgettable stories that stuck with people who heard him. Humans are wired for hearing and telling stories. The great ideas that are so compelling and persuasive to high-level Christian thinkers need to become part of the mindset for people in all societal strata. Therefore we need new channels of communication to make these ideas relevant to everyone. This is a creative project of the highest order. Although philosophers and apologists may not be the ones writing the novels, screenplays, and operas that ultimately move the culture, we need to be familiar with these modes of communication and discourse if we want to see our ideas last beyond the life cycle of our latest book from a university press.

Are there fiction writers that you admire or use as your model?

No, I can’t say I used anyone as a model. Although I would recommend that anyone wanting to try their hand at what I call “didactic Christian fiction” should, for two reasons, read widely among very popular novelists whose works fill the racks at popular bookstores and airports. First, so you can see what level of discourse and style the general population finds engaging (after all, these are the people who you are seeking to influence with this kind of writing project). Second, it will encourage you because I think for the most part your reaction will be: “Oh my goodness, I can do much better than that.” You might be wrong, but it will help overcome your insecurities about shifting gears to fiction writing.

Can you tell us what it was like to write Five Sacred Crossings?

The thing I enjoyed the most was discovering myself where the story was going next. I did not have a detailed master plan before writing, so every day was a little surprise with regard to the unfolding of the narrative. I am still surprised by my own ending. Re-reading it was an experience that I certainly have never had when writing academic books and essays. I picked it up started to read somewhere in the middle and couldn’t put it down. I wrote the darn thing yet got caught up in the story myself! It was far more exciting and emotional than I remember when first writing it out.

What would you like to see happen with this book?

Of course, I would like to see it recommended by Oprah so it gets the widest possible reading! Okay, so maybe that’s not going to happen, but it’s a good dream. My book probably won’t get that kind of exposure, but I hope some other compelling, thoughtful, stereotype-breaking Christian literature does. I think this is going to be most likely if those of us in the community of Christian philosophy and apologetics interact with the Christian creative community more intentionally and intensely.

From where you observe, as the Director of a cutting-edge Graduate Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University, can you say how we – as American Evangelicals – are doing in our apologetic efforts?

How are we doing with apologetics? Not bad. There is one advantage when secular culture encroaches more and more on the Church’s turf – the Church seems to awaken to some of the important things she has neglected like the apostolic command in 1 Peter 3:15 to “be prepared always to give an answer.” By any measure the interest in clear-thinking Christianity has been on the increase. This may just be a regional phenomenon, but huge crowds come out to Biola to hear lectures and debates now that would have only attracted a handful twenty years ago. We have a long way to go, but I think significant progress has been obvious and measurable.

Our greatest weakness with regard to apologetics is that by-and-large the average Christian and pastor still thinks that knowledge and faith are non-overlapping realms of human endeavor and experience. Our greatest strength with regard to apologetics is that so many leaders and teachers in the movement model that fact and that it is not just about giving answers and winning arguments, but rather it is about living a full-orbed life in Christ.

How might Five Sacred Crossings cultivate the strengths of our apologetic efforts?

I think Five Sacred Crossings is centered on this key strength I just mentioned. The book uses arguments and persuasion, but the key characters model grace, kindness, courage, love, and sacrifice to make the arguments real and weighty. I see my colleagues in apologetics and philosophy at Biola doing this every day and it is more inspiring than just about anything you can encounter. These are men and women living the great answers to life’s questions, not just speaking them.

Craig J. Hazen is the Director of the Graduate Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. He also serves in that program as Professor of Comparative Religion and Apologetics. More of Craig Hazen can be read at his blog.

The Winter 2010 issue of Philosophia Christi

The Winter 2010 issue of Philosophia Christi (vol. 12, no. 2) is now available, and for subscribers/members, your copy should arrive within the next 2 weeks. Editor Craig J. Hazen had this to say about the current issue, which features a lead discussion about Timothy O’Connor’s book, Theism and Ultimate Explanation.

I wish we could have made this issue about 500 pages long. The kind of deep and meaningful exchange of ideas that broke out in the forum covering Timothy O’Connor’s work could have easily been replicated in responses to the articles by our other featured authors, R. Scott Smith, Mark Nowacki, Travis Dumsday, Greg Bock, and Bruce Reichenbach—not to mention the provocative review essays appearing in our notes section. Too many good arguments, far too little space!

I was especially impressed by two things while reading through the typeset pages for this issue. First, the boldness of some of the articles. Represented here are scholars taking on questions in areas where others fear to tread. In his response to O’Connor’s, Thomas Senor called this boldness “authorial bravery” and remarked that the fact that “he is able to defend these positions so ably is a testament to O’Connor’s significant philosophical chops.” O’Connor is not alone in his scholarly courage and chopfulness (chophood, choppiness?—help me here) as you will see as you dig in to the articles.

The second thing that I thought was especially impressive was the breadth of topics taken on. Issues ranging from svabhava to Peeping Thomists, from necessitarianism to zygotes and everything in between were addressed with great skill and depth of knowledge. In some ways this is a fulfillment of the vision for the journal. The EPS did not set out just to deal just with traditional issues in philosophy of religion or apologetics, but rather with philosophy in general as it touches on those things which religious (primarily Christian) thinkers care about. I hope this little word encourages you to ramp up your “authorial bravery” and put your chopfulness on display in a first-rank submission to Philosophia Christi in the new year

You can learn more about the issue and view the table of contents by going here. You can also renew your subscription or subscribe for the first time to Philosophia Christi, or become a member of the EPS (which includes a subscription), all by just clicking here.

Stephen Hawking’s Recent Comments About God

I am personally convinced, to borrow the title of the ‘last will and testament’[1] by recently deceased philosopher Antony Flew (1923-2010), that There is a God. Flew, ‘a legendary British philosopher and atheist [who was] an icon and champion for unbelievers for decades’[2], publically renounced atheism in 2004 after coming to the conclusion that ‘the case for an Aristotelian God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence, is now much stronger than it ever was before.’[3] Interestingly, Flew stated that ‘the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries . . .’[4]

Flew’s conclusion is at odds with the recent headline-grabbing but philosophically naïve assertion by physicist Stephen Hawking that ‘Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing’[5], and hence that ‘God did not create [the] Universe.’[6]

Hawking opines that while fundamental questions about the nature of reality and the need for a creator have traditionally been questions for philosophers, ‘philosophy is dead’ because ‘Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.’[7]

Of course, it was precisely keeping up with modern science that Flew testified led to his change of mind on the question of God! Moreover, as Professor George Ellis, President of the International Society for Science and Religion argues: ‘Philosophy is not dead. Every point of view is imbued with philosophy. Why is science worth doing? The answer is philosophical… Science can’t answer that question about itself.’[8] Professor Chris Isham, a philosopher and theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, is similarly unimpressed: ‘I groaned when I read this. Stephen’s always saying this sort of thing… but I suspect he’s never read a philosophy book in his life.’[9]

On the one hand, one needn’t know anything about cosmology to see that it’s logically impossible for anything to literally ‘create itself from nothing’ since things can only have causal effects if they exist and ‘nothing’ is by definition the absence of anything capable of doing anything whatsoever. As theologian and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams dryly observed in response to Hawking: ‘Physical laws… are about the regular relations between actual realities. I cannot see how they explain the bare fact that there is any reality at all.’[10]

On the other hand, for many contemporary scientists and scientifically informed philosophers (contra Hawking, they do exist!) the discoveries of modern science have actually served to strengthen the case for theism.[11]

[1] Antony Flew, ‘Exclusive Flew Interview’
[2] Craig J. Hazen, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’
[3] Flew, ibid.
[4] ibid.
[5] Stephen Hawking, ‘The Grand Design’ in Eureka/The Times, September 2010, p. 25.
[6] The Times, Thursday September 2nd, 2010, Front Page Headline.
[7] Hawking, ‘The Grand Design’, op cit, p. 18.
[8] George Ellis, The Times, Friday September 3rd, 2010, p. 8.
[9] Chris Isham, ibid.
[10] Rowan Williams, ibid, p. 9. cf. Craig, William Lane, ‘Why Does Anything At All Exist?’
[11] cf. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, third edition (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2008); William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland, ed. The Blackwell Companion To Natural Theology (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009); Dean L. Overman, A Case for the Existence of God (Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009); Robert J. Spitzer, New Proofs For The Existence Of God: Contributions Of Contemporary Physics And Philosophy (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2010).

Ridiculous “Religulous”

Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D.

Graduate Program in Christian Apologetics
Biola University
La Mirada, Ca


Comedy tastes change over time.  I’m sure a water-squirting daisy on a
jacket lapel was a riot in its day.  Knock-knock jokes kept me and my
friends pretty entertained in second grade.  And I’m sure Henny Youngman
would not get the same laughs today if he were still alive doing stand up.

The new film Religulous starring comedian Bill Maher (HBO’s Real Time with Bill
) and directed by Larry Charles (Borat, Curb Your Enthusiasm) seemed to
fall pretty flat in the laughs department-like it was appealing to an audience
that may have been amused by it twenty years ago.  I was struck by how
little laughter there was among those in the opening-weekend crowd.  (In
terms of magnitude, I use the word “crowd” here in the sense of the “crowd” that
might attend a Joe Biden campaign rally.)  Religulous was showing in the
smallest theater in the multiplex (not much bigger than the “truck-driver’s
chapel” that appeared in the film) and even then it was only about a third full.

It was pretty clear that the few folks attracted to the movie were already fans
of Bill Maher and his open hostility to all things religious.  Why, then, so
little laughter from them?  I think it’s obvious.  Anyone who fits
that strange “I’m smarter than Blaise Pascal, John Milton, C.S. Lewis,
Maimonidies, and Averroes put together” mold has already had his laughs.
After all, anyone who is able to work a TV remote control has immediate and
never-ending access to some of the strangest displays of human religiosity
imaginable on global network broadcasts.  Those who get affirmed in their
irreligion by watching such things have already tuned into the craziness many
times to reassure themselves that believers are some fully evolved species of
super kook.  They do not need Bill Maher to replay it with a new
soundtrack.  The movie audience seemed pretty bored-and rightly so.
They’d seen it all before on their own living room TVs.

Well, if it’s not very funny, then what does it have to offer?  Nothing,
really, except a chance for Maher and Charles to make a fast buck (glad I got my
ticket for free).  Maher is pitching this film as mavericky-telling the
truth about religion that everyone else is afraid to address.  But
Religulous is nothing more than filthy, nudie, druggie, and obtusey.  There
is little to laugh at and nothing to learn (except maybe that if you quit being
Religulous you get to act like Caligulous).

Christianity gets more than two thirds of the attention in the film.  Were
there any thoughtful and penetrating objections to Christianity in the film?
No.  Did they interview any thoughtful and accomplished Christian scholars.
No.  The closest they came to this was an interview with renowned scientist
Dr. Francis Collins whose segment in the film made almost no sense indicating
that they had butchered it down to nubs in the editing room.

Maher does bring up two points that are argued on occasion by knowledgeable
opponents of Christianity.  These are 1) that the New Testament was
produced generations after the events they record, and 2) that the basic story
of Jesus is simply a retelling of myths that predated him, myths that came out
of Mitharism and Egyptian religion.

The latter argument is itself a retelling of the myth re-popularlized by Dan
Brown in the The Da Vinci Code.  Bill Maher and Dan Brown made the
inexcusable error of never actually consulting experts in these ancient
religions-or even doing a brief Google search.  For instance, Prof. Gunter
Wagner has set forth the conclusion of the evidence attempting to link
Christianity with Mithraism.  Writes Wagner, “Mithras does not belong to
the dying and rising gods, and no death and resurrection ritual has ever been
associated with this cult. Moreover, on account of the lateness of its spread,
there is no evidence of the Mithras cult influencing primitive Christianity.”

As for the idea that the New Testament was written much later than Christians
have traditionally believed, again, even a cursory study of the facts of the
case would be helpful to people like Maher who claim to have objections based on
evidence.  It has been for many years the consensus of most modern
scholars-believers and skeptics alike-that the Gospels were written in the
latter half of the First Century AD  The most common date ranges for the
authorship of these documents are 70-80 AD for Matthew, 60-70 for Mark, 70-80
for Luke, and 80-90 for John.  Since Jesus departed earth around 30 AD,
these dates of authorship all fall into the generation that had first-hand
contact with the events recorded.  Maher simply seems to buy the popular
mythologies and unquestioned assumptions that often pass for knowledge about
early Christian history.

If a careful examination of the evidence did not drive Bill Maher to his
conclusions about Christianity, then what did?  Maher is wide open in the
movie about the religious environment of his childhood.  He was raised in a
religiously schizophrenic home with a Roman Catholic mother and a  Jewish
father.  He attended mass and Catholic school until he was thirteen when
his family suddenly stopped.  His mother said it was because she and her
husband were tired of feeling guilty about using birth control.  It
wouldn’t be a stretch to propose a causal relationship between the way Maher’s
family treated Christianity like a semi-useful fiction and Bill’s adult
conclusion that Christianity is bunk.  It reminds me of the great atheist
of last century, Bertrand Russell.  We really don’t get much in the way of
substance when we read Russell’s famous book, Why I Am Not a Christian.
But we seem to get far greater insight about Russell’s rejection of Christianity
when we read his less famous autobiography.  Like Maher, Russell’s
dysfunctional religious upbringing seems to be far weightier than any rational
argument in moving him to godlessness.

If there is one important lesson for Christians of all sorts to learn from this
movie it is this:  we have got to start talking differently about “faith.”
Unfortunately, we have let the secular world and antagonists like Bill Maher
define the term for us.  What they mean by “faith” is blind leaping.
That is what they think our commitment to Christ and the Christian view of the
world is all about.  They think we have simply disengaged our minds and
leapt blindly into the religious abyss.

The biblical view of saving Christian faith has never had anything to do with
blind leaping.  Jesus himself was fixed on the idea that we can know the
truth-and not just in some spiritual or mystical way.  Rather, he taught
that we can know the truth about God, humans, and salvation objectively.
That is, the very best forms of investigation, evidence, and careful reasoning
will inevitably point to God and His great plans for us.  The early church
learned well from the Master because they too were fixed on the idea that they
knew that Jesus was raised from the dead and that we could know it too.
The Apostles never made any room for interpreting their experiences of the risen
Christ in some mystical or fictional fashion.  As the Apostle Peter put it,
“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power
and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2
Peter 1:16).

What we mean by “faith” is not blind leaping that is oblivious to the evidence,
especially evidence to the contrary.  Rather faith in it’s biblical context
is trust grounded in objective knowledge.  Faith is trusting that which we
can know to be objectively true.  I run a graduate program in Christian
Apologetics at Biola University in which we train students at the highest levels
to give compelling reasons for their faith.  Maher did not knock on our
door.  But unfortunately, I think many of the Christians he interviewed
would be surprised to learn that there is a robust knowledge tradition in
Christianity.  I long for the day when a guy like Maher would never
consider making a film like this because it would be so difficult to find
Christians that he could hound and hoodwink.

Maher and Charles successfully put some of the goofiest strands of the Christian
movement on public display for cinematic ridicule.  Great skill, intellect,
or cleverness, that did not require.  The greater feat would be for the two
documentarians to jump out of their own shallow presuppositions and prejudices
to get a fresh look at what has made Christianity attractive to some of the
greatest minds in human history.  But I think it’s a good bet that they
don’t have a sequel like that on the drawing board.

A Review of Religulous: Ridiculous?

Dr. Craig J. Hazen, director of the graduate program in Christian apologetics at Biola University, recently reviewed Bill Maher’s Religulous.

Hazen’s review can be read here:

Religulous is not the brightest film, and it certainly lacks the courage to engage with thoughtful Christians, but as Hazen notes, “If there is one important lesson for Christians of all sorts to learn from this movie it is this: we have got to start talking differently about ‘faith.'”

Unfortunately, we have let the secular world and antagonists like Bill Maher define the term for us. What they mean by “faith” is blind leaping. That is what they think our commitment to Christ and the Christian view of the world is all about. They think we have simply disengaged our minds and leapt blindly into the religious abyss.

Response to “Gabriel’s Vision” & Its Implications for the Resurrection of Jesus

EPS leaders, Craig J. Hazen and Gary R. Habermas, have both responded to recent reports (e.g., at the NYT) about the “Gabriel Vision” tablet and whether it falsifies Christianity’s historic claim concerning Jesus’ unique resurrection from the dead.

Hazen is the founder and director of the graduate program in Christian apologetics at Biola University. His response is here.

Habermas is the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University. His response is here.

Both scholars agree that the news is not disturbing to the Christian claim concerning the resurrection of Jesus.

Join a New Philosophical Network in Europe

EPS friends, here’s a special note from EPS President Paul Copan: 

Dear fellow Christian philosophers and apologists, 
Do you know any European evangelical philosophers? We need your immediate help in connecting them to the Philosophers Network in Europe—and to submit papers (by 1 March 2012) or, at the very least, just to attend the conference near Budapest, Hungary (19-24 May 2012). A number of philosophers from the Evangelical Philosophical Society are lending support to this endeavor: William Craig, Scott Smith, Douglas Groothuis, and Bruce Little. (I myself am looking forward to speaking at this forum the following May). 
Keep in mind these important points:
  • This Network is European in its vision and content. It is being spearheaded by the European Leadership Forum, and it is not an American outpost.
  • This year–indeed, this month–is crucial for forming this continent-wide Network. If nothing materializes this year, then this effort will be not be revisited for a good while. So we need your prompt assistance in getting the word out to your European evangelical friends/contacts who have a philosophy degree (masters or doctorate).
  • In addition to the philosophy, this effort there will be an apologetics Network that is developed as well. What is crucial as that we have as many European evangelical philosophers and apologists as possible attending May 2012 meeting.
I’ve included the relevant information below, but this information is available as an attachment to pass on to your European philosopher and apologetics friends.  The other file gives specific information about the May conference in Eger, Hungary.  All paper submissions and any questions should be directed to Kevin Saylor at>.

Thank you for your help in this important kingdom endeavor.

All best wishes,

Paul Copan
EPS President

2011 Highlights of Annual EPS Meetings & Conference

Several dozen papers will be presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the EPS (San Francisco), along with several more at the EPS Apologetics Conference (Berkeley), and the EPS session at SBL. In addition, there are several worthwhile panel discussions to enjoy this year, some of which are part of the ETS’s or the EPS’s schedule. Lot’s of great contributions by EPS members in ETS sessions! Below is a handy snapshot of some of the highlights:


EPS RECEPTION @ 8:30 pm, Marriott – Foothill G
EPS and ETS members are welcome to come enjoy fellowship with a word of encouragement from Dr. Paul Gould, “Against Saving the World on Your Own Time.”


EPS PLENARY SESSION @ 3:30 pm, Marriott – Yerba Buena
Dr. Dallas Willard will discuss the topic, “The Shape of Moral Knowledge.”

EPS Apologetics Conference (Berkeley) @ 7:00 pm
Dr. Dallas Willard is the plenary speaker for this evening: “Knowing in the Context of Spiritual Formation.”
More info:

EPS Business Meeting @ 8:30 am, Marriott – Yerba Buena 1
Come hear about the latest happenings in the EPS, including who are the newest elected members of the Executive Committee.

EPS Apologetics Conference (Berkeley) @ 7:00 pm
Dr. J.P. Moreland is the plenary speaker for this evening: “Loving God with All Your Mind.”
More info:

EPS Apologetics Conference (Berkeley) @ 8:45 am and @ 12:00 pm
Dr. Craig Hazen’s plenary on “Christianity in a World of Religions” and Greg Koukl’s plenary on “The Intolerance of Tolerance.”
More info:

EPS Session at SBL @ 7:00 pm, Marriott – Pacific E
“Prospects for Body-Soul Dualism,” with contributors J.P. Moreland, Angus Menuge, and Kevin Corcoran

Fall 2011 EPS President’s Update

Greetings, EPS Members!

My school—Palm Beach Atlantic University—is eagerly anticipating Alvin Plantinga’s coming this Sunday! He’ll be here for several days of lectures and conversations with faculty and students here. I’m reminded of the splendid time we had with him at our EPS annual meeting and apologetics conference last year in Atlanta.  

We are blessed to live in these days, being able to stand on the shoulders of philosophical giants like Plantinga. I recently received the latest issue of Faith and Philosophy (though please do keep subscribing to Philosophia Christi!) Therein, Nicholas Wolterstorff reflects on Plantinga’s remarkable career, beginning with the time they were sophomores together at Calvin College some sixty years ago. Wolterstorff notes how the today’s landscape in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and epistemology—so utterly different from sixty years ago—clearly evidences Plantinga’s distinctive influence.  As Christian philosophers and apologists, we are the beneficiaries of the groundbreaking, bold ideas and writings of Plantinga and Wolterstorff—and we could add many more.

Annual Meeting

Next month we look forward to gathering again, this time in San Francisco. We’ll have another influential veteran philosopher as our plenary speaker, Dallas Willard. God has used him to train a generation of philosophers, help awaken the church to the life of the mind, and remind us of the importance of the spiritual disciplines to transform character. Also at our EPS annual meeting, we have another excellent lineup of papers, and we’re grateful to Jeremy Evans as program chair for managing this so ably.

Apologetics Conference

We’ll be having our annual apologetics conference at the historic First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. Our engaging plenary speakers include Dallas Willard, whose topic will be, “Jesus: The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived,” as well as J.P. Moreland, Craig Hazen, and Greg Koukl. We’ll have a lot of our “regulars” presenting at the breakout seminars—William Craig, Frank Beckwith, Doug Geivett. You’ll see some newer faces as well—such as Holly Ordway (a former atheist and author of Not God’s Type), the kiwi philosopher Matt Flannagan (a rising star in the sky of philosophical theology), Mike Licona (the author of a landmark book on The Resurrection of Jesus), Mike Horner (a veteran Canadian apologist), and I’Ching Thomas (an apologist who works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore). Register at We look forward to seeing you at these events—as well as at our reception on Wednesday night and business meeting on Thursday night (16 and 17 November).

AAR/SBL Meeting

And don’t forget: just following these events, the EPS will be hosting a session at AAR/SBL on Saturday, 19 November at 7:00 PM. J.P. Moreland, Angus Menuge, and Kevin Corcoran will be presenting on the matter (!) of “Prospects for Body/Soul Dualism Today.”  This should be an exciting, substantial exchange on an important topic.   Each November is a highlight in my academic year—hearing thought-provoking papers, talking philosophy into the wee hours, enjoying the fellowship of old friends, meeting new philosophical comrades-in-arms, poring over the newest (discounted!) books in philosophy, apologetics, theology, and biblical studies.   I pray this will be a time of intellectual challenge and spiritual revitalization for us all so that we may return to our places of learning, teaching, writing, and ministry to serve Christ and his kingdom more effectively.

Warmly in Christ,

Paul Copan

EPS President