Search Results for: Chad Meister

God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views

In 2017, IVP Academic published God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views in the Spectrum Multiview Book Series, edited by Chad Meister and James K. Dew Jr..  Meister is professor of philosophy and theology at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. James K. Dew Jr. is associate professor of the history of ideas and philosophy and dean of the College at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

From the publisher’s description of God and the Problem of Evil:

Evil abounds. And so do the attempts to understand God in the face of such evil. The problem of evil is a constant challenge to faith in God. How can we believe in a loving and powerful God given the existence of so much suffering in the world? Philosophers and theologians have addressed this problem countless times over the centuries. New explanations have been proposed in recent decades drawing on resources in Scripture, theology, philosophy, and science. God and the Problem of Evil stages a dialogue between the five key positions in the current debate:

  • Phillip Cary: A Classic View 
  • William Lane Craig: A Molinist View 
  • William Hasker: An Open Theist View 
  • Thomas Jay Oord: An Essential Kenosis View 
  • Stephen Wykstra: A Skeptical Theism View

According to the classic position, associated especially with the Augustinian tradition, God permits evil and suffering as part of the grand narrative of divine providence to bring about the redemption of creation. Molinism modifies the classic view by adding God’s middle knowledge to the picture, in which God has knowledge of what creatures would do in all possible worlds. Open theism rejects the determinism of the classic view in favor of an account of God as a risk-taker who does not know for sure what the future holds. Essential kenosis goes further in providing a comprehensive theodicy by arguing that God cannot control creatures and thus cannot unilaterally prevent evil. Skeptical theism rejects the attempt to provide a theodicy and instead argues that, if God exists, we should not expect to understand God’s purposes. Edited, with an introduction, by Chad Meister and James K. Dew Jr., God and the Problem of Evil hosts a generous and informative conversation on one of the most pressing issues in the Christian life.

James Dew interviews philosopher and theologian Greg Welty on the problem of evil:

Fall 2013 EPS President’s Update

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord!   I would like to take this opportunity to let you know of some very exciting developments in the EPS.

Last year, the EPS began a fundraising campaign aimed at (among other things) increased international collaboration between societies of Christian philosophers.  Although these efforts are only in their infancy, I am happy to report that they have already borne fruit, and we will be helping four Christian philosophers from Europe to attend our annual meeting in Baltimore.   One of these is the chair of the Philosophy of Religion group of Tyndale Fellowship, Dr. Harry Bunting.  Dr. Bunting and Dr. Daniel Hill, secretary of the group and a lecturer at Liverpool University, have extensive contacts in European philosophy and provided a list of promising young Christian philosophers, from which two outstanding candidates, Joseph Diekemper and Jamie Collin, were selected.  It was my privilege to meet Harry, Daniel, Joseph and Jamie during this year’s Tyndale Fellowship meeting at Wolfson College, Cambridge, July 4th to 6th. How encouraging it was to talk to so many brilliant and promising young scholars, some of them students of such greats as Brian Leftow, E. J. Lowe and Richard Swinburne!  It is our mutual hope that this marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership between Tyndale Fellowship and the EPS.
Another European connection we hope to cultivate is with the European Leadership Forum.   Several members of the EPS have participated in the ELF, which has tracks in philosophy, apologetics and science.  An important contributor to the ELF is Dr. Ralph Vaags at the University of Agder, Norway, and we are pleased to announce that we will assist his attendance of the Baltimore conference.  These are early days, and I hope to strengthen the connection with ELF during a personal visit next year.
Of course, we would love to do even more, and it is our hope that next year will see even more international collaboration.   As our culture shows increasing signs of a post-Christian orientation focused on secularism and alternative religions, it is vital that evangelical Christian philosophers take a leadership role in supporting each other’s work for Christ throughout the globe.  In some contexts, the illusion has developed that to be a Christian philosopher is either a curiosity or a danger. Concerted, collaborative efforts and mutual encouragement are therefore vital to show that, on the contrary, Christian philosophy is a growing area of vibrant, rigorous, well-informed inquiry that coherently addresses fundamental questions about what is real, how we know, and how we are called to live.
Some evidence of this is found in the consistently high quality of articles found in journals of Christian philosophy, including Faith and Philosophy and our own Philosophia Christi.  Regarding the latter, I was very pleased with the most recent special issue on neuroscience and the soul, guest edited by Chad Meister and Charles Taliaferro, which featured excellent articles by household names in the international, Christian philosophy community, and some very stimulating essays pushing us to reconsider standard assumptions and pursue promising new models of the mind-brain connection.  Charles and I also believe you will like the forthcoming Winter 2013 special issue on ramified natural theology, which we hope will spur keen minds into whole new avenues of research.   In tandem with Paul Moser’s emphasis on existential encounter with the claims of Christ, ramified natural theology focuses our argumentation on the case for Christian truth.

The EPS website has also been flourishing.   Paul Moser’s arresting charge to reform the guild of Christian philosophers has provoked a fascinating series of interchanges on the proper focus of Christian philosophy, the Christ-shaped philosophy project.   J. P. Moreland describes the late, great Dallas Willard as one of Christian philosophy’s five-star generals, and though saddened by the loss I am certain Dallas would approve of the constructive tributes and essays that followed.   New books also abound and the website is a great place to find out about new and forthcoming works.   In addition to our annual meeting, the EPS has several regional meetings, and philosophy students are especially encouraged to take advantage of these to present papers and network with other philosophers.

Let me close by encouraging all of you to pray for the work of the EPS.  We would love to see as many of you as possible at our annual national meeting in Baltimore, November 19-21.   It is a great delight to have another “five star general” (or field marshal!) Richard Swinburne, as our plenary speaker, and I know from the program committee that the quality of submitted papers has never been so high or so numerous.   I very much look forward to seeing many of you at our annual EPS reception during the conference, and if any of you have ideas about what EPS can do better, do not hesitate to relay them to me.
Blessings on all of your work for Christ’s kingdom, and hope to see you in November!
Angus Menuge, Ph.D.

EPS President

Special Philosophia Christi Issue on Neuroscience and the Soul

The Evangelical Philosophical Society is pleased to announce the release of the Summer 2013 (vol. 15, no. 1) issue of Philosophia Christi, featuring notable philosophers like Oxford University’s Daniel Robinson and Durham University’s E. J. Lowe.

Guest editors Chad Meister and Charles Taliaferro write in their introduction to this issue that

This special summer issue of Philosophia Christi is devoted to neuroscience and the soul. It includes ten articles that bear on current thinking about science and the mind from a diverse group of philosophers. With the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation (JTF), Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought has helped to support this publishing opportunity. JTF is highly committed to fostering fruitful exchanges on science and religion. Our hope is that you find these articles engaging and perhaps challenging to your own perspective on the role of science in understanding the mind and the world of which it is a part.
Main article contributors include:
  • Daniel Robinson, “Neuroscience and the Soul.”
  • William Hasker, “What is Naturalism? And Should We be Naturalists?”
  • E. J. Lowe, “Naturalism, Theism, and Objects of Reason.”
  • Stewart Goetz, “The Argument from Reason.”
  • J. Daryl Charles, “Blame it on My Criminal Brain: Materialism, Metaphysics, and the Human Moral Instinct.”
  • Angus J. L. Menuge, “Neuroscience, Rationality and Free Will: A Critique of John Searle’s Libertarian Naturalism.”
  • Eric LaRock, “From Biological Naturalism to Emergent Subject Dualism.”
  • John M. DePoe, “RoboMary, Blue Banana Tricks, and the Metaphysics of Consciousness: A Critique of Daniel Dennett’s Apology for Physicalism.”
  • J. P. Moreland, “Mental vs. Top-Down Causation: Sic et Non.”
  • Anthony J. Rudd, “Bodily Subjectivity and the Mind-Body Problem.”

The Summer 2013 issue is available for purchase, whether as a single issue or as part of a subscription to the journal, by clicking here.

A Tribute to Stuart C. Hackett (1925-2012)

Last week, Stuart Cornelius Hackett (b. 1925)—a beloved philosophy professor, friend, and brother in Christ—departed this life to go where all true believers long to be. His mental brilliance, affected in his later years by Alzheimer’s, has been restored, and he is a now a clearer thinker than anytime during earthly days.

When I began to study at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1985, my very first class during my first quarter—we didn’t have “semesters” then—was Hackett’s “Religious Epistemology” class. This remarkable course introduced me to rationalism, empiricism, testing truth claims, Kant and the synthetic a priori. My eyes were being opened to the larger world of philosophy, and just a few weeks into the semester I was more than sufficiently inspired to pursue an M.A. degree in philosophy of religion—in addition to my M.Div. degree. I would write my master’s thesis on “The Impossibility of an Infinite Temporal Regress of Events”—an argument Hackett resurrected from medieval Jewish and Muslim philosophy and utilized in his Resurrection of Theism. (Of course, William Craig, also a former student of Hackett’s, has been most closely identified with this theistic proof—now referred to as the kalam cosmological argument.)  Hackett’s early influence on my study of philosophy led me to dedicate my 2007 book Loving Wisdom to him.

As for the personal side of Dr. Hackett, he was quite colorful, both in personality and in his dress. He would wear brightly- and outrageously-colored, mismatched polyesters to class. One day he told us, “My wife wanted me to be sure to tell you that she does not approve of what I’m wearing today.”  In addition to sporting thick black-framed glasses, he would keep his hair quite short and his beard barely longer—perhaps ten days’ growth of stubble.  Once, when Hackett was wearing his well-worn dark overcoat in the middle of winter, someone at Trinity commented that it looked like someone had dragged him onto the seminary property off the streets of Chicago! One day in class, Stu Hackett told us, “I am often described as a weird person…I don’t know that I’m weird in an absolute sense—I mean I’m not a werewolf or a vampire or anything like that. I’m just highly individualistic.”

He was an enthusiastic teacher who would often greet us in Latin, Pax vobis cum—and then finish the reply himself—et te cum spiritu. He would cite Francis Thompson’s Hound of Heaven, telling us that we needed to move ahead with “unperturbed pace, deliberate speed, and majestic instancy.”  He was ever full of good humor—to the point that some students complained that they weren’t getting their money’s worth in class: “I’m gonna’ lay this stuff on you like one great big metaphysical egg!” Confessing that “I don’t have a Reformed bone in my body,” he summarized his credo: “I’m a whiskey Calvinist—of the five points, I can only swallow one fifth.” (His wife Joan once told me that for an entire afternoon, the Calvinist theologian Roger Nicole doggedly tried to persuade Hackett to become a Calvinist. But it was not predestined to be.)

To add to the atmosphere, Hackett would specialize in extraordinarily long, Germanic-style sentences, which called for focused vigilance so as not to lose the thread of what he was saying. To give you an idea, here is a sample sentence—yes, one sentence—taken from his book The Reconstruction of the Christian Revelation Claim:

If the very possibility of a contingent cosmos or world order is fully conceivable only through its dependence on a transcendent realm of essence and directive selection; and if the very notion of an actually infinite series of past temporal states of the temporal universe involves a self-contradiction, whether that universe is construed in mentalistic or materialistic terms; and if the pervasion of the universe by significant order or purposive adaptation is itself best explained through an operation of transcendent self-directive mind through its own operative causality—and these are the very claims that our previous arguments have defended as plausible—then the supposition that selfhood (self-awareness, conceptualization, and self-direction) could not be explained in terms of material constituents, which themselves require explanation on transcendent and essentially immaterial or spiritual grounds, seems questionable indeed (p. 110).

Dr. Hackett was a friend to so many, and we loved him, eccentricities and all. He was a dedicated follower of Christ, who would read through his Greek New Testament each year. When he retired, he began to brush up on his Hebrew so that he could resume reading the Old Testament in that language. He prayed before every class, and he would often offer words of spiritual encouragement to his students. Before he came to school each day, he prayed that if he said anything false, this teaching would simply fall to the ground and be forgotten. But if he taught what was true, he prayed that it would be forever emblazoned upon his students’ minds. (Of one of his theological opponents, Hackett said, “If that person had prayed that prayer, he would have died in utter obscurity!”)

All of us philosophy students would gather together at the Hackett home for our regular end-of-the-quarter bash—complete with Sarah Lee sweets accompanied by guitar music by our beloved professor, who would sing self-composed songs such as “Plato, dear Plato, how I love you!” Just before I graduated, someone took a picture of a group of us at his home. When I visited the Hacketts years later in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, I saw this photo underneath the glass top of his desk. His wife Joan told me that it was a reminder for him pray for us, which he did every day.

Hackett—or “Big Stu” as he enjoyed being called—taught and inspired not only me, but other philosophers and apologists, including William Lane Craig, Stephen Evans, Jay Wood, Mark McLeod-Harrison, Chad Meister, Mark Linville, Mark Mittelberg, Nicholas Merriwether, and many more. Others influenced by Hackett include the pastor and author John Piper as well as own pastor Dennis Reiter, with whom I worked in Storrs, Connecticut; they, along with many others, benefited from his philosophical teaching while at Wheaton College, where he taught alongside Arthur Holmes before he was at Trinity.

Preferring to call himself a “student of philosophy” rather than a “philosopher,” Dr. Hackett wrote several articles for professional journals such as the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. He also authored four books: Oriental Philosophy, The Resurrection of Theism, The Reconstruction of the Christian Revelation Claim, and The Rediscovery of the Highest Good. Hackett’s Oriental Philosophy (University of Wisconsin Press) is a superb introduction to the topic (Hackett had even gone to India to learn Sanskrit as part of this writing endeavor). The latter three books are rigorous, lucid texts covering epistemology, apologetics, philosophy of religion, and ethics. They are currently available through Wipf and Stock, and I would encourage you to explore these writings of a noteworthy philosopher from a previous generation. In addition, I should mention a Festschrift in Hackett’s honor was published in 1990, The Logic of Rational Theism (Edwin Mellen Press), coedited by William Lane Craig and Mark McLeod. Hackett offered a response to these essays, which can be found at The Interactive Hackett—a website that Tim Cole, a former classmate and Hackett student, has maintained and updated over the years.

Though Hackett kept a low profile and did not receive the attention he rightly deserved, his legacy lives on through many of the students he faithfully served and taught over the years—not to mention others who have benefited from his writings. His quiet, faithful ministry reminds me of the heroine in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Dorothea:“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Give thanks with me for Stuart Hackett’s legacy. We have been enriched, made wiser, and better equipped to be witnesses to the good news of Jesus Christ through this faithful servant. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…for their deeds follow them.”

Honoring Alvin Plantinga

Many ideas have consequences.

How someone chooses to steward their ideas, influence and care  through institutions, networks of relationships, indeed among friendships, over time can be as consequential, if not more so, than sometimes even the ideas themselves.

Alvin Plantinga’s ideas, and his leadership with those ideas, have been deeply impactful for a whole generation of Christian philosophers. Moreover, his work has also been significantly appropriated by theologians, scientists, historians, psychologists and other Christian scholars working in various disciplines and fields.

“Alvin Plantinga is one of the most important and influential philosophers of the 20th and early 21st centuries,” says Michael Rea in a recent press release. Rea is a Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame and Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. “His [Plantinga’s] publications range over a wide variety of fields, but his most enduring contributions have been in metaphysics, epistemology, and, especially, the philosophy of religion.”

Besides introducing important arguments into the literature on the philosophy of religion, however, Plantinga has also played an important role in shaping the way in which many religious philosophers now approach topics in their own fields of specialization …

Of all the teachers I had the privilege of learning from at Notre Dame, none seemed more effective in the classroom than Plantinga. Furthermore, Plantinga takes his role as a teacher of graduate students very seriously.

I treasure the time I spent working with him and the friendship that grew out of it, and I know that my experience was not unique. Several friends of mine were and are students of Plantinga’s, and I know that all of them would have very similar things to say about their own experiences….

In light of the recent “Retirement Conference” (May 20-22) at Notre Dame, with deep gratitude the Evangelical Philosophical Society celebrates and honors our friend and colleague, Alvin Plantinga. Below are comments of appreciation that we received from Tom Crisp, Jim Beilby,  Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland,  and Chad Meister.

“This was, for me, a deeply moving conference,” said Tom Crisp, Biola University’s Professor of Philosophy. “Al means an enormous amount to me as a mentor and friend; the chance to be part of the conference, to hear the various tributes to Al (Nick Wolterstorff’s in particular–there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time he finished), to thank him, to see so many dear friends–all tremendous blessings.”
Plantinga’s wise, Christian life is especially noted by Crisp:
One quick reminiscence about my time studying under Al. He once shared this (or something close) with a class: “In professional philosophy, you’ll find a sort of hierarchy or totem pole, a pecking order of power and influence. If you find yourself somewhere on that totem pole, my recommendation is that you go out of your way to be generous, kind, and helpful to those below you in the ordering, and that you attempt to be somewhat feisty to those above you.” This bit of advice has always struck me as wise and deeply Christian; I’ve seen Al put it into practice on many occasions.

William Lane Craig, Biola’s Research Professor of Philosophy, recalls something similar as Crisp concerning Plantinga’s character:

One of my first contacts with Alvin Plantinga was at a conference in Dallas in 1985. As a young philosopher, I was eager (though somewhat intimidated) to sit down with him and ask him some questions.  We arranged a time together in a section of the hotel lounge and began to talk. At that point, a woman came to him and said, “Prof. Plantinga, the press is here and asking to interview you.”  I figured that was the end of our conversation.  But to my shock, Plantinga said to her, “Well, tell them to go away!  Tell them I’m doing something more important: I’m talking philosophy.” Those words were burned into my memory. Imagine how I felt:  Alvin Plantinga considered it more important to talk to a nobody like me than be interviewed for an article that thousands would read! It spoke volumes to me of the character of this gracious man, who has over the years been such an inspiration to me.

At that time, Craig was also teaching at Trinity Seminary (Deerfield, IL). One of his students was Paul Copan, who is now the current President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Professor and Pledger Family Chairperson of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“I was first exposed to his writings as an M.A. student, when I took an Alvin Plantinga seminar class with Bill Craig in early 1986 at Trinity Seminary,” says Copan.

Al has been a tremendous influence on my thinking ever since.  I am very grateful for his astonishing contribution to the philosophy of religion for the last 45 years and his key role in helping to create a truly historic movement for such a time as this.  Al’s articulation of a robustly Christian outlook, his strength of conviction to resist certain fashionable philosophical trends, and his warm-hearted commitment to Christ and to biblical authority have have encouraged and guided so many of us.  He has truly inspired a generation of Christian philosophers; indeed, we stand on the shoulders of a great warrior for the gospel.  “Blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.”

“Alvin Plantinga is, of course, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century,” says James Beilby, professor of philosophy at Bethel University. “His work has greatly influenced my academic work.  He was the subject of my dissertation and I’ve written or edited two books on aspects of his thought.  But his influence on me long predates my dissertation topic.”

During my senior year of college (1990-91) my faith fell completely apart. My crisis of faith was driven by the death of my football coach and a host of other things.  On my road back to faith, reading Plantinga’s God and Other Minds was a milestone.  Not the content, although that helped — honestly, I’m not sure I understood much more than a tithe of what he was really getting at.  It was Plantinga’s openness to dig deep, to question traditional ways of thinking, his clarity of thought, and his wit and humor that grabbed me.  “Christians can’t be all bad if there are some like this guy out there”, I thought.  Around this time, I wrote Al a letter, thanking him and asking what advice he might give to a young would-be theologian/philosopher.  I never really expected to receive a reply, but I did — promptly, two-and-a-half pages, single-spaced.  In the years since, he has encouraged and influenced me in a number of ways — through shared academic projects, personal conversations, games of disc golf, and showing up to my dissertation defense.

I tell this story not because I think my experience is unique, but because I think that it is not.  Al’s scholarly influence, as impressive as it is, is dwarfed by his personal influence.  Sure … he’s probably the best philosopher of our time.  But he’s a better person.

Congratulations, Al, on your retirement.  You said recently that after your retirement celebration that “I’ll be very happy if I don’t hear anything else about myself for, say, the next 20 years.”  I’m afraid that hearing these sorts of complements is the cross you will have to bear.  They are the fruit of your labors and the sign of your influence on so many.

Biola’s Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, J.P. Moreland, notes that “It is, indeed, hard to overestimate the impact of Plantinga’s life; clearly, his writings and lectures are central to this impact.”

But he has been a role model to an entire generation of younger Christian scholars of excellence, courage, faithfulness to Christ, and humility. I have been especially gratified by his critique of certain forms of physicalism and his defense of substance dualism, along with his identification of it as the Christian view. It has been an honor to be in the battle of ideas with him as our general. 

Surely, “Through Alvin Plantinga’s scholarship and his life, he has been the exemplar philosopher and Christian,” says Chad Meister

He is an inspiration to me and countless others-philosophers, theologians, pastors, and laypersons.  Through his framework-shifting articles and books in metaphysics and epistemology, for example, he reset the discussions and debates among philosophers and theologians.  He provided fresh ways of thinking about evil, free will, naturalism, and divine foreknowledge, to name a few key issues, and my own thinking about these matters has in many ways been structured around his profound insights.  He has demonstrated that being a devoted Christian and being a philosopher are not at odds; in fact, quite the contrary.  I am certain that among future generations he will continue to be regarded as one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  I thank God for Al and all what he has accomplished in his productive career.
Clearly, an understanding of Alvin Plantinga’s character and spirituality are not to be divorced from an understanding of his scholarly productivity and the sort of intellectual impact that his work continues to make. (To learn more, see Plantinga’s “Spiritual Autobiography”, which was also featured in Kelly James Clark’s edited book, Philosophers Who Believe)

Although retired from Notre Dame, Alvin Plantinga will not be disappearing anytime soon. He is currently working on a book related to philosophy, science and theology, and he will occasionally teach at Calvin College.

We are pleased to have Alvin Plantinga as our EPS plenary speaker for both the annual conference and the apologetics conference in November. Over the years, Philosophia Christi has been privileged to publish Plantinga’s work, along with important discussions of his work, such as our theme issue on his Warranted Christian Belief.

We welcome your further personal appreciations on Plantinga’s life, leadership and work. Please comment below.

EPS Authors Win Christianity Today Book Awards

The major evangelical periodical, Christianity Today, recently announced their list of top books published in 2009.

For their “apologetics evangelism” award, God is Great, God is Good won first place. The book is co-edited by EPS members William Lane Craig and Chad Meister. The judges said:

Craig and Meister bring together cutting-edge essays that attest powerfully to the massive and growing evidence in favor of theism in general and Christianity in particular. Each essay responds to the charges made by the New Atheists, but this is by no means a polemical book. The writers set a high bar for reasonable, responsible discourse, and they live up to it.

For the award in “Christian living,” EPS member Gregg Ten Elshof’s book, I Told Me So, won first place. The judges said:

By combining philosophy, psychology, and theology with practical examples, Ten Elshof clearly shows how we all are self-deceived, and why that is detrimental to our spiritual growth. The author has written a book that is not only intriguing, readable, applicable, and thoughtful, but also a catalyst for self-examination.

President’s 2008 Year-end Recap

Dear EPS friends,

It was a joy to see many of you at our
EPS annual meeting in
Providence last month.  Each year I eagerly anticipate making
that pre-Thanksgiving pilgrimage to EPS for the stimulating papers
and conversation, the Christian fellowship, and the opportunity to
serve together with many of you at our annual

We have many reasons for rejoicing in what God is doing within
the EPS.  Let me mention a few of them.

  • At this time last year,
    Philosophia Christi
    were down considerably due to an outdated, inefficient website.
     As many of you know, back in 2005 I had begun discussions to
    spearhead a plan to completely upgrade our website. Chad
    Meister, Scott Smith, Joe Gorra, Craig Hazen, and others worked
    long and hard on this project alongside our new webmaster Lenny
    Esposito.  Finally, in October 2007, our sharp-looking,
    efficiently-working, cutting-edge website was launched.  In one
    year, we have received over 500 new subscriptions (now over
    1,570) – with fifty more were added at our recent apologetics
    conference.  What a marvelous difference this year has
  • Earnestly Contending, our sixth annual
    , took place in Smithfield, RI in conjunction with the
    EPS’s annual meeting. This conference drew nearly 800
    attendees�an excellent showing for New England. During that
    weekend, forty pastors were expected to attend a luncheon to
    receive encouragement and practical training in promoting the
    role of apologetics in local churches.  Well, over 110 showed
    up! In fact, the pastors’ response was so positive that we’re
    planning on hosting these luncheons every year.  And how
    encouraging that over 100 attended the various youth sessions. 
    Bill Craig, who takes the lead in organizing the conference each
    year called Earnestly Contending "among the top three
    conferences we’ve held so far!"  The host church pastor,
    Rev. Steve Boyce, said that all the initial reports he’s
    received "have been just rave reviews!"  Thanks to Bill and to
    Pastor Steve and his volunteers at the Worship Center for
    helping to bring all of this together.
  • After the
    apologetics conference, Bill Craig, Gary Habermas,
    Jim Sinclair, and I were able to sit down for over two hours
    with a couple of atheists who had crashed the party.  It
    was an excellent time of discussion and building relationships
    with them. One of them wrote a note to me afterwards, mentioning
    that the conference was "excellent" and that, despite our
    philosophical differences, "there is just something irresistible
    and winsome about Christian friendship."
  • Chad Meister has helped coordinate another international outreach
    effort scheduled for next fall at Hokkaido University in Japan. 
    For health reasons, though, Chad is stepping down as EPS vice
    president and as international outreach coordinator, but I want to
    thank him heartily for his energy, resourcefulness, wisdom, and
    graciousness. Please pray for him as well as this upcoming venture.

While we’re on the topic, I’d like to say thanks to Stewart
Kelly, Bob Stewart, Rich Davis, and Bob Larmer for their service on
the EPS executive committee, and we welcome four new members to our
EC: Jeremy Evans, Craig Mitchell, Bill Dembski, and Bruce Little.

Again, as I recently wrote, I would ask you to support the EPS
with your prayers and financial gifts.  Indeed, God is at work
in and through the EPS!  May we remain faithful co-laborers
with him in a remarkable movement that he has wrought!
Advent blessings to you all!

Paul Copan,
EPS President

Update Letter from EPS President Paul Copan

Dear EPS friends,

It has been an exciting season for the Evangelical Philosophical Society! We continue to host and sponsor national and regional conferences, mature our web presence through a first-class website, and increase our Philosophia Christi subscription numbers. Please tell your friends, librarians, and colleagues about our first-time subscriber discount. If your library does not yet subscribe to Philosophia Christi, let them know about our discount, which amounts to a $50 savings. More on this below!

EPS Conferences

We are pleased to have regional conferences that continue to do well.  I
recently attended the Greer-Heard Forum in New Orleans, which ran concurrently
with an EPS regional conference. As is his custom, our own Bob Stewart pulled
together a superb conference. The Forum’s exchange between Bart Ehrman and Dan
Wallace on textual criticism was highly engaging. (You can check out Ed
Komoszewski’s assessment of the dialogue at his Parchment and Pen blog entitled
"Friday Night
". For the official NOBTS summary of the dialogue, see Gary D. Myers,
08: Top scholars debate reliability of the New Testament at NOBTS forum
April 16, 2008..

Next year’s Greer-Heard will feature Harold Netland, a faithful EPS member,
and Paul Knitter on "Religious Pluralism." Last month at Trinity Seminary, both
of them undertook their first round in this genuine religious dialogue-rather
than the all-too-typical lowest-common-denominator version. Harold wrote in an
email, "The exchange was very gracious and irenic, but also pointed and direct.
I think it was good for students to see that two people can disagree radically
on these issues without getting ugly and treating the other inappropriately."
(You can read an edited transcript of their discussion
here.)  Such events are just a
sampling of what many EPS philosophers are engaged in throughout the year. May
we prayerfully support and encourage one another in these efforts! And I hope
many of you can make Round Two in New Orleans next year.

This November many of us will be attending the EPS annual meeting in
Providence, RI.  It will be good to catch up with you then.  EPS vice
president Chad Meister tells me that many fine paper proposals have come in, but
he and his colleagues at Bethel College await word from ETS regarding room
allocations.  Bill Craig, who is spearheading the annual apologetics
conference (also in Providence) tells me that plans are moving ahead nicely. (By
the way, Bill Craig and I, who co-edited Passionate Conviction, are now co-editing
the next B&H book taken from our annual apologetics conference-with another
great lineup of contributors, including Charles Taliaferro, Stew Goetz, Bob
Stein, Craig Evans, David Hunt, Victor Reppert, and Mark Linville.) We look
forward to another fine array of speakers at this conference, which will be a
particularly exciting and strategic meeting, as it will be our first in the
fairly unchurched region of New England. Chad Meister has also put together a
wonderful session at this year’s American Academy of Religion conference in
November (Chicago, IL). The topic is on "Religious Diversity." Paul Moser
(Loyola University, Chicago) will present on "Religious Exclusivism" and Keith
Yandell (University of Wisconsin-Madison) will present on "The Diversity of
Religious Experience." The respondent will be by Paul Knitter (Union Theological
Seminary). May God use our efforts there to produce much fruit!

EPS Website & Philosophia Christi Subscriptions

As you all know, our website is looking sharp, attracting more and more
subscribers -wow, have we come a long way!  Since October 2007, when our
new website was launched, subscriptions have been steadily rising (1-2 per day). 
For our current 10:1 issue (Summer 2008), we are mailing Philosophia Christi to
1400+ subscribers-to over 200 libraries and 1200 to individuals. This represents
a huge jump from just six months ago, and we have every reason to believe these
numbers will continue to increase throughout the rest of the year and beyond. 
Having an upgraded, cutting-edge website has directly contributed to a high
renewal rate.  Joe Gorra, Scott Smith, Craig Hazen, Lenny Esposito, and
Chad Meister have all labored mightily to make this happen. Our hearty thanks to
them once again!  Efforts in marketing (which includes blogging at the
website, promoting among acquisition librarians at the American Library
Association, etc), offering subscription incentives, and improving our
subscription management database have all helped contribute to our growth.

Please help us spread the word about Philosophia Christi and its importance
for library collections, philosophy and theology departments, scholars,
undergraduate and graduate students, pastors, and friends. Please let people
know about our first-time subscriber discount:

$30 = the current issue + 2 year subscription (4 issues).

This extraordinary deal with not be available for long! Take advantage of
this discount by
subscribing here or calling 562-906-4570 (10-5pm, PST).

Let’s continue to pray diligently that as we all "plant" and "water," the
Lord will continue to bring the growth to advance His kingdom.  May we
remember that we are co-laborers with God, who can effectively use these
marketing tools and this marvelous technology-but may we not trust in them! 
As Craig Gay reminds us in The Way of the (Modern) World, technological advance
not only tends to depersonalize life, but can easily obscure and diminish our
sense of dependence on God.  Whether we’re presenting papers, giving
lectures, engaging in debates, writing books, or defending the Christian faith
with a non-Christian friend, let us humbly rely on God in prayer with full,
grateful hearts.

It is a joy to stand together with you all in "the defense and confirmation
of the gospel."

Warmly in Christ,

Paul Copan
EPS President

Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed

In 2018, Bloomsbury Academic will release the 2nd edition of Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed by Chad V. Meister. Meister is Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Bethel College, Indiana, USA. He is the author or editor of 20 books, many of them on evil, including The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil (co-edited with Paul Moser), God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views (co-edited with James Dew), and the six-volume The History of Evil (co-edited with Charles Taliaferro).

From the publisher’s description of Evil:

Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed is a lively examination of the philosophical and theological problems raised by the existence of widespread evil. It explores classic debates around this problem and also engages with more recent ones, from new challenges posed by scientific advances in evolutionary theory, neuroscience, and cosmology, to concerns of climate change and environmental degradation, to questions raised by increasing religious and secular violence. This second edition is fully revised and updated and contains three new chapters covering topics such as Jewish, Christian, and Islamic responses to evil and skeptical theism. The result is an even-handed guide to both traditional and contemporary issues raised by the reality and ubiquity of evil.