Students, youth groups, college ministry groups and others around the state and region are invited to attend the third annual “Generation Why?” youth apologetics conference March 5, 2022. The event will take place on the OBU campus in Shawnee. The conference centers around the theme of “Truth” and is a one-day-only conference. The conference is designed to equip students to know their faith more deeply and to be prepared and effective in defending the faith.
Registration is now open at okbu.edu/genwhy. Cost is $10 per person, $60 total for a group of 6 to 14 people, or $70 total for a group of 15 or more attendees. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The conference will feature three general sessions and multiple breakout sessions, all led by OBU professors or outside guests brought in for the conference. Student bands will lead worship and OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas will also share a word with guests.
Dr. Tawa Anderson, associate professor of philosophy at OBU, helps organize the Generation Why conference. He is excited for the impact the conference has made in its first two years and anticipates another outstanding event in March. He discussed why this conference is important and what attendees will learn and experience.
“Everyone has questions and doubts. Christians have questions and doubts about God, about the truthfulness of their faith. Non-Christians have doubts about and objections to Christianity. In an increasingly post-Christian world, it is more important than ever to pursue credible answers to questions and helpful responses to objections to our faith.
“1 Peter 3:15 commands us to ‘always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have.’ The Generation Why youth apologetics conference aims to equip students from throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states to rationally and relationally understand, present and defend their evangelical Christian faith. Our conference theme this year is ‘Truth’ and our top-flight lineup of speakers will advocate for the beauty and power of Christian truth in a skeptical world.”
Guest speaker Mary Jo Sharp will lead the first general session, “The Intolerance of Tolerance.” Sharp is a former atheist who came to faith, experiencing two worlds of American culture: the post-Christian culture of the Pacific northwest and the evangelical culture of the Bible belt. She first encountered apologetics in her own spiritual search while seeking answers. She earned a BME from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in apologetics at Biola University. Sharp serves as assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She is the founder and director of Confident Christianity Apologetics Ministry which focuses on addressing the hard questions of Christianity with love and logic through research, writing, training and debate. She is the author of several studies including “Why Do You Believe That?” and recently released her latest book, “Why I Still Believe.” She is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. A clear communicator with a heart for people, she finds great joy in sharing the deep truths of her Lord and Savior.
The second general session, “Who Are You to Impose Your Values on Others? The Confusions and Contradictions of Moral Relativism,” will be taught by Dr. Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Copan earned a Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies from Columbia International University; a Master of Arts in philosophy of religion and a Master of Divinity, both from Trinity International University; and a Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy from Marquette University. In 2017, he was a visiting scholar at Oxford University. He previously served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He is author or editor of 40 books, including works such as “The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion,” “The Naturalness of Theistic Belief,” “Creation out of Nothing,” “Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues,” “A Little Book for New Philosophers,” and more. He has also contributed essays to more than 50 books, both scholarly and popular, and has authored a number of articles in professional journals.
Dr. Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, will lead the third general session, “Fantastic Truths and Where to Find Them.” He earned a Bachelor of Science in biblical studies from Toccoa Falls College. He also earned a Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dew has earned two doctorate degrees in philosophy, a Doctor of Philosophy in theological studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Prior to serving as the president of NOBTS, Dew served as vice president of undergraduate studies and distance learning and associate professor of philosophy and the history of ideas at SEBTS. He previously served as senior pastor of Stony Hill Baptist Church, Wake Forest, North Carolina, for eight years and in a variety of church ministry positions including minister to adults, youth minister and interim pastor.
Numerous breakout sessions will take place both in the morning and afternoon. They will cover topics on science and God, faith and reason, other religions, beauty and Christianity, and gender and sexuality. A sampling of session titles includes “Scientific Evidence for God,” “Is Faith Believing ‘What You Know Ain’t So’? The Reasonableness of the Christian Faith,” “Beauty and Truth: What has Apologetics to Do with Aesthetics?” and “Evangelistic Apologetics Amongst Muslims.”
Register and learn more about the “Generation Why?” youth apologetics conference.