When 2000-3000 atheists turn up in Melbourne for a conference to listen to some talks the media turns up to report on it. When 2000-3000 Christians (plus 1000 children) turn up to Katoomba for a conference to listen to some talks, it is just another Easter (or another one of the 5 conferences that KCC run, some over multiple weekends as 3000 seats are not enough)
This year the topic was "Living proof: Christians in a Sceptical World" with John Lennox speaking on the story of Joesph from Genesis, Stephen Um on 1 Peter and Ray Galea talking on some apologetic topics.
John Lennox teaches Maths at Oxford and also knows a bit about Bioethics. Twice he has debated Dawkins (you can watch the first debate online, the second debate Dawkins said a case for deism could be made). John would make connection with themes from Genesis, like work, parenting and God's word and connect them to the bigger biblical picture. He also gave a bonus talk based off his book God's Undertaker. That 30minute session went for about one hour fifteen as he took questions. Someone asked him about his views on creation and it tuns out he is writing a book on it. He touched on some interesting points about the days in Genesis 1 and sounds like it will be a book that I might buy, whenever he finishes it.
I had never heard of Stephen Um before the conference, but if he is ever back in the country he would be worth listening to. He was a passionate speaker, who had quite a large vocab; on one occasion tried to encouraged us to "discourse in the vernacular." He talked on 1 Peter where he contrasted hope with optimism, argued that love is not an equal response to someone, but is a greater response. He was very Keller like in that he told us to remove all sorts of idols from our life and that we should enter into other world views, challenge them and then retell their story in light of the Gospel. It looks like his is currently going through 1 Peter on his website, so that audio might be the same as the talks we heard.
Ray Galea is a minister in Rooty Hill. He looked at the idea of religion causing violence. He showed that in all honesty mankind in general is violent. He looked at the reliability of the bible where he convincing showed that it was written over a 1500 year time span, by many different authors, in different genres in three different languages on three different continents, thus making collusion quite difficult (and there is some external archaeological evidence to help back up the biblical text). The Bible was contrasted with other religious holy texts which are only in one genera, from one person in one experience. His last talk was on why a loving God would send people to hell where he looked at hell and what love is. Ray's job is not in apologetics which was good because he met the average person where they were at and just laid out some simple arguments for us to follow.
Al Stewart MC'ed again and so tried to reduce each talk into one sentence. That should be up on the KEC site soon. Sons of Korah also played two sets on the Sunday and the music in general was good (my wife could probably go into more detail, as one of the singers could sing a "low E", whatever that means)...
Al said that by the end of the year the KCC talk library will most likely be free. This is great news, as their speakers are all world class, for example, Don Carson is speaking at the next Easter convention.
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