Our own Dr Mathew Flannagan was one of the speakers at the Evangelical Philosophical Society Apologetics Conference, and participated in a panel discussion at the Society for Biblical Literature where he presented a paper titled God and the Genocide of the Canaanites. I was tasked with encouraging him, making sure his tie was straight and reminding him to speak slowly (all the things his good wife was unable to do from back in NZ).
Matt’s morning presentation was very well received. He was speaking at the same time as five other speakers during the ‘break-out’ sessions – and yet still pulled the biggest crowd for that session according to Bill Craig. He spoke slowly and clearly – really couldn’t fault him. His power-point failed half way through (his laptop unexpectedly shut down), but he just continued on without a hitch.
This is a photo of his audience during his presentation:
Matt demonstrated a solid understanding of his material and responded to questions clearly and confidently during Q&A time. The thing that was the most encouraging was the crowd that gathered around him afterwards. It’s normal for a small handful of people to want to address a speaker after a presentation, but I counted no less than 20 people who were still asking questions a good 10 minutes after he had finished and the rest of the room had moved back into the main hall for a plenary session. People seemed really intrigued by his ideas and clearly wanted more details.
Later that evening Matt joined a panel discussion at the Society for Biblical Literature who discussed the topic Is Yahweh a Moral Monster? The panel consisted of, from left to right Richard Hess, Randall Rauser, Matt and Paul Copan – and was chaired (ironically the only one standing in this photo J) by the distinguished Notre Dame Philosopher, Michael Rea:
Each speaker spoke for 20 minutes on the topic before an hour of Q&A. The audience (consisting of big names such as William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, Doug Gievet, Christopher Wright and others) was significantly more informed and educated than the more general lay-audience in the morning. The questions were solid and intelligent and Matt answered more than his share of them.
In this photo is Doug Gievet, Matt, Paul Copan and myself:
You can read Matt’s account of the conferences on his blog here.
It was a proud day for Kiwis!