APOLOGETICS CONFERENCE!

I have the honor to serve this year as president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics (ISCA).  Our annual meeting is going to be very accessible to many in the Southeast, at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC, Fri-Sat., April 10-11.  The theme is “Inerrancy and Evangelical Identity.”  How essential is a full view of biblical authority to who we are as Evangelicals?  It is a doctrine that is under renewed assault, even from within what purports to be Evangelicalism.

We are going to have a stellar line-up of plenary speakers to address such an important topic.

Paige Patterson

Paige Patterson

First we have as a one-two punch two giants from the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land and Paige Patterson, who will talk about the struggle for inerrancy in that denomination and what we can learn from it for the struggles ongoing in other Evangelical churches and organizations.  Nobody has had more personal experience with such things than these two.  Land will talk about the history of the struggle for inerrancy in the SBC, and Patterson will focus on the practical lessons to be learned from it.  This will be balanced by rising star Sarah Geis, Doug Groothuis’s protégé at Denver Seminary, who will speak on making the case for inerrancy, not so much to the church as to the world.  Their titles are as follows:

Richard Land

Richard Land

Richard Land, “The Southern Baptist Convention, 1979-1993: What Happened, and Why” (To learn more about Richard Land, go to http://www.drrichardland.com/about. )

Paige Patterson, “The Consequences of Revolution: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention: A Case Study” (To learn more about Paige Patterson, go to http://www.paigepatterson.info/. )

Sarah Geis, “The Apologetics of Inerrancy: Making Our Case to the World” (To learn more about Sarah Geis, go to http://justifiedfaith.com/author/scgeis/. )

Sarah Geis

Sarah Geis

Then I will do a presidential address on “Discerning the Times: Why We Lost the Culture War and How to Make a Comeback,” in which I will address the related area of how subjectivist hermeneutics undermines biblical authority and our ability to apply it to the world around us.

Donald T. Williams

Donald T. Williams

I think this is a great opportunity that many of us should take advantage of.  Registration is available at

http://www.isca-apologetics.org/annualmeeting.  I hope to see many of you there!

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD

R. A. Forrest Scholar & Prof. of English, Toccoa Falls College

107 Kincaid Dr., Toccoa Falls, Ga. 30598, 706-886-6831, ext. 5213

President, International Society of Christian Apologetics

Web Site:  http://doulomen.tripod.com

Blog:  http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com

E-Mail:  dtw@tfc.edu

“To think well is to serve God in the interior court.”

— Thomas Traherne

CV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Is this too long for a blog entry?  I don’t care.  Narrative poetry needs to be revived.  Here’s a challenge:  How long will it take you to figure out who this is about?

Campfire Tale

Portrait-Abraham2

“I will tell you a story.

It is a true story, I did not make it up.

I learned it word for word from the way the words

Followed each other like first stars in the dark

When they came to me the first time, long ago.

I am still learning it.

And though it grows in the telling, it does it the way

A seed grows into a cedar, because the cedar

Was there in the seed all along, and had to grow.

You can find them tall and majestic in the fields,

Daring the lightning, or stooped, twisted, stunted,

Clutching at some impossible crack in a rock,

Living on soil they had to grind themselves,

But living to scatter their seed.

You are hearing the story from me, I am telling it now.

The seeds ride on the wind.  If I should stop,

Sooner or later one would take root near you;

You find them growing in unexpected places.

I will tell you a story.”

Portrait-Abraham1

“The story has no beginning, but we will start

With a cold night in the desert, the stars fierce,

A light wind stirring the sand, the hints of dawn

As yet too faint to challenge the blazing blackness.

There is no moon tonight, you must look closely.

You see that hill?  It seems to be moving.  Ha!

It is a tent collapsing.  There are camels

Kneeling to be loaded.  I hear bleating

Of sheep.  And there, that man off to the side,

He seems oblivious to the whole commotion,

Standing motionless against the sky

As if in meditation.  One of the servants

Approaches him now, but stops, patiently waiting.

That man must be the master here.  He sees

The servant, sighs, and turns back toward the others.

I’ve lost him, but he must be mounted now;

There go the camels, lurching, one by one,

Rising clumsily into the sky.

And now they’re moving.  What a host they’ve got!

How could we have missed those flocks?  They’re gone.

Before the sun is up the wind will sweep

Away all signs that they were ever here.”

Portrait-Abraham3

The boy stared deep in the fire.  “You tell it as if

You were there when it happened, as if it were happening now.”

“And how do you know it isn’t?”  The old man’s eyes

Glinted.  He shoved a stick in deeper and made

The sparks fly up.  “The story is still going on,

And you and I are in it.  The man was traveling

With everything he owned, cattle, servants,

Their wives and children, deeper into the desert.

None of them knew where they were going or why.

His wife had asked him point-blank, and he had told her

That God had told him to go, and that was that.

Some of them even believed him!”  The light of the fire

Showed a smile that wrinkled the old man’s cheeks

At the point.  “Yes, there were some of them that believed him.”

Portrait-Abraham4

The old man paused ‘til the boy thought he’d fallen asleep,

But then he shook his head.  “It is not to be thought

That the man knew fully himself why the journey was ordered.

He thought it had something to do with becoming a nation.

The begetting of seed was central in it somehow,

And some great blessing for all mankind was at stake.

He thought it had something to do with the Curse and the Promise

Of Eden, the Seed that was coming to bruise the Serpent.”

“So that old story’s the same as this one?”  “Yes.

There is only one story you know.  But all he knew

Was that Jahweh had told him to leave Ur of the Chaldees

And God had promised a land and a seed and a blessing.”

Portrait-Abraham5

This time it was the boy who stirred the fire.

“And did he ever find the land he was seeking?”

The old man laughed.  “Well, we are here now, aren’t we?”

“And did he find the seed?”  The old man’s hand

Descended gently on the boy’s young shoulder.

“The story goes no further for tonight.

We’d better get some sleep now, for tomorrow

We’ll come to the place appointed for sacrifice.

Tomorrow night we may know more of the story,

And if we do we’ll tell it to each other.”

The fire was watchful beside them through the night,

And the silent tears of Abraham were tiny

Pools of mud in the dust by the sleeping form

Of Isaac the promised seed.  It was a cold

Night on the edge of the desert, the stars fierce,

The hints of dawn still faint, but growing stronger,

A light wind stirring the thicket where the ram

Had gotten himself entangled on the mountain.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

 Donald T. Williams, PhD

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness.

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness.

CIV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

This poem tries to capture a truly magical moment and reveal it as a useful image of a spiritual truth.  The relationships between appearance and reality, and between faith and sight, deserve more thought than they sometimes receive.

fog2

North Campus, The University of Georgia, Spring, 1980:

The Ninth Sphere Reflected in the First

 

“This mist just barely lets the moonlight through.

We’ll see no stars tonight.”  “But where the moon

Is shining, you can bet the stars are too.

No matter we can’t see them in this noon

Of silver foglight, for tonight the trees

Are all intent on standing in for them:

New dogwood blossoms, ranked in galaxies

And constellations, glow on every limb.

Somehow they gather in the diffuse light

And give it back in concentrated flares

Of brilliance, making dark the softer white.”

“What strange astronomy is this, that dares

Set stars ablaze so far from their own sphere?”

“Well, one that knows how much we need their light

And feels their unseen influence down here

And, having seen them once in their full height,

Thereafter walks by faith and not by sight.”

winter lamp post narnia

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CIII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Morning ground-fog hugging the low-lying folds of land when one is starting off on a journey as the sun comes up is one of the most beautiful—and ephemeral—things that Nature does.  No adventure begins quite right without it.

fog3

An Early Start

(To Shope Fork, N.C.)

Sonnet XXXIV

 

“Tonight the Fog will come to the bottoms to keep

A tryst with his bride, the River.  In the morning,

If we are careful, we’ll catch him quite asleep

Right there on the bank beside her still, scorning

To notice the stars fading, to take warning,

Knowing it takes most half a day for the sun

To reach this valley floor with any warming.

So over the meadow he spreads his blanket, spun

Of moonlight that shines on when the moon is done.”

The walkers were careful not to disturb the pair

Of lovers as they left.  When the peaks were won,

They returned; the River alone was waiting there.

“Where does he go?  No one has seen it aright.

I only know he’ll be back again tonight.”

fog1

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

fog4

CII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Rudolf Bultmann is no longer “hot” in biblical criticism, but his disciples continue to wreak their havoc on faith, not to mention common sense.  He thought we could no longer believe the New Testament because it was mythological, and that we had to “demythologize” it in order to find what was true there.  Never mind that anything that did not fit with Modernism, Rationalism, and Scientism was automatically dismissed as “mythology,” nor that when you removed the supernatural there was very little left.  Well, the joke is on the Bultmanniacs.  Did they really understand even mythology any better than they did the New Testament?

 

Bultmann

Bultmann

A Parable for Demythologizers

To Rudolf Bultmann

 

“We come with rusty hatchets to chop down

Old Yggdrasil, the mightiest of trees;

We come with buckets full of air to drown

Old Triton, ruler of the seven seas.

 

Yggdrasil, the World Oak

Yggdrasil, the World Oak

For we are Modern Men, the heirs of Time,

And won’t be ruled by anything that’s gone

Before.  So if we think it more sublime

To exorcise Aurora from the dawn,

 

Then who is there who dares to say us nay?”

And so the desert wind swept through their minds

And found no obstacle placed in its way

To stop the stinging dust, the sand that blinds.

desert

Blistered, parched, and withered, one by one

They fell beneath the branches of the Tree,

Succumbing to the unrelenting Sun

In cool, green shade beside the roaring Sea.

Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil

 

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

InklingsofReality5c