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The Importance of Christian Apologetics (w/ Rich Hoyer)

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June 13, 2021 8:13 am

The Importance of Christian Apologetics (w/ Rich Hoyer)

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June 13, 2021 8:13 am

In this episode, Michael and Paul welcome Rich Hoyer to the program. Rich is a pastor of a church in the Louisville, Kentucky area. He’s also heavily involved in apologetics, planning and hosting the annual Reveal Conference, which brings Christian apologists to the Louisville and Indianapolis areas. Rich dropped by to share his thoughts on why Christian apologetics is important.

Check out Rich's blog Damming Pop Religion.

Watch an onlinea sermon he preached for for Lyndon Christian Church on Ephesians 2:8-9 titled "The Beauty of Grace."

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You're entering Outer Brightness.

All right, Fireflies. This week, Michael and I have the pleasure of welcoming Rich Hoyer to the program. Rich and I attended the same school, Cincinnati Bible Seminary, at the now-defunct Cincinnati Christian University. Although our time at the seminary was several years apart and we never got to interact there, I learned of Rich's work in Christian apologetics through my theology professor, Dr. Jack Cottrell. Rich and a team of people came together to plan and organize an apologetics conference in the Louisville, Kentucky area. I attended what I think, keep me honest here, Rich, was 2016 the first Reveal Conference? It was.

Awesome. See, Michael, my memory is not too bad yet. But yeah, I attended the first conference with my dad and my son, and we got to see Mike Licona speak and also got to talk with him about my journey from Mormon into Jesus. And he even signed a copy of his book on the resurrection of Jesus for me. I also got to see Paul Copan speak at that conference and got to break bread with Rich in the fellowship hall of the church where the conference was held that year.

And by break bread, I mean that we scarf down some Chick-fil-A in between sessions. I also got to attend the conference in 2018. And there I saw Frank Turek and Rob Bowman speak.

I got to briefly interact with Frank and several years after several years of interacting with Rob Bowman in online ministry to Mormons, I also got to meet him in person, which was very cool. Rich Hoyer is senior minister at Linden Christian Church or Linden Church of Christ in Linden, Kentucky, which is near Linden Christian Church. Yeah.

Is it Linden Christian Church? Yeah, right. Yep. Okay. Sorry about that.

That's all right. And he's also a talented photographer. I very much enjoy seeing his pictures of the Louisville skyline, the Ohio River, and the bridges there that he posts to Facebook. I've benefited from the many hours of work that Rich and team put into the Reveal Conference each year.

So I'm very excited to have him with us. Rich, welcome to Outer Brightness. Thanks for having me. All right.

So tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, Rich. How did you come to faith? Well, I grew up in the Catholic Church and I went to Catholic grade school. My parents were very faithful in making sure that I went to church each week and, you know, had good Catholic education as well. Catholic education is, you know, the quality of the education in general is quite good.

And of course, they teach you the Catholic faith. So from kindergarten through eighth grade, I went to one particular school and then went to Catholic high school for two years. And around the time I was about 16 years old, you know, I was gaining some freedom and my parents stopped making me go to church. And so I pretty much stopped going regularly.

I went from time to time, obviously went on Christmas and Easter and here and there, but not so much. And then went to college and did a lot of things that college kids did and did all the things that I was supposed to do, at least as I was taught. You know, I was taught you go to school, you get good grades and you get good grades so you can get into college and get, you know, get through college and graduate, get your degree and then you can get a good job. And that good job will afford you a good income and benefits. And, you know, that was what you were supposed to do in life. And so I did that. Graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in economics.

Started working at the Courier Journal here in Louisville in the advertising department. And, you know, my life was just pretty empty. And a series of bad things happened. I had been engaged to a girl and she broke up with me and it was devastating at the time.

Probably best, one of the best things that ever happened to me, but at the time it was quite devastating. So, you know, I was a bit depressed because of that. And I'm working this job, did all the things I'm supposed to do and I'm looking at the clock every day and I'm counting the hours till it's time to get off. And then I go home and I eat dinner and do whatever and I count the hours until it's time to go to bed. And then I get up and do it all again. And I'm thinking to myself, you know, there's got to be more to life than this.

Surely weren't put here on this planet just to survive. And so that began a spiritual journey where I didn't realize at the time, but the Lord was drawing me to him. And my sister had become a Christian before me and she had prayed that I'd be so miserable that I'd have no choice but to turn to the Lord. And in effect, that's basically what happened to me.

I ended up having surgery, had a double hernia and had surgery. And it dawned on me as I was entering into surgery that this doctor here is going to give me some anesthesia and I have no idea how much I'm supposed to have. Even if I did, there isn't anything I could do to control it. I realized that I was just not in control of anything at that point. And I thought, OK, if if this goes south, you know, my sins are not forgiven and I'm going to hell. And so at that moment, I did. The only thing I knew to do at the time was I said, Lord Jesus, please save me.

And from that point on, you know, surgery went fine. Came out of that point on something changed a bit. A friend of mine invited me to church and I started going to church and it was it was a non-instrumental Church of Christ. And I listened to the sermons each week and finally one week the preacher preached on baptism and he preached to preach the gospel, preached about baptism.

And I don't remember what happened. But for some reason, on that Tuesday, I decided I had this this terrible just urgency that I needed to confess faith in Jesus and be baptized. So I called my friend up and I said, what are you doing tonight? He said, I'm working out. So he said, why? And I said, well, I want you to baptize me tonight.

Oh, absolutely, man. Now, the thing is, I hate water. I can't swim.

The thought of being dunked underwater terrified me. So I said to him, I said, well, I want it to just be you and me. He said, oh, no problem.

Turned out about 12 people showed up. But that night I confessed faith in Jesus was baptized and my life radically changed from that point forward. Wow, that's great.

Really awesome story. So you said your sister became a Christian or what about your parents? Are they still Catholic or? No, I had the privilege of baptizing my parents about a year after about a year after I became a Christian. So I had numerous, numerous conversations with them, especially with my mom. And, you know, just just talk to her about the differences between the Catholic faith and and, you know, and the biblical faith and finally convinced her. And so anyway, about a year later, I baptized them and and they started coming to church at Linden maybe, I don't know, a year after I started.

So my mom passed away a few years ago, but my dad, he still comes. That's great news. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I know that loss can be difficult to deal with, but I'm glad you had that opportunity to baptize on that. That's awesome.

Yeah. So we invited you on the program because I thought it would be interesting for our listeners to hear about Christian apologetics. You know, Michael mentioned when we were doing introductions that he was involved in trying to be a Mormon apologist before he became a Christian.

What what got you interested in and engaged in apologetics, Rich? Well, the night that I was baptized, the preacher said to me afterwards, he said, I want to warn you. He said you were you were basically Satan's before you did all that Satan wanted you to do, whether you knew it or not. He said Satan's going to come and make your life miserable now because he doesn't like that you've made this choice to turn to Jesus. And I had no clue what he was talking about.

I just kind of smiled and went, uh huh. But within two weeks of that moment, I couldn't tell you God existed. The doubts set in. And so I was I was faced with a choice. I could either go back to the old life that I had lived or I could press forward. And I needed to know that there was good evidence for what I had believed. You know, I didn't want to make a decision that was emotional. I wanted to know that that Jesus really is who he says he is.

So I didn't really know what to do. But I just started looking around the Internet and I ended up getting several books. I got the evidence that demands a verdict. Josh McDowell, I got I forgot what the second book was. I got another book called God, the Evidence by a guy named Glenn.

And I'm not even sure who he is. But anyway, through through those books and also reading some some debates online, I began to realize, OK, there is good evidence for Christianity. At the time, once I started looking at the evidence, you know, I had to kind of reason from God to Jesus to biblical salvation. So I could say, you know, the universe couldn't have just popped into existence at random.

Something had a call had to cause it. So I was able to say, God exists. Then the question was, OK, who is God? And I started looking at the options and I looked at Judaism, looked at Islam, I looked at Christianity and pretty quickly ruled out Judaism. But Islam gave me some issues. And so I wanted to know, OK, is the God of Islam or the God of Christianity the true God?

I ended up reading debates online between Muslim apologists and Christian apologists and eventually came to realize, OK, you know, the God of the Bible is the true God and that there is good, solid evidence for the gospel's truth. OK. Yeah, that's that's really interesting. You know, I was telling you guys during my introduction to like I was doing apologetics as a lot of the same, which is kind of weird from that culture. You know, a lot of times it's just they just kind of go off of emotion or or a feeling like I had.

I don't know that they use like the word burning in the bosom as much these days as they used to. But like I felt the spirit, the spirit told me that it's true. And then when you when you start really using reason and logic, it's really looked down on in Mormonism. In fact, I remember one of my kind of mentors when I was in the LDS church kind of found out that I was doing apologetics and he just very sternly told me, like, you stay away from that.

You know, like basically that's dangerous. Like thinking these things through logically is dangerous. And I just want to kind of get your perspective on why, like why apologetics? Why not just tell people to pray about it like like they do in Mormonism?

Yeah. You know, our hearts are deceptive and there there are spiritual forces out there that can deceive us. I think we can you know, if it's one of those things where you go by feeling, I mean, we can we can convince ourselves of just about anything because we want something to be true. We also can open ourselves up to, you know, demonic forces that could, you know, work to try to convince us. And so, you know, God is the God of reason.

He's the God of logic. And, you know, when you look at when you look at the Bible and you look at Jesus and his message and you see that he didn't just ask people to simply believe, you know, he gave evidences. You know, in John 10, he said something to the effect of, you know, it don't don't simply believe my word, at least believe the miracles that I do. So so God gave evidences. He gave signs.

You know, there's there's a lot of places in the Bible in the Old Testament when God did the when God brought the plagues. He said, he said, you know, so that you may know that I am God. So, you know, he gave evidences.

He gave gave reasons. You know, our emotions are just not reliable for determining truth. Yeah. No, amen.

I 100 percent agree with you on that. Now, as you as you've talked to to Latter-day Saints, what what's been your experience with apologetics when it comes to Mormons? Yeah, the very first first time I talked to a Mormon was, I think, in 2001.

And my wife and I were living in Brussels, Kentucky, and it was Derby Day and we lived in an apartment complex and everybody was out, you know, cooking out and things of that nature and shorts and T-shirts. And here comes two Mormon missionaries down the street with khakis and a white shirt name tags on. And obviously, they didn't belong there.

You know, they just they just stuck out. And I had read a little bit about Mormonism at the time, and I hadn't been a Christian for but for, I don't know, six, eight months at that point. And so they came up to talk.

And so I thought, OK, well, I'll talk with them. And I knew I knew enough to know, you know, specifically on certain topics like the topic of grace that, you know, the Bible talks about how we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and grace is unmarried favor. You know, you're basically you're saying, God, I don't have the spiritual resources to to get to you to get to heaven.

You know, I have to fall at your mercy. And I knew that the Mormon concept of grace was not that it was something to the effect of you do all that you can and where you fall short, Jesus will make up the rest. And so here I am trying to have this conversation with them. And I'm saying, OK, now, look, the Bible says you're saved by grace through faith.

Oh, yeah, we absolutely believe that. And, you know, and so we're going round and round and round because, you know, I didn't get them to define their terms and they're they're adamant that they believe that we're talking past one another. And it was pretty unproductive conversation. Eventually, I just got irritated and they could tell I was irritated.

And they said, well, we don't we don't sense much love in this. And so we're going to go. So that was pretty much the end of that conversation. I did. After that situation, I did learn more about apologetics. And, you know, First Peter 315 talks about, you know, giving reasons, but it also talks about doing with gentleness and gentleness and respect, basically. And so I learned a little bit more there. So the next time I had a conversation with the Mormons, it went a whole lot better. I listened more and I still made my points.

You know, I didn't wasn't able to convert them, but was interesting. You know, the answers that I gave to their questions and the questions that I posed were such that they couldn't provide good answers. And they ended up saying, well, we would like to bring our I guess it was a bishop to another meeting. And so we had another meeting at this time was at the church. And again, it was the same sort of thing. Basically, everything that they said we had answers for and they couldn't really answer our questions.

And finally, they left. Those are probably the two most in-depth conversations that I've had with Mormons. Yeah, I was gonna say, if it makes you feel any better about the terms, Paul and I understand all the terms and we still get frustrated. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

It can be quite a challenge doing apologetics with with Latter-day Saints, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, I think in that in that situation, we tried to set up another meeting with them, but the bishop warned them to stay away from us. And that was pretty much the end of it.

Yeah. That's the thing with those missionaries is they're under pretty strict leadership. And even if they want to come visit you some more, sometimes their leaders will cut you off. And I've kind of been cut off from from the missionaries in my area where the mission president's been like, yeah, don't go.

Don't go to his house. It's a waste of time. You know, if you're not progressing towards Mormon baptism, then they're going to ghost you. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. Rich, when I when I first came to True Biblical Faith, I started to ask myself what I would say to my younger self. What would be if I had if I had the chance to speak to a younger version of myself, what would be the first thing that I would share with them about biblical faith? And I pretty quickly came around to the fact that it would be the gospel of grace. It would have to do with grace. I read a book called I think it's called Escaping the Performance Trap.

I can't remember who. Yeah, I read that here. That's a good book. It's a really great book on just just understanding the difference between works, workspace religion and the gospel of grace. And I also read a book called The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll. And in there he he makes the statement that if your gospel preaching does not open it to the susceptibility of the charge of easy believe ism or or cheap grace, then you're not preaching the New Testament gospel. And that really hit me when I when I read that statement. And I, I noticed as I started to engage with with Mormons online, that they would often come with the same kinds of charges that that Paul, the apostle gets from his interlocutors that he quotes from in the book of Romans, whether that's rhetoric or he really heard those challenges, I don't know.

But, you know, they would come with those same challenges. And, you know, there was a time when I was I was over at my dad's and he was still he was still LDS at the time. And he had the missionaries over and I was pretty newly into my degree program at Cincinnati Bible Seminary. And I was talking with those missionaries there and sharing with them, with them grace. And yeah, it just became apparent to me how different it is. You know, that they do use the word that has a different meaning. Yeah. So this is kind of go ahead, Richard. Sorry.

Yeah, great. Grace is one of those concepts that I think is is very foreign to the world around us. I struggled with that concept of grace. I got saved in a non-instrumental Church of Christ and it was a pretty legalistic church. And, you know, I had this notion that it was like, OK, well, Jesus saves me, but I got to make sure that I perform well enough to, you know, to make sure that I'm you know, that I'm worthy, sort of similar to like what a Mormon would believe. And it really wasn't until I had Dr. Cottrell's class on grace that I began to understand, OK, no, no, that's not the way it works at all. You know, Jesus saved us despite the fact that we were unworthy.

And, you know, as it says in Romans, if, you know, if Jesus died for us while we were still enemies, you know, how much more will he save us now, you know, that we're reconciled to him. So that concept of grace, I mean, everything around us is performance based. You go to work, your pay is based on performance.

You go to school, your grades are based on performance. You know, even our own self-worth is often based on performance. So it's difficult for us to say, OK, you know, so you mean that I really can just simply receive eternal life through faith in Jesus?

I mean, it's a tough concept for a lot of people. Yeah, sure is. So why do you think, you know, you mentioned a little bit about after you converted and you were struggling with some doubts and you studied through various world religions, Judaism, Islam, Christianity. Can you say a little bit more about why apologetics is important for Christians to be able to engage with the broader culture? Sure.

Yeah. You know, I mean, I think our culture has a lot of the people of our culture have a lot of misconceptions about Christianity. I mean, I think a lot of people, especially in our more and more secularized age that we live in, you know, a lot of people, they know Christianity is a religion. They know it has something to do with Jesus.

And that's pretty much about it. You know, they've got a lot of misconceptions. And, you know, Christians are often looked at as being backwards and ignorant and so forth. So to provide good solid evidences for Jesus is one good way to break down barriers. You know, we need to be able to show that Christianity is reasonable. And not only is it reasonable, but it provides the best explanation of the world that we see around us. Not only that, but, you know, anybody can believe anything.

I think it was Francis Schaeffer who wrote the book and I'm forgetting the name of the book right now. But why should we believe anything at all? And ultimately, the answer is, is because it's true. And so we need to be able to show that Christianity is true, provide good evidences, provide good reasons, because there's a lot of competing claims. And, you know, the message of Christianity is an exclusive one. And so, you know, why should you believe in Jesus?

We need to be able to demonstrate why that is. You are listening to Outer Brightness, a podcast for post Mormons who are drawn by God to walk with Jesus rather than turn away. Outer Brightness.

There's no weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth here, except when Michael's hangry that is. We were all born and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, more commonly referred to as the Mormon faith. All of us have left that religion and have been drawn to faith in Jesus Christ based on biblical teachings. The name of our podcast, Outer Brightness, reflects John 1-9, which calls Jesus the true light, which gives light to everyone. We have found life beyond Mormonism to be brighter than we were told it would be. And the light we have is not our own. It comes to us from without.

Thus, Outer Brightness. Our purpose is to share our journeys of faith and what God has done in drawing us to his son. We have conversations about all aspects of that transition, the fears, challenges, joys, and everything in between.

We're glad you found us, and we hope you'll stick around. Yeah, I've definitely noticed that most Mormons who leave become atheists, and then they're actually anti-theists. They're really against God, really hate the idea of God. And one of the things that I see with them and other atheists is just this preconceived notion that there is no evidence for Christianity, that if you think at all, nobody who's rational will ever be a Christian, and everybody who's there is just under mind control. So I really like what you're saying a lot, because I think the culture just doesn't attach that to Christianity at all. But I wanted to ask you, so you are a pastor and an apologist?

How do you do that? You know, it's funny. When I was at Cincinnati, there was this sort of a semi-conflict between the biblical studies department and the theology department. I was a theology guy.

I sat under Cottrell and Presley and so forth. And I still remember one of these guys asking me, one of the biblical studies guys asked me, he's like, theology degree? What are you going to do with that? I'm going to preach, man.

What do you think I'm going to do with it? It's like theology. How are you going to preach? And apologetics kind of is the same way.

It's like, well, what are you going to do with that? Well, you know, I like to preach apologetic sermons. But, you know, also as a preacher, you know, I think you ought to provide good reasons why what you're saying is true. Again, there's so many different competing worldviews out there and competing religions. And, you know, you need to explain why this is true. And you know, as kids grow up and they go off to college and so forth, if they don't know why it's true, their faith is going to crumble.

And we see that all the time. So, you know, as I preach, if I if I don't preach a straight apologetic sermon, which which I do, I try to have a good apologetic series once a year, but I'm routinely mixing in apologetic nuggets throughout, you know, throughout whatever it is I'm preaching. So I mix, I mix, you know, I mix preaching, I mix pastoral care and apologetics like that. I really like that too.

Yeah, I think that's an awesome combination. I guess one quick side question I have for you is, I mean, the average Christian out there, how many of them do you think are kind of ready for apologetics if they're asked a question on the street? Do you think that most Christians are prepared? No, probably not.

Yeah, probably not. Yeah, I would say that in just knowing the world that we live in, it's, it's our culture is, you know, it's a 144 character nugget kind of information. I think most Christians, they know a little bit about their faith. I don't think most Christians are educated about their faith as they should be, and especially don't think they can give good reasons.

Now, I do know people obviously who can, but if you're talking about just the average person, I would say, I would say, you know, if the average Christian is biblically illiterate, he's certainly apologetically illiterate too. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, I, because it just brought to my memory, being out there on my mission and debating Christians on the street all the time, and they'd tell me, oh, the Trinity, it's like water, you know, it can be ice, you know, liquid or gas, or it's like, thank you, modalist. And, of course, you know, I just thought that that's what they really believe. And then, right, I come to find out later, like, oh, that's, that's kind of funny.

That's actually a really bad analogy. Well, and that's a good point. You know, I would say to people, you know, there's, there is Christianity in the sense of popular notions. But if you really want to know what Christianity is, you know, read, read those who are educated and study before you make a decision about whether you think Christianity is true. I mean, in any worldview, in any topic, you can find people out there who know nothing about it, but but claim to be and spout things that are just not true and really ridiculous, but you shouldn't base the truth and the value of something based upon those sort of mouthpieces. I like that.

So that kind of segues well into our next question. Who you mentioned earlier, Josh McDowell and Evidence that Demands a Verdict and another book, I can't remember the title of but who are some of your favorite Christian apologists and what books would you recommend? Well, my favorite Christian writer would probably be Paul Copan. You know, he's a philosopher and an apologist. And he, you know, he writes philosophy books, he writes apologetic books. When he releases an apologetics book, I pretty much just pre-order it.

I love reading his stuff. When it comes to apologetic speakers, guys like Frank Turek, Mike Licona, I'm trying to think who else would be on that list. I made a list here. Let's see, who did I put on my list?

You know, there's guys that write well, there's guys that speak well, and sometimes it's not always the same. I say another guy who I really like, who's not an apologist, but he's a historian, but he writes apologetic, really relevant books. And that's Rodney Stark, historian down at Baylor. He's got an excellent book called The Victory of Reason, How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success. Basically, what he talks about is the influence of Christianity on our Western world today and all the things that have come about because of the Christian worldview. So, you know, a lot of people don't understand modern science actually came about because of Christianity. You know, if you believe that there is a God who created the universe and he created it logically and orderly, that opens up the possibility that you can then study the universe and that it's predictable. So it wasn't until people, you know, it wasn't until Christianity came onto the scene and people understood that, that they started studying science.

And so the modern scientific revolution came about because of that. So I think he's not an apologist, but he's, you know, he writes apologetically relevant books. But as far as apologetic books, you know, one of the books that I read years ago that I think is still relevant today, it's quite good, is that Paul Copan's True for You, But Not for Me. You know, it's a lot of the postmodern objections to Christianity.

And even today, you know, we're kind of post-postmodern, but still those objections float around. The chapters are short. I want to say three to five pages apiece. It's an excellent book. Frank Turek's I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist is an excellent just general apologetics book. Greg Kochel's Tactics, great book for, you know, how to have apologetic conversations. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Habermas and Laconia, another book is excellent. There's a guy named Ed Komoshevsky, he wrote an excellent book called Reinventing Jesus. And the part of that book that's so excellent is basically how the Bible was put together.

It's quite good. Nabeel Qureshi has his great Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. He's got another book called Only God But One. I really like Nancy Piercy's Total Truth.

I don't know if you guys have read that or not. She was a Francis Schaeffer disciple, so to speak. She was an atheist.

She went to library and asked the questions. And Total Truth is an excellent book. It's one of those books that I think if every Christian minister read this book, it would revolutionize the way that the gospel is preached in the sense that preachers would focus on apologetics quite a bit more. James Sire, The Universe Next Door was a book that was very impactful for me. And there's a guy named Glenn Sunshine. He's an apologist. He is a Chuck Colson fellow, but he's got a book called Why You Think the Way You Do.

And again, it's all about how Christianity has shaped the Western world that we live in today. So those are 10. But there's there's a lot of really good books out there. Yeah, that's that's good.

You mentioned some really good ones in there. I remember Rodney Stark. He has a book called The Rise of Christianity, and I think he's updated. It's now called The Triumph of Christianity. And in The Rise of Christianity, he makes the point that at the time, the Mormon church was the fastest growing religion and predicted that it might become the next world religion. And I remember Mormon apologists made a huge deal of that statement from Rodney Stark. And I got his book, still as a Latter-day Saint.

I picked it up at half price books and I started reading it and I was like, wait a minute, I don't I don't think that's going to be the case. Look at look at everything that that Christianity has brought to the world in terms of the Western thought and everything. So, yeah, that was Rodney Stark's great. Love Paul Copan. The Is God a Moral Monster is one I've really enjoyed from him.

Christianity in the Marketplace of Ideas is another excellent book of his. OK, I'll have to check that one out. Yeah. Yeah. Really, really great recommendations there, Rich.

Thank you. I want to ask you, too, Rich, when you do get to into these apologetic conversations, what would you describe your style as? Do you tend to go towards the classical evidential or presuppositional arguments?

Really more of a hodgepodge. It's more based upon the person I'm talking to and where they're at. You know, if a person is an atheist, I'll probably take a more classical approach. You know, if the person has a more solid foundation, you know, I may use an evidentialist approach. I'm not I'm not a presuppositional guy, although I do like some of the some of the ways that some of the presuppositional people practice apologetics, you know, where they analyze culture and show that, you know, that that the worldview, you know, the secular worldview is just insufficient to describe reality.

So really kind of a hodgepodge based upon the person and the need at the moment. All right. So tell us a little bit about how the Reveal Conference came to be. Well, in 2014, I taught Intro to Apologetics at Louisville Bible College. And Peter Razor was, I don't remember his exact title. I think he was academic dean.

He's a friend of mine. And Louisville Bible College put on what they called the Veritas Symposium, which was an apologetics conference. And at that conference, they brought in Frank Turek, Jack Cottrell, and the guy who's the general editor of the apologetic study Bible, Cable, Ted Cable. And I thought they had a pretty good conference, had about 250 people there.

But the next year, Louisville Bible College started having where they were having some problems, but they basically closed their doors for a year and they couldn't put on the conference again. And I thought, you know, that's a shame because that could be a really good beginning. And so I decided I wanted to try to do something like that. And I approached Bob Russell and I told Bob my idea. And Bob said, well, who would you bring in to speak? And I said, well, you know, I really like Paul Copan.

I'd bring him in. He said, what's he cost? I told him the price. He said, I'll pay for it. And so anyway, that was kind of the impetus there. He gave me some good advice on how to put together a committee and so forth. And so we planned the first conference to start in 2016.

And that was the one that you went to, brought in Mike Licona as well. And we've done it every year. In 2021, we're not doing one.

Last year's conference ended up being a virtual conference because of all the COVID stuff. This year, we just couldn't get it together like we wanted. So we're pushing for 2022. But we had one in 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

And hopefully 2022, we'll do it again. And during those, are there any speakers that have really stood out to you as some favorites that you've had? You know, I would say, well, part of the problem for me is because I'm one of the organizers, I'm running around and I don't get to hear them very much. But, you know, guys like Frank Turek, I think he's an excellent speaker. He's very dynamic.

Sean McDowell did a very nice job as well. He's very dynamic. I like listening to Mike Licona. He's very easy to listen to.

I'd say those three guys, probably as far as speaking and engaging, those are probably the three that stand out the most. Yeah, I really enjoyed seeing Frank Turek speak in 2018. I had listened to quite a few of his podcast episodes prior to going to the conference. I'd seen him, seen his YouTube videos and or maybe not his YouTube videos, but videos of him speaking at various universities and that other people would post. And sometimes they had kind of clickbaity titles, you know, like Frank Turek destroys atheists or something like that. And it kind of turned me off at first.

And I think I kind of associated those clickbaity titles maybe with his persona and personality. And when I saw him speak in person at Reveal Conference, he shared how he walked through a question from a man who had lost his daughter. He was speaking in Michigan, I think it was. And he talked about how this man asked a question and then his sons also asked a question and that he could tell that the loss of their sister, their daughter was really weighing on them. And I got to see kind of Frank's pastor heart as well.

And it really kind of changed my perception of him. And I was thankful to be able to see that. And so, yeah, I've enjoyed the Reveal Conference. I'm glad it's something that you've done and I'll hope and pray for the success in 2022. Yeah, we appreciate that. So tell us what else you have going on.

What's Rich Hoyer working on? This is kind of your opportunity to plug what projects you have going. Yeah, yeah. You know, in my spare time, which has become less and less as the kids get older, I still enjoy photography. Over the years, I've licensed different photos to different organizations and things. I don't get as much a chance to do that. One of the things I got into several years ago was macro photography. And it's a long story, but basically I cured my fear of spiders by shooting macro photography of spiders. So I really enjoy that. Problem is nobody wants to look at those pictures.

I can't even get the professional photographers look at them, but I still do that quite a bit. Not too long ago, I sort of got frustrated with Facebook and their censorship. And so I haven't been posting much of anything really on there, but I still wanted to write. And so I started a website as a blog to allow me to write some of the things that I enjoyed writing. It's called

And damming is D-A-M-M-I-N-G. So the idea of stopping pop religion. And pop religion is so broad, it could be anything from secularism to new age to you name it. But on that site, I write on things like Christian apologetics, historic Christianity, you know, as our world becomes more secular, you know, our world becomes outraged by some of the things that Christianity teaches and believes. And it's like, welcome to the scene.

You know, this is a 2000 year old doctrine and really extends beyond that and goes back to Judaism. So anyway, I focus on historic Christianity, historic Christian doctrine, Christian apologetics, cultural commentary, and then scriptural insights as well. So that's a fairly new project. I started working on that about, I don't know, two and a half, three months ago. I try to post once a week on there. Yeah, nice. I know you shared a couple of the articles from there with me and I've enjoyed several that I've read. So yeah, really glad you're working on that. Appreciate it. Rich, thanks for being with us tonight. We really appreciate it. Like I said, we'll be praying for and hoping for the success of the Reveal Conference in 2022.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get down there to Louisville and see you again in person. All right, Fireflies. That's a wrap on this episode. Next week, we'll be diving into a topic that was requested by one of our listeners. The question of whether God created ex nihilo or ex materia from nothing or from existing materials is a debate that's been ongoing within Christianity for millennia.

The Orthodox Christian position is that God created ex nihilo out of nothing and that before he created, only God existed. This topic was requested by a currently serving LDS missionary who listens to the program and was interested in hearing us discuss this topic and how it relates to the dialogue between Christians and Latter-day Saints. So, looking forward to sharing that episode with you and shine bright, Fireflies. We thank you for tuning into this episode of the Outer Brightness Podcast. We'd love to hear from you. Please visit the Outer Brightness Podcast page on Facebook. Feel free to send us a message there with comments or questions by clicking Send a Message at the top of the page, and we would appreciate it if you give the page a like. We also have an Outer Brightness group on Facebook where you can join and interact with us and others as we discuss the podcast, past episodes, and suggestions for future episodes, etc. You can also send us an email at outerbrightness at gmail dot com.

We hope to hear from you soon. You can subscribe to the Outer Brightness Podcast on Apple Podcasts, CastBox, Google Podcasts, PocketCasts, PodBeam, Spotify, and Stitcher. Also, you can check out our new YouTube channel, and if you like it, be sure to lay hands on that subscribe button and confirm it. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating and review wherever you listen and help spread the word. You can also connect with Michael the Ex-Mormon Apologist at, where he blogs and sometimes Paul and Matthew do as well. Music for the Outer Brightness Podcast is graciously provided by the talented Brianna Flournoy and by Adams Road. Learn more about Adams Road by visiting their ministry page at

Stay Bright, Flyer Flies! The word made French, the risen Son. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of our God through ages remains. Lord, you promised that we, as your church, would remain upon this rock, and the gates to keep.

Your word unspoiled in purity. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of the Lord endures forever. All of this world is in decay, but the word of our God through ages remains. As the rain falls down from heaven and waters near earth, bringing it light.

So the word that goes out from your mouth will not return empty, but does what you desire. Lord, we hear your word and believe in you. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of the Lord endures forever. All of this world is in decay, but the word of our God through ages remains.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-05 01:04:15 / 2023-11-05 01:21:27 / 17

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