In this episode, Kurt provides an update on the ministries of Defenders Media, Veracity Hill, and his personal life.
Kurt: Good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. This is the final episode of 2018 and I am so excited to be here in our office here in downtown west Chicago speaking with you this afternoon for a 2018 update. Some might think “Shouldn’t you call it a review?” Yes, it’s true. We’re going to be talking about the things that we’ve done this past year there are a few new announcements as well, at least three, maybe four new announcements for you about our ministry, Veracity Hill, and our organization, Defenders Media, a lot of exciting things coming your way for 2019. I’m pleased to share those things for the first time with you on today’s program. There’s no guest. It’s just me although Chris is in studio here recording. He waves and people can’t see him, but I do have a camera here. I might use that on you later Chris. First, I wanted to start, today will be a shorter episode, just giving you an update. First I want to talk about Defenders Media. Defenders Media is the organization that I started three years ago, I think that might be right, three years ago. I came from a previous organization, I thought, “I want to start an organization that can serve apologetic ministries, not just be another existing apologetic ministry.” There were a lot of ministries out there that were doing their thing, content creating. What’s one way we could serve these ministries do what we do better? For those of you who don’t know what Defenders Media is all about, this year we created an explainer video to easily explain what it is that we do here at Defenders Media. Chris is going to cue that up. It’s a 90-second clip. It’s available on YouTube or Facebook so if you follow us or subscribe to our channel you should have seen it already, but just in case you haven’t, we’re going to play it for you here.
Kurt: And really, if you do text the word DEFENDERS to 555-888 you will receive a link to the PDF on the top five ways to share the gospel online. It’s great how that works isn’t it, but it was cool really hearing myself and looking at myself there. It’s just a weird experience.
Chris: Not like it happens every Saturday.
Kurt: Not every Saturday. Not at 1 PM Central time every Saturday. That’s a nice explainer video and we are here to help those apologetic ministries, at least when we have our Defenders Media hats on, but to keep busy since we don’t do enough apparently, we also own and operate some of these ministries ourselves. For example, Defenders owns Veracity HIll. It sort of fits under that tent there. Another one of our websites, Social Apologetics is a web site that we own. You can see here from the image Chris has up on the screen there that the Defenders Alliance is comprised of these different ministries, our alliance partners, and our alliance owned ministries. That’s what the Defenders Alliance is. It’s wonderful to serve the Lord in this way and we hope that the work that we’re doing really is fulfilling His kingdom purposes by elevating the content and leading and pushing the content onto different platforms, new platforms, and making it look nice too for some of these folks like Mike Licona and Ted Wright. We’ve been partnering with them for awhile now and it’s so great to do work for them. Some of the days I feel like “Hey. I’m not working. This is good and important fulfilling work.” Hopefully, you feel that way too, Chris.
Also in early 2018, this past January, we acquired formerly a ministry called Apologetics 315 and Apologetics 315 was a web site started by Brian Auten about ten years ago and that web site was started to provide daily apologetic resources and so what Brian did was he basically stayed on top of the apologetic news and he blogged about it. It provided resources for you, more so than creating its own content. It was an aggregate, a curator of content. It really is the one-stop shop for all things apologetics. We have some wonderful testimonials of people that have benefitted from this web site ministry and I want to encourage you to check it out. This is some of our most recent stuff. Book reviews, we’re doing book reviews every Thursday. We do a new term every Tuesday, that sort of thing. Podcast round-ups, and just wonderful links here on the side of all sorts of MP3s and blogs and groups if you want to learn about some of the groups that you can get involved with. Let’s see here, the group directory is right over here. It’s a little harder to see on my smaller screen here, but the must-visit page are really must-visit pages. We’ve been afforded the opportunity here to continue this ministry that Brian had started and so we’re grateful for that. Please check it out. It is such an awesome web site for you to go to everyday and be sure to subscribe. There’s a daily Eblast that goes out with the articles from the previous day so you won’t miss anything. Check that out.
We here at Defenders Media also put on a couple events. We want to use some of the resources that we have to get involved with local church ministry and to be that sort of parachurch organization to help churches that might not have the resources or the manpower to put on these events and so earlier this year we did the Apologetics and Evangelism which was in April and Ted Wright and myself, David Montoya, we flew out to Hartford, Connecticut, and we held a small little day conference there. It was a great opportunity to meet with some local folks and some people came from out of state as well. There were three people that drove from upstate New York for this conference. It was wonderful to meet there at the Calvary Church at West Hartford and hope to go back there again or to that area at least and continue doing the groundwork that needs to be done to train and equip Christians and so that was part of the reason why we had the theme of that conference, Apologetics in Evangelism, because as I perceive, and the studies show, the New England area of America isn’t exactly the most religious these days, unlike those previous years from the older times in American history, so teaching Christians how to evangelize and share their faith with others there.
Another big thing that we had, perhaps maybe the most, well one of the most exciting things. I know some people were really excited about the Apologetics315 acquisition, but our annual conference, the Defenders Conference this year, was an absolute big hit. Oh my goodness. Genocide in Scripture back in September. We brought in four different speakers to talk about their perspectives on the supposed genocide commands in the Old Testament and my, oh my. Chris. I’m an operations guy. That’s just the way my mind works. Logistically, this event was flawless. There were no hiccups. There were no technical glitches. You and I, we’ve been doing this for a couple events now. At some of our events we’ve got troubles here and there. This event was the best we’ve done without a doubt. The attendees loved this. They really appreciated having different perspectives on the same topic, so much so that the feedback we got from the event was to expand the time allotted for the main speakers next year. We’re going to do that in order that people can gain an even deeper understanding of not just the differences between the speakers, but for people that are really gaging with this issue, going deep into the pros and cons of each perspective. To that, here’s some new news for you, announcements.
We are changing the date of the event so actually, Chris. I will get up an image of the event. We are changing the date and we’re moving it two weeks away from its original plan date. We had it planned for late September. We’re moving it to October 10-11 and unfortunately, I don’t think we have an event showing that date change yet, but I will grab this over here and if I’m doing this correctly, it should pop up. There we are. Okay. There’s Gospel differences. That’s the theme. That date is now, I haven’t had the chance to change that date, October 11-12. Why did we change the date? We changed the date to accommodate another confirmed speaker. We have Mike Licona and now we have none other than Craig Keener of Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Craig Keener is a prolific author and writer and it’s going to be fascinating to see his view on why there are Gospel differences. He’s actually just put out a book. What does he call it? Memories and something and Gospel reliability. That book is right up this alley on why are there differences in the Gospels. Of course, Mike Licona has written a book called “Why Are There Differences In The Gospels?” He’s a great catch for this event. He spoke at our first Defenders event three years ago at Christchurch of Oakbrook. We’re still on the hunt for a venue, been in touch for a few churches, some of which we hosted events at in the past. One new potentially new church we will see, but mark your calendar, October 11-12 of 2019. Come to Chicagoland. 2018’s event, we had people from something like 11 or 12 different states. A lot of people came from across the country. It really is an awesome weekend. If you’re able to take a long weekend, come Friday, Friday night, Saturday. Stay Sunday. Go see Chicago. Go to the museums. In fact, that’s what some of the speakers did. They brought their wives with and then Sunday they went into the city and they flew out late Sunday night, I think some maybe even flew out early Monday morning. If you can take a long weekend, schedule that one out, October 11-12.
Next on our updates here for Defenders Media, the last update here. In October, we began to record and produce a podcast with Dr. Mike Licona for the Risen Jesus Podcast. It’s a wonderful opportunity where I can sit down with him digitally, via the internet, and ask him some questions. The first season was devoted to learning more about Mike. Who he is, his background, his interests, that sort of thing. Upcoming seasons of the podcast will really get into the scholarship. I hope that if you’re interested in New Testament studies, in history, you don’t want to miss out on this podcast and all it has to offer. Go to Mike Licona on YouTube, subscribe, you can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Store for that podcast as well.
Moving along from Defenders Media, our organization, to this ministry, Veracity Hill, I wanted to review some of our episodes that we did this year if I can get up the iTunes there. Let’s see. I may have lost it. Oh well. I’ve got it here on my screen here. We had some great speakers this year. If you have been following along with our podcast ministry, really awesome names. Let me go through this, especially around springtime. We had Dan Wallace talk about the Mark fragment when the news came out. We were the first interview he did on that. We landed Wallace for that which was great. We had our 100th episode which we had a very special guest, N.T. Wright. We were able to ask him all sorts of questions. We solicited questions from you to see if you had questions for him. The very next week we had Craig Keener where we were talking about verses that were taken out of context and then we had Fuz Rana to talk about transhumanism which is an interesting phenomena happening where humans are basically wanting to become robots of sorts and that’s really something else. We’ll put it that way. We had Cameron Bertuzzi of Capturing Christianity to talk about street epistemology, J. Warner Wallace came on to talk about cold-case Christianity. Of course, we came to you live from the Defenders Conference and that panel of speakers which was great. I appreciated having Ted Davis talk about Galileo. That was fun just a couple weeks ago. Really a wonderful list of speakers who came on this year to talk to us about all these different issues in the world and worldview, worldview studies. Chris, maybe I’ll start a new field of academic, subset of philosophy, worldview studies, studying worldviews.
Chris: That’d add a wide variety on the show for sure.
Kurt: Yes. That’s right. That’s really, when you think about Christian theism, how do you look at the world? What are some of the beliefs you have about the world? Everyone has a worldview? Sometimes that word philosophy, everyone has a philosophy, a way of thinking about things, that’s a technical side of things and people are thrown off by that, but it seems a very accessible term, worldview, that everyone has a way in which they view the world. We’ve really had some great shows this year. I’m actually worried that 2019’s going to be pretty boring compared to 2018 if you look through our list of everything that we’ve done this year and the different topics and I really hope that our episodes are a great resource for you and if they are a resource, I want to encourage you to consider partnering with us financially, to make a year-end tax-deductible gift whether it’s a one-time gift or you want to start becoming a monthly supporter, please consider partnering with our ministry. It’s a really great way to help this ministry grow. There are a number of ways that we grow and I’m going to talk about these here right now. One of the things that happened this year was we got some new equipment and that’s thanks to donors making grant opportunities, Christchurch of Oakbrook provided a grant for us, just donors chipping and saying “Here’s this. How much do you need for that?” Really, it’s just wonderful to have their financial supporter. What I’m going to do is I’m going to stand up and take this little camera here and show you some of the equipment that we’ve received over the years, in a sense, invested, yes. It is a cost, but it’s also an investment as we continue to grow this ministry so here I’m going to take this camera. Chris was already on it. This is our big camera right here. You can see some of the mess on the table there. That camera is the, what’s it called again?
Kurt: Yes. Ursa Broadcast by a company called Black Magic, not that we believe in black magic, that’s just the name of the company, but they make great cameras and that’s the Ursa Broadcast camera which is new and you can see the light up there. That light shines on me week after week and it’s really in my eyes, but apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do. Over here, I’m going to go off my mike. We’ve got our video switcher as well, the Roland. The Roland really allows Chris to work his magic with different angles and such.
Chris: There it is.
Kurt: That’s the Roland VR-50. You can see the switch right there. Alright. Those are some of the bigger or biggest equipment upgrades that we made. Of course, we got a couple monitors here to help us with the VR-50 get different multi-views so I can see different things and that allows, in 2017, I guess early 18, we had the Skype guest comes in over on Chris’s computer so in the past, I’ve never really been able to see the guest. I can always hear the guest. Now with the monitor here and the VR-50, it allows me to see the guest right here. Some of you might be wondering why is it that you’re not looking at the camera. I might be looking at the guest right here instead of over there. Right here, and still my buddy Charles, he’s like “Why aren’t you looking at the camera?” One of the things we’re going to do in 2019 is we’re either move the monitor right beneath the camera so I’m almost looking there or we have teleprompter class. We might even make it where I’m looking at the guest, but I’m looking at the camera as well so we’ll have to experiment with that to see if that works or not. It might be too much of a distraction. I don’t know. We’ll have to try it. At any rate, that’s new equipment that we’ve got and we couldn’t do it without the help of folks like yourself by chipping in to help this program grow.
Speaking of which, another update. I feel like we need CNN, during the election campaigns, the CNN breaking news..comes in.
Chris: This just in.
Kurt: We have yet to announce that we have actually formally signed documents and submitted documents to air Veracity Hill on the radio. Yea. Where’s an applause. I’ve got to get an applause up. It’s been our mission and our vision, it’s been our vision for the past two and a half years now, to get Veracity Hill on the radio and with folks coming in and helping us financially, we have signed an agreement with the Wilkins Radio Network to air Veracity Hill in the southern city of Augusta, Georgia. Some people might be wondering “Aren’t you in Chicago?” Yes. I am in Chicago. It also happens to be quite expensive to air radio program even just once a week in Chicago so we’re going to take an investment here, in a sense it’s a risk, to see if and how well Veracity Hill can do on the radio in a market like Augusta, Georgia. Of course, in order to help do this we’ll run some internet ads and try to create a small little following there to see if we can begin to reduplicate the sowing of the seed that we’re doing there. We’re hoping it will lead to a harvest in which case we’ll take some other seed and plant it elsewhere and continue to grow this radio ministry and let people use the resources, these educational resources, for their benefit, for their edification, for the growing of the mind, loving God with our mind and helping people to learn to have good conversations with people as well. That’s part of the goal that I have. I don’t always agree with the guests that I bring on and I’m not sure if you can tell that or not. Hopefully, not. It’s not like we’re one of those fierce polemical programs. There are plenty of polemical shows out there. I can think of a few. I won’t say them though, of people, even Christian apologists, attacking people all the time. We don’t do that here. One of the things I wanted to model was how to have good conversations with people with whom we might disagree and learn that that’s okay and we can learn ourselves and we might disagree, but we’ve learned about some other view out there or we might reconsider our own views.
Great news about Veracity Hill. We’re getting on the radio. We’ve done it. We’ve accomplished our mission. We’ll continue to grow. There you go. Thank you, Chris. Thanks. We’ll continue to grow with your help so please consider chipping in. Lastly, first we talked about Defenders, then we talked about Veracity Hill. Just a personal update on me and where I’m at in my life. For those of you who don’t know, I am a happily married to my beautiful wife Michaela and we have now three daughters. This last month in November, our third daughter was born and her name is Meadow, like a field of wildflowers, Meadow. So Meadow was born and that was the most exciting thing about 2018 in our family and so we’re hanging back low during the holidays, not traveling all that much with the new baby, but things are going well and we’re very blessed to have our beautiful daughters and it really is great to be a parent. I’ll say this. One of the lies of secularism is to wait as long as you can to have kids. I think that is a lie that is not grounded in reality. Of course, you should wait until you’re married to have kids, but the idea that if you were married and you wanted to wait as long as possible, that is a lie, biologically speaking. It’s just not the way it works and then when you buy into a line, all of a sudden you have to buy into trying other ways to get pregnant because couples tend to have problems when they wait too long. Those are natural biological problems. It’s not the way God created humans to function. I’ve been blessed to have my three daughters while I’m still 31 so I’m very happy about that in my life.
PhD work, this is something I’ve been working on for a number of years and I’m hoping to finish in 2019 so it will be a huge relief to finish what is a beast of a project, the PhD work is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life, writing an academic book, and having scholars assess it and evaluate it, provide their feedback. It really is challenging and worrying and I’m looking forward to being done with the PhD work. In November, I had the chance to go to the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society where I delivered a paper on some of my PhD research and got some great feedback. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many experts on Vincent of Lerins, but I’m glad that I could share my research with people and there were some patristic scholars that sat in and appreciated what I had to say. It was great to receive that validation of my research and hopefully, I’ll write another paper and get that submitted for next year’s conference as well.
Finally, what does the future hold for me personally? I’m not sure. Once I finish my PhD I’m hoping to explore the opportunity to teach at a Christian school, perhaps not exclusively Christian, but I’d like to teach historical theology, history of the Christian religion. I might make it in the religious studies department somewhere with the PhD from the University of Aberdeen. I think that affords me an opportunity to go outside exclusively Christian institutions, but we’ll see what the Lord provides. I wouldn’t mind continuing working in the non-profit sector, especially one that’s attached more to the university, or maybe I just keep doing Defenders Media and Veracity Hill as long as the funds keep coming in and the ministry grows, it will, of course, be a lot harder to be entertaining offers elsewhere if I were to receive any offers and so with your help, we can continue to grow this ministry, Veracity Hill, and Defenders Media and Apologetics315 and all our partner ministries as well. Please consider supporting the apologetic enterprise which is so very important to leading people to Christ, more so than people realize. People leave the faith as a result of the doubts that continue to go unanswered and we can’t reach people if we’re unable to answer their questions. Please consider becoming a financial supporter of an apologetic ministry, perhaps something local to you. There are plenty of Ratio Christi chapter directors who would love to get your support in what they’re doing. Help out apologetics ministries locally, regionally, and nationally for the great work that’s happening here in our country alone, also internationally, so 2018 has been such a fun year to be doing this ministry work. It’s been a true blessing and great to have these personal updates.
Oh. Chris. How dare I? How dare I forget.
Kurt: Chris got married!
Chris: Oh yeah. That’s right.
Kurt: I was about to sign off.
Chris: We did a show on it.
Kurt: We did a show on it. Yes. Let’s get married. Something like that.
Kurt: Chris got married.
Kurt: I was the best man. How could I forget? That was a big thing for you personally, of course.
Kurt: Yes. There I was.
Chris: Way to get married or have you as my best man?
Kurt: Both I think. I have a list here of the personal things. I should have put Chris got married as a great update there. A lot of great things that we have going on here at the Defenders Media office in downtown West Chicago. We would love to get your continued support for ministry work, whether it’s you personally or as a sponsor of our program. We would love to get your support to keep us going and growing. It’s really what we’re doing here. That’s sort of what I’ve been saying. Keep us going and growing because we want to keep doing this and with your help, we can make it happen. I hope 2018 has been a great blessing for you. Sometimes, we have years that might be down years. There are struggles. Sometimes, I know people who have struggled this year and it can be difficult, but thankfully, we look to things beyond any given year. There are greater things that are to come for those that are in the body of believers, that are in Christ’s body, and we continue to pray for those that have struggled and we continue to give praise for those that have been blessed. I want to encourage you, if you’re not a part of an active church, to get involved, to begin attending weekly, and to live authentically with your fellow believers in Christ. That is so important to your spiritual health. If you’re not doing it, if you think you can do church, say digitally, you’re very mistaken, very mistaken. Go try doing church on the regular. Live life with people. Share in their joys and share in their sorrows and continue to give praise to God and also educationally, church is a great place to continue theological education. Learn about what the Bible says. Learn about how the books of the Bible fit together. That would be my encouragement to you if you’re looking for a 2019, the word is escaping me.
Kurt: Thank you. 2019 resolution. Let it be that. Become part of the body of Christ on a regular basis. Alright. That does it for the show today. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little update from me, what our organization’s up to, this ministry, Veracity Hill, and me personally. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons. Those are folks that just in chip in every month, a few bucks here, a few bucks there, and for the partnerships with our sponsors. They are Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, the Illinois Family Institue, and Fox Restoration. I want to thank Chris, our loyal technical producer for all the great excellent work that he does and last, but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.