In this episode, Kurt talks with Nick Peters on his life with autism and how people without autism can relate to those who are on the spectrum.
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. So nice to be with you here. It is a cold Saturday, but spring is coming. I still remember my prediction from a few weeks ago that was totally false. I thought the groundhog didn’t see his shadow. That’s what it is, right, or does he see his shadow? Does? Right, Chris. Because the Groundhog Day.
Chris: I can’t remember. It’s either/or.
Kurt: If he sees the shadow, that means the sun is out, right. So spring is coming early. Yes?
Chris: Yeah. If he doesn’t see his shadow there’s six more weeks of winter.
Kurt: Right. That’s what it is. But according to the forecast, we’ve got fifties coming this next week, so spring is coming for sure I hope please. On today’s program, we’re talking about autism awareness. April is Autism Awareness Month. Before we talk about that and have our special guest on today’s program, just a quick few announcements for you today. First, a quick reminder, next week I will not be here in studio. We will be over in Hartford, Connecticut at the Apologetics and Evangelism seminar, one-day seminary. Ted Wright and myself, David Montoya, Richard Porter will be speaking on a number of different topics related to integrating a defense of the Christian worldview in how we share the gospel. If you are in the New England area and able to come to Hartford for the day, we would love to have you join us there. You can learn more about the event and register at TheDefendersConference.com. Of course, I’m looking forward to the Chicago conference later this September so not to be confused there with that.
Secondly, just a quick promotion there. If you are looking to buy a house, we have a local realtor who’s going to partner with us and donate 100% of his commission, if you live in the states of Illinois or Missouri, he will donate everything all of his commission, and then if you live in one of the other 48 states, he will give us his referral fee because he’s not licensed in those states, but nevertheless we’ll connect you with a local realtor and we’ll contribute 100% of that fee which is still a small percentage. It’s a great way for Defenders to get some big chunks of change all at once and if you’re looking to buy or sell your house anyway, why don’t you help us out in the meantime?
Last, but not least, there is just a very thoughtful quote from C.S. Lewis I want to share with you this afternoon. It comes from our Facebook page, Social Apologetics Facebook page. Lewis writes, “I think everyone who has some vague belief in God, until he becomes a Christian, has the idea of an exam or of a bargain in his mind. The first result of real Christianity is to blow that idea to bits.”
What does Lewis mean here? I take it he could mean a couple things. If I had to give my best guess as to what he means, he likely means that maybe we’re trying to make a bargain with God or God’s testing us in how we’re going to live our lives. If we do this, then God will do that, and vice-versa, but really, when you really understand what Christianity is about and you understand how Jesus is a gift, salvation is a gift to us, that really blows that idea out of the water that this is a test or an exam of our lives. That’s not what Christianity is and so when you really understand that, it’s really a moving thing that God would love us so much that He would give us that gift of salvation so again, just a beautiful thing.
If you are unaware here, Social Apologetics is this great resource where on social media we’re sharing all sorts of quotes from apologists. We’d love for you to like the page or follow us on Twitter, and recently the website’s been relaunching, thanks to Donnie Haflich who is over in Colorado Springs. He’s volunteered to help oversee that ministry of ours. Very appreciative of his work and even logo rebranding that he’s done so very excited about that. If you have a chance, again, check us out on social media to get those quotes a couple times a work.
I believe that does it for the announcements. We’re moving quickly because we got the program started a little later due to some technical difficulties, but we restarted the system and everything’s up and going and so today, we are talking about autism because April is National Autism Awareness Month and joining me on the program today is a special guest and a friend of mine, Nick Peters. Nick. How are you today?
Nick: Doing fine, Kurt.
Kurt: Great. So Nick, you’re joining us here via audio, what makes you such an expert on autism? Please tell us?
Nick: Firsthand experience in many ways. I’ve lived with it for 37 years and I’m also married to a wonderful woman who has it as well.
Kurt: Ah. So first and secondhand experience.
Kurt: Yeah, right. For those of you who may not know Nick. He is an apologist. He’s a fellow podcaster as well. He has the Deeper Waters Podcast which he will be recording this afternoon so we won’t be able to keep you on for too long, Nick, but I want to thank you for coming on the program today.
Nick: Always good to be interviewed, it’s always nice to be on the other end of the microphone and talking about an important subject too.
Kurt: Yes. And sometimes it’s easier to answer questions than to thank up the questions to ask. Right?
Nick: I always tell my guests, you’re on the other end. You have the easy job. You talk about what you already know about. I have to do the hard job of keeping the conversation going.
Kurt: Yeah. That’s right. You and I have similar seats in that respect. I do want to pick your brain about theological stuff, but we’ll save that maybe towards the end of the program. First, we’ll just talk about what autism is and you specifically have been diagnosed with, I guess, what has traditionally been called a subset of that, Aspergers.
Nick: Yeah. There’s some talk that they’re getting ready to get rid of that term and just go with straight autism, but I prefer just using Aspergers. It’s what I’ve grown up with. I often describe it as a kind of autism lite to people. We have a lot of the characteristics that can be common on the spectrum, but many of us are still functional to a certain extent in society.
Kurt: Sure. Right. Okay. Some people, they might have heard, they know this term autism, maybe they’ve watched a TV show with someone who’s autistic.
Nick: Like the Good Doctor.
Kurt: Which I do watch and that is a fun show. I like it a lot. Especially since he has savant so he’s just a super brainiac. Really cool. I take it you watch the Good Doctor then.
Nick: Yes. We do. We haven’t got to see them all. We need to catch up, but it’s one of our favorite shows.
Kurt: Okay. Let’s take a step back here and maybe ask ourselves this question. What is autism?
Nick: Autism is a sort of neurological disorder that can affect the way that people see the world normally on the social spectrum, the way we interpret reality many times. We have a hard time following social cues. They don’t make sense to us. We tend to take things very literally when people say them. When it comes to our interest we either have full-blown obsession with something or we just don’t really care whatsoever at all.
Kurt: Gotcha. Full-blown obsession. There are a lot of people that are apologetic junkies.
Nick: Yeah. So picture one of us on the spectrum who’s into apologetics. For full-blown obsession, like when Smallville was on, that was my favorite series at the time.
Kurt: Nick. You’re reaching my heart here, man. I was a devoted follower of Smallville for ten years.
Nick: Good. I had every episode title memorized in order.
Kurt: Okay. That’s a little obsessive. What I liked about Smallville for me was and if I’m not mistaken, if my memory serves me correctly, I was a freshman in high school when it came out and they were freshmen in high school so sort of that teen drama, and of course, it was Clark Kent/Superman so, oh yeah, I was a big Smallville fan.
Nick: I could relate to it because as even John Schneider who played Jonathan Kent said, Clark Kent is a special needs child in many ways. We never really consider that, but he is. You can’t raise him like any other kid.
Kurt: That’s a good point. You know, Michael Rosenbaum, is that right?
Nick: Yes. Lex Luthor.
Kurt: Why is he not hired to be Lex Luthor in all of the movies because he is clearly been the best Lex Luthor ever. Period.
Nick: Exactly. He is Lex Luthor, period.
Kurt: Yeah. I don’t get it. There was talk of a Smallville animated series I think, I was seeing it somewhere.
Nick: If only.
Kurt: But people are not going to be tuning in to listen to our Smallville banter here. Autism, it’s primary indicator if you will is the inability to pick up social cues. Would that be accurate?
Nick: Right. If you come to me and you start giving me small talk, a lot of times, I have no idea whatsoever what to say. Small talk does not register with me. We used to live next door to my parents when we lived in Knoxville and they said, “Why don’t you just come up and see us anytime? Just come up.” It doesn’t work that way. You need to give us a time and you need to give us a reason. Other than that it doesn’t really make sense to us.
Kurt: I see. So you need sort of those explicit cues, statements or requests as opposed to, forgive me if this is going to sound very silly. Are you able to pick up a wink if someone says something and then gives you a wink? Does that mean anything to you?
Nick: It would depend on what’s said, but sometimes I can be looking and wondering what’s going on, what a person means, trying to analyze it, and different people have different kinds of things that irk them on the spectrum and that’s where Allie, my wife and I, are very unique. Where I’m strong, she’s weak and where she’s weak, I’m strong. One example is we’re both in Celebrate Recovery at our church which is an excellent ministry and they have meals served beforehand. It’s a little buffet thing and we can go get what we want. Many times, I won’t go in there and she’ll ask, “Why aren’t you going in?” I’ll say, “It’s messy in there.” If a food is messy to me, go back to Smallville. I react the way Clark Kent reacts to kryptonite. Food situations can terrify me many times. If Allie even wants me to take a dirty plate back to the kitchen for her and it’s got a single crumb on it, I carry it like it’s biohazard waste at that point.
Kurt: Interesting. That’s not quite a phobia…
Kurt: So what is it in the mind or the brain, is there a specific way of explaining the functions in the brain that bring about these actions?
Nick: I think it’s like we live in a very orderly world. There’s a Kroger not too far from where we live and there’s recently changed the bread aisle by putting another sub-aisle in between things. I pass through them, thinking “This isn’t right. This isn’t right. This isn’t right.” When I was growing up, for instance, I used to have these matchbox cars. I’m sure you remember those. I put them all on an end table. Keep in mind. I’m four or five or so. I’d go to bed. I woke up in the morning and if my Mom had moved one of those cars I’d be throwing a fit until it was put right back where it was.
Kurt: So what you’re saying is autistic people have a greater sense of the biblical idea of shalom.
Nick: I think we could. One of my main areas in theology and history is also the study of honor and shame in the Bible which everyone needs to understand and I think we on the spectrum tend to understand it naturally. We understand trust because if you come up to me and I don’t know you and you start talking to me, I am viewing you with suspicion, until you do something that can show me you’re acceptable to talk to in my world. Then at the end of that, if you get us to be on your side we are as loyal as dogs. There was a time at Celebrate Recovery not too long ago I was sitting on a couch and maybe several feet away or so my wife was talking to someone and he was saying, “I don’t understand your husband. He seems so cold.” Something like that. She said, “Oh well, you have to talk to him about the things he’s interested in.” “Like what?” “You could try apologetics.” “What’s that?” “That’s the defense of the faith. He knows what you use, when you talk to a Mormon or Muslim.” About that time I come running straight up. “Did somebody say apologetics?” I heard it across the room. If someone does that, then okay, you’re good in my world. But if you come up to me and just start talking I am running in terror mentally at least. Keep this in mind churches. Greeting does not always work the best.
Kurt: Yeah. That’s interesting. It seems that to a certain extent, everyone wants someone who will talk to them about the things that they’re interested in. They might be hurt when they’re not or something like that, but in this case we’re talking about extremes here. You can be very isolated from people or, like you said, devotedly loyal.
Nick: I’m fine being alone. We lived in Tennessee once and we had a snowstorm come through. Allie wanted to get out some, but for me I was stuck inside. I’ve got my books. I’ve got the internet. I don’t really need anything else here. Allie. It’s you and I. We have all the company we need.
Kurt: So your expectations for human interaction might be more limited than other peoples’.
Nick: Yeah. My expectation is interaction exists to meet a need. Once the need is met, it’s done. Like I said, my own mother, she would like me to call on the phone to talk to her just to talk sometimes.
Nick: That doesn’t make sense to me. You talk to convey subject matter. When the subject matter is done, you’re done talking.
Kurt: I laugh because, right, I can understand why someone would want to just come and talk and sort of maybe spend time, but for you, you see it very, just matter-of-factly, why do people speak? They speak because they’re sharing information. Well, there’s no information to be shared. There’s no subject matter to talk about. Why are we talking?
Nick: Yeah. If you come up to me and you just start talking, I view you with suspicion. I wonder what you’re doing. I wonder why you’re doing it. I wonder what you’re trying to get from me and if you think I’ve done something wrong, if I think I’ve displeased someone who I care about I am extremely sensitive to that thought and it bothers me greatly, which can be very good in a marriage, because I can apologize very quickly when I screw up, which seems to happen a lot.
Kurt: Yeah. I tend to be on the other side of things. A man’s pride gets in the way I guess. It takes me longer, but in some ways I like to think about what has happened or transpired.
Kurt: So tell me, at what age were you diagnosed with autism and how did the diagnosis come about?
Nick: When I was born, I seemed to be for all intents and purposes, a normal baby for awhile, and one of the first books I was actually reading, and my parents tell me I was reading when I was 1 and I taught myself, but one of the first books I started reading was a big King James Bible. My parents thought I was just fascinated with the shape of the letters and I asked one day what a word was. “Oh. Chapter.” Sometime probably around 3 or 4, I don’t remember this. It’s just what my parents tell me. My Dad takes me to a department store and he just sits me down in front of a computer. Pretty basic back then. This is the 80’s. Just thought I’d type a bunch of gobbledygook. He steps away to play a video game for a little bit. If his video games back then were anything like they are today, they don’t last long. He came back and there’s a small crowd around the computer and on that computer screen all the books of the Bible put in order, spelled correctly, how many chapters they have. They ask, “Did he do this?” My Dad says, “I don’t know.” He clears the screen. “Nick. Do it again.” Apparently I did it again.
Nick: That’s something different. When I was in kindergarten, I apparently spoke a language no one could understand save my immediate family. I even went to Transition because my parents didn’t think I could handle the interaction of first grade immediately, but they were taking me to specialists and I think it was when I was in fifth grade that I was diagnosed. I could also say one other thing, that it affects me greatly with. I mentioned my food phobias. My diet has always been very very restricted. I pretty much only eat food that I can eat with my hands.
Kurt: So like KFC.
Kurt: Wait. What do you mean?
Nick: I could hypothetically, but I don’t.
Kurt: I see.
Nick: Cause even still I’ve very limited.
Kurt: Sorry. So when you say you eat with your hands.
Kurt: Do you mean you don’t use utensils?
Kurt: I see. But it’s not necessarily a diet for digestive reasons.
Nick: Many people on the spectrum do have very finicky diets.
Kurt: They’ve got different habits.
Nick: If you watch the movie Adam, for instance, he lives on Mac and Cheese, and when I lived in Charlotte with a roommate, even beforehand, I’d go to the stores regularly, get Tombstone pizzas, have a quarter of a pizza every night for dinner, and that didn’t change for quite awhile, until around 2010 when I got married to this lady and believe it or not.
Kurt: You can’t eat pizza every day.
Nick: Believe it or not women have some strange powers of persuasion over us. I tell people, “Therapists, counselors, friends, parents, family, everyone tried to get me to change my diet for decades and I didn’t budge. Allie came into my life and she didn’t even have to try.” She’s still working with me on the other things, but she’s made a lot of progress. Before she came along, I’d never go out to a Mexican restaurant or get seafood or anything like that. Now? No problem whatsoever.
Kurt: Nice. That’s great. So when you were diagnosed how did your parents handle that? Were they very supportive and working with you or could you tell for them that it was a very burdensome thing?
Nick: My parents have always been supportive of me. They’ve always encouraged me. I would say, and I think they’d agreed with this, they’ve been overprotective many times, but they’ve come to learn I kind of march to the beat of my own drummer. They always want to make sure that no one was hurting me in school and things like that. They’re very apprehensive. When I wanted to go to seminary for instance which was in Charlotte and I had lived in Knoxville. I told my parents to allay their fears, I’m going to live in an apartment here for a year and show you all that I can do this before I go off on my own, which I technically didn’t do. I had a roommate when I went out there, but I lived in the apartment alone, and the way of reaching that decision to live in an apartment was handled in a very good manner. I just went out one day, put down some money on an apartment, came home and said “I’m going to be moving into an apartment,” and that was it.
Kurt: Nice. My next question is, and that sort of leads into it, are there ways in which you feel you’ve been limited by your condition? In this case, you just went out and rented your own apartment, so there was no limitation or at least no feeling of limitation there.
Nick: Yeah. It’s the whole social interaction thing. I do feel very limited. If you ever watch Monk, for instance, I can be like Adrian Monk. When I lived in Charlotte with my roommate, we went to the Kingdom Hall once. We had some Jehovah’s Witnesses who visited us. At the end of a Jehovah’s Witness service which is one of the scariest things you can ever go to, but at the end they do the love bombing. This might work on traditional people to have people swarm all over you, get to know you. It does not work for me. This lady takes my hand and she shakes it and she tells me her name. I am stuck frozen. My mind knows what to do, but I have a hard time doing it, and I hear my roommate in the back saying, “Say your name.” I needed to hear that because if that had not been said, I’m not sure I would ever done it. I would have been just sitting there shaking and staring because there was so many people around me, all this interaction taking place, and I was having a hard time processing it all.
Kurt: Nick. We’ve got to take a short break here, but when we come back, I want to ask you just a couple more questions about autism and then maybe we’ll have some time to jump into some theological questions so I’m looking forward to the next half of our program.
Kurt: Stick with us through this short break from our sponsors.
Kurt: Alright. Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. Today, I am joined by Nick Peters and we are talking about autism, his diagnosis. April is National Autism Awareness Month. We’ve devoted this episode today to talk about that. Nick has shared what his firsthand experience is like living with autism and the pros and cons of that. In the first half of the show, he mentioned some cons. An undying loyalty. I thought, “Wouldn’t that be nice in friendships to sort of have that undying loyalty.” That’s a very good virtue that one can extol. Nick, before we continue that discussion, as I’m sure you’re familiar with. This is a segment of the show that we like to call Rapid Questions.
Nick: I love a game.
Kurt: We’ve got sixty seconds here and I will ask you these various sorts of questions which I’m sure you’re familiar with and we’ll see how quickly you can answer them. Are you ready?
Nick: Let’s do this!
Kurt: He’s excited. I’m going to start the clock and I’ll ask the first question. What’s your clothing store of choice?
Nick: Hot Topic.
Kurt: Taco Bell or
Kurt: What school did you go to?
Kurt: What song is playing on your radio these days?
Nick: Anything from the Greatest Showman or talk radio.
Kurt: Where would you like to live?
Kurt: What’s your favorite sport?
Kurt: What kind of razor do you use?
Nick: I don’t.
Kurt: Allie’s favorite holiday.
Kurt: What fruit would you say your head is shaped like?
Kurt: Most hated sports franchise?
Nick: UT Vols.
Kurt: Favorite movie?
Nick: The Matrix series.
Kurt: Left or right?
Kurt; Have you ever planked?
Nick: I don’t even know what that is?
Kurt: Do you drink Dr. Pepper?
Kurt: Have you ever
driven on the other side of the road?
Kurt: Would you drink a Dr. Pepper if it were handed to you?
Kurt: What’s one thing you’d be sure to keep with you if you were on a stranded on an island?
Nick: A book on how to build ships.
Kurt: If you were a baseball pitch, which one would you be?
Kurt: Last question, do you affirm the virgin birth?
Nick: I affirm the virgin birth!
Kurt: For many of you who may not know, Nick has a running gag, and by running gag, I mean a marathon running gag about whether or not someone affirms the virgin birth.
Nick: I think I’m also the first person to finish Rapid Questions aren’t I?
Kurt: There were I think two left. If you want, I can ask you those questions.
Kurt: There were three. What’s your inner milkshake flavor?
Nick: Peanut butter.
Kurt: What celebrity are yo most like?
Nick: Weird Al.
Kurt: And Hokey Pokey, Electric Slide or the Macarena.
Nick: Electric slide.
Nick: The virgin birth thing came about because of talking with some atheists on Unbelievable? who said you’d think if Paul believed in something like the virgin birth he would have mentioned it. Some of us said, “Our pastors believe in the virgin birth and they don’t say it every single time they give a sermon”, and so we started spending every single post saying “We affirm the virgin birth,” and it went on from there.
Kurt: It just kept running. In fact, Abe is watching here and he even asked that question before we went to our break. He said, “Has he affirmed the virgin birth yet?” That triggered in my mind to ask it to you at the end of Rapid Questions. That’s great. Now you said, you’re listening to the Greatest Showman.
Kurt: Tell me about that. You saw the movie. You loved it.
Nick: Yes. I did. Allie had wanted to see and I heard a bit of Hugh Jackman singing From Now On, there’s a clip of him in a recording studio going through it. That got me really excited. Like I said, it becomes an obsession and heck even in the shower this morning, I had my Amazon Tap with me, hooked up to my Kindle to it which I’ve got the soundtrack on there. Just played away. There’s a meme you can see online with this guy driving a car and his companion, I’m guessing his girlfriend, “Can we listen to something besides the Greatest Showman?” The next image has her being thrown out of the car. It is something great to someone like me also because The Greatest Showman highlights those people who are really different and it says, “Hey. This is me.”
Kurt: Yeah. So you could relate?
Nick Oh yeah.
Kurt: Interesting. So how can having autism have an impact on someone’s behavior? There you mentioned, you’d be listening to the program, to the soundtrack quite a bit, and maybe perhaps obsessively like maybe someone, like someone would get tired of the soundtrack sooner than you would be.
Nick: I’m married, so yes.
Kurt: I’m sure you hear it from your wife, “Hey. Stop playing that song.”
Nick: Yes. How it affects our behavior is like we don’t follow social cues. Fortunately, at our church small group, we’ve got a teacher in there who knows us well and who works with people in special education and she understands us. We’ve had a number of churches in the past who haven’t really understood us. People can often think we’re rude or cold or things like that. One church I was even accused of wanting to take over the small group. No, but unfortunately, I do have a tendency of jumping in and being so excited about the topic that I talk for about five minutes or so. That didn’t go over well.
Kurt: I see. It’s not as if you have an A for autism or aspergers specifically on your sleeve. People, they might think that maybe you’re kind of weird, but they don’t understand you at first. Right?
Nick: Yeah. Well, I’m definitely weird.
Kurt: That’s true regardless of the diagnosis, huh?
Nick: The thing is we often say if people come to your church you need to be aware, they act differently. Allie and I think we have sort of an Adar to us that we can detect people nearby us who are on the spectrum.
Nick: We’ll be watching. “You think that guy’s on the spectrum?” “I think he is.” If someone goes into your church and they’re in a wheelchair, everyone knows you don’t challenge them to a footrace. That’s rude, but we don’t have any such markers and you come and expect us to act just like everyone else. It’s not going to happen.
Kurt: Right. My last question on autism here is this. What would be some advice, some tips perhaps, on how people that don’t have autism can help to understand you and interact with you?
Nick: Get to know us as persons individually. One of the rules is if you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. We share some similarities, but we’re all different. Find out what interests us. Get to know us. Take small, small steps, little by little. We will kind of let you know I think when we’re ready to move forward with things. Don’t push us for too much. At a church, for instance, I’d say, if you want to greet me when I come in, that’s something I don’t care for. The only reason I care for the handshaking time of the service is I just turn to Allie and say, “Now remember, honey, we’re supposed to greet one another with a holy kiss.”
Kurt: You probably mean it different than the standard greeting, huh, Nick?
Nick: Yes. Other than that, it doesn’t work and when you’re trying to reach us with Christian things, try not to use Christianese on someone on the spectrum. We take things very literally. Imagine going to someone on the spectrum and saying, “Are you washed in the blood?” That is going to give a very different picture. If you also describe it as a personal relationship with Jesus, that could be very problematic too because relationships don’t make sense to a lot of us, and because the whole thing of a lot of people on the spectrum have a problem with abstract thinking. It’s hard to get to that conclusion.
Kurt; So would you say that you’re a very visual thinker?
Nick: Yeah. I think I would say that.
Kurt: So when you say, “Washed in the holy blood?”, do you visualize a tub full of blood and a bath.
Nick: I don’t anymore, of course, but I remember growing up my parents would talk about people performing on Broadway. There was a street in Knoxville called Broadway and…
Kurt: You thought performance happened there.
Nick: You’d see commercials, “Don’t drink and drive” and I’d think, “Dad. Why are you drinking coffee while you’re driving? You’re not supposed to drink and drive.”
Kurt: Yeah. The assumed meanings there, don’t drink alcohol. That wasn’t apparent to you.
Nick: Yep. There was a commercial I remember years ago that would come on, because I was a gameshow junkie during summer vacation. I still am a gameshow junkie. There’d be a commercial that’d come on, it’d advertise for a medication. It’d say, “Doctors recommend this. Doctors are adults, just like you and me.” I’d be sitting there, “No. I’m not. Why are you saying that? I’m not an adult right now. I’m a kid.”
Kurt: Yeah. Well, it’s been really nice to hear about your experience living with autism and again the pros and cons of that. I think it can be encouraging for people who don’t have that diagnosis to learn more about your experience so that we can better understand folks that do have that diagnosis. I know we’re limited a little bit on time because you’ve got to get around to your Deeper Waters Podcast recording, but before we let you go maybe we could chat for a few minutes here. You are an apologetics and theology buff, like myself, and I wanted to ask you what some of your areas of interest are in that field.
Nick: The resurrection of Jesus is a big one. I’ve studied that for several years. I like to study honor and shame. If I could get a webcam, I would like to be making videos about eschatology, particularly dealing with all these people on YouTube who want to keep saying the rapture will take place on such and such date, and ever since I got married, issues of marriage, family, and everything related to that. Yeah. That’s been a big one of mine too.
Kurt: Let me backtrack here. In eschatology, for our listeners, eschatology is the study of the ends times or the last days. There are different interpretations of the book of Revelation and other passages in the Bible. For someone like yourself, you question whether those verses are by and large for future events like, we’re not trying to decipher what’s going to happen XYZ, and then Jesus returns.
Nick: Right. I think the only one I could see about Jesus returning is a possible reference in 2 Peter 3 where it talks about the work of evangelism so you may speed His coming. That could be talking about the return of Christ which I do hold to, just like the virgin birth, then that could apply, but yes, my view is what I call Orthodox Preterism. It’s really surprising because I tend to be so literalistic in so many things, but I’ve nuanced my Bible study and Preterism to me is the one that explains everything. When I have someone come to me, “Don’t you know Jesus was wrong about the time of His return?” I am so excited at that point. “This is going to be fun.”
Kurt: And so that’s contrasted with, what you’ve called Orthodox Preterism, and what we’ll say unorthodox Preterism or in other circles what’s called full Preterism is the idea that everything’s that written about in the New Testament has already transpired so there’s nothing regarding future events. Whereas you would contrast that with what you call Orthodox or in other circles partial Preterism. For example, and I hope you’re going to answer this question the right way. You would say that you believe in the future resurrection of the dead. Is that correct?
Nick: Absolutely. I refer to the other movement as Neohymenaeanism. I get rid of the label partial Preterism because if a movement called full Preterism is a heresy, which I think it is, then does that make me a partial heretic? No. I’m orthodox. I don’t hold to the belief that’s heretical. If Jesus rose in a physical body and our resurrection is like His, we will rise in physical bodies.
Kurt: And now on the resurrection, what specifically interests you there?
Nick: Well, the resurrection of course is the cornerstone of the Christian faith so it’s the most important one to prove, but I think the whole impossible faith idea that Christianity survived, the only way reason it did beat out its competitors is because it’s true because it was really at the time the most shameful faith you could have. If you were living in the ancient world and wanted to make up a religion, Christianity failed every rule you would make for a new religion.
Kurt: So there was just no motive for people to become Christians, but nevertheless, that’s what happened.
Nick: There was a motive and only if that’s true, and that’s because it was true. You had the honor of God behind it. Many of our approaches today, they don’t work. You go talk to your average Roman back then about eternal life and it’s not going to really work with them.
Kurt: Last question
here before we let you go. Of course, the resurrection is only true, and we
only know that, because the Bible is inerrant. Right?
Nick: No. Not at all. I do hold to inerrancy, but it is not a necessity for defending Christianity, although I do have an ebook on inerrancy that I have coauthored, but no. I think it’s always a mistake when you make a secondary doctrine a primary doctrine. I hold to orthodox Preterism very strongly, but it is a secondary doctrine. It’s not an essential of the faith. My wife herself is not an orthodox Preterist yet, and if she was right here she would tell you whenever we have discussed eschatology, I always try and present the best side that I can for whatever position she wants to know about and let her make her own decision.
Kurt: Yeah. That’s good. Nick. I know you’ve got to get off and record your Deeper Waters Podcast. We’re going to continue our program here, but I want to thank…
Nick: If I could, let me tell people about my work and where they can find it too.
Kurt: Yeah. Please do.
Nick: My podcast is available on iTunes, the Deeper Waters Podcast. You can find my work at deeperwatersapologetics.com. I’m on Facebook as well. Send me a message if you’ve heard me on the show and you want to find out more you can go there. I do have some ebooks that I’ve either written or co-written on Amazon, and if you do listen to my podcast, please go and leave that positive review, I love to see them.
Kurt: And for those that are wondering, Nick’s podcast is similar to our own where you bring on experts, scholars in their field, and ask them a bunch of questions about their research and working and their views.
Nick: Two hours and I’m about to have my favorite guest of all-time on my show.
Kurt: Your wife.
Nick: Yes. Autism Awareness Month. She’s coming on.
Kurt: Well, Nick. Thank you so much for joining us on the program today and I’m sure we’ll have to bring you on to chat and shoot the breeze on some theological doctrine or some apologetic issue. It’ll be good.
Kurt: Thanks, Nick. Take care.
Nick: Thank you.
Kurt: Bye bye. Before we let you go today, I wanted to share with you the weekly apologetics bonus links at apologetics315. For those of you who maybe missed out the past couple months, apologetics315 has joined the Defenders Media alliance and we are very pleased about this opportunity and what it means for the apologetics315 ministry and the ministries within our alliance. We are now tasked with putting content up on that website and sharing it on social media, and I just wanted to point out a few of the nice links, what are called bonus links, that you can check out various resources. Apologetics315 is very much a resource hub, and so to that end we’re seeking to gather all sorts of different content out there and to put it one place for you to easily consider. This week’s bonus links feature a couple links by J. Warner Wallace, the cold-case detective. You might be familiar with this brand of apologetics with that angle. His cold-case Christianity. We also have a nice article by Ted Wright of Epic Archaeology, Ten Significant New Testament Archaeological Discoveries. We have An Unexpected Journal which is a new quarterly publication launch by a team of Houston Baptist University MA apologetics students and alumni. We also have an article called Capturing Christianity, a very nice ministry by Cameron Bertuzzi there. I want to encourage you to go to Apologetics315.com and check out the links there and subscribe as well since we’re posting multiple times a week. You could get the updates straight to your email.
That does it for the program today. I am grateful for the continued support of our patrons. Those are folks that just chip in a couple bucks of a month. I’d like to encourage you if you’ve found our program beneficial to consider becoming one of our patrons at $5 or $10 a month, perhaps even $20 a month. I’m also grateful for the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, The Illinois Family Institute, Fox Restoration, and Non-Profit Megaphone. I want to thank our technical producer today, Chris, he helped figure out that tech issue which caused us to have a little bit of a delay to start the program today and also I want to thank our guest, Nick Peters, for coming on the program and sharing his experience living with autism and what is like, the life experiences that he has and that can be very different from other people, and I’m also grateful for how he gave us some tips about how we can understand and get to know people that have autism. It’s one thing to just recognize someone as being autistic. It’s another thing to go and befriend them. Not necessarily shake their hand, because they might not want that, but ask them what they’re interested in, get to know them. They are persons. They’re human as well and they do want to relate, but they might be a little bit off-putting at first until they get to know you and you can get to know them as well. Again, thank you, Nick for encouraging us to do this show on today’s program. Last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.