Does God Exist? Apologetics Conference

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Does God Exist? Apologetics Conference

  • When: Saturday March 23, 2013 from 8:45-3:00
  • Where: Christian Heritage  School, 575 White Plains Road, Trumbull, Connecticut 06611
  • Schedule:  We have full lineup of topics and speakers (scroll down for details)
  • Cost: $26 in advance or $30 at the door. Lunch is included.

Register now through our secure PayPal account – just click the button below. Use the “additional instructions” option to indicate the name(s) of registrants.

Planned Schedule (all sequential, no “breakout” sessions)

and Registration 8:45-9:00 am

  • Introduction/Welcome/Orientation – John DeMassa, M.Div., Ph.D.
  • When Junior Comes Home (dramatic presentation) – Rick Varrone
  • Answering the Tough Questions – Cliffe Knechtle, M.Div. Pastor/Apologist
  • Does God Really Exist? – Wayne Detzler, M.A., Ph.D.
  • Can God Survive the Problem of Evil? – Ray Pennoyer, M.Div., Ph.D.
  • Has Science Disproven the Existence of God? – John DeMassa, M.Div., Ph.D.

Lunch Break

  • God and Mental Health – Duane Kellogg Jr., M.Div., D.Min.
  • If God is Dead, Where Does that Leave Us? The Dangerous Irrationality of Hiding Behind the Tooth Fairy and Little Green Men – Chip Anderson, M.A.T.S.
  • Panel Discussion


Topic Summaries and Speaker Bios

Answering the Tough Questions – Cliffe Knechtle, M.Div.

Cliffe Knechtle photo croppedPastor/Apologist Cliffe Knechtle loves to converse with skeptics and truth-seekers to discuss the reasonableness of Christianity at universities around the U.S, such as Harvard, MIT, UCLA, and Stanford. He has been described as an open-air evangelist and lives up to the title. He is not a new comer to answering tough questions. His three books give detailed answers to those tough questions often posed by gathered students and faculty. Questions related to our conference topic will be addressed in this presentation.


  • Davidson College
  • Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary


  • Cliffe has spoken on University campuses around the country since 1980. In 1990 began the television program Give Me An Answer, which airs in portions of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India and England. Cliffe’s ministry has been featured in a news item at the NEST website here.
  • Pastor of Grace Community Church in New Canaan, CT since 2001.
  • Contact:

Does God Really Exist? – Wayne Detzler, M.A., Ph.D.

Wayne Detzler photo Feb 2012The major schools of apologetics offer four major approaches to these questions:
Classical apologetics argues that since the world demonstrates order, there must be an intelligent being behind its existence. This has led people like my colleagues Bill Dembski and Norman Geisler to suggest that there is intelligent design behind our world, and that the intelligence is God.
Evidential Apologetics claims that the evidence of a moral rectitude and evidence of the life and resurrection of Jesus all point to absolute verities, such as the truth of the Bible, the life of Jesus Christ, and ultimately the existence of God. Josh McDowell has set the pace in this system for many years.
Presuppositional Apologetics persists in the viewpoint that one must pre-suppose the existence of God and the truth of Scripture in order to design a system of defense for the Christian Faith. Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark have led the way in shaping this approach.
Fideist Apologetics declares that human experience confirms the existence of God. An ancient example would be St. Augustine’s assertion that there is a God-shaped vacuum in each person. His approach was confirmed by later thinkers such as Blaise Pascal and even Karl Barth.


  • B.A. Wheaton College, history (Minor: Greek language and literature)
  • M.A. Wheaton Graduate School (Minors: New Testament Studies and Theology)
  • Ph.D. Manchester University (England)


  • Distinguished Professor of Cross-Cultural Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Adjunct Professor of History, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
  • Taught at Temple Baptist, Yale Divinity, Trinity College in England, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, ordained pastor
  • Authored or co-authored over 2 dozen books and many articles
  • Board Member The New England School of Theology
  • Contact:

Can God Survive the Problem of Evil? – Ray Pennoyer, M.Div., Ph.D.

Ray Pennoyer teachingThe existence of evil and suffering has been called the greatest and most enduring challenge to Christian theology, and in particular its notion of a good and powerful God. Of course, the problem of evil is not just an intellectual problem. It is something we see, feel, and experience. We recoil at evil and disaster not simply with puzzlement but with frustration, anger, sorrow, and despair. We cry out, “Why?” or sometimes, “How long?” It is my contention that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures present us with not just one, but a network of profound and sublime theodicies. These theodicies have both intellectual and emotional components to them, and are intended to prepare and comfort God’s people in the face of evil. After cautioning against superficial and erroneous approaches to the problem, this paper will attempt to “rescue God” from the problem of evil by surveying key concepts as presented in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.


  • B.S.  Fairfield University (with minor in Religion)
  • M.Div. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D. The  Johns Hopkins University


  • Instructor of  Religion, Theology, and Ethics at Albertus Magnus College
  • Instructor of Religion at Sacred Heart University.
  • Instructor of Theology at The New England School of Theology.
  • Ray is a board member of The New England School of Theology.
  • He and his family attend Walnut Hill Community Church’s Waterbury campus.
  • Contact: and see Ray’s Faculty Page

Has Science Disproven the Existence of God? – John DeMassa, M.Div., Ph.D.

John-D-faculty-photo-summer 2 in for webAccording to some the answer is yes. Any creator god including the one mentioned in the Bible is not needed because it can be demonstrated that life can be made by undirected chemical and physical forces. If the first claim of the Bible can be disproved all subsequent claims appear equally untrue. A creator god is dismissed based upon such evidence and reasoning. The presentation will challenge this proposal and also “think through” the assumptions accompanying the claim. We will ask basic questions. What is science? What is theology? What are their proper domains? Should we care about interpretive methods? What “proof” has really been found? Do all scientists agree that God does not exist?


  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics & Chemistry from Central Connecticut State University, in New Britain. Connecticut.
  • M. Sc. And Ph.D. University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
  • Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies (M.A.B.S) from Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia Georgia
  • Masters in Divinity (M.Div.) from Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia.


  • Full time manager of plastics research and development at a local chemical company
  • Adjunct  instructor of chemistry (Sacred Heart University, Housatonic Community College).
  • John is the founder of the New England School of Theology (2010) and instructor in Bible Interpretation, Apologetics and Science and Theology.
  • John and his wife Grace and their daughter Luca live in Fairfield.  They enjoy art, and learning life all over again with their little girl Luca.
  • Contact: and visit John’s Faculty Page

God and Mental Health – Duane Kellogg Jr., M.Div., D.Min.

Photo of Dr Duane Kellogg JrWhat is mental health? How do we know that someone is mentally healthy or unhealthy? What standards do we use to make such a determination and where does God fit into this discussion? What happens if we leave God out entirely? We will be looking at how our basic underlying approaches to determining what is true or real have a major impact on our view of mental health. If God (as He has revealed Himself in the Bible) does not exist, then mental health becomes simply an illusion or a utilitarian description of what results in the most pleasure or comfort for the most people. If He does exist, and if He has come to Earth as the God-man name Jesus, then our standard for healthy mental (and behavioral) functioning has been clearly revealed.


  • Barrington College – B.A. Biblical Studies & Philosophy
  • Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – M.Div.
  • Fuller Theological Seminary– Marriage & Family Ministries- M.A.
  • Andover-Newton Theological School, D.Min. – Psychology


  • Staff therapist & Director/Senior Staff Therapist – Renew Counseling Center
  • Director – Counterpoint Mental Health (Kittery, Maine)
  • Reserve Chaplain, USAF (IMA program)
  • Chaplain, NH Air National Guard
  • Pastor, First Christian Church, Kittery Pt., ME
  • Ordained pastor and currently a member of Trinity Baptist Church FFLD
  • Contact: and see Duane’s post Why Christian Counseling?

If God is Dead, Where Does that Leave Us? The Dangerous Irrationality of Hiding Behind the Tooth Fairy and Little Green Men – Chip Anderson, M.A.T.S.

Chip Anderson PhotoThe New Atheist borrows and leverages from a Christianized culture and worldview, making it safe and comfortable to disbelieve. However, a God-less world is not neutral to our worldviews and behaviors. Not only is it irrational to claim that God doesn’t exist, there are some dangerous and inconvenient consequences. The debate over God’s existence reveals how we all think about creation, the God of the Bible, and how we think about our neighbors. This presentation will examine some the atheist’s claims about creation, their faulty view of the biblical God, and the problem we have talking about human dignity if, indeed, God does not exist.


  • BA from Crown College
  • MA in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


  • Ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance (1988). Professor at Prairie Bible College
  • Adjunct-instructor at Nyack College
  • Contributions in multiple publications including Servant Magazine, The MetroVoice, and The Christian Librarian, His Dominion, The Evangelical Journal, Trinity Journal,  and others.
  • Author of two books. Philippians, Destroying Our Private Cities, Building Our Spiritual Life and Wasted Evangelism: Social Action and the Church’s Task of Evangelism, released in 2013.
  • Facilitates a blog called, an online journal dedicated to promoting faithful biblical interpretation and sound Christian thinking.
  • Worked at two Community Action Agencies in CT as a grant writer and planner.
  • Chip lives in Bridgeport, CT with his wife Lisa and 4 children.
  • Contact: and see Chip’s Faculty Page

When Junior Comes Home (dramatic presentation) – Rick Varrone

Photo of R VarroneEducation:

  • Student of the New England School of Theology including Apologetics, Science and Theology, New Testament Theology, Bible Interpretation and Greek Studies among others.
  • Student of the Martial Arts. Martial Art student for 44 years: 5th Degree Black Belt Master Rank in both Hapkido and Taekwondo. Testing in 2014 for 5th Degree Black Belt Master Rank in Tang Soo Do


  • Husband, father, grandfather,  avid golfer, musician, acting enthusiast
  • Contact: