Good Questions Deserve Good Answers

#Christianity #College #Conversation #Culture

Our Speakers

These teachers were carefully chosen based on their expertise, commitment to their respective churches, and their love for Jesus. These topics were carefully chosen based on the questions Christian teens are asking (and being asked) as reflected in our research and survey results.


Vince Bantu Ph.D.
Talk Title:
Christianity and Culture: Message, Methods, and Missions

Dr. Vince Bantu holds a PhD in Semitic and Egyptian languages from the Catholic University of America and serves as co-chair of the Theology Committee of the Christian Community Development Association. Dr. Bantu is an MDiv graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston, and served the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a church-planting apprentice of Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. He also served as a program coordinator for the Emmanuel Gospel Center. Dr. Bantu also holds a ThM in church history from Princeton Seminary and a BA in theology from Wheaton College. His primary interests include racial reconciliation, non-Western Christianity, and theological education in under-resourced communities. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for several institutions, including Nyack College, New York Theological Seminary, North Park Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, the Center for Early African Christianity, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. Bantu is a Visiting Professor of Missiology at Covenant Theological Seminary here in St. Louis where he teaches courses on City Ministry Practicum, God’s World Mission, Intercultural City Ministry, and People’s Religious Traditions. Dr. Bantu is happy to be back in his native St Louis where he, his wife, Diana, and their two daughters enjoy traveling, parks, games, and movies. Vince is a pastor at Outpour Evangelical Covenant Church.
Gregory R. Beabout Ph.D.
Talk Titles:
1. Ethics: The Art of Character
2. Christianity And Philosophy: Good Christians Can (and Should) Be Good Philosophers (Panel Discussion)
Dr. Gregory R. Beabout (Ph.D., Marquette, 1988) is a professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University. Dr. Beabout has received many awards for his teaching and service to students. He teaches and does research in ethics, Kierkegaard, personalism, and Catholic social thought. Informed by his engagement with the history of philosophy, some of his work involves applying personalism and the tradition of the virtues to business and the professions. His research and publications are in the areas of ethics and social philosophy.
Dr. Beabout has nine books as author or editor, including Ethics: The Art of CharacterApplied Professional EthicsThe Character of the ManagerFreedom and Its Misuses, and Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. Greg is a member at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church.
Dr. James Benecke
Talk Titles:
1. The Problem Of Evil & Suffering: A Father’s Response to What Ought Not Be

2. Vocation as Mission: Confessions of Successful Christian Businessmen
3. The Problem Of Pain: Suffering Well
Dr. Benecke received his B.A. degree Summa Cum Laude from Wabash College in Indiana. He was awarded his M.D. degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his residency training in general surgery and Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Indiana University Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in Otology & Neurotology at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles California. In 2004, Dr. Benecke was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from his alma mater, Wabash College. Dr. Benecke is an otologist/neurotologist in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri at Missouri Baptist Medical Center where his practice is limited to pediatric & adult diseases of the ear. He is Adjunct Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the St. Louis University School of Medicine and Chief of Otolaryngology at Missouri Baptist Hospital. Brought to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at age 47, James E. Benecke, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S. is passionate about the study of Scripture and doctrine as well as the teaching of the Bible and the sharing of the gospel. Having experienced the dark night of the soul, he is intimately familiar with pain and suffering and will share his experience on suffering as well as the biblical perspective on affliction in the life of the believer. James is a member of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Luke Bobo Ph.D.
1. Growing in Cultural Intelligence: An Option or a Must?
2. Imagineering: How Human Imagination Serves Human Flourishing
Dr. Bobo (Dr. B) serves as Director of Resource and Curriculum Development for Made to Flourish ( He is the former associate professor and department chair for Lindenwood University of St. Charles, MO in the school’s Christian Ministry Studies Program. And prior to Lindenwood, Luke also served as Assistant Dean for both the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute and Youth In Ministry Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary. He has spoken and/or preached in Cape Town, South Africa and Goiânia, Brazil. Dr. Bobo holds a PhD in Rabbinic Andragogy from the University of Missouri St. Louis. He holds a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO); a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Professionally, Dr. Bobo worked as an Electrical Engineer for fifteen years prior to his work with the Institute. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Institute ( He sits on several national boards including the University of Kansas Alumni Association, Consortium of Christian Study Centers (CCSC) and The Culture House. And he is the author of “Living Salty and Light-filled Lives in the Workplace” (Wipf and Stock, 2014) and “A Layperson’s Guide to Biblical Interpretation” (Wipf and Stock, 2016).
David Brown
Talk Title:
Christianity And Philosophy: Good Christians Can (and Should) Be Good Philosophers (Panel Discussion)

David Brown is Professor of Philosophy and Chair.  He received a B. A. in Philosophy from Gordon College (magna cum laude), an M. A. in Philosophy from the University of Houston, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto.  His dissertation is The Moral Sense in Hume’s Treatise and Cicero’s De Officiis (Toronto, 2006).  His primary teaching and research interests are Ethics, Natural Law, Logic, David Hume, and Cicero.  His publications include: “De Officiis” (Literary Encyclopedia, July 2013); “Reasoning Down the Rabbit Hole: Logical Lessons in Wonderland” (Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser [John Wiley & Sons, 2010]); “A Puzzle for Particulars?”, with Richard Davis (Axiomathes, 2008); “Cicero’s De Officiis: Ancient Ethics for (Post-) Modern Times” (Teaching Philosophy, June 2002). David is a member St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
Christopher Buckles
Talk Title:
Meme Busting: The Art of Spotting Illogical Arguments In Internet Memes

Chris Buckles is a Literature, Composition, Logic, and Rhetoric teacher at Providence Classical Christian Academy here in St. Louis. He received his B.S.E. in Secondary Education English from Hannibal La-Grange University, where he met his pretty and witty wife Lindsey, and just finished his M.A. in Educational Leadership at Saint Louis University. During undergrad, he traveled locally and internationally with a ministry team called The New Edition, ministering to students at various events and camps, while also performing Biblically based dramatic sketches. Chris enjoys reading theology, being involved in theatrical productions, and the music and films that are a product of the infamous 80s. He and Lindsey recently had their first son, Scott, who was born in in January 2017. Chris is a member at Trailhead Church.
Dr Michael Carper, PhD
Talk Title:
Christianity And Philosophy: Good Christians Can (and Should) Be Good Philosophers (Panel Discussion)

Dr Michael Carper received his PhD in Philosophy from St Louis University, his MTS in Philosophical Theology from Boston University, and his MA in English Literature and Comparative Literary Criticism from the University of Nebraska—Kearney, where he also received his BA in Philosophy, English, History, and Biology. His areas of interest lie in Philosophy of: Religion, Science, Technology, Art, Ethics, and Ancient Greek Philosophy. He has taught courses in those areas, as well as in more specific areas of Human Nature, God and the Problem of Suffering, Philosophy of Film, and special seminars on the thought of Soren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dr Carper lives in the Dogtown area of St Louis city, and is currently involved in such activities as taking ballroom dancing lessons, rock climbing and hiking, and crossfit exercise. The Journey Church.
Kirk Clayton Ph.D.
Talk Title:
Christian Creation Views: YEC, OEC, ID, TE and Everything In Between (Panel Discussion)

Rev. Dr. Kirk Clayton holds a PhD from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he studied in the “Theology and Culture” program with a focus on apologetics. His dissertation explored the possibility of developing a new apologetic method of response to the New Atheists (such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens) and their attacks on Christianity by emphasizing the importance of the Christian life lived in sacrificial service to others. Supplementing his studies at Concordia Seminary, Dr. Clayton has attended the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights held in Strasbourg, France, where he studied with John Warwick Montgomery, Craig Parton, Gene Edward Veith, and others. In addition to his academic interests in apologetics, Dr. Clayton serves as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Mascoutah Illinois, about 25 miles east of St. Louis. Kirk is a member at Zion Lutheran Church (LCMS).
Rachel Douchant Ph.D.
Talk Title:
Christianity And Philosophy: Good Christians Can (and Should) Be Good Philosophers (Panel Discussion)

Rachel Douchant is a professor of philosophy, co-chair of the Lindenwood Honors College, and director of the Liberty & Ethics Center, which is part of the Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise. Her research interests include Hume’s classical liberalism, the philosophy of economics, and Aristotelian virtue theory. She is an associated scholar of the Abbeville Institute, a participant in Liberty Fund Colloquia, a reviewer for the Journal of Markets and Morality, and has been a Summer Rowley Fellow at the Mises Institute. Dr. Douchant teaches political philosophy, game theory, business ethics, and the spring seminar in economic federalism. She is faculty sponsor for Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and Young Americans for Liberty. Dr. Douchant received her BA in Philosophy from Lindenwood University (1999) and her PhD in Philosophy from Saint Louis University (2008). She has two sons, Asher and Solomon.
Dawn Jones MA
Dawn is the Women’s Ministry Director for First Light, a St. Louis based ministry that helps couples and individuals align their lives with Biblically informed sexuality and sexual expression. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Trauma Studies Certificate from the University of Missouri. She obtained her Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary and is currently in the process of completing a Master of Divinity. Dawn was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She both teaches and speaks throughout the area. She has a deep desire to help those who are broken to find wholeness and those who are afraid to find peace.
Kyle Keating M.Div.
Talk Title:
Same Sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria: Speaking the Truth With Gentleness and Respect

Kyle Keating is a history and theology teacher as well as Director of Student Life at Providence Classical Christian Academy here in St. Louis. He received is B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his M.Div. from Covenant Theology Seminary. He served for three years with the campus ministry Cru at Ball State University before moving to St. Louis. He has served with the ministry FirstLight St. Louis teaching about Christian sexual ethics at local churches, and taught biblical theology in Athens, Greece with Training Leaders International. He has been married to the wonderful Christy Keating for seven years and has one daughter, Kira. Together they enjoy reading, traveling, watching sports, and playing board games. Kyle is a elder at South City Church.
Bum Yong Kim
Talk Title:
Cultural and Ethnic Identity: Navigating Race Relations and Identity Dynamics on Campus (Panel Discussion)

Bum Yong Kim is a pastor at Outpour Evangelical Covenant Church here in Saint Louis. Before planting the church in 2009, he served college students with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for fifteen years. Bum Yong and his wife Angela have committed their lives to helping young people embrace the mercy of God through Christ and in turn, to love their neighbors, especially those that are marginalized. Bum Yong has taken students on mission projects overseas as well as in the inner cities of the US and specializes in cross-cultural and economic reconciliation. He received his dual degree in art and biology from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity from North Park Seminary. Bum is a pastor at Outpour Evangelical Covenant Church.
Randy Larson, J.D., LL.M., CFP
Talk Title:
1. Common Objections To Christianity: Intellectual, Emotional, and Volitional

2. Vocation as Mission: Confessions of Successful Christian Businessmen
Randy Larson graduated from Biola University in California in 2004 with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. After he received his Master of Arts in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola in 2007, he and his wife moved from California to the Midwest. Randy received his Juris Doctoris from Washington University in 2010 and his LL.M in Taxation in 2011. When Randy is not playing with his children or watching “The Office” with his wife, he enjoys riding his YZF 450R dirt bike and studying theology and philosophy. Randy and his wife also serve as youth leaders at his Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Randy is a member at The Vineyard Community Church.
Aaron Layton M.Div.
Talk Title:
Cultural and Ethnic Identity: Navigating Race Relations and Identity Dynamics on Campus (Panel Discussion)

Aaron Layton (M.Div.-Covenant Theological Seminary 08’), is founder and CEO of Relate2Color (R2C), a Christian diversity consulting firm.  He also teaches and serves as the Director of Diversity at Westminster Christian Academy in MO. Aaron is also the author of the book, Dear White Christian: What every white Christian needs to know about how black Christians, see, think, & experience racism in America.  Aaron and his wife, Gretchen live with their two teenage children in St. Charles, MO. Aaron is a member at The Journey Church.
Sean Maney M.Div.
Since 2010, Sean Maney has served as Director of FirstLight Ministries, a para-church ministry helping Christians align their sexual lives to the teaching of Scripture. Since 2003 FirstLight has been helping men and women who are struggling with sexual brokenness, as well as their families, find hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Before serving with FirstLight, Sean served as an assistant pastor and as a chaplain over the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s program for sexual offenders. He holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary and is a teaching elder in the P.C.A. Sean is a member at Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Michael J. McClymond Ph.D.
Talk Titles: 
1. The Devil’s Redemption: A Critique of Universalism
2. Revival: The History of Christianity in North America
Michael J. McClymond Ph.D. is Professor of Modern Christianity at Saint Louis University. He was educated at Northwestern University (B. A. in Chemistry), Yale University (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago (M.A. in Religion, Ph.D. in Theology). In addition to his work at Saint Louis University, he held teaching or research appointments at Wheaton College – Illinois (1988-89), Westmont College (1989-96), University of California – San Diego (1996-98), and Emory University (2001-02). McClymond’s book, Encounters With God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 1998), received the 1999 Brewer Prize from the American Society of Church History. He was editor of Embodying the Spirit: New Perspectives on North American Revivalism (Johns Hopkins University Press,2004), and author of Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth (Eerdmans,2004; winner of the Award of Merit in 2005 from Christianity Today magazine). He is the sole editor of a two-volume reference work that incorporates the contributions of one hundred and twenty scholars, Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America (Greenwood Press, 2007). McClymond is the co-author of The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2012). Comprising forty-five chapters, this work is the most in-depth academic study yet published on Edwards’s thought and won Christianity Today’s 2013 best book award in the category of theology and ethics. Michael is an advisory board member, a resident instructor, and a seminar speaker for Faith Ascent Ministries.
Ron Quick
Talk Title:
The Reliability of The Bible

Ron and his wife Shona have been married for over 20 years. Their family includes their three children, Shelby, Ronald, Ada and numerous animals (dogs, cats, birds, etc.). Ron has a Master Degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Knox Theological Seminary, an MSW from St. Louis University and BA in Bible with a minor in counseling from Johnson Bible College. Ron has worked in the counseling field for over 20 years. He currently counsels children and adolescents who have unsuccessful in the public school environment due to behavior and emotional problems. He is also an adjunct professor for Missouri Baptist University. Ron is currently a board member and a seminar speaker for Faith Ascent Ministries and has been involved with the ministry since 2010. His personal interest and expertise in Christian apologetics focuses on the reliability and historicity of the Old and New Testaments. Ron is a member at The Crossings Church in Wentzville, Missouri.
Taylor Reynolds
Talk Title: TBA
Originally from Valdosta, Georgia, Taylor is a transplant to St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Washington University where he studied history, psychology, and religion and politics. While attending WashU, he founded Kairos, an undergraduate journal on Christian thought. Currently, Taylor is a leading member of Midrash St. Louis and frequently facilitates group discussions on the intersection of Christianity and culture. Midrash discussions happen in a variety of places including: pubs, coffee shops, art galleries, museums — anywhere that people intersect with culture.

His current aspirations include publishing his book and completing his PhD. In his free time, Taylor writes poetry, fishes, watches romantic comedies, backpacks, reads novels, and waxes philosophical with anyone who will engage. He prefers dead languages over computer languages, existentialism over analytic philosophy, and people who disagree with him over people who agree with him.

Brent Roam JD
Talk Titles:
1. The Prodigal Pastor’s Son

2. Cultural and Ethnic Identity: Navigating Race Relations and Identity Dynamics on Campus (Panel Discussion)
Brent holds a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Anthropology from Arizona State University and a JD from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. Brent studied divinity and philosophy at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and public policy at Princeton as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. In November, 2013, Brent resigned from his law practice at the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP to devote his full attention to the pastorate at U-City Family Church in University City, MO. Brent is a pastor at University City Family Church.
Shane Rosenthal M.A.
Talk Title:
The Resurrection of Jesus: Historically Plausible and Intimately Personal

Shane Rosenthal received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal-State Fullerton, and an M.A. in Historical Theology from Westminster Seminary California. He is the executive producer of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast, a contributing editor for Modern Reformation magazine, and serves as the assistant pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in St. Charles, Missouri.
Mark P. Ryan M.Div.
Talk Titles:
1. Christianity and Culture: Message, Methods, and Mission

2. Cultural and Ethnic Identity: Navigating Race Relations and Identity Dynamics on Campus (Panel Discussion)
3. Unsocial Media: Apologetics in a Time of Tweets and Trolls
4. From “Apologia” To Apologetics: Many Methods, One Mission
Mark Ryan is the Director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary, Saint Louis, MO, where he also serves as adjunct professor of religion and culture. Mark has worked with L’Abri Fellowship in both Massachusetts and British Columbia and has pastored churches in Australia and the United States. Faith Ascent’s staff and board think very highly of Mark’s ministry experience, heart for evangelism, and interest in helping Christians and non-Christians alike navigate the cross-currents of religion and culture. Mark is a member at Crossroads Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Cordell Schulten M.A., JD
Talk Titles:
1. The Ethics of Resistance: From Thoreau, to Bonhoeffer, to You

2. Cultural and Ethnic Identity: Navigating Race Relations and Identity Dynamics on Campus (Panel Discussion) Cordell Schulten is an adjunct professor at Missouri Baptist University and serves as pastor for the English Ministry congregation at the Korean Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood, Missouri. Previously, he was an associate professor of American Law at Handong Global University in Pohang, Korea. He also taught at Fontbonne University. Before teaching, he practiced law for ten years, specializing in commercial litigation and death penalty cases. Cordell earned his M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2004 and his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1986. He has also done graduate studies in Theology and Culture at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Cordell and his wife Sandy have been married for 38 years. They have four children and five grandchildren. Cordell serves at the Korean Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (PCA).
Andrew D. Shaw Ph.D.
Talk Titles:
1. Bioethics: The Making of Life, The Taking of Life, & The Faking of Life

2.Creation, Genesis, & Evangelism: Which Hills Are Worth Dying On?
Dr. Andrew D. Shaw Ph.D. is a high school science teacher at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, and the chair of the science department and the Director of STEM education. His teaching assignment includes advanced chemistry and physics, but he has also taught advanced biology, earth science, forensic science, and astronomy. His passion is studying and teaching the relationship between the Christian Faith and Science. Dr. Shaw is a graduate of Covenant College (BS in Physics), University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (MA in Science Education) and University of Missouri-St. Louis (Ph.D. in philosophy of science education). His research experience includes 12 summers at the Idaho National Engineering Lab where he primarily studied the detection of chemical weapons with a mass spectrometer. Andrew is a member at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Jeremy R. Smith
Talk Titles:
1.Why Bother With Apologetics? 

2.Question Based Evangelism: How Good Questions Lead to Good Answers
Jeremy R. Smith is a self described “debtor to unearned grace, advocate for the local Church, and backyard missionary.” Jeremy’s life miraculously changed when Jesus rescued him in 1996. Since then, he’s been passionate about helping Christians and non-Christians to think through and seriously consider what they believe, why they believe it, and why those beliefs matter.
Jeremy studied Christian Apologetics & Philosophy through Biola University in La Mirada, CA and is currently studying select topics related to Apologetics & Evangelism at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.
From 2007 – 2012 Jeremy served as a big brother mentor at The Mill Skateboard Park in Granite City, IL. Jeremy is a member of The Christian Apologetics Alliance, The Missouri Apologetics Network, St. Louis’ Reasonable Faith Chapter, and Midrash St. Louis. Jeremy also serves part time as a Corporate Chaplain at Cordell & Cordell (A Domestic Litigation Firm).
Jeremy is happily married to Katie and is a grateful stepfather to Elijah 8 and Lucy 7.
Joseph Steineger Ph.D.
Talk Title:
Christianity And Philosophy: Good Christians Can (and Should) Be Good Philosophers (Panel Discussion)

Joseph Steineger has been an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lindenwood University since January 2014. He received a B.A. (2003) and M.A. (2005) from the University of Kansas, and a second M.A. (2007) and Ph.D. (2014) from the University of Chicago. His primary teaching and research interests are in Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Mind within the context of Medieval Philosophy. More specifically, these interests include the existence and nature of a first cause, hylomorphic accounts of mind and reality, and the role of philosophy in guiding one’s way of life. Dr. Steineger is an enthusiastic teacher of college undergraduates, committed to sharing the view that the examined way of life is the best way of life in any walk of life. Joesph is a member at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church.
S. Joshua Swamidass MD Ph.D.
Talk Titles:
1. Science is Great (But The Gospel is Better)

2. Bridge Building on Campus: Advice From a Christian Professor Teaching at a Secular University
Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD is an assistant professor in the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University in St Louis, MO. His PhD is from the University of California, Irvine in Information and Computer Systems. Both a scientist and a physician, he uses computational methods to study information at the intersection of medicine, chemistry, and biology. Dr. Swamidass is a nationally recognized voice in the dialogue between science and the Christian faith, where he explains how mainstream science (including evolution) can be understood within the context of orthodox Christian faith. He worked as a science advisor for the AAAS Science for Seminaries Program with Concordia Seminary. Currently, he directs the Inquiry into Common Ground, a collaboration between St Louis ministries to seek peace in the creation wars. Dr. Swamidass also speaks nationally with The Veritas Forum, Intervarsity, and BioLogos on a wide range of topics, and was a featured seminar speaker at the last two Urbana Missions Conferences. He blogs at Peaceful Science, seeking peace in the creation wars. Joshua is a member at Outpour Evangelical Covenant Church.
Jason Wilkins M.Div.
Talk Title:
Presuppositions Are Like Belly Buttons: Everyone Has Them

Jason Wilkins, a St. Louis native and lifelong Cardinal fan, is a graduate of Westminster Christian Academy and Mizzou. He also holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Jason currently teaches worldviews at Westminster Christian Academy. Although Jason has an observable passion for God’s word and for seeing the saints (young and old) brought to maturity in Christ, he is best known for his starring role as the private investigator, Thomas Magnum, in the hit television series, Magnum PI. 😉
Letitia Wong Talk Title:
Pro-Life Apologetics: How Not To Defend The Pro-Life Position

Letitia is the Co-Director of Ratio Christ at Missouri Baptist University. She holds a BS in Health Sciences with a Minor in Religious Studies from Purdue University in 1997. She went on to complete her Medical Technology certification at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She has had over 15 years of ministry experience including serving as student Evangelism Coordinator for Purdue University’s undergraduate chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and as ministry coordinator and teacher at Arizona State University’s chapter of Campus Ambassadors. In 2009, she attended CrossExamined Instructor Academy at Southern Evangelical Seminary in preparation for public speaking in apologetics. In addition, she co-hosts TruLife Fridays, an internet radio show examining the ethics of the santity of human life. Letitia is currently pursuing her master’s degree in theology at Concordia University Irvine. Letitia is a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Free Church.

Past Faith Ascent Teachers / Speakers

Matthew Lee Anderson 
Matthew Lee Anderson is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith. Anderson is the founder of and writes periodically for Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and Relevant Magazine. He has been interviewed in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The Associated Press. A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, he is now a graduate student at Oxford University.


Holly Brand Ph.D.
Talk Title: Superwoman Syndrome: Balance and Boundaries at School, at Home, and at Work Dr. Holly Brand has been privileged to serve as professor of psychology at Missouri Baptist University since 2000. Prior to her service at MBU she taught psychology for three years at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Dr. Brand earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southeast Missouri State University. After working as a mental health caseworker at the Community Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Dr. Brand moved to St. Louis to attend graduate school at St. Louis University. She earned both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from St. Louis University (SLU). Her specialty includes child, adolescent, and adult development. Dr. Brand is married to Todd Brand, president of Brand Asset Management Group, a wealth management firm in Chesterfield. They have three young children, Tanner, Walker, and Tori. In 2000 Holly Brand created Yellow Umbrella Ministries, a speaking and writing ministry for both Christian and mainstream audiences. She is the author of a book entitled Christ & Culture. For more information visit Holly is a member at The Crossing Church.
Speaker: Chris Gadsden Ph.D.
Chris Gadsden hails from the Sunshine State where he acquired a passion for college football while attending Florida State University. For over 20 years, he and his amazing wife Kristin have worked with Cru to serve the spiritual needs of students and professors, with a special emphasis on helping people overcome intellectual obstacles to faith in and intimacy with God. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola University and a Ph.D in Philosophy from Mizzou; his publications include a chapter in the recent edition of Doctor Who and Philosophy.


H.L. Hussmann
 H.L. Hussmann travels locally and internationally leading mission teams and training Christians in evangelism and apologetics. He is the author of God’s Greatest Passion: Every Christian, Everywhere, Sharing Jesus and Letters From a Martyred Christian. He has served as a Chi Alpha campus minister at Murray State University since 1996 where he graduated in Engineering Physics. He is a writer on assignment for Outreach Magazine and his wife Kara and three-year-old-son Siler are his life’s second delight. H.L. is a resident speaker for Faith Ascent and a long time friend of the ministry. H.L. and his wife Kara will be moving to Louisville, KY in the fall to plant Daylight Church


Adam McCleod
Adam J. MacLeod
Adam J. MacLeod is Associate Professor at Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. He serves as consulting scholar for the Massachusetts Family Institute and a faculty member of the Witherspoon Institute’s annual Moral Foundations of Law seminar for graduate students. He is a former visiting fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and he formerly served as a Deputy Attorney General of Alabama, advising the Governor and Attorney General in defense of Alabama’s marriage laws. Professor MacLeod writes and speaks in academic and public venues about the importance of the family, religious associations, private property and other foundational institutions of private ordering. He is the author of Property and Practical Reason, published by Cambridge University Press, and dozens of articles, essays, and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. He contributes to the online journals Public Discourse and Library of Law & Liberty. Before beginning his scholarly career, Professor MacLeod served as law clerk for state and federal judges in Massachusetts and Colorado and practiced law in Boston. He holds degrees from Gordon College and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of Christ Church in Montgomery, Alabama where he attends with his wife and daughters. A former and founding member of the Pneuma Brass Quintet in Boston, he is a musician, runner, cyclist, skier, hiker, Notre Dame partisan, husband, and father.
Josh McDowell
Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 25 million people, giving over 26,000 talks in 125 countries. As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love. After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree. In 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International (now called Cru). Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.
Sean McDowell
Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for reaching the younger generation with the Gospel message. He connects with youth in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a Biblical worldview. He serves as Head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools where he teaches Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics. As a high school teacher, Sean has exceptional insight into the prevailing culture and imparts his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors, and parents alike. In 2008 he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, California. His apologetics training was awarded Exemplary Status by the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities, and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth Specialties, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Focus on the Family, Point of View, Converse with Scholars, Stand to Reason as well as shows hosted by Hugh Hewitt, Frank Pastore, Michael Reagan, and others.
Gregory R. Perry, Ph.D.
Dr. Perry is the Associate Professor of New Testament & Director of the City Ministry Initiative at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Perry came to Covenant Seminary in 2003, following over ten years of ministry in local churches and on the mission field. While teaching theology in Australia, Dr. Perry chaired a task force to assess and support Australian church planters. He has also served on pastoral church staffs in Atlanta and Northern Virginia, working with small groups, pastoral care, and ministry to single adults. Dr. Perry has been involved in several creative nonprofit ministries seeking to embody the Gospel while addressing social challenges in urban Atlanta and D.C. He is currently a board member of Third Millennium, an organization created to bring theological education to church leaders in the developing world. Dr. Perry has a heart to disciple students in creative cultural applications of the Gospel, which he carries out through the Seminary’s City Ministry Initiative.
John Richardson M.Div.
John Richardson is a professional mediator and pastoral counselor at Level Path Ministries in St. Louis, MO. John also serves as the Pastor of Congregational Care at First Free Church in St. Louis, MO. At First Free, John oversees multiple care ministries including Celebrate Recovery, Visitation Ministry, Pre-Marital Mentoring, and general Counseling. John has a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Fort Wayne Bible College. He is a Certified Christian Conciliator with the Institute of Christian Conciliation and serves on the board of directors for the Association of Missouri Mediators.
Lee Strobel
Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor ofThe Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN. Described in the Washington Post as “one of the evangelical community’s most popular apologists,” Lee shared the Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie The Passion of the Christ. He also won Gold Medallions for his books The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and the The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate. Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribuneand other newspapers, winning Illinois’ top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International. After a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee became a Christian in 1981. He joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, in 1987, and later became a teaching pastor there. He joined Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA, as a teaching pastor in 2000. He left Saddleback’s staff to focus on writing.
Frank Turek
Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of three books: I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of, Frank impacts young and old alike at colleges, high schools and churches with hard yet entertaining evidence for Christianity. He hosts a hour long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights at 9pm and 1am Eastern on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 144 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern. Frank also writes a column for and has appeared on many TV and radio programs including:The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith under Fire, Politically Incorrect, The Bible Answerman, and Focus on the Family. He has debated atheist Christopher Hitchens twice. A former Aviator in the U.S. Navy, Frank has a Masters from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. To help reverse the exodus of young people from the Christian faith, Frank conducts dynamic I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist outreach events on campus. At these events, Frank presents the evidence for Christianity, cross-examines arguments against it, and answers student questions.
Lilian Werner
Lilian Werner is the Director for Women’s Ministries at FirstLight Ministries, a para-church ministry helping Christians align their sexual lives to the teaching of Scripture. Since 2003 FirstLight has been helping men and women who are struggling with sexual brokenness, as well as their families, find hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Lilian has worked as an LPC for 12 years, and has been involved in ministry in various ways. She has worked in church planting, women’s ministries, children’s ministries and adult Sunday School. Her degree is from Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband Brad live in South City have 3 children: Inna who is 20 and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and new baby, Ivan who is in kindergarten, and Anya who just turned 3.