• Friday
    August 5, 2016
    7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
  • Saturday
    August 6, 2016
    8:30 am - 2:30 pm

ConfBack 2016

Defenders Media is pleased to announce its first annual conference in the Chicagoland area! We’re excited to have a great lineup of plenary speakers with Ed. Stetzer, Mike Licona, & Tim McGrew. Kurt Jaros will be our host for the event and the best news of all: Free Chick-fil-A for lunch on Saturday.

Confirmed break-out speakers: Stetzer, Licona, McGrew, Jaros, Cisco Cotto, Dr. Khaldoun Sweis, Dr. Corey Latta, & Gene Calderon.

Click here for the Facebook Event to invite your friends!

Tentative Schedule:
Friday, Aug 5
7:00 – 7:30pm – Kurt Jaros, “Mind the Gap: Solving Problems by Loving God”
7:30 – 8:00 – Ed Stetzer, “The State of the Mission Field and the Mission Force”
8:10 – 8:40 – Interview with Ed Stetzer
8:50 – 9:30 – Breakouts #1

Saturday, Aug 6
8:30 – 9:25am – Mike Licona, “The Historical Case for the Resurrection”
9:40 – 10:20 – Breakouts #2
10:35 – 11:25 – Tim McGrew, “Treasures Old & New: How Forgotten Works Enrich Contemporary Apologetics”
11:30 – 12:30pm – Chick-fil-a Lunch
12:45 – 1:25 – Breakouts #3
1:40 – 2:30 – Ed Stetzer, “The Receptivity of Apologetics”

If you have any questions about the event or registration, please contact: Events@DefendersMedia.com

Online registration will end on at 6pm on Friday, Aug 5th. Walk-ins are welcomed!

Breakout Sessions:

Breakout #1

Licona, “Are the Gospels Reliable?”

Sweis, “Persuasive Strategies to Reach a Secular Culture.”

Cotto, “Did God Create Us Or Did We Create Him?”

Breakout #2

Stetzer, “Not Just Admiring: How We Should Follow Jesus’s Comissions”

Jaros, “Help, My Daughter’s a Nestorian! What Is Christian Orthodoxy?”

Marshall, “15 Minutes to Dismantle Atheistic Accounts of Evolution”

Breakout #3

McGrew, “Undesigned Coincidences”

Licona, “Are there Contradictions in the Gospels?”

Calderon, “Comparing Christianity and Islam”

Ed Stetzer Circle

Dr. Ed Stetzer is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, a prolific author, and well-known conference and seminar leader. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Stetzer is the Senior Fellow of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He also serves as Visiting Professor of Research and Missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Visiting Research Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has taught at many other colleges and seminaries.

Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than one million individuals each week. Stetzer is also Executive Editor of Facts & Trends Magazine, a Christian leadership magazine with a circulation of more than 70,000 readers. Since 2012, Ed has hosted a weekly TV and radio program called The Exchange where he interviews some of Christianity’s top thinkers, authors, leaders, and pastors. In 2015, he began serving as the co-host of the BreakPoint This Week radio program with John Stonestreet.

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Dr. Mike Licona is associate professor of theology at Houston Baptist University and president of Risen Jesus, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Pretoria, which he earned with distinction and the highest mark. Mike was interviewed by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for the Real Jesus and appeared in Strobel’s video The Case for Christ. He is the author of numerous books including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Paul Meets Muhammad, co-author with Gary Habermas of the award-winning book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, and co-editor with William Dembski of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. His next book will concern ancient compositional devices resulting in discrepancies in the Gospels and Plutarch’s Lives. Mike is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has spoken on more than 70 university campuses and has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs.


Tim McGrewDr. Timothy McGrew is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University. A specialist in theory of knowledge, logic, probability theory, and the history and philosophy of science, Dr. McGrew has spoken at Oxford, MIT, and other universities as well as at many churches and seminaries across the United States and overseas. He has also engaged in public debates on the meaning of faith, the rationality of belief in miracles, and the historical reliability of the Gospels.

Dr. McGrew’s publications include papers in Mind, The Monist, Analysis, Erkenntnis, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, the article on “Evidence” in The Routledge Companion to Epistemology (Routledge, 2010), co-authorship of The Philosophy of Science: An Historical Anthology (Blackwell, 2009), co-authorship (with Lydia McGrew) of the article on “The Argument from Miracles” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (2009), and the article on “Miracles” for The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011).

Dr. McGrew is the project director for the Library of Historical Apologetics, the premier online resource connecting contemporary apologists to the apologetic resources of the past. From 2014-16 he has been the American director for a grant from the John Templeton Foundation on the subject of special divine action.

Dr. McGrew holds the title of National Master from the United States Chess Federation and won the Michigan Championship in 2006. He and his wife, Lydia McGrew, have been married for over 30 years, and they have three chess-playing daughters.


TKJ HeadshotKurt Jaros is the Founder of Defenders Media, an organization that supports Christian ministries which 1) offer a defense of the Christian worldview, 2) deliver the content in an attractive way through modern media, and 3) honor God through its biblically centered belief and practice.  He is currently a Ph.D. student at Highland Theological College in Dingwall, Scotland. His doctoral dissertation will look at the doctrine of Original Sin in the writings of monks from southern France in the 5th and 6thcentury. He holds two Masters degrees in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and Systematic Theology, from King’s College London.

He likes systematic and historical theology, philosophy of religion, and issues in Christian pop culture. His theological interests include theological anthropology, hamartiology, soteriology, divine providence, and other issues in Christian pop culture. Additionally, he enjoys political philosophy, economics, American political history and campaigns. He current resides in the suburbs of Chicago with his lovely wife and daughters.


Cisco Cotto is the Lead Pastor of Village Church of Oak Park, a church he and a team of people planted in 2011. He’s also a Chicago radio personality, having been heard for nearly 20 years on stations such WLS, WIND, WMAQ, Moody Radio and currently WBBM Newsradio. He earned a Master of Divinity from Moody Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He and his wife Anna live in Oak Park with their three children.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.34.41 PMKhaldoun  Sweis, PhD is former Chair and now Associate Professor of Philosophy at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago and serves as a tutor in philosophy with Oxford University in England.  He was born in Amman, Jordan.  Khaldoun holds a PhD in Philosophy of Mind from the University of Hull, UK. His experience entails teaching philosophy for over a decade as well as speaking at conferences both nationally and abroad such as Hong Kong,  Australia and England. He is has two books: Debating Christian Theism, co-edited with Chad Meister and JP Moreland (Oxford University Press, , 2013). And Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources co-edited with Chad Meister (Zondervan, 2011) He is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Evangelical Philosophical Society.   His greatest achievement is getting Luciana to marry him.  They have two precious children AnaKaterina Cosette and Daniel Zacharias.


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Perry Marshall is one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after business consultants. Clients seek his ability to integrate engineering, sales, mathematics, biology, art and psychology. He has launched two online revolutions. He pioneered many best practices in paid search and wrote the world’s best selling book on web advertising, Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. His book 80/20 Sales & Marketing is mandatory in many growing companies.Works also include bestseller Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising (Entrepreneur Press, 2nd Edition 2014), Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design (BenBella, 2015) and Industrial Ethernet (ISA, 3rd Edition 2016). In 2015 he launched the Evolution 2.0 Prize, which seeks to solve Origin of Information, one of the great unsolved problems of biology.
Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.53.37 PMGene has been passionate about Biblical studies, apologetics, and Jewish history & culture with an opportunity to share this passion through the ministry of Ratio Christi. In 2004, he partnered in a church plant in the city of East Chicago, IN. There, he was given the opportunity to teach studies, offer monthly seminars, lead small groups, preach, and do outreaches. In 2012 he attended Cross-Examine’s Instructors Academy (CIA) hosted by Dr.Frank Turek, giving presentations to Greg Koukl, Ted Wright and J.T. Bridges.  It was at this event where I was introduced to Ratio Christi and soon afterward became the chapter director for Ratio Christi at Purdue University Northwest (Calumet Campus).




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