Apologetics student conference 2023

Apologetics and Worldviews Student Conference 2023

Student Apologetics and Wordviews Conference

Bringing Truth and Compassion to the Transgenderism Debate

Hosted at Bethany Lutheran College on March 18, 2023
Sponsored by the Center for Apologetics and Worldviews

Presentation Summaries

Reality’s Edges and God’s Good Words That Lovingly Define Them / Rev. Jonathan Conner, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Manning, Iowa

Reality has edges. Of the many things that divide our age, this truth stands at the center. How we regard reality’s edges (whether we believe we shape the edges or that the edges shape us, i.e. whether we believe the creature comes before the Creator or vice versa) affects how we define identity, how we show love, how we do theology, how we formulate policy, how we educate, and so much more. Confessing Christians acknowledge that God’s good words (especially those in Scripture’s opening creation chapters, but also His recreating words in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) lovingly define reality’s edges for us so that we (the creatures) can honor the edges as we live and love in line with them. Pastor Conner will help us appreciate the gift of the edges for our identity formation as he equips us to engage other people in meaningful and compassionate conversations on the identity-focused issues of our day.

Caring for the Transgender Child / Dr. Beverly Yahnke, Executive Director for Christian Care, DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel

What does it mean to be compassionate to children who identify themselves as transgender? Does compassion mean acceptance? What, exactly, is transgenderism, and why has it become so prevalent in recent years? Dr. Yahnke will summarize the medical facts concerning biological sex and gender identity. She also will identify biblical responsibilities that we each have toward God and toward our neighbors. Her presentation will conclude with practical recommendations for addressing transgenderism in homes, churches, and schools. College students will benefit immediately from the aspects that apply to their lives today, and they will benefit in the long-run from the lessons that can be applied in their future careers as teachers, counselors, pastors, and the like.

Encountering Transgenderism across the Curriculum / Mrs. Joy Pullmann, Executive Editor, The Federalist

Educational standards and curricula across the nation are shifting in response to the latest phase in the sexual revolution: transgenderism. Leading scholarly organizations and graduate schools in nearly every academic discipline have modified their mission and core values to embrace the new norm. Recent policy reforms in Minnesota could directly impact students majoring in education as well as the future children of other students who likely will enroll in public schools in the future. Parochial schools are also addressing the changing climate. Find out what is being taught, who has planned the curriculum, and how it will impact you, both now and in the years to come.

About the Speakers

Pastor Jonathan Conner (husband to Rebecca and father of six children) loves words—words like propitiation (see 1 John 4:10), splagchnizomai (see “compassion” in Luke 15:10), and chesed (see “steadfast love” in Exodus 34:6). Those words will put fire in your veins. Reading this biographic paragraph about Pastor Conner’s 18 years as a parish pastor in western Iowa, along with the numerous boards and committees on which he has served, conferences at which he has spoken, articles he’s written, and master’s degrees that he has earned (Concordia Seminary St. Louis and Biola University) will turn your blood to sludge and your brain to mush. So stop reading about Pastor Conner and go spend some time with Genesis 1, or 1 Corinthians 15, or Luke 15, or John 1, or Isaiah 11 or 35. Chew on these words. Crunch them in your teeth. Drink them as espresso for your soul. Slam them as Jolt for your mind. Ingest words that matter. And then confess them in your church, family, and beyond.

Dr. Beverly Yahnke is a clinical psychologist serving DOXOLOGY, a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS, dedicated to providing care, counsel and advanced instruction for Lutheran pastors and their parishes, here and abroad. From 2010-2015 she served as Chair and Professor of Psychology at Concordia University Wisconsin. Previously, Dr. Yahnke spent over 20 years in private practice serving church workers and their families in the clinical group she founded in Milwaukee. Dr. Yahnke has written numerous articles about psychology, education and faith, and is a frequently invited speaker for clergy and educator conferences. Concordia Theological Seminary has awarded her with the Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Honoris Causa and she currently serves as a member of the seminary’s Board of Regents.

Mrs. Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. She is the author of several books, including The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, from Encounter Books. Mrs. Pullmann is also a grateful graduate of the Hillsdale College honors and journalism programs.


Reality’s Edges and God’s Good Words That Lovingly Define Them – Rev. Jonathan Conner

Caring for the Transgender Child – Dr. Beverly Yahnke

Encountering Transgenderism across the Curriculum – Mrs. Joy Pullmann

Bringing Truth and Compassion to the Transgenderism Debate – Panel Discussion – Dr. Ryan MacPherson, Rev. Jonathan Conner, Dr. Beverly Yahnke, Mrs. Joy Pullmann

Photos from the event

Apologetics Student Conference 2023