The conference opened Wednesday with a keynote address by Jerry Walls, philosophy professor and scholar-in-residence at Houston Baptist University.
In addition to the keynote, Walls served on a panel discussion that focused on the enduring legacy of C.S. Lewis as a Christian intellectual and also offered the final lecture, which focused on the topic of Calvinism specifically in relation to the work of author and theologian John Piper.
“I hope what came out of [the conference] was people understanding more deeply the goodness of God. That’s really been at the heart of my work in terms of the way I’ve thought about hell, the way that I’ve thought about Calvinism and now the stuff I’m doing in moral philosophy,” Walls said.
Walls had pervious connections with faculty coordinators and assistant professors of theology Joshua Rasmussen and Adam Greene.
Rasmussen pitched the idea for an undergraduate philosophy conference upon beginning his first academic year at Azusa Pacific in fall 2013.
“The donor has a passion for the legacy of C.S. Lewis, and so we wanted to honor that donor’s value,” Rasmussen said of the selection of the event’s focus.
The conference also included six presentations of student papers. According to department coordinator Laura Smith Webb, student chairs and commentators reviewed papers and provided commentary at each presentation. These presentations were then followed by rebuttals.
According to the department’s Call for Papers, undergraduate students were invited to submit work on a philosophical or theological topic of interest.
The papers were blind-reviewed by a panel of 10 students who read and critiqued each submission, according to Webb. The top six were selected for presentations, and the top three were awarded $100 each.
Paper submissions were not limited to APU students. In fact, one winner was a student from UCLA and another presenter was a student from UC Riverside.