September 29, 2015
Southern Evangelical Seminary Plans Special Event on Oct. 15 Featuring Panel of Archeologists and Explorers Who Will Seek to Answer This Age-Old Question
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—For years, a discovery on Mount Ararat in Turkey has caused the archeological world, biblical scholars and Christians alike to clamor for more information about the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.
To answer some of the questions about this potentially significant discovery, Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES,www.ses.edu) is helping coordinate a special event on the evening of Oct. 15, a day before the kickoff of the 22nd annualNational Conference on Christian Apologetics, hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 16-17.
SES co-founder Dr. Norman Geisler will make introductions at the Noah’s Ark event, also hosted at Calvary. A Turkish local who first discovered the ancient wooden structure will travel to the U.S. specifically to talk about the finding.
Mount Ararat, specifically mentioned in the biblical account of the ark, is located in eastern Turkey and is called “The Painful Mountain,” lying at the center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot. The risky and rough terrain is the tallest mountain in the region.
Some scholars and researchers believe the structure found at that mountain could be Noah’s Ark—a faith-driven building project that allowed God to save a cross-section of humanity and start over through Noah and his family.
“With multitudes of Christian scholars gathered together for the upcoming Southern Evangelical Seminary apologetics conference, these timely presentations on October 15 will undoubtedly generate further, informed conversation about this exploration and research,” said SES President Dr. Richard Land. “SES has always been a place where ideas are explored, and this special evening will present two sides—ideas from those who believe this discovery is indeed Noah’s Ark, along with others who are more skeptical.”
More than five years ago, Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI) explored the remains of a massive wooden structure buried beneath volcanic rock and ice on Mount Ararat. The remains were found at 4,000 meters above sea level, and researchers say the wood dates back about 4,800 years.
Since then, many have tried to both prove and disprove that the remains are indeed Noah’s Ark. The event next month will feature several expert presenters, who will give reasons for and against the probability that these might indeed be remains from the ark.
Among them will be Philip Ernest Williams, who will present the results of his investigation of charges that this discovery was based on a fabrication, new video of subsequent visits to the site since the 2010 announcement, a report on his efforts to seek American scientific involvement, details of his own visit to the site last fall and the announcement of a newly formed Mount Ararat Discovery Foundation that will sponsor further investigation.
Williams learned early in his career to routinely question fellow experts as he helped move the worldwide telecommunications network from the electromechanical to the digital age. Following retirement in 1990 from the software company he founded, Williams applied his hard-nosed skepticism and paradigm-questioning approach to unravel what he sees as a currently muddled view of mankind’s prehistory.
Understanding that grave errors in the foundations of prevailing theory give rise to unnecessarily complex and ineffective technologies, Williams suspected that the same problem might be responsible for the current situation in prehistory. He wondered how the data of prehistory might look if actually examined in the light of the early history of mankind found in the book of Genesis. Uncovering many grave errors in the foundations of current prehistory, he discovered that the account of early mankind depicted in the early chapters of Genesis precisely and far more simply explains the extra-biblical evidence.
As he was publishing his 20-year research as “The Archaeological Evidence of Noah’s Flood,” Williams heard about NAMI’s April 2010 report about what appeared to be archaeological evidence of Noah’s Ark. Though the report was immediately engulfed in controversy, Williams investigated the charges of hoax, finding them baseless. He assisted NAMI in presenting its findings to U.S. audiences and in seeking American scientific involvement with the discovery.
Williams serves as director of the New Beginnings Foundation, a tiny inner-city mission in Charlotte, N.C., aimed at ecumenical cooperation with other ministries. He continues to use his system expertise to assist natives of developing nations in the development of infrastructure for their impoverished rural communities.
Joining Williams will be Turkish local Ahmet Ertugrul, better known to the world as Parasut, the discoverer of the wooden structure that NAMI announced to the world in 2010. Born near Mount Ararat, Parasut grew up acquainting visitors with local culture. This famous explorer from Turkey has hosted visitors from every nation, speaks fluent Turkish, Kurdish, English and Farsi, and has a moderate proficiency in French, German and Russian. Generations of Parasut’s ancestors lived in a village on Mount Ararat, and from childhood, he heard stories of visits to an ancient ship visible at certain times on the mountain but eventually becoming buried by rocks that constantly fall there.
Fascinated by their accounts, Parasut trained to become a mountain climber and tourist guide. Serving as a guide for Ark Searchers, Parasut devoted himself to locating and uncovering the ancient ship that his ancestors had often visited. He came to the attention of the world in Bruce Feiler’s 2001 New York Times bestseller, “Walking the Bible.”
When not taking archaeologists and documentary makers to the famous site, Parasut busies himself constructing Noah’s Village, a visitor center and museum complex, complete with hotels, cabins, and restaurants planned to accommodate visitors expected to be drawn to the famous mountain by his remarkable discovery.
To round out the panel, an official representative from the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) has also been invited to the event to present and field questions. While paid registration is required for the conference on Oct. 16-17, the Noah’s Ark event on Thursday night is free.
The discovery is also getting the attention of the entertainment industry, with the new feature-length documentary film “Finding Noah” set to be released in theaters nationwide on Oct. 8. Narrated by Academy Award winner Gary Sinise, “Finding Noah” follows a team of explorers and archeologists as they navigate harsh conditions in Turkey in a quest to find the ark.
“‘Finding Noah’ captivatingly displays the risk and reward of every great adventure,” Sinise says on the ‘Finding Noah’ web site at www.findingnoah.com. “I am very happy to have contributed to this cinematic exploration of man’s will and determination to discover.”
The theme of SES’s 2015 conference is “Ideas Have Consequences: The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Consequence.” In addition to Land, confirmed speakers include Josh McDowell, Michael Brown, Ryan Anderson, Frank Turek, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Norman Geisler, Paige Patterson, Derwin Gray, Gary Habermas and Richard Howe, along with many others. To register, visit conference.ses.edu/registration.
Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.
Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.” The radio feature airs on more than 300 stations, including the American Family Radio Network, Bott Radio Network and HeavenRadio.org. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, debuted in January on the NRB Network, and airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For more information about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.
Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”
Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.
Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”
For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.
Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The accredited Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.