Featured Artists and Speakers

Guest Scholar:  Dr. Richard Weikart

Senior Fellow for the Discovery Institute, author of From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in GermanyRichard Weikart is professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.  He has been a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ since 1974. He is the author of six books, including The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life (2016) and Hitler’s Religion (2016). To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, he recently filmed a documentary in Germany and Switzerland on “Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany,” which will be released on youtube and vimeo around September 15.  He has been interviewed for five previous documentaries, including Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  His work has been featured in numerous Christian publications and dozens of radio shows.

Festival topics:

Title: Why Ideas Are Important: Reflections on the Value of Truth

Description: In this talk I will share some personal reflections about how I became interested in the history of ideas and earned a doctorate in intellectual history.  Ideas are crucial in shaping our culture, and we as Christians need to embrace the truth in love.

Title: The Death of Humanity: Are Humans Intrinsically Valuable or a Cosmic Accident?

Description: This talk is based on my book, _The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life_, which shows how secular ideologies since the Enlightenment have eroded the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic, giving rise to abortion, infanticide, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia.  I point out the inconsistencies in secular thought and suggest that Christianity provides answers that make sense of our understanding of the value of human life.

Title: Darwinism and the Death of Humanity: Does Darwinism Devalue Human Life?

Description: As I explain in _The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life_, many secular thinkers, such as Peter Singer and Jerry Coyne, claim that Darwinism shows us that we as humans are nothing special; we are just animals.  Further, Darwinism emphasizes the struggle for existence, which means that humans are in a life-or-death competition. Historically Darwinism helped spawn the eugenics movement and the euthanasia movement.

Title: Hitler’s Religion

Description: Many atheists claim that Christianity is responsible for the Holocaust, and part of their argument is that Hitler was a Christian.  In my book, _Hitler’s Religion_, and in this talk, I examine the evidence for Hitler’s alleged Christianity and demonstrate that he was decidedly anti-Christian.  However, he was not an atheist, but rather a pantheist who worshipped nature.  He believed that we as humans should conform our lives to the laws of nature, especially the Darwinian struggle for existence.

Title: Intellectuals Divorcing God from the Real World: Confronting the Fact-Value Dichotomy

Description: Many thinkers today think that faith, religion, and morality are all subjective and have no contact with the real, empirical world.  They consider science and reason, on the other hand, the path to true knowledge about the real world.  Some call this the fact-value dichotomy.  I examine how this way of thinking arose and challenge its assumptions.

462425_602241309786464_1560719283_oPerforming! Alma, musician. In a culture that encourages us to airbrush our lives with Instagram filters and clever status updates, the emerging voice of pop/soul artist Alma is challenging this generation to pause and self-reflect. For her, understanding and conquering problems begins with asking “why?” and ultimately “what next?” Alma aims to kickstart this dialogue through her songwriting, most often by being upfront about her own shortcomings.

Follow her on Facebook & Twitter.




Speaking! Bernard D. Bull, PhD is Chief Innovation Officer, Assistant Vice President of Academics and Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is the author of Missional Moonshots: Insight and Inspiration in Educational Innovation (website), What Really Matters? Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, and Adventures in Self-Directed Learning: Nurturing Learner Agency and Ownership. He is also editor of The Pedagogy of Faith. In addition to blogging on topics related to educational innovation at Etale.org and hosting the MoonshotEduShow Podcast, he has written for a variety of publications including The Homeschool Handbook, The Chronicle of Higher Education, TechTrends, and Issues in Christian Education. Bernard is an educational consultant and keynote speaker whose work takes him around the United States, and to places like Hong Kong, Vietnam, Australia, Slovkia, and Italy. Follow him on Twitter.

Festival topic:

Title: Faith, Relationships, and the Robotic Moment
Description: In Genesis, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Humans are fundamentally relational beings, created to be in relationship with God and others. Yet, we now find ourselves in an age where many are invited to consider alternative ways to feed our yearning for relationship with God and other people. In movies like the Terminator series, the Robotic Moment represents that time in history when robots gain dominance over humans, but perhaps the true robotic moment is when humans prefer relationships with technologies over rich, risky, messy, sometimes difficult, and authentic relationships with other humans. In this presentation, Bernard Bull offers insight into and examples of the developing world of robotics in life and work. This presentation will include a reflection on spiritual implications, an examination of the risks, a call to prayerful consideration and wise action, as well as an invitation to join in creating coherent narrative apologies for the value of human interaction and relationships in a growing world of technological substitutes.

10649835_949189351764285_3147583835726124020_nPerforming! Alyssa Catlin, classical guitarist. Alyssa’s past accomplishments include being featured on the NPR show, “From the Top,” placing first at the American String Teacher’s Association Competition, participating in master classes with many incredible musicians in the classical guitar world such as Pepe Romero, Ana Vidovic, Jason Vieaux, Scott Tenant, William Kanengiser, Martha Masters, Jorge Morel, and Manuel Barrueco, winning first place at the Mid-America Guitar Camp competition, featuring in the Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, and placing in several other local and national contests.

She studied with the renowned guitarist, John McClellan, at Webster University, where she obtained her degree in classical guitar performance. Follow her on Facebook.


468519_647414838606745_1825489160_oSpeaking! Joseph Courtemanche, author of Assault on Saint Agnes (website), is a former Police Officer and certified Middle East, North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy and is an Arabic linguist with training at The University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate.) His linguistic and intelligence experience include multiple deployments to surface, submarine, and land based intelligence collection platforms. Joseph holds several military awards including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the Thriller genre. He is a graduate of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges. He holds the Expert Pistol Marksman medal, Good Conduct medal, Sea Service ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Citation from the United States Navy and is a Life Member of the NRA.

Joseph writes his novels from a Christian perspective with the gritty realism that modern readers demand. His recently published Assault on Saint Agnes won the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award for best unpublished novel in the mystery/suspense/thriller category, Second Place in the prestigious Athanatos Christian Ministries 2013 Christian Novel Contest, and was a 2013 Final Five Finalist in the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.

Festival topics:

Realistic weapons in fiction – Don’t be a Google Commando
The mundane benefits of good writing

Performing! Talespinner & Troubadour, Darrin Crow (website) is a storyteller from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Storytelling has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember, whether it was listening to his aunts, uncles and grandparents talking about farming and coal mining in Iowa or immersing himself in Jules Verne and Tolkien up in his tree house. As a high school student he began volunteering at a living history museum. Here he found that he could use his love of telling stories to put people in touch with their heritage in a way they had not experienced before. In college he studied interpretive speech, and after college he worked as an actor and itinerant storyteller in Pennsylvania and Florida. In 1999 he returned to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has been telling stories ever since. Over the last decade he has honed his craft by telling stories across the area in settings from church basements to major outdoor festivals.

Festival stories:

City of Refuge- Finding a Home and Freedom in Pella, Iowa
In the spring of 1847, 800 Dutch Christians set sail for America. They were bound for the new state of Iowa in search of freedom to worship God without interference from the State. Follow them on their journey to Pella, their City of Refuge.
Feathered Pigs, Pet Squirrels, and Assorted Varmints: American Folk Tales

God gave us imaginations, and one of the best places to exercise them is in the world of American Folk Tales. Come and take a ride on the great steamboat Galusha, help Jack get rid of the Varmints, and generally get silly.

Follow him on Facebook.

Speaking! Lynn Fredrick has a B.A. in theology and psychology, 1980, from Minnesota Bible College, now known as Cross Roads Bible College, in Rochester, MN. Lynn has been married to his best friend Terry for nine years. They have a total of four adult children and ten grandchildren.

Lynn is an elder with the First Church of Christ fellowship in the northern Wisconsin community of Ladysmith. He is semi-retired to a small organic farm and enjoys living in God’s earthly garden. With twenty-four years of sobriety from a twenty-eight year addiction to pornography, Lynn is a speaker and author dedicated to sharing his story in the hope to help people escape the destroying fire of pornography and other sexual addiction.

Performing! Hallel is a musical project born in the heart of an intentional Christian community on the northside of Chicago, Jesus People USA.  It is the union of two worlds, two generations full of passion with an intention to share the experience of a real God.

Hallel means praise and is comprised of Adri Arango and Aracely Bock. Ardri is on vocals, piano and keyboards.  Aracely also does vocals and plays acoustic and electric guitars. Adri became a follower of Christ and found her calling in music and praise ministry a little more than ten years ago while studying with Campus Crusade for Christ. Aracely has journeyed with the Father through the valleys of cancer to the top of the mountain of the birth of her youngest son into the blended family she has raised alongside her husband of 21 years. Adri and Aracely are both missionaries with an intentional Christian Community called Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church. They are eager to join you to discover God’s grace together.

Check them out:

Speaking! Anthony Horvath, PhD, author of The Warden Watch (website), is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, a ministry dedicated to defending and promoting the Christian faith through the arts, as much as through arguments and evidence. He is the author of numerous works, the publisher of many others, a speaker, author, and advocate for life issues.

Anthony is the founder of and an author with Bard and Book Publishing. See his latest releases with Bard and Book. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

Festival Topic:  “Join the Side You’re On.”  — If you have that nagging feeling that society has cooled significantly to Christ and to Christians, you are right to be concerned.  American society is increasingly hostile to Christianity.  Many people have come to the belief that we are where we are because of the media, Hollywood, etc.  This just so happens to be what Athanatos Ministries believes, too.  Will you join them in their efforts?  This is a call to Christians to commit to promoting and defending the Christian faith through the arts in our culture.


Speaking! Joe Keysor is currently teaching English at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh. He has also taught in Oman and China. He was born in 1952 in Evanston, Illinois, and had a master’s degree in adult education from Northern Illinois University. Joe has a special interest in the relationship between Christianity and the Holocaust.

Festival topic:

Title: Another Holocaust? Some thoughts on the differences and similarities between the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and the ongoing Holocaust of the unborn.

Description: The powers of evil that animated the Third Reich did not disappear in 1945 – have they reappeared in our own day in a new guise to wreak yet more carnage in the name of a false philosophy that is antithetical to God and to human life?


Speaking! Steven Massey is a Lutheran pastor who has served churches inside and outside the United States.  He was a missionary in Guatemala and Jamaica and served churches in Peoria, IL, Manhattan, NY, Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ, and St. Johns, MI.  He and his wife, Jill adopted Marco from Guatemala, .  After nearly 13 years of marriage, Jill died suddenly from a brain aneurysm.  Marco was just shy of 6 at the time.  Due to responsibilities to the church and his son, Massey did not grieve properly.  This left him with complicated grief.  This led him to step down from the church he was serving.  This led to either more depression.  One day when he said that he had had enough, he decided to give his grief a voice.  Songs from the Pit is the result of that endeavor.

www.SongsFromThePit.com | Buy on Amazon

Festival topic:

Title: Songs from the Pit
Description: Massey will share his grief journey twith some of his poems and how God’s goodness led his through this dark passage of his life.

Head ShotSpeaking! Luke Mielke, of “Out of Da Box” Improv Group (see logo and bio below) – Professor of Media at Maranatha Baptist University. Luke Mielke started his journey in film in elementary school and pursued the media world ever since. Film and video were not his original passion, but as he sought God’s will, it became clear in college God gifted him with a desire and talent in media with an extra strong desire for film. While in college Luke founded FuZion Videos which focused on making videos for small businesses and non-profits. Upon completion of his college degree from Maranatha Baptist Bible College (now Maranatha Baptist University), he transitioned onto the staff at Maranatha. Within two years he began teaching part time at the college, and within another year married Krista Mielke. In 2016 he graduated with an MFA in Motion Pictures and Television with an emphasis on Film Directing from Academy Art University. FuZion Videos, now also offering web design, marketing strategy, and soon to be released video and app based Sunday School curriculum called SYNC, has grown into more than a side business, so the Luke recently gave up the staff work at Maranatha to pursue FuZion Videos more. The first official short film produced by FuZion Videos was released in July of 2016. Plans are to create films regularly from feature length, to shorts, to mini-shorts. These will all challenge the viewers toward Christ. Luke’s passion is to impact the world through the language of media as he believes Christ would have done if media had existed in His time on earth. Luke’s slogan is WWJT, What Would Jesus Tweet.

Festival topics:

Title: Christians and Media
Description: In a world inundated with media, how can we as Christians use it and not be controlled by it.

Title: How to Make a Book Marketing Strategy
Description: How to choose the right marketing strategy for you, your budget, and your target audience.

Title: Film: Entertainment or Ministry
Description: Reclaiming visual storytelling to impact the world.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | YouTube | Vimeo

Speaking! Tim Mielke of Milky Way Photography (website) will be presenting Dust to Life, the Visual Gospel, on using photography as a tool to spread the gospel. After graduating from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in 2006, Tim and his wife started Milky Way Photography, a freelance wedding and portrait business. Pillsbury offered him a position teaching photography while pursuing a photography graduate degree. In the fall of 2008, he began his MFA Photography degree at the Academy of Art University. In 2009 the Lord graciously allowed him to be employed by Maranatha Baptist University to teach photography and videography. In 2011, he completed his MA in Multimedia Communications while taking three photography classes. In 2017, he completed his MFA Photography degree. Now he is happy to be growing further in his photography abilities and is confident that he is a better teacher for his students and the Lord’s glory. View his curriculum vitae.

Festival topic:
Title: Sharing the Truth through Art

Description: Crafting God created light, photography is capable of conveying the truths in Scripture more effectively than the written word alone. Learn about the photographic art journey, Dust to Life, visualizing the gospel of Jesus Christ as told through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. My goal is to encourage believers to meditate on the ancient truths of the Scriptures in a personally relevant, contemporary context. My prayer is that our artistic exploration may also help others to know the loving God, the Author of light, in a personal and eternal relationship.

Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Performing! MPK Christian Celtic Band is a delicious blend of Scottish Culture. You’ll savor a musical experience not soon forgotten!  Toe tapping traditional Scottish fiddle tunes with a little Irish thrown in for good seasoning, Highland dancing, our own original songs and a few history lessons await your senses. Our concerts have a positive message for the whole family.”

Follow them on Facebook & Twitter!



Speaking! Paul Daniel Larson yielded his life to Christ as a child and thereafter pursued study in various fields. Prior to completing a degree in music performance (BM, 2005), Paul played in jazz groups, performed for charity events, and gave three full piano concerts, featuring work of Liszt, Beethoven, and Chopin, respectively. After completing degrees in accounting (BS 2005; MS 2006) and obtaining his Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor designations (CPA 2006; CIA 2007), Paul studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, completing master’s degrees in divinity (M. Div., 2009) and philosophy of religion (MA, 2010). He then completed a PhD in New Testament Language, Literature, and theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2014). Starting in 2008, Paul began giving memorized word-for-word recitations of at least almost all of different books of the New Testament, sometimes acting out the story as one-mean theater. Within a span of five years, he had given a recitation of at least almost all of every book of the English New Testament, in some cases incorporating the piano while reciting. Paul then expanded his recitation to text(s) in Spanish and Portuguese.

After returning to the US, Paul founded the evangelistic and apologetics ministry Credible Faith and began an ongoing educational process of coding, database management, graphic design, web design, 3D animation and rendering, podcast production, and video production, all with the aim of reaching the culture through the visual and auditory arts. Some of Paul’s writing and audio-visual material can be accessed in English, Portuguese, and Spanish at www.CredibleFaith.org, www.FeCrivel.org, and www.FeCreible.org. Paul currently resides in Illinois and is blessed to be the uncle of ten nephews and one niece.

Follow Credible Faith on Facebook and follow Paul on Twitter.

Festival topics:

Can Other Theories Explain Away the Resurrection?
How Can a good God Allow So Much Pain, Suffering, and Evil? And why a God who wants to save sinners must permit horrendous evils

Performing! Emily Roig (website).  Emily Roig is a soulful, indie-pop singer-songwriter based out of Nashville, Tennessee. She has released several albums and songs, including her most recent single “Skin” inspired by the Michael Brown shooting that took place in her hometown of St. Louis. Emily is influenced by the raw vocals of artists like Joni Mitchell and Florence Welch, the playful pop of Ingrid Michaelson, and the soulful sounds found in church music.




Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Picture Yourself:

…born Muslim, in a strict family and living in a hard country like Iraq, soaked in blood and fire.  How will you grasp God and accept him? Find love and embrace happiness?  What will you do when you encounter ISIS, the radical Islamic group who has infiltrated your community?

Salah spent his life looking for a way out of his community conventionalisms.  His father’s law of life was, “You can’t change anything in your life.” But, Salah is different.  He will change his life forever.

He launches a quest, racing the black dragon of ISIS and its subordinates with their evil flag, before they swallow up his new life and his love, Vivian.  Will he be able to find her and then find a way out?

GHAZWAN SAAID was born in Mosel, Iraq in 1970.  He quit his job as an architect and started a humanitarian organization, working for many years among refugees and displaced people who were victims of the religious and sectarian conflict in Iraq. This is where he started to see the world in a different way. Amid all the cruel barbarity of religious practices around him, he discovered the will to write. He wrote books and articles about his travels and poems, all in Arabic; English is his third language. In 2014, after ISIS invaded Iraq and Syria, he fled the country, coming to live in America with his family.

Facebook | Author Page on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

DebbieThompsonSpeaking! Debbie Thompson – Writing Contest and Workshop Coordinator and ACM Representative. Debbie is a book reviewer for Northwestern Publishing House and a Christian Book Club leader. A graduate with a BA from Concordia College, Ann Arbor she is the mother of two home school graduates. Her experiences have primed her to be a valuable contributor to ACM’s curriculum efforts and ‘literary apologetics’ programs. She is a judge for ACM’s Christian writing contest, a volunteer staffer, and a Writing and Homeschool Coach.

Festival topic: 

Title: Reading, Writing, and Apologetics
Description: This session is an introduction to the ideas presented in ACM’s online Apologetics course: Literary-Interpreter Apologist -Christianity mirrored in Great (or even average) literature.

The goal of this course is to go beyond enjoying the story on its own as a story and to think about it through Christian eyes, more specifically, to see how it comments on typical Apologetic issues. In the process, we will develop into Literary Interpreter- Apologists, honing our skills to be translators from the experience of fiction to its Christian impact, while not neglecting the sheer beauty of the words and stucture of the work.


Speaking! Dylan Thompson is an inorganic chemist by training, with a B.S. in chemistry from Hillsdale College and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University. Although credentialed in chemistry, he has great affection for the written word, especially in novels. He writes short stories and is working on a science fiction novel. He is also a judge in the ACM annual novel contest. Dr. Thompson is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Concordia University Wisconsin, in Mequon WI. Dylan is also an Athanatos novel contest judge and would be happy to discuss/consult informally with anyone with questions.

Festival topic:

Title: ‘Truth, Beauty, and Inorganic Chemistry’
Description: Exploring why the Church needs more scientists (and the sciences need more Christians).