Dr Matthew Flannagan is a theologian with proficiency in contemporary analytic philosophy. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, a Masters (with First Class Honours) and a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of Waikato; he also holds a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute.
His area of expertise is Divine Command Meta-Ethics, Applied Ethics, Bio-Ethics, Old Testament Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Law, Critical Thinking and Apologetics. He has formally debated Dr Zoe During (formerly of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand), Dr Bill Cooke (then President of the New Zealand Association of Rationalist Humanists) and Dr Raymond Bradley (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland). Matt regularly participates in local and international conferences, panel discussions and public lectures.
Matt served as President of the University of Waikato Students Union in 1999 and has been involved in both the running and leadership of several campus groups and charitable Christian organisations. He is currently involved in the running of Thinking Matters Auckland.
Matt is theologically conservative and is a member of Massey Presbyterian Church, for whom he occasionally preaches. He is currently working part-time as a teaching pastor and youth group leader for Takanini Church of Christ; he also contracts as a Legal Analyst for Coast Legal. Married to Madeleine, with whom he writes for MandM, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, researching, keeping fit and being outdoors.
Matt is seeking full-time academic employment in either Philosophy or Theology or as a Religious Education, Critical Thinking or Philosophy teacher in the secondary sector and will consider vacancies anywhere in the world; his curriculum vitae is available on request.
Publications and Conference Papers
Works in Progress
The Problem of the Canaanites, co-author Paul Copan.
“Abortion and Virtue Theory: A Response to Rosalind Hursthouse” in Mike Austin Ed Applied Virtue Ethics: An Anthology.
“Should we Teach Evolution in Public Schools?”
“Challenges in Teaching Religious Education.”
“The Paradox of Public Education in the Religion in Public Life Debate.”
The Alexandrian Argument against Feticide: A Contemporary Defence.
Thinking Matters: An Introduction to Critical Thinking.
“A Response to the Exclusionist Position on Religion and Public Life,” co-author Madeleine Flannagan.
“God and the Moral Law in C. S. Lewis” proceedings of the Theological Perspectives on C S Lewis Conference (Wipf and Stock, 2013).
“Is Ethical Naturalism more Plausible than Supernaturalism? A Response to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong” (Philo 2013).
“Some Reflections on the Ethics of Yahweh Wars” Old Testament ‘Holy War’ and Christian Morality: Perspectives and Prospects, co-authored with Paul Copan, edited by Jeremy Evans, Heath Thomas and Paul Copan (IVP Academic, 2013).
“Does the Bible Condone Genocide? Biblical Reliability and the Canaanite Massacre” In Defense of the Bible a Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture co-authored with Paul Copan, edited by Steven B. Cowan and Terry L. Wilder (B&H Academic, 2013).
“The Euthyphro Dilemma and Divine-Command Theory: Naturalistic Misperceptions and Distortions” The Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Reasonability, edited by Paul Copan and Charles Taliaferro (2013).
“Feticide, the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint” Westminster Theological Journal (Vol 74, No. 1 – Spring 2012).
“Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil” Philosophia Christi (Winter 2012).
“Did God Command Canaanite Genocide?” Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics, edited by Paul Copan and William Lane Craig (B&H Academic, April 2012).
True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism, edited by Tom Gilson, Carson Weitnauer (Patheos Press, 9 March 2012)
“Practical Hermeneutics: Stoning Adulterers” Christian Research Journal Nov/Dec 2011.
“Book Review of John W Loftus, Ed, The Christian Delusion” Philosophia Christi (Vol 13, no 1, Summer 2011) 231.
“Defending Divine Commands” Dialogue November, 2011.
“Effective Evangelism: Was Israel Commanded to Commit Genocide?” co-authored with Paul Copan, Christian Research Journal (Sept/Oct 2011).
“Old Testament Ethics” Lexham Bible Dictionary, with Paul Copan (2011).
“Book Review of John Loftus, Ed, The Christian Delusion” Philosophia Christi (Vol. 13, no. 1, Summer 2011) 231.
“The Premature Dismissal of Voluntarism” Colloquium: The Australian and New Zealand Theological Review (November 2010).
“John W Loftus on the Christian Illusion of Moral Superiority” in John Loftus’ Why I Became an Atheist Refuted, Tekton E-Block Online Journal (special edition, 2009).
“Boonin’s Defense of the Sentence Criteria: A Critique” Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics, 25:2 (2009) 95-106.
“Abortion and Capital Punishment: A Response to Beverley Harrison” Think: A Periodical of the Royal Institute for Philosophy, 21 (2009) 99-103.
“Abortion and Capital Punishment: No Contradiction” Think: A Periodical of the Royal Institute for Philosophy, 16 (2008) 87-92.
“Peter Singer, Human Dignity and Infanticide” a paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Milwaukee (14-16 November 2012).
“Love” a contribution to a panel discussion with Doug Geivett, Michael W Austin, Mary-Jo Sharp, Cristan Mehu, Madeleine Flannagan on Being Good: Christian Virtues for Everyday Life edited by Doug Geivett and Michael W Austin at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Milwaukee (14-16 November 2012). [Invited]
“Can Traditional Theism Provide an Adequate Foundation for Morality? A Reply to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s Critique of William Lane Craig” a paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, San Francisco (16-18 November 2011).
“Can God Command Evil? The Problem of Apparently Immoral Commands” a paper presented to the Apologetics Conference of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, San Francisco (17-19 November 2011).
“Blogging a Short-Cut to Peer Review: How to do it Effectively” co-authored with Madeleine Flannagan, a paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, San Francisco 19-22 November 2011.
“Is Ethical Naturalism more plausible than Supernaturalism? A Reply to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong” a paper presented to the Naturalisms in Ethics Conference, Auckland University (14-15 July 2011).
“Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on Divine Commands: A Critique” a paper presented to the Australasian Philosophy of Religion Association, Auckland University (16-17 July 2011).
“God and the Genocide of the Canaanites” a paper presented to the Conference of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Atlanta, Georgia (November 2010).
“Old Testament Ethics and Divine Commands” a contribution to a panel discussion with Paul Copan, Richard Hess & Randal Rauser presented to the Conference of the Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia (November 2010).
“Abortion, Harm and Eschatology” a paper presented to the Conference of the Systematic Theology Association in Aotearoa New Zealand, Ponsonby Baptist Church, Auckland (19-20 November, 2009).
Does Evolution Make Belief in God Untenable? An Examination of the Common Arguments” a paper presented to the Faithful Science: Just How Well Do Science and Faith Get Along? Conference of the Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa, Northcote Baptist Church, Auckland (1 August 2009).
“God and the Moral Law in C. S. Lewis” a paper presented to the Theological Perspectives on C S Lewis Conference, Carey Baptist College, Auckland (1 July 2008).
“A Divine Command Theory of Ethics” a paper presented to the University of Canterbury Post-Graduate Conference (1998).
Memberships and Community Involvement
Member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society
Member of the Society for Biblical Literature
Member of the Society for Biblical Literature Person Research Group Committee
Member of Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa
Member of the Systematic Theology Association in Aotearoa New Zealand
Columnist for Investigate Magazine
Regular Commentator for “The Panel” on Radio Rhema’s Breakfast Show with Pat Brittenden
Coordinator for Thinking Matters Auckland