Monday, June 10, 2013


Wow. What an overwhelming, blessed, and incredible day. To be honest, I don't know where to start here. I have heard so much that I have to go through a process! Let's keep it simple, though. Step through my day with me:

After a delicious breakfast, we began our day with worship.  This truly set the tone for the entire day as we focused ourselves on the one we are all gathered here to see: God.  The band was wonderful and it was refreshing to experience God in worship.

Next, Margaret Manning led us in a discussion on the first chapter of the book of John. She discussed much of the history, context, and her own personal history with studying the book, but there was one thing that stood out to me most. John calls Jesus the "word" or the logos in Greek. In the Greek culture, this word defined the principles of things.  In the Hebrew culture, it defined the purpose.  So wrapped up in one word is something speaking to two cultures at once. Nowadays, we can appreciate both and see Jesus provides both a purpose for our lives and a principle to live by.

Immediately following, Dr. Alister McGrath did a talk about C. S. Lewis.  If you don't know, C. S. Lewis is one of my heroes in the world of apologetics. It was thrilling to hear how he did apologetics.  Dr. McGrath spelled out many points I have read in his book Mere Apologetics which describes the different apologetics that have been used and which are appropriate depending on your audience. Namely, though, Lewis gave us a unique viewpoint.  His apologetics are quite rational, but also engage the imagination.  Think about the Chronicles of Narnia. He uses a story about children to convey some incredible biblical ideas and stories.

After a short break we went into breakout sessions.  I chose the University track as I am in college now.  This was lead by Andy Bannister and Karl Johnson. We discussed different struggles college students face and how they can be answered.  Though this is a rather oversimplified summary, but I hope to give more details on this in the coming days. This definition stood out to me the most given by Andy Bannister: "Faith is putting your trust in the thing you believe".  It defined each of those seemingly synonymous terms for me.

Finally... Lunch time! I know, all that was in one morning! I took the time to eat, but went back to my room for awhile to rest my mind before it was fed more knowledge.

Next, we went to our elective. I attended "Ministry of Jesus: Jesus in the Marketplace of Ideas" led by Stuart McAllister. We basically studied how despite many claims saying otherwise, all religions at their heart are not identical.  He said religions are (or seem) superficially the same, but fundamentally different. We explored a few of the ways that Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity are similar and different. Let me tell you, they are all different, but Christianity the most so! See, the other religions are trying to reach God. In our faith, God came down and reached out to us. How cool is that?

Alister McGrath followed with "Jesus THE Light".  He discussed the many parables which can be used apologetically to express our faith. He encouraged us to find some to unpack and use on our own.  Similarly, we studied the "I AM"'s whichJohn uses to identify Jesus such as, "I am the bread of life". This has a direct correlation to God calling himself "I AM" through out the Old Testament.

After another wonderful meal, we all came back together for a talk by Fazale Rana entitled "Light in the Cosmos: How Science Reveals the Rationality of the Christian Faith."  Rana is a Biochemist who through studying cells realized there had to be a creator.  In his search for that Creator, he found himself reading the sermon on the mount and realized Jesus was exactly who he says he is. This lead to his conversion. In addition to unpacking the Cosmological and Teleological argument and describing and explaining other things, he enlightened us on something fascinating happening in the scientific world. Scientists are coming close to being able to create cells. These would be completely artificial. He believes this will be happening within the next few years.  Numerous amounts of scientists, computer power, time, and many other resources have already been put into designing this cell. Key word: designing. If it took all of that to design one cell... how could the world around you happen without a designer?

We ended the night with a Roundtable discussion by Stuart McAllister, Andy Bannister and Margaret Manning. They discussed suffering, difference between knowledge and certainty, and many other topics.

If you have any questions about what I have said, please ask. Though this is long, it is only a summary. I would be happy to provide you with more details.

I close with a quote which was repeated by many of the speakers today:

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
-C. S. Lewis


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