Distinguish between tough questions and tough problems
“ I don’t know” is fine! Unanswered questions don’t mean Christianity is false!
Love is more important than logic
What can YOU learn?
The “seeker” issue (or why ‘proof’ is almost never sufficient); psychological certainty vs. epistemic certainty
Session #1 God is Real
Why did you become a Christian? “I became a Christian because _______.”
What are 1-2 of the most difficult questions you have heard about Christianity? (Sticky Note exercise!)
There are more than 1.5 million galaxies !
By chance or design ?
The challenge for evolution
Let’s watch the vid! The Teleological Argument
The Anthropic Principle
The Cosmological Argument (Kalam)
“ In the beginning was the Word , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made ; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)
Other ‘hot’ problems
“ There is no truth”, “The world is an illusion”, “Truth is determined by _____”
How do I know I exist?
Why doesn’t God do ‘sky-writing’?
Nature is all there is…you are being fooled by your brain
Session #2 God is Love
Quiz : Are you a heretic ?!
What is the Trinity?
1 x 1 x 1 = 1
The best model I can think of thus far…
The Problem of Evil
Why doesn’t God stop evil?
Why didn’t God stop Hurricane Katrina, the Japan tsunami, etc.?
Why is there pain?
Why do bad things happen to good people? (Why do good things happen to bad people?!)
The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon— to do his work , his strange work , and perform his task, his alien task . (Isaiah 28:21)
Yet by far the best ‘answer’ to the problem of evil…
What happened on the Cross? GROUP EXERCISE!
Session #4 Jesus
What questions do you have about Jesus?
Who did Jesus’ contemporaries understand Jesus to be?
What is the ‘kingdom of God’?
Did Jesus want to start a church?
Why all the miracles ?
Why does Jesus talk in parables ?
Why did He die?
4 Jewish groups during Jesus’ time There were (at least)
#1 The Withdrawers
Qumran Community / Essenes
Focus: Purity, separation, complete withdrawal
Victims: Leave the country! Forget politics!
Good: Holy and set apart
Bad: Totally disengaged and thus irrelevant to the world
Not a threat to the status quo
#2 The Assimilators
Focus: assimilation and accommodation
Victims: Join the government, profit from those in power
Good: Works well with the world and within the system
Bad: Selfish and helps perpetuate injustice
Not a threat to the status quo
#3 The Fault-Finders
Focus: other people’s faults(!), distinguishing between ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’,
All evidence suggests that Jesus really died (water from body, unbroken legs, burial)
Jewish leaders claimed the disciples stole the body but tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers (whose lives were at stake)
More than 500 people saw Jesus resurrected, and who was present for days (hallucination cannot explain this!), see Acts 1
The first witnesses were women! (not good for credibility or conspiracy!)
What motives did disciples have for lying? So they could ‘look good’? So they could be persecuted and die as martyrs?
More ‘hot’ questions
What about those who didn’t get to hear the Gospel through no fault of their own?
How do we even know Jesus existed?
What about Da Vinci Code?!
Why does God create all people sin-less? Won’t that be the case in Heaven?
The Temptations of Christ in the Wilderness: A Study of Truth, Man & Sin
“ I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart ” (Hosea 2:14)
Why do Christians still sin?
The 1 st Temptation
"If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread ." (Luke 4:3)
The Devil doesn’t appear like this
“ Man shalt not live by bread alone…”
Who / What is Man?
The issue of Inerrancy
Does the Bible NEED to be 100% error-free?
Is the Bible 100% error-free?
How does the OT and NT compare historiographically with other documents
What about 2Tim 3:16?
The ‘miracle’ of NT preservation
Sin is the ‘Cutting Short’ of a kingdom process!
The 2 nd Temptation
" If you are the Son of God… throw yourself down . For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands , so that you will not strike your foot against a stone ” (Luke 4:3)
'He will command his angels concerning you…”
Sin = ‘Circus Stunts’ to gain kingdom peace / protection!
Thou shalt not BLACK-MAIL the Lord your God!
Temptation is often a distortion of true vocation
The 3 rd Temptation
" All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me ." (Luke 4:9)
What about faith and government / politics?
“ All this I will give you…”
Sin is a Short Cut towards a kingdom goal!
What’s the Common Thread?
Session #5 We Are Jesus
In 165 AD, a devastating epidemic swept through the Roman empire, killing 1/3 of the population, incl. Emperor Marcus Aurelius…
In 251 AD, another plague hit the empire, this time both rural and urban areas were affected…
“ Most of our brothers showed unbounded love…never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another…Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ …drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains…” Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, AD260
“ The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest , throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.” Bishop Dionysius
Result? ‘ Miraculous’ healing Huge Conversions Growth of Christian population Spread of Christian love/principles throughout empire!
What is your 1-minute elevator pitch? “ A Christian is ______”
The kingdom of God is like a team of resistance fighters...
If a country starts mobilizing its troops, preparing its airplanes, testing its weapons, sending spies to other countries, etc. – what does that tell you?
The kingdom of God is like a cigarette smoker…
Jesus’ strange kingdom…
It’s “weak” and “foolish” (1Cor 1)
It’s lowly and despised…it’s something that is NOT (1Cor 1)
It’s not of this world (John 8)
It’s perfected in our weakness i.e. we need to be very ‘teruk’ before New Creation becomes very ‘terror!’ (2Cor 12)