“Test everything. Hold on to the good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV84)
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:2 (NIV84)
Among many other distinguishing characteristics, Christianity is all about the truth. Christian believers do not have the burden of fideism, and can ask any question without fearing that their faith will be overturned by the answer. In fact, the apostle Paul exhorted us to test everything.
We recorded the panel discussion and Q&A just as for Week Two, and here is the video:[vimeo 80690471 w=490]
Why did we do this? Doesn’t the topic of Creationism divide the church? Was it worth it?
We did this to share the joy of personal discipleship. There is so much exciting material out there for those who are willing to study on their own. We take Paul’s instructions in Philippians 2:12 to heart—we are supposed to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It’s not a passive undertaking, and it is so incredibly encouraging. We hoped people would catch the personal discipleship bug, and be encouraged by the material we presented.
Creationism does divide the church. So do many other ‘hot’ topics. But not our church. Clarke asked for a show of hands one evening to make the point that there are indeed many perspectives in our congregation, but the founders of this amazing church (two scientists, who were both on our panel: Dick Terman and David Thompson) had the wisdom to craft the following statement into our constitution:
“The statement of Faith to which this church adheres finds its expression in all the great historic confessions of the true Church of Jesus Christ. Those other elements which have caused confusion and division in the past within the Church of Jesus Christ shall not be permitted to destroy the unity of this body. Accordingly we urge that attitudes of Christian love and tolerance be expressed toward those within the Body of Christ holding different points of view.“
Beyond our eight-point statement of faith, we have a wonderful framework under which those who love Jesus Christ can worship, even if we don’t all interpret Scripture the same way. Even if the topics are hot. We still love each other (John 13:35).
So how did we do? In three nights we shared some very encouraging material with more than 200 people, racking up over 1,100 contact hours of teaching and dialog. We received feedback from 71 evaluation surveys, which included two yes-no-maybe questions to assess our main goals for the Symposium.
Q1) Did the presentation of this material encourage you so that you will study further on your own? 77% responded ‘yes’ and 15% ‘maybe’.
Q2) Did this material make Christianity more ‘real’ to you or otherwise give you more confidence in your faith? 87% responded ‘yes’ and 4% ‘maybe’.
The feedback surveys contained lots of wonderful comments, including the following three that made it very, very worthwhile:
- “I brought my son, and it helped him.”
- “I was blessed by Session 2 (Dual Revelation). I’m grateful that we don’t have to be Christians who say “the devil put the dinosaur bones there,” etc., but we cannot be afraid of detailed science, and not throw it out in ignorance! Our God is a smart God, and we can embrace the “deep science.” I can’t wait to exercise this new mindset, not feeling like I’m “traitoring” God, and no longer looking down on hard-core scientists. I need to think and research on my own before just going along with the average view. Thank you all!”
- “I now don’t feel like my faith isolates me from science. The facts behind the Old-Earth theories and the support for scientific discovery were the most helpful aspects of the Symposium.”
Hat Tips and Gratitude All Over the Place
- Arlene Vander Loon (Minister of Education) and Eileen Grant (Event Coordinator)
- Clarke Morledge, Ken Petzinger, David Thompson, and Dick Terman (Panelists)
- Dave Rudy (Moderator)
- Andy Flint (Production Technology Supervisor), Steve Flanary (Director of Food Services Ministry), Jeff McManigal (Facilities Superintendent)
- Marion Paine (Producer, Camera Operator, Editor)
- Reasons To Believe (Dual Revelation and Cosmic Fingerprints DVDs)
- Illustra Media (The Case for a Creator DVD)
- Jesus Christ (most of all)
We have always let the Holy Spirit guide our personal studies and the material we post on Veracity. We appreciate that our “out-of-town” followers and readers have been very patient and supportive while the Facts & Faith Symposium took so much of our time and energy. We’re going through the evaluation surveys and formulating ideas for future topics, but look forward to getting back to our normal posting rhythm. As always, drop us a comment if you have requests, and thank you for being a part of the joy of sharing.
HT: Marion Paine (video); Clarke Morledge (for so much research and writing up to and during the event)
Handouts from the Facts & Faith Symposium
David Thompson – Letter to Scott Thompson (by request)