Last weekend I had the privilege of taking part in the launch of the Reason For Faith Festival.
I stepped in at the last minute to run a workshop on ‘conversational apologetics’, exploring what we can do with the big questions people have about Christian faith and how to respond without necessarily knowing all the answers. More on this after I fill you in on some of the context of the Reason For Faith Festival.
The Festival launch was all about the up-coming opportunity to open up some intelligent and generous conversations about life’s big questions in our city. This opportunity comes in the shape of the Global Atheist Convention’s return to Melbourne just after Easter.
Formally, there are some brilliant events planned. The Festival website has all the details. And if you want to get more of a feel for the Festival, check out the short promotional clip:
Informally, it’s all about the conversations the Global Atheist Convention and Reason For Faith Festival are likely to spark.
And that’s where my seminar and the other seminars ran on the weekend come in. You see, too often conversations about life’s big questions degenerate into Christians wheeling out ready-made, cookie-cutter answers that we download onto people (as though we’ve memorised a couple of pages of an apologetics textbook). Or they get lost and tangled in the thick scrub of some argument about what the fine-tuning of the universe say about the existence of God or whatever.
I’m coming to believe that what we need is something much more Christ-centred.
One of the seminars (not mine) did an excellent job at connecting the big Bible themes and plot-movements to Jesus and then exploring how they connect with people’s questions. We need heaps more of this!
But, more than a Christ-centred matter and method, I’m convinced we also need a Christ-centred manner.
That is, we need to hear what Peter says about letting Christ live and reign in our hearts and lives in such a way that we’ll neither be afraid and get defensive nor will we be afraid and go on the attack. Rather, we’ll be genuinely responsive — giving reasons for the hope that we have with gentleness, respect, and a clear conscience.
In short, we’ve got to believe the gospel to make the most of this opportunity and approach these conversations productively and well.