Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Make effective Christians

I was reviewing a handbook for a CBS (Campus Bible Study) week away from 2016. It had a horrifying reading list attached.

Horrifying because probably all the books were of sub-university standard. Some where sheer trash. Light weight flummery, if well-meaning.

I would expect people studying at university to be reading real theology by real thinkers and coming to grips with the primary texts of the field, at least omnibus surveys of historical theology and contemporary systematics.

And then, the training. Again, the sessions looked junior.

From high school on we expect far too little of smart young Christians.

Here's what I would expect of a uni program for the Christian group.

Split the year into four sessions, run over a four year cycle.

In each year one of each session for Old Testament, New Testament, Systematics and Evangelism.

By the end of uni all should have a grasp of the overall 'story of reality' of the Bible and be able to explain it.

In fact, the graduate of this program should be quipped to be an assistant/apprentice teacher in a church. They should also have read the Bible through at least twice in different versions.

The evangelism stream would enable sensible conversations with non-believers. Detractors, enquirers and other religions. They would know enough about other religions to have compelling and informed conversations with atheists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. Their debating and conversational skills would equip them to be able to hear the other and argue (politely and in responsive details) the Christian Way and drive shattering critiques of the base position of the others with the aim of 'breaking' their world view, rather than immediate 'conversion' which would be a pipe-dream anyway.

They would also know how to take challenges that they could not address and research them to be equipped for next time.


But what do we get instead?

I asked a CBS table team on campus what was the unique content of Christianity. The answer? A mumbled "we're studying" Meanwhile the Trotskyites, Muslims and Vegans (atheists to their core) were actively proselyting.

At Sydney's St Andrews cathedral, a potential hot bed of street evangelism has been turned into a mausoleum for the gospel while Muslims, JWs and Mormons actively 'work the sidewalk' all around.

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