Tuesday, June 15, 2021

CBS: really?

In both my undergrad degree and masters degree at UNSW I sought and attended the campus Christian groups.

I was invariably disappointed.

I sought depth, challenge and training in 'telling the Truth'. That is, the gospel. I got none.

The campus groups were either self-indulgent shelters from the world of action-evangelism, or cossetted 'safe spaces' for foppish, wide-eyed Christians with no knowledge of their faith.

But, I can't blame CBS

One would expect that Christians would come into Uni as Christians, just like they come into Uni as scholars: having some basic education in the tools, language and expectations of scholarship.

13 years of schooling does it for most people. After 13 years of school most people have encountered the pivotal ideas and practices of science, literature, maths, history, geography, engineering, and had time in forming, leading and/or participating in extra-mural groups, whether it be the Chess club or the stamp collectors.

After a similar time in most Church education/participation programs (what used to be called 'Sunday school' and in some snappily named youth group) there is not a similar level of competence in the Bible, Christian faith and practice, church history, apologetics and evangelism. Zip, nada, nuthin' You come out of these programs entertained, cossetted with some knowledge of disconnected Bible stories, meaningless songs and an ability to pray like everyone else in your denomination. Badly.

CBS and other groups I've encountered don't improve on this. I couldn't even have decent adult/intellectual discussions with the paid workers. I didn't continue.

CBS seems to be more of the same. A sermon club. A producer of T-shirt slogans that are obscure to all but the purveyors.

Maybe its just an in-group club.

You've got 'em for four years.

Here's what you should be onto, CBS fellers:

Year 1

Read the entire Bible, or at least the first 8 books, and the New Testament. The latter in two translations.

Read Mere Christianity and Tactics by Koukl.

Know the structure and historical flow of the Bible and the overarching picture of reality it provides.

Start basic training: Koukl's book and program is a great start.

Be introduced to the basic belief structures of modern paganism (western Hinduism), Islam, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, with reference to their similarity to early heresies.

Have had inquiring conversations with the 'belief' purveyors that have proselyting tables around the campus.

Have no sermons. Have training seminars and tutorial groups on the reading you've been doing.

Year 2

Read the entire Bible again

Read Schaeffer's trilogy (old in illustrations and references, but cracking like a whip in today's market of old ideas).

Work through the theology of creation, redemption, with the spotlight on the existential failure of man-made belief systems to deal with the issues that the Bible shows God dealing with, in us.

Train and practice stand-up enquiry based conversations with atheists, pagans, Muslims, JWs and Mormons. The deal here is, head into problems, go away and research what you find you don't know, and go again.

For paganism, Peter Jones' series on Ligonier or truthexchange is great.

Years 3 and 4.

Read some historical theology (Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought or better, Jarolav Pelikan’s The Christian Tradition).

Read the Bible more slowly, particularly the major prophets spiced up with the epistles. Read the Gospels every Advent (from now on).

Have deeply informed conversations (enquiry based) with every campus barrow pushing group: socialists, conservatives, enviro-gaiaists, vegans, Muslims, and so on. Make friends, but never compromise. Be less with Christians, except for training and refreshing and mostly talking to pagans, etc. Learn and keep improving your practice. Become knowledgeable in typical objections to Christian faith and analysis of the world and responses to them.

Be able to oppose materialism, paganism and the popular 'religion of me' from the Scriptures (I mean, not quoting the Scriptures aimlessly, but intellectually informed by them) without compromise and lead people to question their own understanding or assumptions about themselves and the world.

Know that social justice is tyranny for all. Nothing to do with the justice, mercy and love of God.

Hard work? No, CBS has support workers to make it easy and exciting.

You will come out of uni able to teach in the average suburban/town church.

Go get 'em.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.