Good job Nick!
When I was a Community Support Worker for the Shaftesbury Society, I had the privilege of working for a man with Cerebral Palsy called Nick Farmer, who's written this song, Make My Heart your Home. You can donate to the cause Nick's supporting (Treloar's - a college for young people with disabilities) here.
Good job Nick!
I've been preparing for a sermon on Revelation 20 recently, which deals with what's sometimes called "the millennium" - a thousand-year period spoken of in John's vision, which has been variously interpreted over the last two thousand years.
For budding theologians who are particularly interested in this kind of thing, the (2 hour!) video below records a helpful discussion between three evangelical Christians representing the three main views.
The Atheist, Bertrand Russell, wrote, "If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity..."
Russell was suggesting that belief in God is similarly irrational - and many people since have made similar arguments, comparing belief in God to, for example, belief in a "Flying Spaghetti Monster" who created the world. In reality, belief in a Creator (a God) is nothing like believing in the things mentioned above. Because while there is good evidence that a Creator exists, there is no evidence for the celestial teapot or flying spaghetti monster.
It's no good simply mocking other beliefs in order to establish your own - you have to engage with the evidence.
For example, if (as many atheists claim) this universe is ultimately nothing but dead, lifeless particles and energy, why are you conscious of your own existence? Even if a very complex collection of dead atoms could (by some natural process like evolution) come together and form something that acted as though it were aware of its own existence, a collection of dead atoms could never be aware.
But we are!
How do you explain that according to natural forces? It seems to me that this one fact alone practically demands a supernatural explanation. And that's just the start of the evidence we have to consider!
People can use silly arguments to casually dismiss God (I've done it myself) but, as the 1st century Christian, Paul, put it, God's "invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20).
We all have to reckon with "the things that have been made" - the universe itself; us; our conscious self-awareness; our sense that some things are objectively right and wrong, etc.
If we're going to wrestle with the big questions, let's wrestle with the evidence, not the flying spaghetti monsters.
Note: more on this here.
Number twelve: According to Mark's gospel, Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem knowing full well that he would be crucified there, before rising again. In fact, he said this 'must' happen (Mark 8:31) and that the very reason he came into the world was to "give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). 100's of years before these events, the Jewish prophet Isaiah spoke of someone innocent, sent by God, who would be killed as a sinner to pay the price for the sins of others - someone whose days would be prolonged after his death. You can read Isaiah's description of his vision here.
A Final Note
In light of everything we've seen (see posts 1-12 in this series), don't we have ample reason to take Mark's account of the resurrection seriously?
If you're still sceptical, I'd encourage you to ask yourself why. Is it for rational reasons? If so, what are they and why do many very intelligent people (e.g., Francis Collins, former head of the UK Genome Project) believe in the resurrection despite your objections?
Is it perhaps, for personal or philosophical reasons? For example, do you hold to the philosophical belief that super-natural events are impossible? If so, can you say why this must be so?
Perhaps the idea that Jesus rose from the dead is something you simply "can't" bring yourself to take seriously on a "gut" level. If so, why is that? Could it be that, at heart, you don't like the idea that Jesus rose from the dead (and that he is, therefore, exactly who he claimed to be)? If so, isn't whether it's true more important than whether you would like it to be true? And isn't it at least possible that all this really is "good news" as he claimed?
To think more about all this, I'd encourage you to consider What We Believe and Why We Believe It. But better than that, I'd love to chat with you in person, whatever your beliefs. If that's of interest, please do get in touch.
Lewis is the Pastor at SPFC and lives in Stoke Poges with his wife, Kimberley, and their son, Samuel.