RE: RE: Re: [asa] Ravi Z. delivers

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 17:55:55 EST

Hopefully everyone agrees it is a sin to mislead and lie. Consider that a "sin of omission" is just as bad as a "sin of commission." To not speak the truth, and know that the audience has the wrong idea, is something evil, I think. It is probably the evil of fearing men more than God. The NT preaches a lot against this kind of fear, and the sin of being a man-pleaser. We are to sow seeds... God is responsible for the growth, and I agree we should sow smartly. Yes, an alpha-type course for evolution-theology would be helpful.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 11:16 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Subject: RE: RE: Re: [asa] Ravi Z. delivers


You well know that I share your buden of synthesizing TE with evangelism as much as anyone, but I still stick with that not being appropriate at an evangelistic rally. You can't bring people in for an hour, share the good news with them that Genesis is a myth, Adam was not historical, original sin is a mystery but they still have it, and although the creation of the universe and life were likely the product of natural processes, we still believe in a supernatural God of miracles that cares for them deeply and wants to commune with them and answer their prayer. But the upside is that they were fit enough to survive nature red in tooth and claw. That's a little much before an altar call don't you think?

I was thinking the other day that what is needed in the church to try to break people into this would be something like the Alpha Course that was popular in evangelical churches a few years ago. I never took it and don't know what is in it but I think it would take an extended, structured format like that to successfully deliver all these new truths that people will need to have broken to them gently.

But then even if we had the curriculum then we would have to find a church that would allow it. I don't know of any that would. It almost like this is left to survive on its own without any institutional support. It spreads now only on an individual basis through inquisitive seekers like a spiritual meme but this list is its spiritual fountainhead as far as I have found. Although I share your desire to see the church come around to this for its own protection and survival, I fear the steps required to get it there are almost impossible. At the very least I think it will require a new generation of believers.



Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> John said:
> "As mentioned that opens up a can of worms that is not appropriate for a public rally..."
> I think it is very appropriate and a shame it is not done.
> ...Bernie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of John Walley
> Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 1:49 AM
> To: Merv Bitikofer
> Cc:;
> Subject: RE: Re: [asa] Ravi Z. delivers
> The British guys was probably Stuart MacAllister who is one of his staff members that travels with him. I have met him and he is a really nice guy. At the time when I was an OEC I thought Ravi and Stu should talk more about science and how it affirms faith but now I see maybe they knew something I didn't all along. I have a new respect for classical apologetic arguments now but I think it is important to buttress that with at least the theme that faith can coincide without conflict with science. As mentioned that opens up a can of worms that is not appropriate for a public rally but I think it is important to plant that seed to allay the fears of seekers and to maybe start some people on their own journey of reconciling their faith with science. At the very least they ought not say anything that creates a barrier between science and faith and it sounds like Ravi got that right.
> Thanks
> John
> Merv Bitikofer wrote:
>> Combining a couple quick replies this morning ----wish I had more time at the moment.
>> Dave, actually Ravi's companion (a British speaker who was also quite good --I wish I could remember his name) actually fielded this question with supporting comments from Ravi. The main thrust of his answer was to say that love doesn't have much meaning apart from justice or truth. He used the example of how love means the most when it comes from those who know you best --foibles & all (but they love you anyway). So --God must love us in truth. They didn't get much beyond this stage of the answer & the fellow probably didn't consider his question as answered (& speakers gave disclaimer as to their ability to completely answer it in that setting.) On a personal note -- I think C.S. Lewis' take on this in "The Great Divorce" I think, is captured in this line: At the end there will on be two kinds of people. Those who say to God "Thy will be done." And those to have God say to them: "Thy will be done." <end paraphrased quote> I guess
> Lewis would fit in your option #3 below. And he would think this way in full knowledge of Jesus' teachings about "plucking out your eye" & "the worm that does not die." That seems to make the most sense to this armchair theologian.
>> John, I should add the clarification that my scribbled notes from the evening were sketchy & I haven't yet procured a DVD (which I hope to do). So when I said he wasn't trying to prove (scientifically) God's existence, I think he actually explicitly said that --but it was my impression of his message when the evening was over (in other words --my words, not his.) In fact, I should have remembered this one tidbit which only came up in the Q&A session afterwards --and even then was still an aside to his answer. One person asked: "How does God work?" Ravi's co-speaker then acknowledged that just because something works doesn't mean it's true. BUT if it's true, then it works. And then he proceeded to give personal testimony which Ravi added to about how God had transformed theirs & others lives in a way that other non believing friends had found undeniable. After all this Ravi made a string of comments about seeing God at work in the world
> which included this tidbit: ... and when you see "irreducible complexity", then you recognize intelligibility behind it. ---Those are pretty close to his actual words used. So I.D. did get a nod from him, but that was the only time that evening it came up --and even there he hardly leaned on it at all.
>> --Merv
>> David Clounch wrote:
>>> Merv,
>>> > I was impressed with how they handled one question of how could a gracious, forgiving, and loving God plan eternal punishment for most of humankind.
>>> Makes me curious!
>>> I have often wondered at such concerns or questions. I think it is not a serious question.
>>> There are only two possibilities:
>>> 1) One believes there is no such thing as eternal punishment.
>>> In which case the question is nonsense and moot
>>> 2) One believes there is an eternal punishment or condition
>>> In which there are the following possibilities
>>> 3) The punishment is just the natural state of being
>>> or
>>> 4) The punishment is not the natural outcome but is invoked on purpose by God.
>>> Only when one gets to #4 does it make sense to ask the question.
>> wrote:
>>> That's great news about Ravi. His statement about not trying to prove God probably reveals a lot of wisdom. I'm sure he struggles with all the implications that science apologetics can surface for the faith like do we all so for what he is called to do it is probably best to just avoid it. If he left the audience thinking that they can be intellectually fulfilled Christians and didn't say anything that the atheists could disprove and give them fodder to criticize him scientifically, then that is a major victory. I think that is probably the best we can do because drudging up all the TE stuff and mytholizing Genesis and defending Darwin in a popular Christian audience is probably not going to leave people with the same effect and get you invited back.
>>> I have said many times that RTB could share inand be effective in this ministry of "intellectually fulfilling Christianity" like Ravi if they would just remain neutral on evolution and not bash it. People are hungry for what to believe about their faith at the intersection of science thanks to the recent popularity of I D and they are getting tired of the YEC stuff. I have seen several hundreds of people turn out to hear Dr. Ross and Fuz before and that is even at a YEC church. It is a tremendous opportunity now for popular ministries like Ravi and RTB to heal the church of its anti-science prejudice and remove that wedge but they just need to learn how to navigate that tricky landscape. Sounds like Ravi has made a lot of progress on this front and is a contender in this challenge. Thanks for the great report Merv. That was very inspiring.
>>> John
>>> Merv Bitikofer wrote:
>>>> Ravi Zacharias did not disappoint his audience in Manhattan, KS, tonight in a K-State ballroom (& with overflow areas also full watching it on screen). He was entertaining ---nay, captivating. But more importantly I think he connected with this university audience with what I would call a robust unapologetically Christian world view. He made it clear that he wasn't there to fight, and he didn't belabor any attempted "proof of God" apologetics. His message heavily majored on the moral argument quoting heavily from Nietzsche and other more contemporary atheists who Zacharias used to press home the point that you cannot get meaningful moral basis from reason alone. And Ravi seemingly admired Nietzsche for facing this fact head-on, noting & quoting how Nietzsche seemed to bemoan rather than celebrate the "death of God". Zacharias didn't, however, pretend that we will be backing anyone into a corner with a knock-down proof. He instead gave
>>> powerful personal testimony for how Christ had transformed his own life. He gave a defense of Pascal's wager (one of the minor things I would have had fun dickering with him about, given the chance. --But such quibbles are easily overlooked at the periphery of his central message.) The only mention Darwin got was in being lumped together with Freud and Marx as a trio representing ideas that people of modern times have sought out to replace God. I stayed until the Q&A looked to be nearly over afterwards, but since it was still going, I could have missed it if Zacharias or his "co-answerer" were pressed in any areas of science.
>>>> One intriguing "aside" comment as near as I can remember it: "If Jesus had been out to dupe his followers regarding the coming resurrection, he could/would have told them he will be /spiritually /resurrected --which would make it conveniently non-falsifiable for all ages. Instead we get/got the bold claim of a bodily resurrection. Most questioners were obviously Christian & affirming & one who seemed to be in a "seeker" category was very courteous. I was impressed with how they handled one question of how could a gracious, forgiving, and loving God plan eternal punishment for most of humankind. Even though they couldn't (& said they couldn't) give a complete or satisfactory answer in the time at hand, they did do well with what they said, I thought.
>>>> I was impressed. R.Z. is obviously highly aware of what all the high-profile new-atheists are saying these days, and he is engaging those topics (although not so much in science --at least not this evening.) I should not have been surprised if some in attendance came or will come to Christ as a result. & yet I also wonder what percentage of attenders actually were atheists. Most that I glanced around at were probably like me --there because we were curious. And in that environment of applause and laughter in all the right places (which is so easily taken as mockery to the lonely and silent dissenter in its midst), any atheists present would certainly have felt their minority status keenly. It would have taken a lot of chutzpah to show any belligerence at the question microphones. Nevertheless, if non-believers did not feel welcome, it was not because of Zacharias' talk which was gracious and inviting. At least from one university podium
> this night, our faith was well and articulately represented.
>>>> Thank you to those of you who urged me not to miss this.
>>>> --Merv
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Received on Thu Mar 5 17:56:38 2009

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