CATCH UP BELOW
JESUS: THE EVIDENCE
Thursday 12 May 7:45-9:15pm
Is our picture of Jesus just the church’s airbrushed official version, or does it carry historical authenticity? Can the New Testament’s claims even be verified? How do we know if we have the real Jesus recorded in the Bible?
Dr Peter Williams, respected Bible scholar and principal of international Biblical research centre Tyndale House, will lay out the documentary and historical evidence for the New Testament, as well as devoting plenty of time to taking questions from the floor.
Would you go to the same party as Jesus? Probably not, right? Because the stereotype of Christianity is that it sucks the joy out of life. If Christianity had a colour, it would be grey. If you could sum up the Christian ethic in a word, it would be Don’t. What then of the account in the Bible of Jesus turning water into wine? We plan to explore both the surprising chemistry (H2O → C2H5OH can’t ordinarily be done) and the bigger surprise that Jesus wasn’t going around turning wine into water. What exactly is his agenda for our lives?
Is Jesus boring?
Friday 13 May 7:45-9:15pm
Is Jesus the only way to God?
Saturday 14 May 3:00-4:30pm
Enthusiasts can be exclusive. Dogmatism is dangerous. Creeds can be cruel. Believers can be blinkered. Anything can be alphabetised. You are wary of the excesses of any belief system, particularly one that claims to be the only way to God. When we look closer though, we discover why the early Christians made such a claim. They were witnesses to some extraordinary events that convinced them that Jesus, uniquely, can raise the dead and that he would ultimately judge the world. Were they right?
An all-loving God would want to end suffering. An all-powerful God would be able to end suffering. Yet here we are in a world full of suffering, so an all-loving, all-powerful God can’t exist. But does such a clinically neat worldview truly speak into the bewildering struggles and persistent pain we see around us? What does Jesus have to say to this? He famously wept at a friend’s funeral, and was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Yet in addition to his empathy he offered an extraordinary answer; one that cost him dearly…
Where is Jesus in suffering?
Saturday 14 May 7:45-9:15pm
Is Jesus oppressive?
Sunday 15 May 10:00am & 11:45am
Winston Churchill famously quipped that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Our culture is suspicious of authority in general, and to locate it in one individual seems intuitively foolish.
So what are we to make of Jesus’ insistence that he is our rightful king and judge? His own words on the subject hardly reassure us: “All who have come before me are thieves and robbers… I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” To 21st-century ears this sounds like arrogance. No thanks Jesus, I’ll find my own way! But what if Jesus was right? What if other leaders are out for themselves, but he’s different in some fundamental way? And his leadership manifesto is somehow backed up by objective, verifiable evidence?
You would be shocked to find a jewellery shop window filled with electric chair cufflinks or hangman’s noose necklaces, but the cross has become so familiar a symbol that we forget the barbarism and brutality that it stands for. Why do Christians celebrate the death of their Lord? And why did he “lay down his life” (as he himself put it) so willingly? What is the significance of the whole series of ancient prophecies that apparently found their fulfilment in the events surrounding his execution? And how is this relevant to us, 2000 years later?
Why did Jesus die?
Sunday 15 May 5:00-6:00pm