The Debate Summit series exists as a forum designed to explain, test and defend various aspects of the Christian worldview by interacting with qualified representatives of non-Christian worldviews in moderated public debates. Our goal is to create and maintain an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect and the open exchange of ideas.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jay Lucas Article...

The following article was written by Pastor Jay Lucas as a guest Religion columnist for The Record Herald newspaper. This is Part one of a three part series.

The world has gotten very small in recent years. The advances made in technology have revolutionized communication. Do you remember the original Star Trek television series? The hand-held communicators the characters used reflected the technology envisioned for the twenty- third century. Back in the 1960s, when the original Star Trek was made, it took real imagination to conceive of talking to someone on the other side of the planet with nothing more than a small, mobile device that fits in the palm of the hand. We are nowhere near the twenty-third century, but our current technology already surpasses in capability what seemed to be fanciful science fiction just a few decades ago.

Advances in communication technology means that new ideas (or new versions of old ideas) reach all parts of the world almost as soon as they are first spoken. I can sit in front of my computer in my home in New Holland and listen to and watch live lectures being delivered in universities, legislative bodies and think tanks around the world. I don’t have to wait six months for them to come out in book form. I can read an editorial in the London Times before a person who actually lives in London can purchase it at his or her local newsstand.

If lectures or editorials seem boring, one can turn on the television and watch entertaining programs offered on hundreds of channels. I can purchase the newest movies on my television, computer or phone! And make no mistake about it, new ideas (or new versions of old ideas) are continuously being spread through entertainment. Morals, values, attitudes and beliefs are constantly being shaped and influenced by the saturation of information and entertainment that technology makes so accessible. Add to this, things such as YouTube, Facebook, My Space, twitter and other methods of communication and it becomes obvious that Fayette County is directly connected to New York, Paris, Athens, Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. In some ways we truly do live in a small world.

The Debate Summit to be held March 12th-13th at Grace Community Church is a deliberate response to the days in which we are living. Philosophies, beliefs and values that are non-Christian permeate our culture. While I love the sense of community that comes with living in a largely agricultural county like Fayette County, I recognize that technology has put the rest of the world right at our doorsteps. To insulate or isolate ourselves is not really an option. Those days are behind us.

The ministry model we are using for Debate Summit 2010 is drawn from the Bible. More specifically, it is drawn from the Apostle Paul’s visit to Athens, an event recorded in Acts 17:16-34. As a Jewish Christian who had been steeped in Scripture since a child, Paul was on foreign soil when he spoke to the Athenians about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the highly educated and philosophically minded Athenians thought that Paul was a fool for believing in the possibility of a resurrection from the dead. Nevertheless, Paul was willing to engage the Athenians. Paul could not change their hearts any more than we can change the hearts of non-Christians today. Only God can do that. But to be silent and say nothing, or to retreat into a self-imposed isolation, is not an option the Bible gives us. And if we were to succumb to pressure to be silent, our children would have reason to wonder if Christianity is worth believing.

In I Peter 3:15 the Apostle wrote this: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”. Regarding Debate Summit 2010 it could be said that we are bringing Athens to Fayette County. But in this fast paced modern world of ours an argument could be made that Athens is already here. Besides, since technology works in both directions we intend to use Fayette County as a base of operation to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to other parts of the world.

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