The Challenge of Evangelism – Andy at Moorlands College

It really enjoyed the recent opportunity I had to go and preach and speak at Moorlands College, down on the south coast of England. I was invited to preach at the college’s chapel service, which was a real honour – and hugely enjoyable too. Moorlands College is a practical theology training institution and a really great place for Christians to dig deeper into their faith go and study for one-year short courses, or for many years of deeper study. The aim is to help them all become more equipped and trained, not just to understand their faith better- but to put the theology they learn into action.

At Solas we have had a great relationship with Moorlands over the years. Chris Sinkinson, who is on the faculty there, is an old friend of mine who has spoken at a Solas conference, and appeared on our PEPTALK podcast too.  The new principal at Moorlands College, Andy du Fey, I have also known for some years, and I love the passion everyone at Moorlands shares to equip the next generation to take their faith and put it into action, on the mission field, in the secular workplace and in the church.

I spoke about conversational evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus Without Looking Like An Idiot! I have recently released a book with that title, so it seems to be the subject that everyone wants to me to address wherever I go! Discussing this with the staff at Moorlands was interesting, because Bible Colleges can be very sheltered environments. It could be very easy to go to somewhere like Moorlands and hide away from the world for two or three years while studying. So I tried to stir things up a bit by saying to the students, “You may be here during term time, but you will have family members, friends and neighbours who you see at weekends or during holidays. You will meet people who do not share your Christian faith when you are out and about in the town. So how do you take this faith that you are studying and learning so much about at Moorlands, and share that with the people that The Lord bring across our path?”

We ended the session with a time of prayer. I encouraged the students to call to mind the name or face of a non-Christian friend or neighbour who they might expect to meet soon -and to pray that The Lord will create opportunities for conversation with them about Him, next time they meet. I was so encouraged to hear from some admin staff and the guy on the sound desk about how they had really resonated with the topic and were planning and praying about how they could be more intentional about sharing their faith in Jesus.

Solas remains a partnership ministry, we supply speakers and training to churches, other ministries like SU, and CU’s and also Colleges like Moorlands. We don’t run our own events, but only serve the church, running events at the invitation of the churches to build up what is already on the ground around the country, never replicating or competing with the existing expressions of the body of Christ! So, please do get in touch if we can serve you in evangelism or evangelism-training and equipping.

Editor’s footnote. Andy du Feu, the Principal of Moorlands College was obviosuly encouraged by Andy Bannister’s visit. He wrote:

“One of the possible dangers of training at a bible college is your brain expands but the passion you started with dwindles. That’s one reason why Moorlands is committed to putting faith into action, whether it is leading and teaching in a church, serving in a homeless shelter, youth club, CAP centre, or hosting a warm space.

But even then, I’m reminded of Tim Chester’s challenge, that “without explanation these are like signposts pointing nowhere, or worse – pointing to our good works. The gospel is good news: a message to be proclaimed, a truth to be taught, a word to be spoken and a story to be told.” In very simple but powerful words, Andy instilled confidence in our students to share the good news, dismantling many of the barriers that can cripple our good intentions.

Theology can get so complicated. R.C. Sproul defined evangelism as one beggar telling another where to find bread, but we can make it the job of professionals, and abdicate our responsibility by leaving it “to them”. But it’s our job. And our time. Andy brought a timely challenge with pastoral concern to address the fears that can exist, of looking like an idiot, feeling like a fool, and ending up embarrassed about Jesus.”

With Derek Lamont

In this episode we chat with a church planter and football chaplain working in the heart of Edinburgh. Be inspired by his approach to multiplying churches by sharing life and faith with individuals in a busy and cosmopolitan city. 

With Derek Lamont PEP Talk

Our Guest

Derek Lamont has been a pastor for 33 years, 22 of them in the centre of Edinburgh, with the Free Church of Scotland. His current church, St Columba’s, has planted four new churches in different communities of the city. He will be leaving St C’s in January to re-plant a Gospel church at the foot of Leith Walk.  Derek is married to Catriona with four grown-up kids – two of whom live in America, the other two are married and work for churches in Edinburgh.

About PEP Talk

The Persuasive Evangelism Podcast aims to equip listeners to share their faith more effectively in a sceptical world. Each episode, Andy Bannister (Solas) and Kristi Mair (Oak Hill College) chat to a guest who has a great story, a useful resource, or some other expertise that helps equip you to talk persuasively, winsomely, and engagingly with your friends, colleagues and neighbours about Jesus.

Andy at SU Equip! in Edinburgh

It was great to be back in Edinburgh recently where I had been invited to speak at a Scripture Union event. SU RUN “Equip!” evenings in various parts of Scotland, designed for young people aged from around thirteen to eighteen. We had about twenty-five to thirty young people on the evening I visited them in Edinburgh.

At Solas we have a great relationship with Scripture Union Scotland, and have done all kinds of work with them over the years. Some of the things we have done for them have been aimed at encouraging and equipping their staff – at other times we have been engaged in direct youth work alongside them. So, knowing their work well – it was a joy to be invited to talk to their young people on one of my favourite subjects; “How to Talk About Jesus Without Looking Like An Idiot”. That’s also the title of my new book. The idea behind that book is to write an accessible, funny, down-to-earth and practical guide to evangelism today. One of the intended audiences from the start was students, in fact a lot of the material in the book has been taught and tested in front of audiences of students and young people over the years.

The young people at SU Equip in Edinburgh were very engaged and receptive to the talk and they even laughed at my jokes which is very gratifying (‘unusual?’ – ed). I shared some stuff from the Bible on the way that Jesus went about having conversations, and then taught some tools that we can use today in everyday conversations with friends at school. Then we split into discussion groups, and what was really exciting was to hear the noise level grow as really great discussions took off all around the room. That led into a really good time of Q&A with some terrific questions. I was so encouraged that the young people were really thinking about how to share their faith with their friends. Many of them said they were finding it hard but they were wrestling with it. Some of them had been in conversations and had brought back questions their friends had raised. So it was a really lovely opportunity to help those Christian kids feel that little bit more confident in talking to their friends at school about their faith.

It was also really good to get some copies of the book into the hands of the young people. We had managed to get them a ‘student discount’ price on it, and lots of them came to buy it. Overall it was great to be part of what SU are doing. We love working with them and have a huge amount of respect for their ministry.

Jenny Thomson from Scripture Union wrote: “It was great to have Andy with us at Equip in Edinburgh. This was the first Equip of the academic year, so we had some young people in S3 there for the first time, who laughed at Andy’s jokes and entered into lively, on topic, discussion at group time. Andy only brought four of his books with him and there was an appetite for more. It was a great topic to start the new school year with as young people try to stand tall for Jesus in difficult places.”


Why Do Christians Feel They Have To Share Their Faith?

What is it that compels a Christian to tell others about Jesus? Why do we bother speaking to those who can’t be bothered by spiritual things? But whether it’s the performance of your favourite football team, a hidden gem of a beach found on your holidays or the mind-blowing experience you had at the Taylor Swift concert, we all have a deep desire to share these with others. When it comes to the truth about Jesus, it’s just too good (and too important) to hold in!


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Short Answers is a viewer-supported video series: if you enjoy them, please help us continue to make them by donating to Solas. Visit our Donate page and choose a free book as a thank-you gift!

Undercurrents: The Exorcist, Fifty Years On

After 50 years, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist is still surprising us. Since its release in 1973, the film has garnered a reputation for being one of the most notorious shockers to assault the silver screen. But in the wake of the numerous films that put torture front and center, cinematic thrillseekers may be disappointed. For all its vomit-spewing, head-spinning antics, The Exorcist is a subtle, if uncompromising, exploration of the mystery of faith—one that ingeniously dresses its most skeptical character in the vestments of a priest.

At this point, even those who sedulously avoid the film likely have a passing familiarity with its story. Having exhausted all medical avenues, Chris MacNeil, not religious herself, comes to believe her daughter, Regan, is possessed by an evil spirit and seeks the help of a Catholic priest, named Damien Karras. The Exorcist wouldn’t be nearly as frightening without Ellen Burstyn’s utterly convincing performance as a mother shattered by her daughter’s transformation into a malevolent caricature of her former self: “I’m telling you that that thing upstairs isn’t my daughter!” It’s also worth mentioning here that the film’s most harrowing scenes involve not any Satanic depredations, but rather a series of invasive medical tests culminating in a carotid angiogram. Director William Friedkin cut his teeth working on documentaries and he brings a stark realism to these scenes that will challenge even the most jaded of viewers.

The opposite of the painstaking auteurs who see their actors as glorified puppets, William Friedkin was after spontaneity in his films. Not that he was always easy on actors. Burstyn sustained a back injury during filming and Friedkin was perfectly willing to fire a gun into the air or slap someone across the face to capture a genuine look of shock. Part of what gives The Exorcist such staying power is its electrifying atmosphere of unbridled intensity. The film doesn’t have the polished sheen of a carefully staged production, but rather the chaotic energy of a disaster scene. There were no multiple takes, actors delivered their lines in their own words, and Friedkin kept the cameras rolling well after the performances ended. The result is a film with an uncanny sense of verisimilitude. Every time I see it, I can’t help thinking, ‘is this really happening?’

William Peter Blatty’s novel on which the film is based, confronts readers with a straightforward argument: If the devil is real, then so are God and his angels. William Friedkin then made a film that provokes fear that outpaces skepticism. Put simply, it’s hard to deny what ‘scares the hell’ out of you. In her classic exploration of the genre, Men, Women, and Chainsaws, Carol Clover argues that horror films play a game of cat-and-mouse with their audiences. The films we celebrate “win.” By this standard, most horror flicks come up short, delivering a series of poorly executed, thoroughly predictable scares that audiences handle as easily as a cheap crossword puzzle. Plenty of horror films cheat by aiming at shock value, but shock always has an expiration date. For better or for worse, The Exorcist pounces on its viewers by marrying a highly confrontational style with great spiritual depth, reserving its most powerful scares for after the credits have rolled.

“I think I’ve lost my faith, Tom.” So confesses Fr. Damien Karras to his superior at the beginning of the film. And Karras remains a skeptic until his final moments. When Chris approaches him about a possible exorcism for her daughter, he stares at her dumbfounded before replying that he’d first have to get Regan into a time machine and take her back to the sixteenth century. In the advent of modern medicine and psychology, he maintains, such archaic measures are now obsolete. With his deep-set eyes and haunted face, Jason Miller’s Fr. Damien Karras is the archetypal faithless priest. Like Miguel de Unamuno’s San Manuel Bueno and Graham Greene’s “whisky priest,” Fr. Karras prioritizes his priestly role over his unbelief. “There’s not a day in my life where I don’t feel like a fraud,” he intones to a man he’s counseling, and this spiritual anguish is evident throughout the film.

But Fr. Karra’s unbelief meets its match when he enters the house at 3600 Prospect Street. By this point, Regan’s body has become a malign canvas for the evil spirit inhabiting her. From the furtive scampering sounds in the attic to the phlegmy wheezes of Regan’s breathing, the film’s sound design is also a nerve-shredding tour de force. The most inspired sound decision, however, concerns the voice of the demon itself. With the help of actress Mercedes McCambridge, whose commitment to the role was spelled out in copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes, Regan’s voice sounds like a lecherous old man speaking from the trenches of a lifetime of dissipation. It’s a ravaged human voice—not some robotic studio creation and witnessing it coming from a little girl is equal parts unnerving and obscene.

When he finally seeks church approval for an exorcism, Karras is not yet convinced the case is the genuine article. But he must concede that it meets the necessary criteria. An old stalwart is called in to lead the rite. Portrayed with grave dignity by Max von Sydow (aged with makeup), Fr. Lancaster Merrin displays none of Karras’s skeptical misgivings. “I think it might be helpful if I gave you some background on the different personalities Regan has manifested,” says Karras. “So far I’d say there seem to be three.” When he tries to go on, Merrin swiftly interjects: “There is only one.”

The film’s ending mirrors the story’s ambition. Merrin will die of heart failure in the midst of the exorcism, driving Karras to invite the demon into himself, at which point he jumps from the window. He receives last rites from his friend, Fr. Dyer, before succumbing to his injuries. A direct encounter with supernatural evil has saved his faith.

The first clue that The Exorcist is after more than cheap thrills arrives in its opening. After a series of shrieking violin strings, the title appears on-screen in blood red letters, accompanied by the Adhan (the Muslim call to prayer). We are then plunged into an archeological dig taking place in the ruins of Nineveh. Though it may initially seem disconnected from the rest of the story—indeed this Iraq prologue almost didn’t make it into the film—it deftly showcases the film’s central tensions surrounding ancient evil invading the modern world.

A clue to the film’s inner workings arrives in its prologue. In one scene, we see Merrin turning over an amulet of Pazuzu, king of the wind demons in the ancient Mesopotamian religion. He was believed to offer protection from other evil spirits and these amulets were used to ward off spiritual attacks. For some mysterious reason, Merrin is shaken by the figure, seeing it as a portent. The museum curator remarks, “Evil against evil.”

The most famous shot in The Exorcist reveals the silhouetted figure of Merrin approaching the MacNeil house as a radiant shaft of light falls from Regan’s bedroom. Inspired by René Magritte’s Empire of Light, the shot offers a spiritual inflection of the painter’s inversion of light and darkness: The Exorcist, the ostensible source of light is here a figure of darkness, while Regan’s bedroom, the site of supernatural evil, is portrayed as an effulgence of light. In a word, this is the film’s strategy. If William Peter Blatty’s novel set out to prove God’s existence by confronting us with supernatural evil, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist gives such fulsome shape to supernatural evil that we are forced to take it seriously again. In this sense, he’s fighting fire with fire. Evil against evil indeed.

Granted, the film is a serious work of art, but what accounts for its lasting spiritual resonance? One of my childhood Sunday school teachers once characterized it as “the most evil film” she’d ever seen. The famed evangelist Billy Graham said much the same, going so far as to claim that there was evil in the very celluloid on which the film was captured. In response to such statements, I want to argue that a compelling portrayal of evil is not necessarily evil in itself. In some cases, it’s even necessary. Imagine a portrayal of the torture at Abu Ghraib that downplayed its horrors. This would amount to a moral compromise that honors neither the victims nor the audience.

Christianity is unique in its serious treatment of evil. It does not claim that evil is an illusion. It does not claim that it’s some importunate inconvenience that thwarts human flourishing. It does not claim that evil is merely ignorance in need of education. For Christians, evil is all too real and its final defeat comes through nothing less than the cross of Christ.

Most films trivialize evil by giving us a world devoid of any significant moral consequences. Lying, stealing, infidelity, murder—all are played for laughs in much of our entertainment. Conversely, The Exorcist confronts us with a serious vision of evil, one that cannot be explained away by psychology and modern science. Friedkin’s tactics may not always be noble, but the spiritual legacy of his film is.

Editor’s note.
The Solas Undercurrents series examines important themes in popular culture. In so doing, we are not endorsing or recommending the media in question! Evil is an important and significant topic in everything from film to novels to art to, of course the Bible, and a crucial one to discuss. We also want to encourage Christians whose friends or colleagues have watched this film to be equipped with good questions to ask them. For a deeper dive into engaging with culture, we recommend Dan Strange’s book, Plugged In.


Happiness at Hillbank!

It was good to be at Hillbank Church in Dundee recently to help them put on an outreach evening where we looked at the topic: “A Better Story of Happiness”. That’s a topic I address regularly, because as you talk to people you realise that everyone wants to be happy in some way. People are always saying things like, “I wish I could just be happy.”

But the question of where we look for happiness is another matter altogether. The contemporary world encourages us to look for happiness in physical things such as food, or sex. Another place people look for happiness is through performance; and enjoying success. Sport is an obvious example of that, but so are performances at school or work, or in academia – these are all arenas in which succeeding is viewed as a route to happiness. Another place people look for happiness is in service, that is pouring our lives into others maybe into our kids, or into charity work.

Now, obviously there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. But there is so much evidence that of you make any of those things ‘the centre of everything’, and make that thing the basis of your happiness, you will ultimately be let down. That is because those things run out, you get ‘diminishing returns’. Take food for example, eating doughnuts is pleasurable, but if you keep eating them non-stop it leads not to happiness but to unhappiness! If you seek happiness through performing you can never feel secure because one day someone will join the sport who is better than you, or you lose that prestigious job, or your standard of living drops. Even helping others can run out, people who pour their lives into their kids can feel lost they leave home, or if the people they have helped through a charity no longer needs them. All of those things are insecure.

Also – on the evening at Hillbank I mentioned that the famous atheist Friedrich Nietzsche remarked that if you are only helping other people to feel happy about yourself, then you are not really helping them, but rather selfishly using them in your pursuit of happiness!

So, how can we find a true source of happiness? That is the important question that I delved into in the last part of the talk. The point is that we need to find an ultimate source of true joy and happiness outside of ourselves. True joy and happiness must come to us as a gift. That of course took us right into the gospel itself, which is all about God’s grace coming to us from outside of us. It comes not because we earn it, or achieve, but as a gift. The gospel connects us to God, who is the true source of an eternal happiness that we can taste here.

As usual after the talk, we opened the floor to Q&A and had some great questions on things such as suffering and how we can know joy when life is truly terrible. There was one really interesting question when someone asked about the difference between happiness and joy. We tend to refer to happiness as being something that can be quite up and down depending on circumstances, whereas joy is a deeper thing which transcends circumstances. Another terrific question from a younger member of the audience was, “If I became a Christian would that automatically guarantee that I would always be happy?” And the church has sometimes given the impression that that is the case, I our communication. So I wanted to be very honest and say that it doesn’t. In fact, the first Christians in the New Testament found that being Christian initially brough them more unhappiness because it initially led to immense persecution and difficulty. However, what you have as a Christian is the guarantee that God is with you through those difficult circumstances, the guarantee that your suffering is not meaningless (as it is on atheism), and also the gift of knowing the deeper joy that comes from knowing Christ and being known by Him. That means that even when circumstances are rubbish, there is something deeper beneath them, whereas in atheism there just isn’t.

It was great to work with Hillbank Church in Dundee again and to support them in their great work in consistently sharing the gospel of Christ with the people of their part of the city. Hillbank have been friends of Solas for many years, and have worked with Solas on both evangelism and evangelism-training.

Matty Blakeman from Hillbank:

“First and foremost, we were extremely encouraged by the Solas evening.

In terms of turnout, we really didn’t have a clue what to expect. While we’ve done plenty of different outreach type events in the past, we usually do a meal with it and do gender-specific events because capacity is limited when tables are all put out. This time we opened it up to men and women and took the meal element away so we could have a better number in. Sadly, we learnt nearer the time of the event that quite a few that would usually come to our events were put off by the lack of meal. We also had a comment from one church member that she found hard to invite people or get them to come along without the offer of food beforehand. Getting people to come for JUST the talk wasn’t as big a sell which is food for thought for us (no pun intended!).

So going into the event, we really had no clue how many people to expect. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the rain was torrential on the evening which stopped at least a handful of people who had committed to come from making it (mainly from the other side of the Tay bridge).

As it turned out, 40 people were there which we were really pleased with. Of the 40 there was a mixture of people. We had regular church members, friends of church members including a handful non-Christians who would be completely unchurched, a group of young people/students who might be described as being ‘on the fence’ in terms of a Christian walk. But for us, what was most noticeable was that there was a contingent of people, maybe just a handful again, who are family/friends of those in the church and who used to come regularly but haven’t been for a long time to anything. They have really fallen away from the Christian life and don’t even attend Christmas or Easter services and are very difficult to get any contact with these days – yet to the surprise of many, they came along to this event. What is also notable is that I think each of these people has some kind of battle with mental health (anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts). One of them who is going through a particularly hard time opened up a bit to Andy at the end who prayed for him.

We had refreshments before and after the event and we planned for the event itself to last about an hour with 25 mins or so at the end set aside for Q&A. Andy’s talk was excellent as we knew it would be. I was a bit nervous about the Q&A as folk send to be a bit shy with these things but I didn’t need to be as folk were very forthcoming. There were some really good conversations afterwards too.”


PEP Talk with Steve Osmond

Andy and Kristi sit down with the newest member of the Solas team to discuss his passion for evangelism. Having arrived in Scotland recently from South Africa, Steve Osmond reflects on the opportunities, surprises and challenges we have here. Kristi is also interested in Steve’s background in zoology and how that has informed his conversations with atheists.

With Derek Lamont PEP Talk

Our Guest

Steve Osmond hails from South Africa, where he earned his MSc in Zoology from the University of Johannesburg, specialising in ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment. Along with his passion for the natural world, he also has a love for theology: exploring the connections between faith and reason, and how Christianity makes sense of the world. He has been involved in pastoral ministry and creating training programmes for discipleship in theology and apologetics. Steve holds a MA in Apologetics & Theology from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He now lives in Perth, Scotland with his wife Robin and two young daughters.

About PEP Talk

The Persuasive Evangelism Podcast aims to equip listeners to share their faith more effectively in a sceptical world. Each episode, Andy Bannister (Solas) and Kristi Mair (Oak Hill College) chat to a guest who has a great story, a useful resource, or some other expertise that helps equip you to talk persuasively, winsomely, and engagingly with your friends, colleagues and neighbours about Jesus.

Panic Free Conversations about Jesus: Andy at the CSLI

Join Solas’s Andy Bannister, with Joel Woodruff and the C.S. Lewis Institute for a lively webinar in which they discuss helpful ways for Christians to share their faith with others in everyday conversation. They look at good practice and biblical principles – as well as some pitfalls to avoid along the way. The whole programme is in the window above.

Andy’s Big Trip ‘Down Under’


Solas supporters may have noticed that Andy Bannister was conspiciously absent for a few weeks. We’re pleased to report not only that he’s back safely; but that while he was away he wasn’t lying on a tropical beach or wiling his time away at Butlins – but was on an extensive preaching in Australia. Watch the video above to find out more about his exploits. It’s all about the challenges and opportunties of gospel ministry.

Why Do So Many Believe That Death Is Not The End?

Why do so many people believe that death is not the end? (Even people who wouldn’t call themselves “religious”). Perhaps it’s because of the awful consequences for things we care about like justice, meaning, and purpose? If we are just worm food after we keel over, none of those matter any more. In this Short Answers film, Solas’s Andy Bannister explores some views about death—and whether our hunches about the hereafter offer us any clues as to what really happens after death.


Please share this video widely with friends or family and for more Short Answers videos, visit, subscribe to our YouTube channel or visit us on Twitter Instagram or Facebook.


Short Answers is a viewer-supported video series: if you enjoy them, please help us continue to make them by donating to Solas. Visit our Donate page and choose a free book as a thank-you gift!

Confident Christianity conference – Galashiels

The Solas team had a very early start as we went down to Galashiels for our first ever conference in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The half-day conference, was designed to help the church grow in its evangelistic confidence; both in terms of having confidence in the gospel, developing good practical tools for having fruitful conversations about faith, as well as learning about our culture today and the people we are seeking to reach for Jesus.

Euan Johnson has been the the pastor at Galashiels Baptist Church since 2021, and he was the driving force on bringing the Confident Christianity conference to the Borders.  Euan is well known to many people around Scotland from his days studying theology in St Andrews, and his time in youth work in Perth. While the Baptist Church were the organisers, the event took place at the Church of Scotland, Trinity Parish Church on Galashiels High Street. Folks were on hand from the church to welcome us, and the people attending the conference with coffee and coissants!

Eaun kicked the conference off by welcoming everyone, and leading us in prayer and praise – pointing us first towards God, before we began to think about the practical business of evangelism.

It was a significant day for us at Solas too. Our new speaker, Steve Osmond was addressing a Confident Christianity confernce for the first time as a member of staff. (He had actually spoken at one before – when he was visiting is for an interview and Andy Bannister was losing his voice!). These events are always anchored around the idea of developing our ability to speak confidently and graciously about Jesus in everyday conversation. So Steve kicked off the morning with his version of this essential part of our training. Like Andy Bannister’s “How to talk about Jesus without looking like an idiot” talk, Steve’s talk on conversational evangelism looked at the ways in which Jesus used questions to steer spiritual conversations.

Andy Bannister spoke next and looked at the growth of Islam in the UK, and how the church should respond. He suggested that fear, retreat or disengagement were poor responses to the presence of Muslims; but so is syncretism; the idea that we can merge our faiths together as if they were essentially the same thing. Andy compared four key characteristics of God (as described by the Bible) and Allah (as described by the Qur’an) and showed how different they are. This was furnished with the encouragement to welcome and befriend Muslim neighbours, friends and colleagues.

Our bookshop for the day was supplied by 10ofThose, who supplied a great range of books on the topics for the day, as well as a good selection of Biblical studies materials and biographies. Adam from 10ofThose brought us a lively presentation about some of the books, and an encouragement to use evangelistic literature, such as tracts, in our outreach efforts.

After a coffee break, during which more pastries and coissants were served by the local church – Steve Osmond took session three. He looked at the great question of God and Suffering, and the way that is a stumbling block to faith for so many people. As suffering is a universal human experience, Steve looked at the explanatory power of the Christian story (compared to that of other worldviews) and the way in which God can help us through the experience before He finally triumphs over it.

Andy brought the formal sessions to a close with  session on contemporary culture. He examined the effect of technology on culture, and our current lonliness epidemic. While our innate longing to be fully known and fully loved is a profound apologetic for the Biblical understanding of humanity in itself, Andy challenged us to develop real relationships in the real world through which we can share Christ. That doesn’t mean being technological ‘Luddites’ though, new technology must be embraced and used for the gospel, but can’t be allowed to dominate us.

Q&A sessions are an essential part of our conferences – and it is always fascinating to see what comes up as it varies from location to location. At Galashiels, our speakers were asked to reflect on Artificial Intelligence, several aspects of Islam, more on suffering, the evidence for the resurrection especially the stories of the apostles martyrdom and Halloween.

Euan Johnson, the hosting pastor from Galashiels Baptist wrote afterwards:

“The conference went well! We were encouraged by the mix of denominations/churches present from across Gala and the Borders, with some travelling in for the day. There was a good buzz as people connected in fellowship with one another and engaged with the topics. People certainly felt encouraged and informed by the end of the day, so the talks were well-received. We are aware of a growing Muslim population in our area so I think that was the reason for the strong interest in that topic. I also particularly appreciated the pastoral sensitivity in the talks when dealing with some heavier subjects.”

All of us at Solas were hugely grateful to Euan and the team who welcomed us to Galashiels as well as the highly articulate and engaged audience who came rto wrestle with these issues with us. We pray that the church in Galashiels and the surrounding towns will be encouraged as they share the gospel across the The Borders.

A weekend with Solas – Pastor Phill Brown

Phill Brown is the pastor at Cowplain Evangelical Church in Hampshire. In this video he talks about the weekend that Solas did with them, which included evangelism, a Confident Christianity conference and a regional gathering for FIEC churches. Phill is an enthsiast for partnership with Solas and talks in the video about the ways it has helped the church. From Solas’s perspective we really enjoy working with Phill and Cowplain Evangelical Church – who are terrific hosts, share our commitment to Christ and his gospel and who have become our friends too!

Deeside Christian Fellowship Church November 2023

Thanks for joining us at the latest Confident Christianity event. Below you’ll find downloadable slides from the conference talks, plus recommended resources relating to the topics raised in the Q&A session.

Presentation Slides

Q&A Session Resources

Sharing the gospel with the apathetic – webinar with Michael Ots

Bereavement – Tim Keller’s book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering

Education – Pod of the Gaps episode on Schooling and Education

Science and Faith – Are Science And Faith Antithetical? Short Answers with Andy Bannister

The decline of New Atheism – Interview with Justin Brierley, author of “The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God”

The gospel and tribalism – Interview with Tim Tarrants; “Consumed by Hate; Redeemed by Love”