I was invited by Highland International Church to come up to Inverness to take part in their “Under the Spotlight” event which they do several times a year in a recreation hall. They are deliberately doing these meetings out in the community in neutral space where non-Christian people feel more comfortable then they perhaps would be if they came to a church service. They invited lots of people and welcomed them all with coffee and loads of cake!
They invited me to speak on the whole question of ‘science and God’, and amongst the 40-45 people who came there were non-Christians, who were willing to come and consider these things. I addressed the topic (as I had done at Glasgow University recently) and then threw it open for questions – and people asked some great ones. It was good to see a good number of young people there too, including some younger teenagers who got involved with the Q&A.
The highlight of the meeting for me was meeting an older gentleman who was clearly not a Christian – judging by the way he phrased his question. He sought me out afterwards to ask more questions, and he had lots of really significant ones. He asked, for example, about what Christians mean when we say that humans are made “in the image of God”. He realised that we obviously don’t think that means that God looks like us physically; but he didn’t know what we do think.
I was able to explain that the core of it is that God is ‘relational’. As God is the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He didn’t need to create anything in order to love, rather He is love. Therefore when He creates us in His image, we are also relational creatures. As such relationships are a core part of what it means to be human because we are personal creatures who are designed to love. Then of course, we have to reflect on what has gone wrong. The Bible’s account is that sin has come into the world because we have tried to make ourselves the centre of the universe, displacing God. As a result, all these relationships have become fractured, we have become disconnected both from God and from each other and capable not just of love, but also of hate. That’s why God stepped into the world in the person of Jesus, to do something about this.
I had the wonderful opportunity to talk about all of this with that man in Inverness. It was a really significant conversation, and we’re still praying for him as he is really searching. Just one conversation like that makes all the travel worthwhile.
If you are someone who is reading because you pray for Solas. Please pray that these events we do with local churches go well, and for me as I speak. Please also pray for the Q&A’s that these spontaneous impromptu sessions will be helpful and that I will have God’s wisdom as I field questions. But also, please pray for these personal conversations at the end of meetings with people who are really searching, and need to hear something specific. Pray that they will find and receive Christ and everything he offers.
Editor’s note: Host pastor James Torrens adds, “Andy Bannister spoke at one of our regular ‘Under the Spotlight’ meetings, held in a public hall in the grounds of the local hospital. His subject was “Examining the Evidence: Is Christianity anti-Science?” Andy gave a 20 minute presentation, then those who were present – which included some children as well as adults – were able to ask questions, which Andy answered ably and engagingly. The format was a public meeting and though most people present were Christians, there was at least one non-Christian man there who asked a question and spoke with Andy at the end. The meeting ran for an hour but people were free to stay on over coffee, tea and cakes if they wanted to talk further.”
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