The motto of Glasgow University is, “The Way, The truth and the Life”, which is carved into the walls in University Avenue. So the University of Glasgow Christian Union decided to entitle their mission week: “The Truth?” They held a series events, all of which related to an aspect of the truth. I had the privilege of speaking at their daily lunchbars, opening the topic up with a talk and then engaging in Q&A with the students who came along.
Monday’s events was entitled, “True Story: Is the Bible reliable as a source of truth and can we trust it to provide us with answers to life’s biggest questions?” On the Tuesday it was “True Answers; Can Science and Religion Coexist?” and that meeting probably got the biggest turnout of the whole week. The room the CU booked was completely filled and they had to bring in more chairs because students were queuing out of the door and down the stairs of the Union building. The Q&A was challenging and stretching and the event built up a huge amount of enthusiasm for the rest of the week! Many of the Christian students who had brought friends along specifically for that topic, reported that they had many great conversations after the event as a result of the thought-provoking things that had been raised there.
On Wednesday the topic was “True Hope: Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?” There were lots of penetrating and challenging questions there about the historicity and reliability of the resurrection accounts in the gospels. That included discussion of the plausibility of, and possibility of miracles – of which the resurrection is the highest. “True Justice” was the topic on the Thursday, subtitled, “Is the Christian God a moral-monster?” The turn-out for this was very high again, with lots of students wanting to engage with issues around values and ethics and morality. While the Bible has things that people found challenging and difficult, we tried to flip that round and show everyone that so many of the ethics, values and beliefs that we all share come in fact from the Bible. That led to some absolutely fascinating discussions Some of the best one-to-one conversations I had with people came about because of that talk, particularly with one girl who was deeply offended by the way I had answered a particular question about heaven, hell, and justice. In the course of the conversation her whole countenance changed from one of anger to respectful listening. I think she felt that she had been listened to, and her points really heard – but equally she was willing to go away and think about things more herself too. She went away from our conversation with book recommendation, for something that would help her develop her thinking in this area.
“True Healing: Where is God in my suffering?” was the subject for the final day’s meeting. That is a very deep and real topic for so many people. A very short version of my talk for that lunchtime has been published here at Solas, as “Have You Ever Wondered Why Suffering and Evil Seem So Wrong?” which you can read here. It clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people and the questions which followed were honest and very real. The final question of the whole week I had to reply to by saying, “humanly speaking there is no answer to that question – I do not know the mind of God on these things, but what I can tell you is that Jesus has the answers to your questions and He’s the one you need. He alone is the one who can help.”
We had a great time at events week with the Glasgow University Christian Union. The students in the CU did a fabulous job. The number of people who worked to organise and put on the events was impressive. I was only involved in the lunch bars on apologetics and evangelism, but the students put on a whole host of evening events as well!
It was a hugely encouraging week, and one of the first mission events I’ve done as a Solas speaker which was great too! It was a privilege to fly under the Solas banner.