Stories from Relevant Mission Week

“Christian faith is trust on the basis of evidence not trust in the absence of evidence.”

“Religion though poisonous at times is not the real problem, maybe the problem is deeper – maybe it’s us.”

“If atheism is right, we don’t believe anything because it’s true. We believe because of biological factors.” – Andy Bannister

“Justice is the restoration of every violation of love.” – Michelle Tepper

“Christianity says we are all naturally broken in our sexuality, without Jesus none of us are straight.” –  Sam Allberry

“The very reason why we have an infinite need of affirmation is because we were made for the affirmation of the infinite One.” – Logan Gates

Like last year, this year’s Relevant Mission Week was a great success, with 1500 people attending 17 talks, 700 free lunches given away, creative outreaches happening throughout the campus, hours of spiritual conversation, and new believers entering into God’s Kingdom. Below are some encouraging stories from the week. (If you missed my interview with Power to Change which I sent out by email, you can read it here. My friend Helmut Hensel wrote an article about his experience here). Because it was such a wonderful experience, I wanted to share some more encouraging stories with you.

REACHING SECULAR STUDENTS

On the Monday evening, around 300 students attended a dialogue that I moderated between Christian Dr. Andy Bannister and atheist University of Toronto Professor Dr. Ronald de Sousa on “Is Christianity Irrational?”  (click title for video). The event was co-sponsored by the University of Toronto Secular Alliance. Two members of the club were interviewed at the end of evening (you can watch the video interview here). Nadia, the emcee, said: “These sorts of conversations are important because they are not often had on university campuses. This is a topic that people are usually afraid to speak about publicly. So getting a Christian and an atheist in dialogue with one another is an important opportunity to let those thoughts and opinions be heard in a public space.”

Julia said: “[It is important to have] the opportunity to talk to people with different views and have discussions and debates because I feel that this is really important on the university campus where it’s so easy for people of different views to judge each other. When you can create a space where everybody can speak and talk through things in a non-judgmental yet educational and informative environment I think that’s really great. I think that’s what we had tonight….hearing Dr. Bannister really opened my mind.”

One attendee said: “Andy Bannister was amazing this evening. His moral integrity shone in all his arguments for the Christian faith. He was winsome, coherent, intellectually honest and well supported by his reading references that evidenced good research taking the whole discussion out of the realm of opinion and polemic. Magnificent.”

FRUITFUL CONVERSATION WITH MUSLIMS

On the Wednesday evening Abdu Murray, a former Muslim and now Christian speaker with RZIM, dialogued with Shia Muslim scholar Vinay Khetia on the question “Who is God?” The lecture hall was standing room only and many Shi’a Muslims, who otherwise might not have attended, came out in large numbers. After the dialogue, several Muslims approached Abdu saying they had never heard such a clear and compelling presentation of Christian theology.

One Muslim friend, whom I have been journeying with over a number of years, having had countless hours of spiritual conversation in person and online, told me that he loved what Abdu said about Jesus and that he was the more compelling speaker. When I gave him Abdu’s book he was ecstatic. His expression was like that of a young child receiving a long anticipated Christmas gift! Please pray that he would trust in the grace of God our Father as revealed in Jesus Christ. After connecting with him I had the opportunity of dialoguing with and answering the questions of two young intelligent Muslim men, both of whom are studying to become Imams. They expressed their interest in further conversation and a formal dialogue in their large Ahmadiyya mosque north of Toronto.

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