Adelaide Chapter

Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

Many have found the book of Revelation, and especially some of its imagery, quite confronting. It has often led some Christians to dire predictions of the end of the world, ultimately leading to their own disappointment, as well as the ridicule of non-Christians.

Matt unpacks one of Revelation’s images, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, to help shed light on a better way to approach not only that passage, but also the book of Revelation entirely. He also touches on a better way forward in terms of Christians viewing the eschaton, when Christ will return.

View the presentation on You Tube.

Your DNA is what makes You, You. Irrespective of your world view, the discovery of the inner workings & complexities of life under the microscope should leave anyone with an inquisitive mind in wonderment. Our bodies use, preserve and copy this molecular script in such a way that life and the reproduction of life is made possible.

The goal for this talk is to cover some of the key findings that science has discovered about the structure and expression of DNA, and how this all ties in to what we are. Josh also presents current theories and models that seek to explain how the complexities surrounding DNA has become a reality.

The presentation is on You Tube

A central claim of the Biblical Old Testament is that God (YHWH) appeared to Moses and empowered him to lead the descendants of Jacob out of their slavery in Egypt back to the land of Canaan promised to them 430 years earlier when their ancestor Abraham dwelt there.

This thin strip of land between the south east coast of the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is now one of the most disputed territories on Earth contested by two peoples descended from Avraham (Jewish pronunciation of Abraham) otherwise known as Ibrahim (to the Arab people).

The Biblical book of Joshua gives an account of how the Israelite people conquered this land with the miraculous help of YHYH some 1200-1440 BC and is the main source of the Jewish claim to the territory that is still in dispute today. So, can the Joshua account be believed?

This presentation looks at the Joshua account, the disputed timing and the archaeological evidence for accepting the plausibility of Joshua’s account.

The presentation can be viewed on You Tube.

Matthew James Gray recently completed his doctorate on religious toleration and persecution in seventeenth-century England. In this talk, he shares some of the things he learned during his studies.

Specifically, Matt argues that the dynamics of toleration were always multi-dimensional. It wasn’t just that the government had to decide whether to tolerate religious minorities; toleration and intolerance were occurring in various directions, including between the various religious groups themselves. Matt also explores

  • the attitudes of the persecutors,
  • whether they were absolutists or relativists,
  • “the cycle of intolerance”, and
  • relevance to today.

This presentation can be viewed on YouTube

The Bible records that God delivered the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt by the hand of Moses and formed them into the new nation of Israel.

At that time, God gave them a Law, about which He said:

  • “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

In this address, Geoff Russell considers some aspects of this Law which, if obeyed, would result in far better health and well-being for the nation of Israel than that experienced by Egypt and other neighbouring nations. In particular, he looks at toilet hygiene, treatment and isolation of infectious diseases, circumcision, and sexual morality. Were these rules beneficial to the ancient Israelites and are they relevant to us today?

Geoff’s talk can be viewed on YouTube

The Acts of the Apostles is vital to the overall credibility of the New Testament. It alone provides a historical account of the development of the early church immediately after Jesus’ ministry. Unsurprisingly, there are diverse views on the reliability of Acts. FF Bruce claimed that “Luke’s reputation as a historian is unsurpassed”, whereas the Acts Seminar claims that it is a 2nd century document that reflects the nature of the church at that time. Who is right?

This presentation discusses:

  • Manuscript reliability, dating and authorship,
  • Key developments in Acts scholarship,
  • Consistency with Paul’s letters, and
  • Historical reliability.

The presentation and discussion can be viewed on You Tube

“The idea that a good God would send people to a burning hell is utterly damnable to me – the ravings of insanity, superstition gone to seed! I want no part of such a God.” – Luther Burbank The age-old question “How can a good God send people to Hell?” has bothered Christians and been used by others as proof that Christianity is rubbish. But what exactly is Hell, and what is Heaven? Can the concepts of God and Hell be reconciled? An afterlife is not exclusive to Christianity, but is common to almost all cultures. Where did such a concept come from? Brian Schroeder attempts to show that the concepts of Hell and of a good, loving, all powerful God are perfectly compatible and together do make sense.

Brian’s talk can be viewed on You Tube

Eusebius of Caesarea (263 AD – 339 AD) is commonly known as the “Father of Church History”. He lived during a time of great persecution under the Emperor Diocletian but survived to see Emperor Constantine give Christianity official recognition. He also lived within a few generations of the lives of the first Christian apostles and had access to early copies of their writings and those who they discipled. As Bishop of Caesarea he participated in the Council of Nicaea and mixed with fellow church leaders. Caesarea had a great library on which he was able to draw. From this experience, Eusebius was able to look back on the first 300 years of the Christian faith and document its growth, its heresies and its persecutions.

His major work is “Ecclesiastical History” (or Church History), which is our most important source on the development of Christianity from the completion of the New Testament through to the time of Emperor Constantine the Great (early 300s). So, he has done us a service in recording the foundations of the Church from an early perspective. He also wrote a glowing biography of Constantine, as though the Church had entered its millennial blessing. With such a reputation, he has of course come under attack. So, is his history reasonably accurate and can he be trusted?

Stephen’s talk can be viewed on You Tube.

Genesis chapter 22 describes how Abraham was called by God to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. This story is set about 4,000 years ago and is stunning. Some people say that it is horrible, barbaric, and even pagan, and that the religion of the Bible is primitive and no better than that of other ancient peoples. Yet this story is important to the Jewish and Christian faiths, and even in the Islamic faith, and has been so for many centuries.

Geoff Russell believes that it’s a wonderful story, which gives us significant insights into the mind and heart of God. This very story gives us reasons to believe that God is good, and that the Bible is His revelation to us.

The presentation and discussion can be viewed on You Tube

Many people conclude that there must be a designer at least to account for the complexity of living things. However, Richard Dawkins contends that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, through natural selection, can explain the rise of complexity by gradual degrees from simple beginnings. In “The Blind Watchmaker”, Richard Dawkins states:

Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker. (p.14)

Dawkins goes on to claim that God is superfluous and highly improbable. Are Dawkins’ argument reasonable?

Christians have responded in quite different ways, ranging from substantial rejection of evolutionary theory, through to acceptance of some form of guided evolution. To the lay person, the divergent claims can be very confusing. So, the following questions often arise:

  • What can I know?
  • Who should I trust?
  • Does the world need a designer?

Kevin Rogers provides an overview and discussion of the arguments presented in “The Blind Watchmaker” and addresses the above questions, including “Does the world in which we live point to a Supernatural Designer?”

View this on You Tube