There are 27 books in the New Testament. When the canon was finalised and agreed in the late 4th century, the church attempted to include only those books that had genuine close contacts with the apostles. However, there had been many forgeries that had been circulating within churches. These were written to skew church beliefs or practices or for obscure authors to obtain wide acceptance or influence. The church attempted to reject these forgeries. However, the canon was finalised about 300 years after the documents were written and much of the personal information had been lost. Did the church make mistakes and are some of those books that were accepted not written by their alleged authors?
Kevin Rogers is the Director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide and is a researcher and research supervisor and the University of South Australia.
Various forms of human slavery have been practiced for thousands of years and professing Christians have practiced it as well. We know that devout Christian politician William Wilberforce led the British campaign to prohibit the export of slaves from Africa, so where did he find his mandate to take this stand – was it the Bible?
Both the Old Testament (Jewish scriptures) and the New Testament (Christian scriptures) seem to accept slavery as part of the social order to provide labor for manual tasks. Is the Biblical perspective morally defensible?
Are Allah and the Christian God the same? That is a rather interesting question. Opinions are split and there are good arguments for both options.
Obviously Christianity and Islam are different, but they both claim that there is one God and only one God. So is this “one God” they each claim to worship someone totally different in each case? Or, if there IS only one, is it simply a matter of different perspectives, different interpretations, or different views of this one God?
We all know about the 10 plagues of Egypt, which are often the traditional perspective from our days at ‘Sunday School’. However, modern branches of science (especially hydrology, geology, Egyptology, and biology) put the Plagues of Egypt into a different perspective. There were certainly miracles, but the nature of these miracles may not be quite what you thought.
Theologically, the main theme was bringing God’s chosen people out of bondage and into freedom, with all the New Testament symbolism that this entails. In particular, the Passover has obvious parallels with salvation and the Church’s communion rites, but there is more to it than that. The ten plagues of Egypt were a slap in the face to Egypt’s pantheon of false Gods, and proclaim a strong Biblical theme of true versus false religion.
Gordon is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.
This is not about people hating God; it is whether a God of love can also hate. The love of God is very widely misunderstood and misrepresented. Many people glibly say that God loves everything He has made. He’s made everything and so He loves everything. And He loves everybody.
Many (if not most) people have a false view of what God’s love is all about.
Form Criticism is a branch of Biblical Criticism that was highly influential within mainly liberal theological colleges from the early to late 1900s. The primary assumption of Form Criticism, as applied to the gospels, is that stories about the events and sayings of Jesus were passed on through many stages of oral re-telling and were progressively modified to suit the needs of the church at that time. The gospels that we now have are captured snapshots of the evolving oral tradition and thus have limited historical value.
This belies the claims of the gospel authors themselves and the testimony of the early church fathers. Are the gospels the result of an unreliable chain of oral tradition, or are they based on eye-witness accounts?
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide and is a member of Ingle Farm Baptist Church. He is also a PhD student, research fellow and lecturer at the University of South Australia.
Notwithstanding climate denialism, the long-term human implications of climate-change are alarming. World governments will not meet the Paris targets on climate change. We won’t even be close. Following a look at the science, we will examine the consequences of climate change from the perspective of climate-forced human migration. Some 3% of the projected global population will have no choice but to relocate, by about 2100. Nobody, not even the United Nations, which at least recognizes the problem, is doing anything about this looming crisis.
How can you or I know that Christianity is true? One of the main aims of Reasonable Faith Adelaide is to demonstrate that Christianity is plausible and more reasonable than the alternatives. We believe that we can have confidence that God exists, and that Jesus Christ is as is ascribed to him in the Bible. In other words, our aim is to demonstrate that Christianity is true. But can we actually “know”? Is that even possible?
Brian Schroeder will address some of the evidence and will endeavour to demonstrate, as far as possible, that we can know that Christianity is true, and how we can know. Brian Schroeder is a Reasonable Faith committee member. He has BSc and BA degrees from Adelaide University (Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics), and an MA in Theology.
Some have cast doubt about many of the large numbers in the OT, as being absurd. In particular, use of the Hebrew word “aleph” as being translated 1000. E.g. ‘600 of aleph’ (600,000) as the number of Israelites of fighting age, implying that the total number of Israelites including old men, women and children, must have been about 2.5 to 3.0 million. This number is inconsistent with other passages of the Bible, which describe Israel as a ‘tiny nation’. There is a strong case that aleph = 1000 is a mis-translation, based upon internal (Biblical) and external (archaeological and scientific) arguments. This would bring many aspects of the Torah and Kings / Chronicles narratives into line with rationality, and hence believability.
Gordon obtained his geology degree in University College London, and a PhD on ‘The Hydrology of the Oman Mountains. Since then he has worked for the Institute of Hydrology (UK), Flinders Uni (8 years), as a ‘Chief Technical Advisor’ (for the United Nations Development Program in Yemen), a stint as a visiting Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (Taiwan), and as a water resources and/or climate-change consultant in about 30 other countries.
He has worked for AusAID (as was), World Bank, Asia Development Bank, and a large swag of development agencies, large and small. He has contributed to numerous books and international symposia, and am the author of ‘Dictionary of Hydrology and Water Resources’. He is currently working on his farewell opus; a trilogy called ‘sensible Christianity’. Most recently he became the project leader for ‘Climate-Driven Migration’ for an NGO called SafeGround (one time co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize).
We were privileged to have Dr Hugh Ross give us a presentation on climate change. He covered the following topics:
Is climate change for real?
What can we do about it?
Just to warn you, he does believe it is real and is related to human activity, but he has some novel ideas on how it can be addressed without causing huge disruption to human flourishing.
You can purchase a Kindle version of his book on this topic from Amazon by clicking on the following link: Weathering Climate Change by Dr Hugh Ross.
Dr Hugh Ross was an astronomer/astrophysicist at the University of Toronto. He is the founder and president of Reasons to Believe, (www.reasons.org), and is the author of over 17 books including ‘The Creator and the Cosmos’, ‘Why The Universe is The Way it is ‘ and ‘Navigating Genesis.’ Ross has addressed students and faculty on over 300 campuses in the US and abroad and speaks at various churches and groups on a wide variety of science-faith topics. He runs a weekly meeting for sceptics and agnostics. He is asked to present to government agencies and atheists and leading contemporaries on the powerful evidence for a purpose filled universe.