All four gospels claim that Jesus was from Nazareth. However, some sceptics claim that Nazareth did not exist at all in the first 1st century, or that it was a small village, rather than a city, as Luke claims (Luke 1:26). The traditional site for Nazareth was certainly not a large city in the 1st century. So, what is going on? Is Jesus truly Jesus of Nazareth?
Trevor Harris will describe the archaeological evidence and compare this with the gospel claims. The answer is probably not what you expect.
Trevor Harris has an honours degree in Architecture and a masters degree in Urban and Regional planning. He has practised in these areas for 45 years in government and private practice. For the last 20 years he has developed a passion for bible research, particularly in identifying Bible sites. This includes history, archaeology, and geography. He has engaged in seven research trips to the Middle East.
The whole demonic realm sounds implausible to the modern ear, but it is a real part of the Christian worldview. In fact, it is claimed that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), but how does that work out? Often Satan is depicted by gross and obvious images, but that is dead giveaway.
Rather, Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Evil is inherently deceitful and that is where it derives its power. It affects all human institutions, but it also affects us at a personal level. Thus, Geoff will present:
What does the Bible say about how Satan works?
What is the nature of his work?
How have these things been defeated?
How will these things be defeated? and
How should we respond?
Geoff Russell is a professional electrical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Adelaide, a post-graduate Diploma in Engineering & Computer Applications.
We all know that our planet is special. But how unique is it really? Is there any evidence that pertains to our existence being extraordinary?
Join Gordon and Bronwyn as they explore this fascinating topic on what science has actually uncovered about the universe’s beginning and the features of our place in space that contribute to earth’s unique features. This will be a joint presentation from Bronwyn Pearse and Gordon Stanger.
Bronwyn Pearse is a primary school teacher who currently works with a number of people from different religious backgrounds. Having grown up in a Christian family she has always enjoyed asking questions and digging deeper into the truth claims of Christianity. In recent years she has been exploring what makes Christianity unique amongst the world religions and the scientific evidence for a creator found, particularly in cosmology. During Bronwyn’s talk she refers to a couple of key web links. These can be found at https://reasons.org and https://reasons.org/connect-to-a-scho….
Dr Gordon Stanger 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’. He has spoken on several occasions at our meetings. He is very knowledgeable on scientific issues, and we greatly appreciate his contribution.
Bronwyn and Gordon’s joint presentation can be viewed on YouTube.
The book of Job in the Bible is one that has resonated with people for thousands of years. It confronts one of the enduring questions that continues to plague mankind: Why do the righteous suffer?
But how should we view this book? Is it a philosophical/theological treatise? Is it one man’s struggle in written form to come to grips with the question? Is it the work of many people over a period of centuries? Or is it the story and experience of a real human being struggling first-hand with major catastrophes in his own life?
In 2020, in response to covid19, churches around the world were forced to close their buildings, many of which are still closed today.
The common initial response to this closure by the local church was to “put the normal church service online” and to create online content and an online production. As a result, many local churches became far more aware of the state of technology, its interplay with culture and the online world in general. Yet it appears there is a very strong widespread desire to return to the comfort of church, much as it was operating in a pre-covid world. In this talk, we are going to explore aspects of how technology has been shaping the environment that the church exists in and how covid is revealing that environment. So, is a simple return to pre-covid church operation and strategy more about our comforts than our mission? In addition, we will examine some approaches for using technology to reach a tech-saturated world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a previous presentation Gordon pointed out that many of the Old Testament miracles have a naturalistic explanation, but this does not in the least detract from their miraculous aspects of timing and improbability. However, Jesus’s miracles are in an altogether different category. None of these miracles have a naturalistic explanation. On the contrary, many of these miracles point to Jesus as being unquestionably the Son of God.
Are we to take these miracles just at face value? Is it just a case of “Wow! Look at God doing the impossible again – isn’t that cool!” I would argue that certainly most, if not all, of Jesus’s miracles are merely the ‘attention catcher’. They go beyond the immediate and obvious circumstances. They all have theology behind them, and it is this deeper significance and application that we should concentrate upon. The miracle may be important in its own right, but we do well to keep an eye on what’s behind and beyond the miracle.
Dr Gordon Stanger 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’.
The account of Joseph of Arimathea is very familiar. It is often read in churches at Easter time. It records how Joseph requested the body of Jesus from Pilate and buried him in a tomb at a known location. However, on the following Sunday, the body was gone, many were claiming to have witnessed appearances of the risen Jesus; and Jesus’ opponents could not produce the corpse. Thus the historicity of the burial in Joseph’s tomb is paramount to the central truth claim of Christianity.
However, Joseph is only mentioned during one cameo appearance and is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, the location of Arimathea is not absolutely certain, and there are no references to this town in contemporary non-Christian sources. Thus, the brevity of the evidence has prompted some to challenge whether the event occurred at all. After all, isn’t absence of evidence the evidence for absence? So, is Joseph of Arimathea historical?
There are records in each of the four gospels that have some common material but are viewed from different perspectives. From these we can judge whether they are based on factual eye-witness testimony.
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide. He is also a researcher, research supervisor and lecturer at the University of South Australia.
In the very dark days of World War 1, Britain made agreements with both the Arabs and the Jews regarding the land, then known as Palestine, to seek short term assistance to win “The Great War”. As an inevitable consequence, both Arabs and Jews believed they had received a promise that they would possess that land, but the contradictory promises resulted in growing anger and conflict between Arabs and Jews in that land. By 1947 Britain, so weary after World War 2, had had enough of this conflict and, on 29th November 1947, the United Nations agreed to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The conflict has been going on ever since.
In 1971 John Lennon and the Beatles released “Imagine”.
Here are some of the lyrics:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today …
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
living life in peace,
you You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.
Sounds seductive, doesn’t it? Is this what we should be aiming for? Should we join him? Irreligion is gaining traction within western society, including Australia. It promises happiness and freedom of expression, but does it deliver? Is it good for society or our mental health, and can it provide any ultimate meaning?
The story of Jonah is one of the better known tales in the Bible. The concept of a man being swallowed by a whale certainly piques the imagination, though there is more to it than that, but what are we to make of it?
Was it intended to be read as history, a fable, or something else? What was its purpose intended to be? And if it was supposed to be read as history, how much of it can we believe? How much of this story is actually historically plausible?