Panel Discussion – (Continued)

Posted in theology by Nathan Creitz on January 26, 2006

So I wanted to let you know how things went on campus at Northeastern. The format was a little bit different from what I was expecting so I adjusted some of my remarks on the fly. The five minute opening remarks from the panelists was meant to be more of a personal note about our various religions. In other words, we were to share a little bit about who we are and how we came to believe in our faith.

I was still able to share a fairly thorough, but concise, presentation of the gospel. First, I got the crowd laughing a little bit, which was a welcome relief to the audience after hearing from some fairly stuffy religious experts.

Basically, after spending about two of my minutes talking about who I was and getting the audience to laugh a couple of times, I said this:

“I’m a little bit intimidated for a couple of reasons. First of all, because I am going last, but I also realize that many of you think of Christianity as the most close-minded and intolerant religion in the world. My beliefs are not intolerant of yours because you are free to believe what you want. I may have a harder time dissuading you from thinking of Christians as close-minded. GK Chesterton said, “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” As I have studied the religions of the world I have discovered something of substance that contains Truth.

Christianity also has a strike against it because of the events that are brought to mind from history like the Crusades or abortion clinic bombings. Unfortunately, a lot of evil has been done in the name of Christianity that has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. I have been reading Mohandas Gandhi’s autobiography and he believed that “if all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian.”

So, I believe that true Christianity is substantive and truthful because Jesus Christ, the Son of God said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Because of this statement, many of you will write off Christianity because it seems to be narrow or close-minded and it is, but the good news from the Christian view point is that God the Father saw the plight of humanity and He made it possible for us to know Him. When all other religions tell humanity what they must do to get to God, Christianity believes that there isn’t anything that we CAN do to get to God, but that God chose to come to us.”

…well, that part was really clear and, pretty close to what I wrote, I think I sort of tapered off towards the end, so I didn’t end as good as the beginning and the middle, but I think I said something about enjoying what I do because I have a relationship with God or something. I’m forgetting some of it.

Anyway, I got to answer the question, “What was the reason that God created us?”
I said, “I’d like to answer that one [with a big smile on my face]. God created us to worship and glorify Him, which is hard to take when we desire to do things our way. The reason this is actually a good thing is because when we put our satisfaction in a career, for example, we can get laid off and then we are disappointed (for lack of a stronger term for when the world comes crashing down around us). God, in all of His infinite goodness and perfection knew from the beginning that the best, most satisfying thing God could do for us was to offer us a relationship with Him. He knew that everything else would “disappoint” us, but that He never would disappoint us or forsake us. Therefore, the most satisfying thing I can do is glorify God. [Thanks C.S. Lewis] When we find our satisfaction in God, God gives meaning to our careers and to our other relationships.”

A follow up question was: “But what was God’s motivation for creating us?” The Jewish rabbi answered that God needed us, the catholic priest agreed but said it was because He chose to need us. I said, “I might say it a little bit differently. Not that God needs us, but that God is a God of love, that He is a relational God, and He is a creative God. We are an expression of who God is. We were created in God’s image as creative, relational beings with a propensity and a need for love because Genesis tells us that we were created in the image of God. We were created because God is creative.”

Anyway, a couple of students came over afterwards and I was able to tell them some about my church. One girl, Jillian, said that she was Catholic, but is looking for something more and wants to come to my church. A guy named Jay is a freshman and a new believer and he asked me a couple of questions about my views on some random topics. All in all, it was a great night and I think that God was glorified in it. I give Him glory for enabling me to respond with Truth boldly and He gave me favor with the audience. He also calmed my nerves and allowed me to speak with clarity. It was a lot of fun.

Boston (42° 21′ , -71° 7′)

Related Posts:
Northeastern University Religious Panel


3 Responses

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  1. adam said, on January 27, 2006 at 7.33 pm

    i think you did an awesome job. i don’t know if would have been able to handle the pressure of that type of panel. how were you selected to be a speaker? just curious…

  2. joe kennedy said, on January 28, 2006 at 2.39 am

    beautiful bro. just beautiful. tonight i preached at my nobts roommate’s church in mississippi. d-now weekend, and i was the opening preacher. i didn’t preach though. i talked about it over on my blog. you should DEFINITELY order that dvd i mention: Most. it’s phenomenal. great job nathan.

  3. Misty said, on January 30, 2006 at 10.35 pm

    Glad to hear that it went well and made an impact.

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