four big questions

Some questions deserve thoughtful investigation and comments. In our February Wednesday Night conversation series we're going to be looking at these four BIG questions that really matter in our day.


-Is the Bible Trustworthy?

-Does God Really Care about Sex?

-Was Pain Part of the Plan

-Is Jesus the Only Way to God?


We'd love for your to join us as we host well-informed presenters sharing their thoughtful comments from a biblical, Christian perspective and how we can learn to better dialogue around these important matters!

QUestion #1: Is the Bible trustworthy?

Isn't the Bible just a collection of disconnected writings from another world that doesn't really apply to us anymore? Doesn't the Bible contradict itself in lots of places and teach things that science has already proven false? Doesn't the Bible represent a superstitious, patriarchal, genocidal, and bi-polar deity (or poly-deity) who was willing not only to kill Its own creation all the time but, according to Christians, even brutalize Its own "son?" How can anything rooted in arcane nonsense like this be worth reading, let alone trusting?


Dr. Cami Brubaker (PhD, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Bethel University.

Question #2: Does God really care about sexuality?

Isn't love a good thing? Why would a loving God create people that just want what we all want- love and belonging- but say they can't have it? If it doesn't hurt anyone why would a loving God care how anyone acts with their body anyway? It doesn't seem fair that some people are told they're not allowed to fall in love or act out their love just because it doesn't match the standards of a world we don't live in anymore? Doesn't the Bible just prohibit abusive sexuality and actions that harm others and why didn't Jesus say anything about sexuality at all if it's so important?


Dr. Kent Eby (PhD, Trinity International University) is Associate Professor of Missions and the Missionary Church Endowed Professor of Biblical Theology at Bethel University.

Question #3: Was Pain Always Part of the plan?

If God is so good, why is life so hard? Didn't God create a beautiful, perfect world for people to live in and if He knows everything why did He let us mess it all up? Or was pain always a part of his plan?


Dr. Jon Swanson (Ph.D- University of Texas) helps people and organizations find sense at urgent and important times. Whether sitting at deathbeds with families as hospital chaplain or sitting over coffee with people needing counsel, Jon's experience allows him to find the words and silence that help meaning come to the surface.


Once upon a time, Jon thought he would use his education in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism to teach college students how to analyze speeches. Instead, he has been helping people read the Bible for more than thirty years. In small groups and conversations, he tries to listen to the text, listen to people and connect the two in ways that are practical and often unexpected.


Jon has been a communication prof, college administrator, and an associate pastor. Currently, he's a hospital chaplain and a consultant and an adjunct professor at Bethel University.


He and Nancy have been married since 1983 and have two adult children, a grandson, and a daughter and grandchild in heaven.


In 2008, he started 300wordsaday.com, where he writes in simple language about following Jesus, 300 words at a time. More recently, he started Finding Words in Hard Times, a newsletter with stories and tools to help people offer support to people. 

Question #4: IS jesus the only way to god?

There are millions of claims about ultimate reality that have been made throughout human history- what makes a person in the ancient world from a people that may not even really exist anymore so special? Even if he was a special teacher, why does his claims and life mean everything else is wrong or invalid? Wouldn't a fair God consider anyone's authenticity and genuine belief in what they have been told is true and say that matters more than what they didn't or possibly even couldn't have known? Why can't everyone be right and just coexist because everyone sees a different small part of the big ultimate reality picture?


Christians have always rightly preached the exclusivity of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). He is the only way to God and the only hope for salvation. Yet, the narrowness of this claim is refuted on two distinct fronts today. On one hand, the multiplicity of religions challenge Jesus’ exclusivity. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others have their own paths to follow. Why should we choose Jesus only? On the other hand, our secular culture is repulsed by any global truth claims. How can there be a single way for all people to one God?

 

In this “Hard Questions” series presentation at Beulah, Dr. Bob Andrews (PhD, Loyola University) will facilitate a conversation towards attempting to answer these objections.

 

Bob and Lynne Andrews moved to Chicago in 1986 with a desire to serve Christ and minister to the beautiful people living there. They settled near the Little India neighborhood, which is one of the most densely populated and diverse communities on the planet. Here, Bob has personally met people from over 150 nations of the world. Many of these dear people had never heard the gospel before coming to Chicago.

 

Currently, Bob directs Devon Oasis Ministry for the Missionary Church in Little India. Annually, he trains over fifty college and seminary students in intercultural ministry, including several preparing to serve others overseas. He also connects churches in various cities to their local refugee communities. In 2014, Bob and Lynne were honored by World Relief with the Jerry T. Comer Award for their constant care for refugees and other vulnerable people in the city of Chicago.

 

Bob is an ordained minister with the Missionary Church. In addition to his ministry at Devon Oasis, he has taught theology as an adjunct professor at Loyola University since 2011 and has taught missions at Moody Bible Institute. He began graduate studies at Trinity Divinity School, earned an M.Div. from Moody Theological Seminary, an MA in Historical Theology from Loyola University, and a PhD in Theology from Loyola.