Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Isn't the Bible unreliable and irrelevant?

I gave one of the lunchtime talks on behalf of the Evangelical Christian Union at Exeter University today. These are public events, with food, a talk and Q&A.

The talk is a mix of Ian McEwan's melancholy stories, John Gray and Brian Cox on the story of progress, the speeding neutrino moment, a smattering of manuscript evidence, an introduction to Luke's gospel, and a bit of the parable of the sons.

Download mp3 including the Q&A (40mins) 

I was basically pleased with how it went, feedback was positive and the four questions asked were good questions. I went in with a bit too much material and full-notes which I dipped in and out of - less would have been more helpful. Live and learn. Hopefully I can use a version of this again at other CUs in the South West this year.


  1. like it. Feels fast. Did you have an outline? Love the story approach. Very fresh. I'm speaking apologetically on the bible in a couple weeks time, so I'll think deeply about this approach. Thanks for making it available.

    Love the "speeding neutrino moment" phrase.
    Love the identification of "when i came to uni I'd never read it"
    Love the term "volume from within the bible"

    Personally I'd tend to agree with John Gray more that Jesus introduced hope, emphasising the shock of Jesus more, but maybe for time that'd be a lunchbar on hope rather than one on the bible.

    As an observation, I guess it's a bit colloquial. There's a hopeful anchor to the whole thing, not holding you back but holding you forward - the tone of appeal made that happen, and the nods to the resurrection, you can feel even over the mp3 that youd found there was something more than met the eye in this.

    I love the "other stories aren't conditioned on reality" line - as Benno van den Toren puts it, "this story, because of the kind of story that it is, pointing us away from ourselves to someone who has done something for us, do not work without the historical events". Or NT Wright, "christianity is about something that happened, something that happened to jesus, for us". Nice.

  2. Fast... yeah kinda had to be. Not quite Ramsden speed but I figured that I'd have to be pacey to get through it, and hoped it'd be lucid enough to work that way.

    Thanks for your encouraging feedback on it. I'd definitely use Gray in a hope lunchbar too - priceless insights.

  3. I enjoyed the talk Dave, I thought you handled the Q and A really well. It must be hard with a title like that to keep the content down when there is so much that can be said about it, so many misconceptions to be addressed whilst also building a solid case for its reliability.

  4. Thanks Dan, it's a big subject but one I enjoyed working on... probably one that might best lend itself to a back-to-back lunchbar that could hit the subject more deeply, but you get what you get given!!

    Next lunchbar is on Suffering, which I've done 4 times before but I'm hoping to take a fresh run at.

    In all their affliction he was afflicted,
    and the angel of his presence saved them;
    in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
    (Is 63:9)