“If the Bible is true, shouldn’t it always be the same and not change with context? Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone everywhere, all the time?” This was the earnest question of a Stanford graduate student in our apologetics small group.
Last summer a group of us from our fellowship went to hear the San Francisco Symphony play the soundtrack live at a screening of the Star Trek reboot movie. It was phenomenal! A year later we’re still talking about it. And we still sound the same. We gasp and go “Wow! It was awesome!” We splutter superlatives to describe the music and the experience of the live orchestra—but somehow it’s all inadequate. And then we drop our arms and say, “Aww, you should’ve been there!”
How would you answer questions directed at you about understanding God’s will, human responsibility in light of God’s sovereignty, or the validity of other religions? Recently I attended the weekly discussion of one of the Graduate Christian Fellowship groups I oversee here in Washington, DC. This is a group of Christian graduate students that meets weekly for discussion, prayer and encouragement. In the spring semester, they decided to use a Christian book rather than the Bible for their weekly discussions.
The beginning of our statement of faith affirms, “The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons (,) Father, Son and Holy Spirit (,) full of love and glory.” As a third-year InterVarsity campus staff, I am increasingly fascinated with how, despite our many differences as an organization, we have unity around the Trinity. Yet I’ve also noticed that people view the Trinity through different lenses.
I’ve been in some pretty demanding full time ministry settings for most of my adult life, so I guard my time off with careful intentionality. But sometimes I fool myself into believing that rest means I’m entitled to be off duty from the universal calling to Christian obedience. A recent encounter at 30,000 feet reminded me that the Holy Spirit never goes on vacation and that this life of service presents opportunities no matter where I am.
“What is your group’s view of homosexuality?” I sat across the desk from the Vice President for Student Life as she asked me this direct question in the midst of a campus access issue in 2010. To this day, I’m not sure if my answer was a dodge, or sheer inspiration, or just fumbling.
InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis says that “we believe in the unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.” Sounds awesome, right? Who doesn’t like the unity of Christians? At face value, we’re drawn to this ideal of Christians worshiping and working together for the gospel. But it’s in the details of what that looks like where we begin to struggle. What do we do when we have to focus on the specifics of unity?
The blog is an avenue for staff and student leaders to hear from the visionary leaders of Collegiate Ministries about theological formation, discipleship, chapter planting, chapter growth, and other key ministry themes for campus work.