You are invited to join us for GOD in the MODERN WORLD: A CHRISTIAN-ATHEIST DIALOGUE
Is there room for God in the modern world? Or is belief in God a relic of the past?
In this discussion, Christian theologian Randal Rauser and atheist Justin Schieber share very different views about the meaning and relevance of God for the modern age.
This event is part of the “Crucial Conversations Series”, which aims to host uncommon discussion about challenging topics that are friendly, engaging and substantive. We hope you will join us for this free event to hear from our presenters, ask your own questions, and to engage other attendees in respectful dialogue.
This event is co-presented by the E P Wahl Centre, the continuing education ministry of Taylor, along with the Society for Edmonton Atheists. There is no charge to attend, and light refreshments will be offered following the event.
ABOUT OUR PARTICIPANTS
Randal Rauser is Professor of Historical Theology at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, where he has taught since 2003. He lectures widely on the topics of apologetics and Christian worldview. Dr. Rauser is the author or coauthor of ten books including The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver, and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails and Theology in Search of Foundations. Dr. Rauser also regularly blogs and podcasts as The Tentative Apologist at www.randalrauser.com.
Justin Schieber is founder and host of Real Atheology, a Youtube channel dedicated to presenting issues in contemporary philosophy of religion in easy-to-follow videos. As former cohost of the Reasonable Doubts Radio Show and Podcast (2011-2015), Justin enjoys promoting a friendly, yet firm, skepticism toward religious claims. He lectures on the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God and has participated in many public debates at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. He served on the board of the Grand Rapids chapter of the Center for Inquiry in 2014 and 2015.
Friendly. Engaging. Substantive.
Dear friend of Taylor,
I am pleased to tell you about an important development at Taylor College and Seminary. As our valued ministry partners, we want to make sure you hear first about the projects we are working on.
We are announcing the launch of the Parish Nursing Institute, which will operate as part of our continuing education branch, the E P Wahl Centre. Parish nursing utilizes the skills of registered nurses in a ministry context; parish nurses are sometimes part-time, and sometimes provide their services on behalf of more than one congregation. Their ministry is profoundly important for seniors, shut-ins and those with chronic health concerns. Someone with training as a parish nurse can often bring medical expertise that pastors do not have, and can offer unique support to those in medical crisis.
The Parish Nursing Institute, developed by Dr. Joyce Bellous of Taylor along with other experts, will offer its first Certificate Program in June 2017. Representatives of the provincial and national parish nursing associations have been part of the process, and their encouragement and counsel have been instrumental in shaping this initiative. Churches that want to grow in this area of ministry to congregants and families and individuals from their communities are encouraged to participate in this training program.
The Parish Nursing Institute’s Certificate in Parish Nursing program is presently envisioned as something we would offer once every two years, and would serve R.N.’s from across western Canada and beyond. Pray with us that the compassion of Christ and the healing ministry of the church would be significantly extended through this new ministry focus!
This has been a heart-warming Fall Semester at Taylor. We continue to see students from around the world enroll in our degree programs, and the stories of life change and ministry growth are so encouraging. The E P Wahl Centre has offered a variety of training programs that have been very impactful, based on follow-up surveys. And many of our ministry partners have made significant investments in this ministry, with year-to-date giving ahead of the pace of 2015-16. We had been forecasting a modest operational deficit this year, so this generous support along with higher than forecast enrolment have been answers to prayer.
One new suggestion we are making this fall is for a greater number of our ministry partners to join us with regular automated giving. You can read more about that in the insert we have provided. I have never made it a practice to focus on fund-raising, believing that God will supply all that we need to do all that He asks of us. I mention this because the focus on automated giving is new; I ask that you pray with us for hundreds of people to respond, as this would alleviate some of our ongoing budgetary pressures.
Finally, I want to share a few thoughts about this Christmas season. Over the past few weeks, a number of us have immersed ourselves deeply in the Incarnation, the mystery of the Word made flesh. We have just published the Fall edition of The Bridge, and the Incarnation has been our special focus. Thinking deeply about this as a team of writers/editors has been a wonderful reflective exercise for me, and I pray that you will be blessed as you read the articles and stories that will arrive soon in your mailbox.
We believe that in His coming in the form of a servant, Christ has modelled something central to the Kingdom. His weakness, His preferring of others over Himself, His generous welcome of sinners and outcasts – these must be hallmarks of our lives and ministries. “Let this same mind be in you…” the apostle wrote. Here at Taylor, we have been freshly challenged to live out the mystery of God with us, and the call to take up our cross and follow Him.
I pray that the greatest highlight of this Christmas season will be a renewed sense of wonder at the love of God on display in the weakness of His birth.
Thank you again for the partnership we share in ministry preparation. We could not do this vital work without you.
David Williams, PhD
President, Taylor College and Seminary
P.S. Regarding year-end giving: remember that your gift to Taylor is tax-deductible for the 2016 tax year if A) we receive the gift in 2016, or B) if the envelope containing your donation is clearly post-marked on or before December 31. Of course, you can contribute by phone (using a credit card) or online (http://www.taylor-edu.ca/about-taylor/donate-online).
Dear friend of Taylor,
I am often struck by the power of art and by the influence of creative expression in our culture. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once asked:
“How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?”
It’s an odd comment don’t you think, listening with eyes, thinking with feelings? It certainly pushes back against our rationalist tendencies that so often associate “reaching a generation” with logical arguments and facts. When our old arguments fail to do the work they used to do it is so good to know that God still has a witness that reaches into the deepest desire of this changing culture.
We who are steeped in fading cultural values are often blinded to the light that is waiting to break forth from God’s word when we learn to see with new eyes. When we learn to see we find God has provided us with beauty so compelling and so enthralling that its attraction is almost irresistible.
Taylor’s 7th annual onWORD Conference, which took place earlier this month in conjunction with McKernan Baptist Church, was our most recent attempt to help believers see with new eyes. This conference helped us approach the Bible with more than just an analytical approach. Using a variety of creative approaches, we soaked in the Scriptures in fresh ways (fresh for us, perhaps, but not really new to the people of God of previous centuries).
Of course, students at Taylor Seminary encounter these approaches throughout their courses – in chapel services, at retreats, and in the classroom. For example, Dr. Allan Effa is leading a pilgrimage in Spain next spring, helping students re-discover this ancient Christian practice. A setting like a pilgrimage or a retreat can often serve as a new context where faith is quickened, and the journey itself becomes a living parable of the Kingdom, a memorable experience of walking with God. (Literally!)
Our Creator gave us five senses and the gift of creativity to enliven and beautify all the relationships God has blessed us with. Good food, warm hugs, physical activity, laughter – all of these display important things to family and friends that words alone cannot. Our Thanksgiving feasts are such good examples of how a special meal with family can be reminders of God’s abundant blessings.
The question from Ravi Zacharias prompts us to be sensitive to our context. Just as the Apostle Paul used philosophy to speak to the philosophy-loving, Greek-influence audiences of his day, we need to communicate the Good News of the Kingdom in the language of our day; for many, that language is creativity: image, story, art, acts of service.
I hope you were able to join us at this year’s onWORD Conference, but if not you can share a little of that experience online (recordings will be posted at www.Taylor-Edu.ca/AudioArchives).
The scriptures invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” What an opportunity we have to offer those around us more than facts and arguments. The Kingdom is at hand, abundant life is available for the living, and it is a joy to be part of training leaders who can help a new generation experience this fresh and anew. Your participation in this ministry is cherished by all of us at Taylor. In this Thanksgiving season we are thankful to God who makes it all possible through faithful partners such as you.
David Williams, PhD
P.S. If you share our vision for training and equipping the next generation of leaders to serve our churches and communities in a Christ-like way, please continue to stand with us. Your prayers and financial support are critically important – Thank you!
 Ravi Zacharias, “Just Thinking,” Vol. 21.1 (2012): pg. 22.