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May 21, 2008

Session 1 | Day 3

Today, the Summit challenged me to think about the "hard questions" that help define my faith and its purpose in my life. Through a session with Dr. Michael Bauman, we thought about The Meaning of Meaning. Meaning, I learned, is not interpretation but only what was intended by either the author or speaker. I found it interesting that so many students, myself included, had not considered this truth. Dr. Bauman shared that just as God spoke the universe into existence, we, as students, cannot get the world right until we get the words right. The Word of God and the message we are to share with the world is, in fact, words. This fact alone makes me excited to begin this new level of awareness regarding the words I choose to use in daily conversations and communications.

Next, Dr. Bauman addressed the issue of pain. Using the perspective of C.S. Lewis and ideas from his book, The Problem of Pain, we explored the timeless struggle between the idea of a loving God who wants to make people happy, who is all powerful, and yet who allows there to be pain and suffering in His world. Playing the devil's advocate, Dr. Bauman challenged each of us to explain how our God could possibly still be all good and all powerful. I found it amazing to hear the perspectives of the students around me, several with expressions and ideas new to me. This conversation led directly into Dr. Bauman's third session for today, the battle between free will and predestination.

Using the age old argument between Pelagius (a monk), and Augustine (a bishop), Dr. Bauman led us through their arguments and personal stances on the problems of human nature, free will, sin and the sinful nature, and grace. I was personally humbled greatly as I realized how I struggle with understanding and articulating what I believe. What do I believe about sin? What does it mean that God is sovereign? Am I able to resist sin in my life or am I a "lump of sin"?

These questions, along with countless others, filled my head till it hurt. I welcomed this uncomfortablity. I realize now that by struggling with these tough questions I will be seeking to know the character of God and the person of Jesus in a clearer, more real way. This session frustrated many students, and I felt the tension rising in the classroom as more questions and fewer answers arose. Although emotions were high, I am convinced Dr. Bauman's approach to this conversation left us all as more avid thinkers. I walked away with a hunger to find out these answers for myself. I want to search the Word and grasp more securely the issues that articulate my salvation and the character of God.

This day at Summit was hard. Dr. Bauman's challenging arguments, John Stonestreet's lecture on Christianity and Culture, and Dr. Noebel's further insight on the six worldviews today stretched me further than I have been stretched in a long time. I am thankful for this opportunity to be challenged and to make the most out of my mind for God's glory. And I still have the next eleven days to look forward to!

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