The last day of the Forum arrived. Today I was free of mentoring, so meal times were opportunities for less intense chatting with friends. There were Jonathan Stephen and Joel Morris from WEST, the evangelical college at Bridgend. Then there was a young pastor from Hungary, whose wife had really been helped last year in a workshop I led. Then there was Ellis Potter, who is a lovely man from America originally, but has been in Europe for years. He was once a Zen Buddhist monk, and travelled the world. Eventually he went to L’Abri in Switzerland. He had heard of Francis Schaeffer and went there to persuade him to become a Buddhist. However it was not Schaeffer who turned but Ellis, and since then he has been a pastor/evangelist with an exceptional understanding of those who follow Eastern religions.
In the first session Stefan Gustavsson in his last Bible Study with us led us to consider Thomas, the doubting disciple. What can be the sure ground of faith which we stand on to face life. Stefan suggested that the living, resurrected Jesus is the only place of security. He then went on to meditate upon the story of Thomas, and how he was turned from doubting Thomas, to the bold apostle who took the gospel all the way to India.
When we separated into our different networks, we were first led by Ellis Potter to consider what is the worldview which can explain life. Most people carry the idea that once everything was good, then something spoiled or polluted the goodness. Someday everything will return to simple goodness. Ellis suggested that there are three ways of looking at the world – Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism. He showed how Trinitarianism is the only hopeful explanation, and how to use this in our evangelism.
Then David Robertson, who is a minister with the Free Church of Scotland, did a session with us. He often takes part in debates on subjects such as the New Atheism. Today he led us to consider how we can use the current controversy regarding gay marriage to present Christ to the world. He was wise, discreet, and very clear on our duty to reject homophobia at all times, without compromising the standard set by Scripture.
I did not go to any workshops this afternoon as I need to get up very early in the morning to catch my plane back home. I read some of Glynn Harrison’s book – The Big Ego Trip. I saw Glynn, and asked him whether it was safe to get him to sign the book, or would his Ego be damaged in some sense! He graciously signed my copy.
I also chatted to some, including Angelo, a friend from America who at present lives and works in Prague. He is working on translating works by two of my heroes – Jan Huss, the morning star of the Protestant Reformation, and Vaclav Havel, leader of the Velvet Revolution.
Our evening session was led by Becky Pippert who talked of God’s strength being perfected in our weakness. God the Father is our authority for evangelism. God the Son is our message – a message where he takes our weakness in dying on the cross; God the Spirit is our power form proclaiming or sharing the Gospel. But this Gospel is sent forth in jars of clay. Her honesty in confessing her own weakness is always helpful in giving her listeners confidence that they too could share Jesus with their friend.
This has been a good week, but I’ll be glad to get back home tomorrow. There will be time then to assess the value of the Forum.