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The Value of Doubt

[pk_box width=”600″ align=”” text_align=””]”One of the most interesting findings from that pilot project was the importance of doubt in a student’s faith maturity. The more college students felt that they had the opportunity to express their doubt while they were in high school, the higher levels of faith maturity and spiritual maturity [they had in college].”[/pk_box]

Kara Powell, on a three-year study conducted by Fuller Theological Seminary’s Center for Youth and Family Ministry.

[Via: Jay L. Wile]

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Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

BruceFraser

Bruce Fraser

Bruce is a Software Architect and technology evangelist by day; by night, a father of two preschoolers and husband to a Kiwi he met while volunteering with Wycliffe Associates in Kenya.  He’s passionate about seeing people love God with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving others well, inside and outside the church.

He is a lay evangelist and apologist who got to spend several years fusing apologetics with evangelism alongside good friends Mike Licona, Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood and Mary Jo Sharp.  He learned much about the arguments and demeanor necessary to communicate the Great News of Jesus to those hostile to Christianity, presenting the truth of Jesus in a way that respects their intellect, but loving them too much to let them suffer under their misconceptions about Jesus.

He’s available to speak in Christchurch, and elsewhere as needed.

Speaking Topics

Has Science Buried God?

Are science and faith natural enemies? Does naturalism provide sufficient grounding for the success of science? Does the evidence from science point away from or towards a creator God? Can you be a scientist and a Christian?

Does Life Have Meaning?

Is this life just a lucky accident? Do our lives have purpose or should we invent our own? Does having an answer to this question make any difference?

Is the New Testament Reliable?

Is the New Testament an unreliable translation of a translation of a translation, as Bart Ehrman claims? If we don’t have the originals, how do we know what we have a faithful copy? Do contradictions mean that we should reject the contents of these 2000 year old manuscripts?

Did Jesus Really Claim to be God?

Muslims and modern religious studies scholars tell us that Jesus never actually claimed to be God; that this was the creation of followers who later invented claims of Jesus’ deity. Since Jesus never said “I am God,” who should we believe?

Jesus: Man or Myth?

C. S. Lewis famously said that Jesus was either a Liar, a Lunatic or Lord. But some people have opted for a fourth option: Legend. Jesus never really existed, the stories of him were stolen from Pagan mystery religions. Was Jesus the first “Dying and rising” god? Nope. Osiris, Horus, Dionysius and Mithras all beat him to it. Or did they?

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

“Yes,” says the Christian. “It’s in the Bible, so it’s true.” The skeptic says, “Obviously not. People don’t rise from the dead. If that happened, we’d know about it.”  If someone doesn’t start by assuming the Bible is true, is there evidence that would convince them Jesus rose from the dead?

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

Rodney Lake

“There are good reasons to believe that God exists, and that Jesus was who he claimed to be. We want both Christian and unbeliever alike to wrestle with these reasons and ultimately be transformed by them.”

Rodney Lake is the National Director of Thinking Matters NZ Foundation, a national Christian apologetics ministry that encourages Christians to know the reasons why we believe what we believe. Rodney speaks at churches, youth groups, conferences and to non-believers at outreach events around the country on the reasons why Christianity is true.

He teaches staff, parents and youth at various Christian schools, is an adjunct apologetics lecturer at Faith Bible College and a visiting lecturer at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and Carey Baptist College. He teaches regular ‘Introduction to Christianity’ courses to parents at Bethlehem College and serves on the board of Bethlehem College Limited.

He is passionate about seeing people loving and seeking God with all of their mind, developing a resilient faith that is supported with solid reasons to believe, while confidently and graciously sharing that faith with others.

Testimonials

Rodney Lake is one of those rare individuals who can communicate the core truths of the Gospel to a lost world in a thoughtful way while still being accessible and fun. He’s certain to be a hit for any church service or youth event. I recommend him highly.  Lenny Esposito, President – Come Reason Ministries

“Rodney addresses difficult issues capably, thoughtfully and sensitively. His ministry greatly serves both leaders and laity, providing precious clarity in an age of increasing confusion.” Steve Burgess, C3 Church – Pacific Region Director

Rodney did a wonderful job, and the feedback from our church was excellent. He spoke clearly, and illustrated his points well.  David Dishroon, Senior Pastor – Changepoint Church Tauranga

“Rodney brings clarity to the role and need of apologetics in the church today, grounded in a passion for the gospel. His ability to communicate to youth and adults is evident and a major plus. I fully endorse Rodney in his speaking and ministry.” Rev Reece Frith – St Paul’s, Katikati

Brilliant. Rodney was enthusiastic, very well informed and able to bring so much information to the class. Really got us thinking and helped us prepare answers for people who ask questions about God and Christianity.  Student (anonymous) – Faith Bible College

Rodney was articulate, interesting and very informative with excellent content and delivery. Very sensitively handled. Conference Feedback (anonymous) – Confident Christianity Conference

Rodney Speaking

References

Feel free to contact any of the following pastors & ministry leaders who have hosted me as a speaker at their church, school or ministry event – for a reference:

  • Ps David Dishroon – Changepoint Church, Tauranga
  • Ps Alan Hood – City Church, Tauranga
  • Dave Mann – Shining Lights Trust & The Hope Project
  • Des Short – Principal, Faith Bible College
  • Eoin Crosbie – Principal, Bethlehem College, Tauranga
  • Rev Simon McLeay – St Peters in the City, Tauranga
  • Rev Ian Pittendreigh – Bethlehem Community Church, Tauranga
  • Ps Sam Bayly – O2 Church, Tauranga
  • Rev Reece Frith – St Paul’s, Katikati

Church Sermons

The following are talks Rodney has given as Sunday sermons at various churches around New Zealand:

Why Thinking Matters: the Importance of Apologetics in the Church

In this sermon, Rodney gives an introduction to apologetics and the growing need for Christians to be better prepared to give clear and gracious reasons for our faith. While sharing his testimony, he highlights the first great commandment and the need for us to seek God with our minds, as much as our heart, soul and strength.

The Power of a Question: Creating Conversations that Matter

Do conversations about your faith intimidate you? Do you let opportunities to share God’s love slip by with friends and family? In this sermon, Rodney teaches two simple questions which make conversations about God easy. Learn how to confidently and graciously present Christ in an attractively intelligent way, without having to know all the answers.

Worldviews in Conflict: The Cosmic Battle for Our Minds

In this sermon, Rodney highlights the great war between the truth claims of God and the lies and deceptions of the world. He introduces the concept of ‘Worldview’ and contrasts the two greatest worldviews in New Zealand today: Materialism/Naturalism (roughly 35% of the population) and Christianity (roughly 33% of the population) – showing that while the first is unliveable, the second gives profound answers to all the deepest questions of life.

Watch this message on YouTube


Other Teaching Topics

The following are talks Rodney has given to youth groups, Christian schools, conferences and at outreach events to non-believers. Rodney can deliver a single talk, or teach a series that builds a cumulative case for Christianity that includes a mix and match of any of the following talks:

The Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God

Everything that begins to exist has a cause – including the universe itself.  Is there any scientific or philosophical evidence for a creator as a cause of the Big Bang?  In this presentation we examine the nature of the Big Bang and look at the evidence a divine supernatural cause was at work.  We’ll also examine how the original purpose of science as a way of understanding the natural world around us has become distorted, resulting in biased outcomes in scientific enquiry that unnecessarily exclude the possibility of God.

True for You, But Not for Me: Are Religious Truths True for Everyone?

In this talk Rodney examines the nature of truth and highlights two different kinds of claims: Universal Truth that is true for everyone, and Personal Truth based on your own preferences and personal beliefs. Then we examine religions claims about God and Jesus and ask: are such claims Universal or Personal; are they just true for me, or; is there something much deeper going on?

Is Jesus the Only Way? What About All the Other Religions in the World?

Jesus claimed to be the only way – but how can only one religion be true when there are so many beliefs out there?  What about those who are truly sincere in their religious beliefs – are they going to hell?  Isn’t it intolerant to think others are wrong?  Don’t all paths lead to God?  In this talk, we dismantle twelve of the most common claims we hear that suggest all religions are equally true – and show just how important the question of truth really is.

True for You But Not for Me. How Can There be Only One Way?

NOTE: This is a shorter combined version of the two above talks

Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God – yet we live in a society where multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance are highly esteemed and necessary for a peaceful civilisation. So, is it possible for one religion to be true?  Are there really many paths to God?  What does it mean to be tolerant of other religions?  In this presentation, we examine the difference between subjective and objective truth, while looking deeper at the nature of religious truth claims – in particular the claim that Jesus is the only path.

A Misunderstood Theory: Understanding the limitations and implications of the theory of Evolution

In this talk Rodney outlines the misconceptions about what evolution is and the power it has to create new organisms. He attempts to bring some clarity to a theory that is often wrongly used to explain things it’s not capable of explaining. He then highlights some of the problems in the theory of evolution and examines the very disturbing consequences that must be accepted if the theory is actually true.

What is Christianity? An introduction to the basic beliefs of the Christian Faith

This presentation is for those who want to learn about who Jesus Christ is and just what Christians’ believe.  We cover some of the central beliefs of the faith and why we believe them – including topics such as God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Sin & Salvation.  We finish by explaining what the Bible and the Church is and why we need them.  Come and learn the basics and ask your deepest questions about the Christian faith.

Why Thinking Matters to our Kids: A practical four-part strategy to get our kids engaging with worldview and apologetics

Why is apologetics so important in the discipleship of our kids?  Why are so many of our young Christians not sharing their faith with others – or even walking away altogether?  In this talk Rodney will examine the role apologetics and worldview training has in preparing our kids for adulthood and presents a practical four part strategy for getting them intellectually engaged in their faith and culture.  This talk is suitable for parents, youth leaders, Christian educators and homeschoolers.

Other talks under development

The following talks will be available soon.  Please talk with Rodney if any of these interest you:

Is God Good?  Why would a loving God allow so much suffering in the world?
If God is perfectly good – he would want to stop all evil.  If God is all powerful – he would be able to stop all evil.  Yet we still see and experience horrific evil in our lives and the world around us.  Could God have reasons for allowing evil and suffering?  Do those reasons make any sense in the midst of our own suffering?
Can the Bible be trusted?  What is the Bible and where did it come from?
What is the Christian Bible?  Who wrote it and who decided what should be in it?  The Christian Scriptures have been used for several thousand years by Christians all over the world to inform and guide them in all matters of life.  But what evidence is there that these ancient writings are reliable, true and should be taken seriously?
The not so new Atheists: Christianity under attack
An introduction to some of the anti-Christian ideas that are gaining in popularity through the emergence of the New Atheist movement; where we are no longer merely mistaken in our beliefs, but rather are now accused of being dangerous.  Rodney counters this claim by highlighting Christianity’s real record of goodness and influence throughout history.

Planned talks yet to be started:

Right and Wrong: What is moral relativism? Who gets to decide what’s right and wrong?

God among us: The historical evidence for the miraculous life and claims of Jesus.

Naturalism: How bias has distorted science to avoid the inescapable God conclusion.

Post-modernism: An empty philosophy according to the traditions of man.

Where did life come from?  An introduction to the theory of Intelligent Design.


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