Conversations from Campus: Bible Interpretation 2

Rick Mattson Bible, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Last week I raised questions about Bible interpretation because I get these questions constantly in my travels to college campuses. Here’s what I always say first in my replies: Don’t interpret the Bible in isolation.This statement usually rubs a few students the wrong way. They value hearing directly from God. For them, direct communication from God bypasses the imperfections of human …

Conversations from Campus: Bible Interpretation 1

Rick Mattson Bible, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

One of the questions I get most frequently in my travels is how to properly interpret the Bible. Backup for a second. Imagine you’re 19 years old and grew up in the church. You go away to college and discover that a lot of sincere, Spirit-led people interpret the Bible different than you. And different from each other.This raises several …

Conversations from Campus: Cumulative Case 4

Rick Mattson Apologetics Leave a Comment

At South Texas College a philosophy professor asked me to present Christianity to his class. They were studying world religions and the professor, an atheist or agnostic, thought I could speak for Christianity better than he. I asked about guidelines. “None,” he said. “Just be honest about your religion.” So I had 75 minutes to present a “cumulative case” for …

Conversations from Campus: Cumulative Case 3

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Imagine a set of stair-steps moving upward, each step another “plank” in the case for Christ. The steps build on one another — hence the upward movement. Step #1 last week was about origins: where the world came from, often called “cosmology.” This week’s step is the design argument. It says that the order and beauty of the universe suggests …

Conversations from Campus: Cumulative Case 2

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Last week I suggested that making a cumulative case for something is like a lawyer trying to convince a jury that a man–call him Smith–committed a certain crime. The lawyer “accumulates” small arguments and adds them together to make a persuasive case: Weapon + motive + opportunity = case made. Case proven? Probably not. Still, very convincing. Smith is most likely convicted …

Conversations from Campus: Cumulative Case 1

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The International Center, Michigan State University, dining area: We grabbed a table and set up a simple white-board sign that said “Questions about Christianity?” with my name underneath. No one in Lansing has ever heard of me. Ten InterVarsity students gathered around the table and began asking me questions. A young atheist emerged. He was sharp, courteous, unsmiling. His opener …

Character 12: Modeling What?

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

William was powerful, influential, a “leader of the pack.” People revered, quoted, even feared him. You walked lightly around William because if he outed you, your days of having any status with the in crowd were numbered. William possessed an astonishing arsenal of tools for manipulating others. He was cynical, funny and volatile. His quick tongue could recast any situation …

Character 11: The Other

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

In sociology there is a term called the “other.” It refers to people different than oneself in a variety of categories: ethnicity, gender, political party, sexual orientation, religion. At Macalester College in St. Paul where I work, the other is everywhere. I find it tempting to deal with the other categorically:  “She’s in category X. Thus I can manage her …

Character 10: Strength or Weakness?

Rick Mattson Devotion, Leadership Leave a Comment

For evangelicals, the 1970s and 80s were characterized by strong male pastors and elders who knew the word of God and preached the gospel unambiguously. These men were part of the “Builder” or “Silent” generation and the early boomers. Then something changed. The arrival of the later Boomers, Gen-Xers and postmodern culture in the 90s caused the guys at the …

Character 9: Finding Yourself

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

After a recent meeting with a college student at a school in Minnesota, I went away thinking, Wow, she really knows herself.I don’t often think that. Imagine it: 21 years old and self-knowledge squarely in place. I can’t say the same for myself at 21 or 31 — or . . . Maybe at 51 I was getting a clue. …