All posts by swg_admin

If God’s There

Enjoy our 2020 Easter Video

Download If God’s There – Low Resolution (20Mb)

Download If God’s There – High Resolution (122Mb)

Feel free to download and use the video for your event or to stream it as part of your online service. If you have a chance to let us know where you used it we’d love to hear, though there’s certainly no obligation to do so. Drop us an email/message us on FaceBook

Share This:

What is a Christian?

Is a Christian someone who lives a good life? Or someone born in a Western country? Or someone pretty much the same as any other kind of religious person trying to reach God?

The Bible says a Christian is none of these things, and certainly not just a good person – in fact, the opposite. Jesus was from the Middle East. Christianity did not originate in the West, and large numbers of Christians live in Africa, South America and Asia today. Nor is the Bible’s definition of Christianity to do with trying to live a moral life. The Bible’s picture of the world is that none of us are ‘good’ enough, by our own efforts, for God’s good standards for our world. We can see this when we look at the pain and injustice caused by the human race. We are not good enough for a just God to gloss over our wrongs and the hurt caused between individuals, family members, ethnic groups, and whole nations.

Christianity’s message is not simply a moral code. It is not a book of rules but the message of what God has done to deal with the problem of our wrongs and our broken world. He came to the world to pay our debt and mend our relationship with him. He made a way to restore our connection with him, and give us his spirit to change us from the inside out. Instead of giving us rules to follow he has made a way that we can be set free from the condemnation these rules only highlight. He has made a way to give us a relationship with him in order to change what is wrong in our lives and hearts. The Bible says:

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. – Romans 3:23

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 (This part of the Bible in Galatians talks about how Christians live life following God’s spirit not following their own human desires).

Becoming a Christian means two things – firstly admitting we have wronged God and others. We have all been proud, jealous of others’ lives and belongings, and not completely honest. We’ve all acted with hate, anger, bitterness, unkindness and so on. We humans may have a good and beautiful side, as valuable people made in God’s image, but we also have the ability to destroy our and others’ happiness. God is not longing to condemn us but longing to forgive us and make things right between us and him, as soon as we admit our need for his forgiveness and help.

Secondly, becoming a Christian means making a new start, with the God who invented human life as the god in our lives. It means not living with ourselves as the highest motivation driving our choices and actions. We are no longer living with our happiness as our highest goal in life but living for God, and for what matters to him. When we do this, with God’s help, we begin to live selfless lives and see the reality of God at work in this world.

To become a Christian we don’t need to pay a penance for our sins, or first eradicate our faults in order to face God, he simply wants to help us. He has paid the punishment for all our wrongs in Jesus, who died in our place on the cross. There is nothing left for us to do to earn God’s favour – it is a free gift.

We simply need to ask his forgiveness, relying on what Jesus did for us to make this possible, and beginning to follow Him, with the change of direction described above. The Bible says that when we do this God gives us his Spirit, in our hearts – we are more than just physical human beings trying to change ourself but will see him working in our lives, as we pray and try to follow him. We can see God answering our prayers and find that he is real.

We don’t do this alone. God is building a community of people who should reflect what true community is like. It’s called the church (the people in it not the building). The Church is not perfect, it is full of sinners after all, who are not perfect yet! But if we want to follow God, and believe in Jesus, we do this as a community, learning to relate as people were designed to – people from all backgrounds and ethnicities who value and help each other. We can learn from church leaders who have studied the Bible and can share their knowledge, as we read and discuss the Bible together. Sadly, churches around the world have not always been built on true understanding of the Bible and have not reflected God’s values at all. But in many places around the world you can find genuine followers of Jesus, where barriers between different people have been broken down, and there is a powerful expression of what real friendship and community should be.

Share This:

Is God Way Up There?

About the Arguments in the animation

It’s difficult to put the arguments for God into two minutes, partly because there are many, and they become more convincing the more arguments there are that seem to point to God’s existence. But here is a more full explanation of the arguments the animation reflects.

What made, what went bang?

You may be surprised to find that The Big Bang theory brought scientific thought into agreement with Christianity that the universe started at a point in time and developed in complexity. Before this, scientists believed that the universe had always existed.

Various scientists and mathematicians have tried to work out models of how the time-space universe could have started itself, or how the world itself could have been eternal. Stephen Hawkings, in his more recent book, Grand Design, talked about the beginning of time being like the South pole with no starting point, nothing further ‘South’. Later in the book, however, he describes the law of gravity and a fluctuation of energy in a vacuum being what enables the universe to start from nothing. But surely energy and the physical laws he talks about are not ‘nothing’. This is far from a beginning from nothing. Why are these forces and energy there, and where do they come from?

However we attempt to explain it, we are faced with the question of why and how there was nothing there at all, and then something appeared. Whatever the cause, if it is something in time and space, requires another cause – unless it is an entity or being with some kind of eternal quality. This certainly seems to point to something like God existing. But God was not made up to fill this gap in scientific understanding. This is how the Bible has always described God for thousands of years – as The Beginning and End, a being outside of (the creator of) the laws of nature and our universe. This seems a surprisingly logical and plausible depiction of God, especially when compared to other ancient thought which suggests less ‘scientific’-sounding myths where creatures vomit up the world, for example.

William Lane Craig is one philosopher who puts forward a similar argument, that a universe trapped in time, and therefore with a cause, can only have an eternal entity as its cause. He goes on to argue that this eternal ‘thing’ must have the quality of mind and person, because how else would an eternal cause of the universe go ahead and act to create the universe. If this eternal ‘thing’ were some kind of impersonal mechanism then this action would already have eternally happened as part of its programming.

He also argues that the chances of the conditions being right for the universe as we know it to form have been calculated to be so unimaginably small it is almost not worth considering that chance caused it, or at least it is far harder to believe than that God created it (especially as there is also other additional evidence for God, that could be put forward). Additionally, as Oxford Mathematics Professor John Lennox suggests, there has not been enough time for the universe to evolve in such complexity through chance processes alone, it seems to have been directed in a certain direction.

If these things were the only evidence for God they might be convincing. But it is even more convincing if we find evidence throughout human experience, of this God that the qualities of the universe seem to point to – the Bible puts forward Jesus as one of the most central pieces of that evidence.

A man can’t be God or rise from the dead.

For many, certainly in the West, we are inclined to start with the assumption that anything supernatural is illogical or unscientific and that belief in miracles is naive. This is not helped by the popular idea that the definition of the word ‘faith’ is ‘without evidence’ (although in the examples in the Bible, faith is always trusting in God because you have previously seen him to be trustworthy – i.e. you have evidence to base your faith on).

So the idea that God could communicate with us in becoming a person, then live a perfect life, and rise from the dead to prove it, sounds unlikely to our minds. But if you put aside any pre-assumptions and bias, and just analyse the person of Jesus on the level of pure logic, it is hard to explain the person of Jesus any other way. He made claims that only a madman or evil con artist would make (unless they were true). But he certainly didn’t act like he was delusional or irrational. He showed wisdom in being able to silence his opponents in debate, and he taught and modelled ethics ahead of his time in accepting the outcasts of society and modelling humble leadership, etc.

If we think about what kind of evidence God would have to give to be considered good enough evidence of his existence, it would have to be something supernatural, something humanly impossible, that does not normally happen, something that shows control over the laws of nature (to show the existence of someone with the power to create them). If God is morally perfect, it might be something that shows a prototype of how human life should be. The kind of proof would have to be something like Jesus’ life, resurrection or his miracles.

One final proof is the effectiveness of belief in God or Jesus (Christianity). You can look at the accounts of many Christians throughout history whose lives have been radically transformed, or reformed against all the odds, by nothing except God and the teaching of the Bible. If its claims were a delusion it should not be so effective in producing happy, healthy people, irradiating social problems, etc. Again, this is another discussion there is no room for here. There are many bad examples of those who claimed to be Christians as well. But it should not be a surprise or prove anything to find fake versions of the real thing. So finally, Christians themselves, are one other piece of evidence. They may not be perfect but we’d expect to find something different, something more than normal, at work in their lives. And we can see this in history or judge for ourselves by going along to church events or talking to Christians we know.

Share This: