Gospel Conversations
Faith, Hope and Love as ‘ways of knowing’.

Faith, Hope and Love as ‘ways of knowing’.

December 8, 2020

Here is the second conversation with Mark Strom on Faith, Hope and Love as ‘ways of knowing’. Mark is on fire in this conversation.  He takes on a roller coaster ride beginning with the famous Pauline talk to the Romans on Mars Hill right through to the ‘mount Everest’ of Christ centred thinking in the hymn of Philippians 2.  Throughout this journey Mark develops a grand theme; that every human made in God’s image is grasping towards higher meaning or ‘hope’ and this includes the idol worshipping Greeks and Romans on Mars Hill but we need the story to make sense of this ‘knowledge instinct’.  The story needs an ending – because endings make sense of stories – and the incarnation of Jesus, which climaxes in his resurrection, is the ending which makes sense for everybody. True wisdom, in fact ‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ are hidden in that story. Never has that verse in Colossians been more real for me than as I listened to Mark talking here.

Mark Strom: Knowledge as Faith, Hope and Love – not data & information

Mark Strom: Knowledge as Faith, Hope and Love – not data & information

November 24, 2020

We are excited to welcome back to Gospel Conversations one of our old friends, Mark Strom. Mark has blessed all of us over the years with his unique grasp of big picture holistic thinking coupled with his easy accessible way of explaining all of that: in particular Mark has been a leader in taking the gospel out of its religious box and putting it into the whole framework of reality – particularly in his work on Paul where he argues that Paul was not just a great theologian but a great philosopher who changed the way the world thinks whether they are Christians or not.

In continuing our COVID style of Zoom interviews, we have arranged this series as a dialogue between Mark and Tony – not as a presentation. Our topic continues the broad theme of ‘knowledge’ which we have been pursuing. Mark gives us a big idea – that the famous description of ‘faith, hope and love’ in 1 Corinthians 13 are aspects of true knowing not merely moral qualities. With that fresh perspective he does two revolutionary things: for Christians, he gives us a new take on discipleship and for the wider world, he gives us a new take on knowledge.  

The first talk sets the scene for this big idea – as Mark and Tony explore some of the limitations of the way we modern people/Christians think about knowledge, and then the reasons why ‘knowledge’ is so central to God’s purposes for the whole of humanity, including Christians.

The modern battleground for the soul: Mark Ridgeway on ai - talk 2

The modern battleground for the soul: Mark Ridgeway on ai - talk 2

October 14, 2020

The modern battleground for the soul is not in fact religion - it is the field of computer science. This is because we have created the aura of 'artificial intelligence' and the end of that road seems to be that machines can think better than humans can.... if that is true (and the computer Deep Blue' did in fact beat Garry Kasparov at chess) then that implies that our mind is a machine after all. So that leaves no room for the soul, or the spirit. And indeed for God. This is the background for our world today, and for any discussions we have about our faith.  One of our colleagues in Gospel Conversations, Mark Ridgway, worked in Information Technology for his entire life, and did so at senior levels. So he has a good viewpoint on this. This is the first of two talks he has done for us within our broad theme of 'knowledge'.  In the first talk, he gives us a great overview of the development of computing as an industry - including where it has hit a brick wall. In the second talk he dives into 'artificial intelligence' and the battle raging over 'Can machines think?'

Modern battleground for the soul: Mark Ridgeway - ai talk 1

Modern battleground for the soul: Mark Ridgeway - ai talk 1

October 8, 2020

The modern battleground for the soul is not in fact religion - it is the field of computer science. This is because we have created the aura of 'artificial intelligence' and the end of that road seems to be that machines can think better than humans can.... if that is true (and the computer Deep Blue' did in fact beat Garry Kasparov at chess) then that implies that our mind is a machine after all. So that leaves no room for the soul, or the spirit. And indeed for God. This is the background for our world today, and for any discussions we have about our faith.  One of our colleagues in Gospel Conversations, Mark Ridgway, worked in Information Technology for his entire life, and did so at senior levels. So he has a good viewpoint on this. This is the first of two talks he has done for us within our broad theme of 'knowledge'.  In the first talk, he gives us a great overview of the development of computing as an industry - including where it has hit a brick wall. In the second talk he dives into 'artificial intelligence' and the battle raging over 'Can machines think?'

My quest for reality- a dialogue with Esther Meek

My quest for reality- a dialogue with Esther Meek

August 28, 2020

Welcome to a special guest for Gospel Conversations – Dr Esther Meek. Esther will be front-lining our next conference in 2021 so we decided to give us all a foretaste of her wisdom and she did not disappoint!  She explains her lifelong story as to how she began a quest for truth and reality – as a 13 year old girl in a conservative Christian family. At first she thought her deep questions were sin, but eventually she found a bigger God at the end of them. Esther has pioneered an epistemology grounded in love not data. The great European scientist and thinker, Michael Polanyi, (a favourite of Mark Strom’s from many years ago) was her doorway to a human centred view of reality. Her message is full of passion and urgency – as she explains how everyone in the modern world are ‘babies of Descartes’ and thus have absorbed a lie about the nature of reality. This introductory talk will whet your appetite for more. So let’s pray that the borders relax next year and Esther can meet with us face to face.

John Walton: Order not sin - part 2

John Walton: Order not sin - part 2

July 2, 2020

In their second discussion John and Tony explore the theme of ‘order’ in more depth. They agree that ‘order’ is a bigger paradigm than the ‘sin/salvation’ paradigm – and that it cannot be separated from the presence of God.  Anyone who tastes or yearns for ‘order’ is in fact tasting and yearning for God himself. John then develops order into three manifestations; rest, peace and coherence.  In John’s own words, “these all come about through God’s presence in the world (not really having much to do with salvation).  The gospel that we are to preach certainly involved Jesus died for us and our sins, but more importantly the gospel involves God’s presence in the world, the possibility of being in relationship and the rest, peace and coherence he can bring.”  This is a very stimulating discussion that offers a fresh perspective for how we might be ‘disciples’ of Christ in the world today.

Why ‘order’ not ‘sin’ frames genesis

Why ‘order’ not ‘sin’ frames genesis

May 26, 2020

Tony interviews John Walton about his theory that ‘order’ not ‘sin’ is the dominant theme of the early chapters of Genesis – and that we have in fact ‘over emphasised’ sin as the major problem that the Bible and Genesis confront.  In this free ranging conversation, Tony and John explore this new idea in some depth.  John explains how the concept of ‘order’ is anchored in Ancient Near Eastern cosmology, and Tony jumps straight across to the twenty first century and links the concept of order with design and our role as sub-creators. This interview will be very stimulating for everybody – it does not discount the role of sin in the gospel but it does subordinate it to the wider purposes of God in desiring order in the cosmos.

Creation Theology part 2 - Creators not Critics

Creation Theology part 2 - Creators not Critics

April 29, 2020

Part one I charted the wider landscape that Creation theology gives us – a wider landscape I argued, than what I called the ‘Redemption’ gospel.  I want to stress that the key theme was not either or choice between the two – we obviously need ‘redeeming’ or ‘saving’ and any thinking person who denies that is deceiving themselves as if humanity has no problem or blood on our collective hands…. No, my point was where does the gospel begin where does the story of the gospel begin.  And we argued that the creation gospel begins with a deep anchor in Genesis one, whereas the redemption gospel begins – de facto – in Genesis three. 

I made the point that this creation gospel is not a soft gospel.  It challenges the secular mind substantially – more substantially than the redemption gospel because its claims are wider and more stupendous. The claim of the creation gospel is that Jesus is Lord of all and there is therefore no one, no event, no system, that can claim immunity from his rule. He is not just Lord of the church, he is Lord of the cosmos. Whereas the redemption gospel feels more specialised – because it is religious.

The Creation Gospel: Part 1. What and Why?

The Creation Gospel: Part 1. What and Why?

April 3, 2020

Do we need a new ‘Reformation’ to reshape the gospel for the 21st century?  Some people think so. In this talk, Tony gives some shape to the ‘ creation gospel’ – as the shorthand term for these new approaches to the old story. He does this by contrasting it with the ‘redemption’ gospel – the traditional evangelical framework that puts sin and forgiveness at the centre. Importantly Tony is not claiming we have an either/or choice between these two frameworks, but rather we must choose where the Gospel should begin – in Genesis one or Genesis three? He covers lots of this conceptual territory with a story of his journey from one framework to the other. This talk is part one – part two will follow shortly and will dive into the ‘so what’ of this creation paradigm. Both talks serve as an introduction to Rikk’s upcoming talks on “Design and Theology”

Brad Jersak: Plato, Plantinga, and Paul—toward Christian knowing

Brad Jersak: Plato, Plantinga, and Paul—toward Christian knowing

February 25, 2020

Rev Dr Brad Jersak explores Christian knowing through Plato, Plantinga, and Paul the Apostle. This is an incredibly important topic for Christians today as most of us feel caught between the conservative ‘Biblical’ view that dominates Sydney evangelicalism, and a more liberal humanist view that seems to threaten the pillars of faith. Brad has a rich mind and insightful perspectives, including a deep understanding of the early church fathers. He will offer us a much wider paradigm of knowing and revelation that does not toss out the Bible but balances it. In so doing he will demonstrate that far from this being a dangerous liberalising of truth, we are only recapturing the dominant orthodoxy that characterised the early church.

Video: youtu.be/9RxQb7VW_yc

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Poem: BrianZahnd.com/2013/09/reading-bible-right

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