Cell group is a highlight of the week and usually involves some energetic discussion (as well as coffee, chocolate and silly games).
Not everyone in the group is a Christian; this week I was responding to a challenge to come up with '40 reasons to believe in Christianity'. So I gave it a shot and we debated and explored some of them.
I ought to say here what I said to them: none of these 40 reasons to believe are trying to be knock down 'proof' of the truth of Christianity; they are pointers, hints. And a lot of them cry out for a bit of further explanation or defence. In the case of a few of them that's what we did in the cell group. What's more, they make no claim to be definitive - no doubt there are many more points could be made in defence of Christian belief. These just happen to be the ones I came up with.
So, for what it's worth, here they are. And of anyone out there wants to comment, go ahead, and I'll try and respond.
1. Because Jesus is risen from the dead and that’s the only explanation that makes sense of history.
2. Because the order and beauty of creation makes God's invisible qualities known.
3. Because human beings have a sense of morality, of right and wrong
4. Because human beings love.
5. Because Israel exists – unlike Philistines, Ishmaelites, Amonities, Kerites, Kerizzites, Hittites, Perizzites and many other nations that got going at the same sort of time.
6. Because people we know have been changed by God.
7. Because countless millions we don't know have been changed by God.
8. Because human beings instinctively worship.
9. Because the fruit of atheistic philosophies is death – witness Marxism, Nazism and consumerism to mention the three pillars of post enlightenment Europe.
10. Because when Christianity brings war and death it can be evidenced that this is a perversion of its beginning, whereas atheistic philosophies are based on dehumanising ideas.
11. Because St. Francis of Assissi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and William Booth were not wrong.
12. Because an accidental universe is amoral, empty and meaningless.
13. Because God has become man and died to rescue us.
14. Because the apostles’ testimony is true.
15. Because the church has never been snuffed out.
16. Because the church, though subject to sin and drift, has revived and re-birthed countless times.
17. Because the church is a place of true love.
18. Because Christians care.
19. Because Christians can heal.
20. Because Christians forgive.
21. Because Christians speak in tongues and use spiritual gifts.
22. Because of music.
23. Because of colour.
24. Because of taste and flavours.
25. Because of the smell of flowers.
26. Because of the feel of silk, and ice, and tree bark, and stone, and fur, and water, and a lover’s skin.
27. Because God is love and those who live in love, live in God and he in them.
28. Because of the Bible – remarkable by any standards: written by writers over centuries, yet speaking the many sides of one coherent vision.
29. Because the Bible is honest and tragic, and speaks to human being as they really are.
30. Because the Bible has a happy ending – paid for by God himself.
31. Because grass seed is more remarkable than a microchip.
32. Because a brain makes a Mac look feeble.
33. Because of Abraham.
34. Because of Paul.
35. Because of the members of our cell group.
36. Because the martyrs didn't die for nothing.
37. Because Jesus didn't die for nothing.
38. Because we'd have never even of heard about Jesus dying if he wasn’t the Messiah
39. Because Jesus, as the Messiah has bourn the exile of his people, Israel – and the exile of the human race in death – through his sacrificial death. And his resurrection establishes him as Messiah, head of this people, saviour of humankind, and son of God.
40. Because Jesus is risen from the dead – and that's the only explanation that makes sense of... everything.