Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Reflecting on RZIM

When you have been around the block for some time, you thought you had seen it all.

I have come across youth conferences on mission, worship, sexual purity, study techniques, evangelism or bible knowledge before... There was even a special camp to activate the gift of prophetic ministry!

But a Christian Apologetics Conference for Youth?!
It’s almost unheard-of in this part of the world.

In fact, some participants themselves wonder, “What on earth is apologetics?”
Well, apologetics is not the art of apologizing.

It is simply what apostle Peter had in mind when he wrote, "Always be prepared to give an answer (or defense) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:16)

In a multi-religious society like Asia, we desperately need to commend the Christian faith in a reasonable and winsome manner to our friends who may not share our presuppositions.

I felt indebted to Ravi Zacharias and his ministry team for having the vision to start investing in the lives of young Asians in this important (but neglected) area.

Yayasan Pengembangan Apologetika Indonesia had also exercised the gift of hospitality and stewardship in such excellent fashion that ensured us a safe, well-organized and enjoyable conference in the midst of beautiful Bali Island.

The delegates came from diverse cultures and backgrounds, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, America, England, Canada etc.

We had a fruitful time networking with like-minded believers who share a hunger to think after God’s thoughts more deeply. Generally, we received enthusiastic and positive feedback after sharing the Agora ministry vision:

“TO INSPIRE & TRAIN LAYPEOPLE IN THE MARKETPLACE TO LIVE OUT AND PROCLAIM THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST OVER EVERY DOMAIN OF THEIR LIFE.”

Some delegates from Philippines and Indonesia consider starting something like it back home! Overall, we are very heartened and grateful to the LORD seeing a small ‘evangelical renaissance’ in different parts of Asia.

It would not do justice to the RZIM speakers to distil the workshops, Bible study, speeches and conversations in a few paragraphs. Later, CDPC delegates would take turn to reorganize and present the materials to the wider Body of Christ on a monthly basis.

The materials would provide an introductory handle for normal folks like us to explore further. But the strength of RZIM has been the ability to communicate profound insights that touch both heart and mind in simple language.

One lady delegate came prepared to criticize Ravi Zacharias on the dangers of intellectualism and relying on human wisdom. But after hearing him out, she became pleasantly surprised that he addressed both rational and existential needs of individuals.

For example, he would tell the young would-be apologists that all our arguments would amount to nothing if we do not demonstrate love, respect, gentleness and trust in the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

Now, the would-be critic is a firm believer!

In conclusion, I would like to post snippets of my favorite moments at the Conference just to give you a teaser of the good stuffs to come.

“Relationship is not a means of evangelism – it is the communication of the Person of Christ by the persons of believers to the persons in the world through the Person of the Holy Spirit”
LT Jeyachandran on personal relationships

“When you see a counterfeit, ask what is the genuine or original article?”
Ajoy Varghese on the nature of errors as parasites of truth

“Boredom is the soul sickness of our time… saturated space and inundated lives”
Stuart McAllister on the idolatry of modernism

"Until we receive the Son that has been provided, we'll be offering our own sons"
Ravi Zacharias to a Hamas leader, who lost many sons in battle

“Because of Incarnation, the Christian has a high view of the physical body”.
Alison Thomas, a certified fitness instructor teaching Christ-centered exercise

“Culture is the new absolute, and once again the focus is not on what we believe (content, objectivity, justification) but on how beliefs are formed, inherited and shaped by context. In fact, it is a form of determinism, in which my social context is seen to be definitive.”
McAllister, describing postmodernism

“Apologetics is for the Church, not for the specially trained”
Michael Ramsden on doing conversational apologetics

“Mom, if you knew what was in my mind, you’d be glad that it has been washed”
Ramsden, quoting a Christian whose mother suspected him of being brainwashed

“In some circles, speaking about the authority of the Bible is a controversial issue in CHURCH! Persevere in its defense.”
Joe Boots on the intellectual challenge of the Cross

“Keep doing what you guys are doing!”
Ravi Zacharias on the Agora

4 comments:

jacksons said...

One of the most outstanding Ravi quotes for me has always been:

"It's easier to say no before you taste something than to say no after you've tasted it." - Ravi Zacharias

Anonymous said...

Alot of stuff huh. It's good to know young adults are seeking to come together and be involved this way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave for getting us together in this team. It is very refreshing and heartening to know there are people likeminded around scattered all around our regions. :) It will be great if we all can meet together some day.

May God raise for Himself a generation that would build their faith based on pure foundation of the Word. It is a great honor to be a partaker of His eternal will. May God grant us the vision, a right understanding of the significance of the moment we are living now, and the appropriate burden we should carry. May we be given the courage & wisdom to live according to the demand of His Revelation so that we might be worthy representatives of Christianity in all walks of life.

Lord, command what You desire, and grant what You command.

Trekin4JC said...

I greatly enjoy all the resources produced by RZIM. It is one of my most favorite ministries.