If you had an opportunity to speak to the students at the “University of Today” meaning any student in Universities at this present time, what would you say? How would you deal with the sea of students who are confused with relativism, naturalism, humanism, atheism, religionism, tolerantism (Yes, I made that word up. Tolerantism is more than getting along with people you disagree with. It is requiring others to accept what anyone say as true.) and judgementalism? (Judging people for judging people while considering their judgment bad and your judgment good.) It seems as though in every field of study experts can be called to make opposing truth claims. These thoughts and ideas leave the student from the University of Today with little hope of finding the real “Truth.”
James Sire in a book called “Why Good Arguments Often Fail” quotes Dan Denk in a paraphrase written to “Desperate State University” which I have labeled the “University of Today.” I believe this paraphrase is exactly what needs to be spoken across the university campuses today.
A Paraphrase for the University (Acts 17:22-31)
Men and women of the university, I see that in every way you are very religious.
As I walked around the university, I observed carefully your objects of worship. I saw your altar called the stadium where many of you worship the sports deity. I saw the science building where many place their faith for the salvation of mankind. I found your altar to the fine arts where artistic expression and performance seem to reign supreme without subservience to the greater power. I walked through your residence halls and observed your sex goddess posters and beer can pyramids. Yet as I walked with some of you and saw the emptiness in your eyes and sensed the aching in your hearts, I perceived that in your heart is yet another altar, an altar to the unknown God who you suspect may be there.
You have a sense that there is something more than these humanistic and self-indulgent gods. What you long for as something unknown, I want to declare to you now.
This God I am speaking of is your personal Creator. He is not a fabrication or invention of mankind. He is not a part of creation; He stands above it. He is greater and more powerful than you have ever dreamed.
This God has given you your life and has set the boundaries of your life. The longing for eternity in your heart was placed there by Him. You may try to grope for Him, but He is already intimately involved in the creation.
It is His creative work in you, His image, that makes it possible for you to engage in athletic activities, scientific endeavor, artistic expression, and even playfulness and sexual pleasure.
But this God is calling you to repent. You have worshiped your own creativity instead of acknowledging Him as your Creator. You have forgotten the Giver of the gifts. You have rebelled against your Creator and gone your own way of self-indulgence and self-worship.
As a result, you have perverted the gifts of life and creativity. You have abused your sexuality through careless indulgence. You have chosen the way of futility and death. God calls you to turn from serving these false gods to give you life to bring glory to the living and true God, your Creator.
God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save and judge the world. The man Jesus has come to set things right, to bring justice, to call us back as a warning before judgment. By His death He offers a way back to God, to save us from self-destruction.
By his resurrection, He has shown that He has come with power to save and judge the world. As a result, this Jesus has become the pivotal point in history, the central issue for us today, either the stepping stone or the stumbling block. He offers reconciliation with the Creator and He alone can give it.
What will be the reaction from the University of Today? It will be just as it was in the time of Paul at Athens. Some will believe, some will want to hear more, and some will scoff. Let’s find ourselves busy plowing the ground with Apologetics, spreading the seed of the gospel which is the Resurrection of Christ, and watering with deliberate discipleship while praying that God alone will bring the increase.
Thanks for reading,