As we began our Wednesday night study this week, many of the students were really tired. One of them admitted up front: “Can we just talk about something or ask you questions instead of reading the bible? I’m too tired to read.” This seemed like a rough start to the study that night. However, I ended up compromising with them. We would read the passage, discuss it a bit, and make sure we got to the main point. After that they could ask me whatever they wanted.
We got to the main point relatively quickly which was really summed up in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We talked about why Christ really had to die and in light of that what were the implications for his disciples.
After that, they began grilling me with questions. One student asked me question after question:
“Is Christianity the only way to God?”
“What do you think of Satanists?”
“What do you think about those who say after we die there is nothing?”
“Why should I trust the bible?”
Another student chimed in asking:
“How do I know which churches are good?
“Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?”
“Does the bible say homosexuality is wrong?”
At the end of our meeting that night, one of the students said to me “I really appreciate this. I’ve never had anyone in my life to ask these questions to.”
These series of tough questions reminded me why RUF sends ordained ministers to campus, those who have spent years studying and training and who have been tested and examined by the church to confirm that they are able to “rightly (handle) the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). In moments like these, it is incredibly obvious why I had to read all of those books, write all of those essays, take all of those exams, and have all those conversations with professors and other pastoral mentors.
People have real questions that need real answers. Students in particular are open to hearing serious answers to life’s major questions in this transition time of college. While my answers are not perfect, I’m thankful for the ability to answer many of these questions while also continually pointing these students to their need for a saving relationship with Christ.
Yet even as I share what I have learned with them, I must acknowledge my helplessness. Many of the things I said that night were tough for these students to hear. We talked about issues of sexuality and some students found it very hard to accept that God intended sexuality only for marriage between one man and one woman. Biblical truths like these are becoming more and more of a stumbling block to students as our culture changes. Of course, I cannot takeaway these offensive aspects of the Gospel. As Jesus says in one of the moments he encountered opposition to his teaching, “it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all…the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63). Only the Spirit can cause these students to come to the point that they confess too what Peter said to Jesus as many were rejecting him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:68–69). Pray that Jesus would be so compelling to these students that they would be willing to follow him wherever he may lead them, even if that path is difficult.
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