Cohort Member David Opderbeck’s Sunday School Class: God And Creation

2010 Cohort Member David Opderbeck has created a Sunday School Class exploring the intersection of Faith and Science entitled “God and Creation.” His presentation slides are available below. Feel free to review them. Be sure to leave comments below to let us know what you think.
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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 Articles, Resources

2 Comments to Cohort Member David Opderbeck’s Sunday School Class: God And Creation

  • DanGuenther says:

    Hi David

    I have two thoughts on your experience. And we really appreciate hearing about your class so far — thank you for sending along your thoughts each week.

    1. I want to suggest that the real battle is for the future generation, not the current one. So the impact that you have on the flexible, inquisitive, younger generation is far more important than your impact on those who have already made up their minds. Moreover, is it possible that more will be accomplished on the basis of tone rather than content? If so, then your calm, quiet confidence will help the learners in the room to be more thoughtful. Especially if the alternative is a set of edgy, confrontational questions coming from someone else.

    I have interviewed many college students over the years, and have discovered–just as you said in your first email–that many are uncomfortable with confrontational young-earth evangelism but don’t know how to voice it. This doesn’t mean that they are ready to subscribe to some form of evolutionary creation, but it does mean that they appreciate thoughtful people. I think that is a worthy audience to focus on.

    2. For two years I have been teaching a seminar on college campuses entitled “Epic Science, Ancient Faith”, in which I use some of the materials that I put into print form this summer. Most recently, I used chapter one of my printed materials (the chapter you already read). This chapter has a number of diagrams that describe what happens when a Christian compartmentalizes their faith and must choose EITHER science OR Christianity. It’s a false dichotomy, of course.

    I usually ask for a show of hands on which diagram students identify most with. Conservative Christian students tend to choose the diagram which describes a rejection of modern science. Occasionally a few students choose the diagram which describes a rejection of Christian faith (in other words, they feel their faith is suspect in light of modern secular science). However, in most groups there is a third category: a person or two who will choose the final diagram, which describes a marriage of legitimate science and careful biblical exegesis.

    I am quick to capitalize on the conversation when the third category speak up. Because once there is someone in the room who says “there must be a better way”, I can shift the terms of the debate toward openness and careful method. This places any extreme or “final” opinions out on the edge of the conversation, in a defensive stance. So… for what its worth… I don’t think its worth engaging your young-earth defenders in debate-style conversation, but to simply be a good classroom manager. The best fruit you can have will be the after-class follow-ups with the more inquisitive generation.

    Thanks again for the posts! I appreciate them.

    In Christ,
    Dan Guenther

  • jamclaurin says:

    Hi David,
    Thank you for these scholarly yet humble slides. They point not to you, not to argumentation, not to the smug self-righteousness of those who cannot stand the presence of dissenters, but rather offer an invitation to reconsider how it is that we come to know God and our world. Thank you! I wish I could be in your class! This is such a great gift to all who profess Christianity. I hope people are willing to open their ears and hearts and listen.

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