Sunday’s Baptisms and my Thoughts from the WeekendAdrian Holloway on October 26, 2010 with 0 Comments
On Sunday morning, as we listened to the first of the 12 baptismal testimonies, I was reminded of “A narrative of surprising conversions” by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was arguably the greatest philosopher North America has ever produced. An intellectual giant who described the revival in his own town of Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards described how even the most unlikely people were converted in the 1730s. Some of the testimonies on Sunday were equally spectacular, and it reminded me of the power of personal experience. When I debated the renowned atheist, Professor Lewis Wolpert, who is Emeritus Professor of Biology as applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and developmental biology at University College London, I remember he dismissed personal experience as any reliable guide to reality. The debate was conducted entirely on the level of evidence for Intelligent Design.
But as I was interviewing the folks we baptised on Sunday, it reminded me of how far short Wolpert’s relentless reductionist materialism falls. Here were people who were not “looking for God”, who were not seeking for a solution to a “felt need.” They were not looking for “a crutch to help them through life.” Here were people who had no intention of becoming Christians, who were literally overpowered. I talked to Charlie Gordon about the time she prayed for Lucy Butler, and, it’s hard to explain Lucy’s conversion experience without factoring in a supernatural explanation for the sequence of events. We can debate the existence of God till the cows come home, but I think I need to be a bit more like Elijah, who called upon the ‘God who is really there’ to answer by fire! And hey, we had 574 people there, so that was great too.