Lennox brings faith-sharing formula to Chapel
“When Stephen Hawking was asked what he thought of religion, he said religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. My response is this, ladies and gentlemen: Atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light.” — Dr. John Lennox
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
It might be the Quote of the Year in Chapel at Grand Canyon University.
It certainly elicited a roar and loud applause from the audience during the presentation Monday morning by Dr. John Lennox in GCU Arena. But that’s only part of what the esteemed University of Oxford professor brought to campus.
This truly was an education into how Christians can view the relationship between their faith and science, a relationship that continually is challenged by many scientists. Lennox, who also met with faculty earlier Monday morning, had lunch with the leadership team and spoke to another large Arena audience in the afternoon, made it clear that his formula pretty simple.
“The greatest pressure coming from the top of the scientific world,” he said, “is that you’ve got to choose between science and God. That is logical absurdity. That’s like saying that you’ve got to choose between Henry Ford and the law of internal combustion to explain the motor car. That’s how stupid and trivial it is.”
Lennox told the story of a dinner he attended when he was 19. He sat next to a Nobel Prize winner and tried to talk about his faith, and afterward the man told him that the only way he was going to make it as a scientist was by giving up “this childish notion of God.”
Lennox stood his ground.
“I tell you, that was pressure,” he said. “But God gave me the courage to say, ‘And what would you offer me that’s better than what I’ve got?’”
One of Lennox’s most passionate points was the importance of the Bible. “You don’t invent Scripture by sheer intellectual power,” he said. “It’s the revelation of God.”
And he stressed that we must use the Bible to create a better relationship with God and not just try to memorize passages. He confirmed that notion when he was teaching a Bible study in Oxford years ago.
“I could see that the education system was very good at the professional side and people learned very rapidly, but they didn’t develop their knowledge of God at that speed,” he said. “And so when they got out into the world and somebody questioned their worldview, they had nothing to say and they kept their mouth shut forever afterward.
“That’s happened all the time, and you must know it. We live in a politically correct society that wants you not to speak of your faith in Christ, and you won’t do it unless you understand it and break through the fear barrier and the shame barrier.”
He urged students to stop Tweeting what they are having for breakfast. (“I’m an old guy. In my world, the only things that tweeted were birds. Now it’s birdbrains.”) Instead, they could use that time to get in touch with God instead.
“I’m all for the social media — they publicize things — but don’t let them dominate you,” he said. “Because what will happen is your time will be eroded, and that special time of getting into Scripture and prayer and getting to know it won’t be taken as seriously as your own academic subjects. If you’re going to have something to say, you’re not going to get it from the Internet, folks.”
Lennox closed as passionately as he began:
“I really pray that there are young people out of this room who are going to say, ‘I’m going to give my life to the defense of Christianity.’ Get yourself the best jobs you can, maximize your potential, be credible in the world, but seek first God’s kingdom and everything else will be added.
“Don’t wait until you’ve become the CEO (before) you start witnessing. Don’t wait until you’ve got tenure before you start getting this message into society — start right now. Engage with the world.”
● For a replay of Lennox’s talk, click here.
● Next Monday’s Chapel speaker: The Traveling Team
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.