Christian Aplogetics - Presenting arguments or sharing knowledge which supports the logical acceptance of the "truth" of Christian faith. Many of these apologists are deeply wise. Francis Collins is one example.
Francis Collins (1950 - ) - Part II
Francis Collins (1950 - ) is an American physicist who lead the Human Genome Project. He is currently the Director of the Nation Institutes of Health. For the first part of his adult life as a scientist, he was an atheist. He could not accept belief in God. However, the deeper he studied the material world the more he suspected a spiritual reality. His book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, advocates for a harmony between science and faith.
Though Collins understands the working of human mind better than many of us (scientists included), he is nonetheless moved to believe there is something else operating in us which is both unexplained and yet very real:
At fifteen, I recall a Christmas Eve where the descant on a particularly beautiful Christmas carol, rising sweet and true above the more familiar tune left me with a sense of unexpected awe and a longing for something I could not name....And what is this sensation of longing for something greater then ourselves? Is this only, and no more than, some combination of neuro-transmitters landing on precisely the right receptors, setting off an electrical discharge deep in some part of the brain? Or is this....an inkling of what lies beyond, a signpost placed deep with the human spirit pointing toward something much grander than ourselves? (The Language of God, 35-37)
Together in Christ,
“A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH”
The Presbyterian Church was an unexpected offspring of a religious movement called “The Reformation.” Two of the leading Reformers of the time, Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564), had no intention of forming a new church, at least not initially. Their desire was to reform the present day Catholic Church, to purge the Church of corruptions and set it more in line with the traditions and theology of Scripture and of the early church. The Reformers became known as “Protestants” because their requests for change sounded more and more like protests.
The Presbyterian Church is one of several churches that can trace their origins to the Reformation. Presbyterians get their name from the Greek word “presbuteros” which means “elder.” The term refers to the system, in apostolic times, of choosing leaders from among the wisest members of the church. A prominent doctrine of the Reformation was “the priesthood of all believers.” Reformed churches designed themselves in ways that gave more power to the congregation. The Presbyterians established a representative system where elders, presbyters and commissioners were elected.
The French organized the first congregation in 1555 and the French Huguenots were one of the first Presbyterians to reach America, followed closely by the English, Dutch, German, Irish and Scottish. In 1706 the first American presbytery was formed in Philadelphia and soon after the Synod of Philadelphia in 1716. 1789 marked the First General Assembly in Philadelphia.
The Church grew and diversified as it headed westward. By 1800 there were 20,000 members. In another thirty-seven years, there were 220,000. With the growth in numbers came an increase of conflict, separation and sometimes reunion. “Old School” and “New School” divisions plagued Presbyterians for years. The most infamous of issues was slavery. The Civil War severely divided the Church.
The next 120 years saw movements toward reunification. In 1958 the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) and the United Presbyterian Church of North America merged to form the Presbyterian Church in the United States of American (UPCUSA). In 1983 the two largest Presbyterian Churches united at the Atlanta General Assembly (G.A.): the southern-based Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) and the northern-based (UPCUSA). In 1985 the G.A. approved a seal for the new Church. There are some powerful images in the symbol which reveal what is important to us as Presbyterians. Today there are about 2,000,000 members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the largest of the mainline Presbyterian denominations.
“Unexpected” may seem like a good way to describe the beginnings of the Presbyterian Church. But for Presbyterians it has always been the “providence of God.”
Together in Christ,
February Happenings :
King George and the Ducky: A Lesson about Selfishness
Friday, February 12th at 6:30 P.M.
Pizza - Popcorn - Drinks
Bring your blanket and a friend and get ready for a fun time !!!