The Third Degree
Who is God?
‘God is Bob, Steve, or any of those generic killjoys that you run into at the pub. Not only are they constantly judging you, they prevent you from having fun. No drinking to excess, no banter, no sin. Worst of all, whenever you decide to chat to a woman he swoops in and stops you. In other words, I don’t want to go to the pub with Bob’ (anonymous student, London).
Is God really like Bob? One suspects that said student is not alone in thinking that God is just one great big cosmic killjoy. According to the gospel of Bob, God is rule maker and sin is rule breaking. The — rather unattractive — solution is rule keeping and salvation is just avoiding an almighty whacking. Who’d want to worship a cosmic headmaster like Bob?
Yet the 200 plus Christian Unions in Britain exist to preach the gospel of Jesus. A message of good news about God, who was in eternity (before any rules were given), a Father loving his Son.
CU mission weeks
There are around 80 Christian Union mission weeks taking place in Britain over the next few months. Literally thousands of students will be given an opportunity to ask their questions and have their preconceptions about the identity of God challenged. Many Christian students will be putting their reputations on the line and taking risks so that their friends might enjoy the blessings of the gospel.
Students like Laura, a fourth year medical undergraduate from London. Laura invited her friends to come to a birthday tea party in which she encouraged her friends to consider the question, ‘Who is God?’ Laura comments: ‘My housemates have all chastised me for making them think about difficult questions!’ She goes on: ‘As expected, the Christians gave fairly predictable answers, but the non-Christian ones were much more interesting and conversation-sparking. Some people ducked out of it. Others are still “thinking up” their answers, so I think it’s now a more ongoing thing’.
The identity of God
Mike Reeves, UCCF’s Head of Theology, describes the identity of God as, ‘The issue of issues and one in crisis today’. He continues: ‘Again and again, when talking with non-Christian students, I find their description of the God they don’t believe in sounds more like Satan than the loving Father of Jesus Christ: greedy, selfish, trigger-happy and entirely devoid of love. We need to make the living God known as who he is: the Father of lights, the fountain of all love and blessing, the one for whom holiness and wrath are not “nasty sides” but his beautiful commitment to goodness’.
Laura is just one example of thousands of Christian students involved with CU missions up and down the country this year making the ‘Living God, who is the fountain of love and blessing’ known.
Dr. Krish Kandiah, executive director for Churches in Mission at the Evangelical Alliance, is speaking at this year’s mission at Reading University. He comments: ‘I have been leading missions with CUs for the past 19 years. I love working with CUs because of the infectious passion for evangelism that so many of them demonstrate. I love the creativity and courage these young leaders show, in sharing their faith with their peers and opening up their hearts and lives in love to their fellow students. Students often put the rest of the church to shame with their willingness to witness to Jesus and so I am delighted to do what I can to serve alongside them’.
Christian Unions in Britain are living and speaking for Jesus so that every student may be given an opportunity to hear and respond to the Living God who is — before anything else — love.
Head of Communications,
UCCF: The Christian Unions