‘New Atheists’ Meet ‘Pagan Christians’

January 21, 2011 in Ministries

Rob (right) patiently explains Hawkings to Keith (left)

The crowd listened in awe as an undergrad student refuted the best arguments from the so-called “New Atheists” like Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. It was the testimony of Rob Nock, a young, pagan-Christian who once believed in the atheism of  Dawkins and Hawking. After attending the KSU Identity Project, however, Rob was so radically challenged to rethink his atheism, he finally became a Christian. On Christmas break he read Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design, and announced at the retreat, “I can now say with certainty now that I am a Christian,” Rob said.

The event was an IP retreat, and Rob’s testimony was a sample of the many, new Pagan-Christians changed by Jesus Christ. Jon Ha

Nervous teachers (Richie and Becky) practicing their facial expressions and hand movements.

kes explains more in the following report.

After a brief battle to claim the best sleeping space and everyone settled down, love was in the air—but not that cheesy romantic love that singers sing about—but rather the real love authored by Jesus Christ through godly relationships.

Keith and Paul set the stage for “Reaching Pagans”, the theme of the weekend. Keith taught on Pagan Christianity, which means reaching non-Christians (or “pagans”) with the gospel. Paul taught what it means to witness to pagans. Their fast-paced content sent everyone racing to the dinner table to get the energy to finish off the next teachings by The Bedford tag team of B-Bassett and Richie Fresh. Working from John 3, they taught how to witness to intellectuals. Rob [mentioned above] followed with a moving testimony of his conversion from atheism.

They felt like Peter, 'walking on water'

The teachings kicked up weekend of relating like none other. Everywhere people were enjoying spiritual conversations, card games, and some were performing miracles by walking on water like Jesus did at a nearby lake. [Ed. Note: the water was frozen.]

By Sunday, incredible spiritual momentum was in-motion, and nobody was tired. Mike and Rozler led the morning teachings with different types of people we would expect to encounter when witnessing. Seeing Rozler up front and center for an IP teaching was very touching as he began by stating his weaknesses and reliance on the Lord.

The day was just as exciting as the previous night while relationships were growing. Every teaching was given with power and authority, and even the quiet Becky delivered a powerful punch Sunday evening which caught the audience off guard. Along with Kate, they taught the logic of the Four Spiritual Laws, yet still delivered an amazingly-emotional testimony. The strong teachings of Viking and Craig came next on how to witness to pagans, and Keith finished the teachings with a burden around his neck the size of an albatross. It provided us a glimpse of the future for IP peeps.

Are You a ‘Fundy’ or a ‘Pagan’?

Even Audi was inspired!

That night brought everyone even closer than before, and it was obvious the Holy Spirit was blessing us with the ability to deepen our relations. There was a celebration for Kate and Eleni’s birthday and much joy filled the air. I felt a heavy strum on my heart-strings being witness to such a loving body of Christ.

Finally the moment arrived for the activity developed by gaming geniuses. The game was a practical encounter on the difference between a Holy Huddle and Pagan Christianity. People were initially organized by Cell Group into “mini-churches”, and the  average spiritual age for each “church” determined which group was a Holy Huddle of old, Fundy-Christians, or a group filled with young and exciting Pagan Christians. [Ed. Note: Holy Huddles were the losers, Pagan Christians the winners.]

'Pagans' and 'Fundies' mixed together

The goal was to win by transferring older Christians away, and winning young, Pagan Christians from the other groups. As a result, some groups were transformed into Holy Huddles by church-hopping, Fundy Christians! Other groups succeeded by winning young, Pagan Christians who reduced the average spiritual age. But losing all the older, Fundy Christians would make it more difficult to answer Bible questions, which was required to win younger, Pagan Christians. Such difficult choices sometimes embroiled the groups in controversy.

Surprisingly, the game reflected real-world scenarios. For example, the “Holy Huddle” losers mostly complained and rarely tried to answer questions. The winners were full of energy and excitement, answering questions, taking chances (and sometimes cheating), but they doubled in size through “Pagan Christian Growth.” Overall it was a very pleasant experience to grasp a practical example of how fun Pagan Christianity can be.

Monday morning loomed its ugly head as IP-ers dragged their butts out of bed. We shared communion and very sweet testimonies were followed by the warmest prayer session I was ever a part of. After cleaning up the mess we made, and after the tears dried, we returned to Kent ready to build more Pagan Christianity!

Craig Smith and others had an emotional moment Sunday AM

See more:

  • Retreat pictures on Picassa.
  • Did you upload retreat pictures? Give us the link in the comments, below!

5 responses to ‘New Atheists’ Meet ‘Pagan Christians’

  1. Wow. Wish I weren’t so old! Sounds like an amazing time. Look forward to hearing more.

  2. Great Article!! It was such an amazing and edifying time with the brothers and sisters!!!

  3. i totally dig! It was a sweet and edifying retreat! I just wish that I didn’t have a cold on the retreat, other than that it was a spiritual blast!

  4. the retreat was definitely an awesome and refreshing time which helped us go back to KSU for the spring semester and reach the lost! definitely had some sweet spiritual convos with my bros and sis’s in Christ! I learned alot about Pagan Christianity and Holy Huddles and how to be an effective witnessing Christian.

  5. From “an Unstoppable Force” by Erwin McManus (old school)…

    Proverbs tells us, “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox” (Prov. 14.4). In other words, the church would be the perfect place if there were no people. Wherever there are lots of people, you will also find a big mess. Lives are messy; sin is messy; ministry is messy. When the ox messes up the manger, it accomplishes the purpose for which it was created. We are not called to have clean mangers.

    The same people who make the church messy make the church meaningful. After all, people are what God is about. We must never come to the place where there is not room for one more person. We must be willing to make a mess to save a life.

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