“Pop” atheism is on the rise, and it’s taking many college campuses by storm. The popularity of atheistic authors such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris has led many young adults to abandon the Christian faith as an outdated and uneducated belief system. Christian leaders are rightly concerned about developing a strategic and winsome response.
Pastor and author Tim Keller offers three reasons why people choose to embrace or reject a worldview: intellectual, social, and emotional. And such major life decisions are never merely a result of one of these categories, but a mixture of the three. After extensive nation wide interviews with secular students who formerly claimed Christianity, Larry Taunton, executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, concluded in his article in The Atlantic that the decision by most of the young people he spoke with who left the church was an emotional one.
This is why when I was preparing for a sermon out of Colossians to preach at the Campus Church, a ministry of Highview Baptist Church located on the campus of the University of Louisville, I was struck by Paul’s statement, “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments” (Colossians 2:4). I began working through this short letter in light of Paul’s stated purpose of preparing young believers to stand firm in their faith in the midst of a secular context. My study in Colossians, and my initial Campus Church sermon by the title of “What I Love About the Gospel,” has evolved into the book Jesus or Nothing coming out from Crossway at the end of this month.
I am honored to have been invited to lead a two day seminar based on the content of this book at Southern Seminary for Alumni Academy. I will cover the content of the book, include a Skype interview with Grammy-nominated Christian hip-hop artist Flame, and a panel discussion with apologists and ministry leaders. The event is free for alumni, current students, prospective students, and youth pastors.
Here is a brief video invitation for the event. I would love to have you join me as we consider a biblical response to the challenges our students face when living out their faith on the university campus. If you are a youth pastor, please consider choosing a few key student leaders to bring with you to the event. I will host a lunch exclusive for youth pastors and high school students who attend the event to dialogue about the content from the seminar and do an informal Q&A.
You can register for the event here. Please join me as we consider the power of the gospel in contrast to an atheistic worldview for the purpose of better equipping our students for spiritual flourishing in any context. I believe that all worldview categories ultimately boil down to two options: Jesus or Nothing. Let’s help our students choose wisely.