Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 4 March 30, 1938
Basis for Faith S.C.M. Address
Basis for Faith S.C.M. Address
"Are Communism and Fascism radical enough?" was the question put by the Rev. James Linton. M.A. traveling Secretary of the S.C.M.; to a meeting on Thursday night. Man's efforts in the past to change, society had been a sorry failure and we were beginning to see that changes of a more radical and fundamental kind than those offered by either Communism or Fascism were necessary. If we were going to face social questions in a spirit or realism, we must demand a revolution-a revolution in human personality. Around us we could see the signs of the beginnings of that revolution. All over the world men and women were being changed. Selfishness was being changed into unselfishness, impurity into purity, pride into humility.
"What is the Christian faith? if we ask this question of a selection of people, we get a variety of answers, and many people would think rightly so. In the interpretation of Christianity, it is said, everyone is entitled to his own opinion. I question the validity of that view. Everyone is not so entitled. We have listened to judgments of scientists on the structure of the atom and the nature of wireless waves and we would not dream of querying their opinions, But these complicated things are simple compared with the profundity of the Christian faith, which is so profound that only simple people can [unclear: under] day—only clever.
"The simplicity and definiteness of Christianity [unclear: He] these two aspect of it first the centre of Christianity is Jesus Christ. He lived and died and rose again from the dead. This is a fact and we can either accept or reject it. The New Testament says Christ died for us Provided that is true, we can either accept it or turn our backs. We cannot argue about facts-it is only the interpretation of facts on which people differ. It is said that Jesus died for us as the Son of God. It is for us to say whether there is a God or not.
"A second fact solves this problem. In an argument with a disbeliever, the Christian may asked for proof that there is a God. He can in reply, ask for proof that there is no God. Both stand on exactly the same ground, and they both have their faith. The disbeliever's faith is that there is no God.
"As evidence for his faith the Christian can say the essence of my faith, is that God has taken hold of me and I have answered Him. I know something has happened and that Is the basis of my faith that then there is a God. This "something" has quite visible manifestations and knowable results. My life [unclear: has] been completely changed.
"The Christian faith is [unclear: proved] by the fact that when a person embraces Christianity, he knows that it is God has got hold of him. And included in that experience, he knows that it is God in Christ. Christ can change men and human nature and give a new purpose and raise a man from the depths of despair to the heights of joy. When that happens to a person, the truth of Christianity is confirmed to him.
"There may be some or you here who find this thought obscure. The reason you do not understand this change is that you have not acceded to God's demands. God will change your whole life, but only if you desire Him to. You must desire this so much that you are willing to give up your independence, perhaps your best friends, and your whole life, and let Him run your life for you That." concluded Mr. Linton. "is revolution That is the solution of the world's problems."
God Versus Swot.
At the conclusion of his address. Mr. Linton discussed questions put to him by some of those present. One question was:
"Can students whose lives are Changed affect students who are not changed, and yet continue with their studies?"
"The question of how much time to give to study and how much to Christian activity is a question many students find difficult to decide." said Mr. Linton. Obviously it is God's will that there should be a balance. There should be no struggle. We can work for God and study as well doing as much of both as we think God wants us to."
God versus Marx.
"The only thing Christians can do is to testify to the work Christianity has done for them. I have found in Christianity a completely satisfying revelation of the character of God. I have found God a complete answer to the problems of evil, in my own life and in the world. Finally I have found in Him something to live for. Some will devote their lives to Fascism. tennis, or Esperanto. To me as a Christian, such things are simply not big enough. What really matters is the kingdom of God.
"If Christianity does solve the conflict in a man's mind it gives him a big advantage over one who is continually suffering from a mental struggle".