Theologian-astrophysicist to explore connection between faith and science

Nov 2006    

IS SCIENCE in conflict with the Bible? How should Christians think of the Big Bang and the possibility of extraterrestrial life? Can scientific theories become bridges for evangelism? These are some of the issues to be tackled by the Rev Dr David Wilkinson at the 2007 Aldersgate Convention from May 19-24, 2007. A British Methodist pastor, astrophysicist and theologian, he will address the theme “The Heavens Declare His Glory: Science and Christian Faith”. The convention will be held at the new Centre for Performing Arts at ACS (Independent) on Dover Road. The state-of-the-art centre is located at the school’s new International Baccalaureate (IB)Building. ACS (Independent) is located among a cluster of Methodist institutions, including Fairfield Primary and Secondary schools, Aldersgate Methodist Church, Anglo-Chinese Junior College and Living Waters Methodist Church.

The Aldersgate Convention is an annual opportunity for Methodists in Singapore to affirm their unity in Christ as they gather together to explore their Wesleyan heritage. Topics have focused on Methodist understandings of the Bible, Tradition, Reason and Experience. This year the focus will be more on how the Christian faith is proclaimed and defended in an age of science.

The 2007 convention will be spread out over several days to incorporate numerous opportunities to hear the Rev Dr Wilkinson. He will lead a day-time seminar on May 19, covering the topic, “Christian Apologetics in a Scientific World”.

The following evening the Methodist School of Music will lead a hymn festival celebrating the tercentennial of Charles Wesley.

Beginning on May 21, there will be three evening talks: “God, the Big Bang and Stephen Hawking”, “Are We Alone in the Universe? SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and God”, and “Left Behind, Frozen or Fried?”.

The convention will conclude with the Aldersgate Service on the evening of May 24, during which the Rev Dr Wilkinson will preach on “The Supremacy of Jesus”. Plans are also being considered to have him speak to specific groups, such as the youth.

The 2007 convention will have an evangelistic thrust. Church members are encouraged to invite friends and family members who may need to hear these words of encouragement.

A recognised scientist and theologian, the Rev Dr Wilkinson is Principal of St John’s College, University of Durham, in the UK. He has lectured in theology and science and held positions in Christian apologetics and communications.

This will be the second time he is speaking in Singapore, having previously spoken here in 2002. He encourages both science and well-grounded faith to work side by side, but he does not allow for false dichotomies, such as the “God of the gaps” approaches to faith.

Both science and faith require evidence, he says, and he challenges Christians to reject anything less than good scientific and good theological method.

He has written numerous books and articles, including The Message of Creation, a series of thoughtful expositions on the many creation texts in the Bible, including Psalm 19, from which the theme is taken. He has also written many books and articles relating faith to popular media, including The Power of the Force: The Spirituality of the Star Wars Films.

The Rev George Martzen is Minister Attached to the Bishop’s Office.


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