TWISTED was a teaching series we ran in the Autumn of 2016. Each week we explored a different caricature of Christianity. On this page you can listen to all the talks and find resources for further reading.
Week 1 - Belief in God is out of date and old fashioned
Some people would say it’s about time we outgrew our belief in a divine being who rules the world and watches over our lives; that at best belief in God is delusional and at worse it’s dangerous. So is God a divine dictator, a benevolent granddad, an intolerant judge or none of the above? Is it time to jettison our childish beliefs or are there good reasons for faith? And quite frankly, why does it even matter?
Week 2 - God doesn't care about my suffering, otherwise he'd stop it
It’s been said that if there’s one thing that unites every human being on the planet, it’s love. But, in reality it’s pain. Everybody feels pain, not everyone (sadly) will experience love. And so the question arises from our heart, churns in our mind and sometimes, comes out of our mouth; “If there is a God he’s either unloving or not powerful enough. Because if he loved me and had the power to stop my suffering, surely he would! I'm still suffering, so he doesn't care or is unable to help – or he’s not there at all.”
Week 3 - It's up to heaven (if you're good) or down to hell (if you're bad)
What images come to mind when you hear the words ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’? Is heaven a place all the good people go? Do we float around on clouds playing harps and singing endless hymns? Is hell really all flames and pitchforks? A place God loves to torture the really bad people who don’t make the grade for heaven? Are these distortions of truth, reflections of reality or delusions to be discarded?
Week 4 - Gentle Jesus meek and mild
Was Jesus just a wishy washy, sandal wearing hippy who wouldn't harm a fly? Was he just a nice bloke who became a legend over time? The fact is, he’s one of (if not the) most famous person in human history. More books have been written, songs sung, debates had and lives affected by this one man’s short life than any other human who has walked the earth. He also wan't exactly P.C in everything he said. So who is he? Was he real? What was he like and does it really matter?
Week 5 - I can do what I want and God will forgive me
Does it really matter how we live our lives? If God’s as loving, forgiving and gracious as Christians say he is, then surely we can do what we want now and ask for forgiveness later? Is Gods grace really a licence to live like this? The bible asks this question in a letter that was written to a church in Rome, the author writes "So what shall we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving?" (The Message Romans 6:1) How we answer that question really matters.
Week 6 - The God of the bible is bloodthirsty and violent
If you've ever opened a bible and read the Old Testament then it’s likely you've come across passages that are full of judgement and violence. God has been described by some as a bully in a playground who throws his weight around if he doesn't get his way. Are these ‘wars’ any different to ISIS and other extremist groups who use force to make you believe or murder you if you don’t? Does the God of the Old Testament really sanction war, violence and killing? How do we reconcile this with the words of Jesus who said ‘love your enemies’ not ‘kill them’?