Apr 24

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This year’s lectureship theme, “Out of Darkness into Light – Out of Atheism into Christianity,” is truly a great one! A few words about the theme are in order to help with our understanding.
To readers of the New Testament the words “darkness” and “light” are common words and it is understood they are used figuratively. We all know of day and night in a twenty-four hour day which has a period of darkness and light. In creation there was darkness and Moses wrote: “darkness was upon the face of the deep“. Then, God said: “Let there be light: and there was light.” Of course, this was literal darkness and light as we have even today as the sun sits and rises each day. John opens his account of the gospel addressing the subject of light and darkness: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). Here the words are used figuratively speaking of Jesus, as Jesus was not literal light. Then, Paul used the words: “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:5). Paul also used the words figuratively. However, in each case “darkness” is used to refer to evil while “light” refers to good. This is the way the words are used in our theme: “Out of Darkness into Light!”
Second, the words “Atheism” and “Christianity” as used in our theme: “Out of Atheism into Christianity.” Just what does the word “Atheism” mean? Simply put, “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God.” The word “Christianity” means as used in our theme: “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.”
Therefore, it is the purpose of this lectureship, in the lectures given and in manuscripts appearing in the book, to give enough evidence to bring a person who does not believe in God, who is in “darkness” to a faith in God and into the “light” of the goodness of Christ. It is based upon the truth expressed in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The word “substance” is the Greek “hupostasis” and means: “a setting under: support.” While the word “evidence” is the Greek “elegchos” and means: “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.” Faith as used in the New Testament is not a “leap in the dark!” No, it stands firmly up the support of tested evidence! As Paul wrote: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). The words, “clearly seen,” come from the Greek “kathorao” and means: “to behold fully,” and “distinctly apprehend.” But, Paul added one more thought in the word, “understood,” which is the Greek “noieo” and means: “to exercise the mind.” When a person is honestly willing to think, and to honesty examine evidence, God is so fully and distinctly apprehended by the things which are seen, that Paul said those who disbelieve “are without excuse!”
When the theme for the lectureship was settled on, and the subjects were put forth, effort was made to build a firm foundation, “support” of evidence which would produce a strong conviction of faith in the existence of God, in the Bible being the word of God; to help in understanding the Bible, the theme of the Bible, then, to cover what one must do in order to be saved; and finally, how to live as a Christian, faithfully until death. We were not under the delusion that in these short lessons that all atheists who might hear or read, would be converted, but that we have in these lessons laid the ground work for such. We hope that churches of Christ may find the lectureship book useful as a Bible class study; and in converting the lost. Not just for the young, but certainly for the young; but for all ages!
We are grateful for all who have come to the “26th Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” and your presence is a great encouragement to our efforts! The lectureship is part of the “Oklahoma City School of Biblical Studies.” We encourage you to pick up information about the school and see what it has to offer to the area churches of Christ.

— Frank R. Williams

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