BERKELEY, CA.—Christians students at UC Berkeley are surrounded what they describe as a post-modernistic culture, which teaches that no one truth exists, and a campus community which is infamous for its liberal standings. Instead of shirking away from the possibility of controversy, some Cal Christians have taken a student culture of debate and turned it into an opportunity to share about the only Truth—Jesus Christ.
On Friday and Saturday night, students at the University of California Berkeley are invited to join in a discussion about moral relativism during an event called “Truthspectives”, sponsored by Asian Student Baptist Koinonia, the largest Christian fellowship at UC Berkeley, which has some 200 students who attend their weekly Large Groups. The two-part event will feature apologist Greg Koukl, founder of Stand to Reason, a Christian apologetics organization which, according to its mission statement, strives to help “Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”
Other Christian fellowships have also made plans to attend the event, which is also sponsored by Unity in Christ, the college’s inter-faith Christian council.
Shirley Sunja, member of Grace Period fellowship, who will attend the lecture, believes discussion about topics, such as moral relativism, is very effective on a college campus.
“In an academic context, people are willing to debate, willing to think, and consider what Truth really is,” said Sunja. However, she noted that Christians have a noticeable effect on secular college campuses versus Christian colleges.
“It’s different. In the context of a secular university, Christians are more salty. You should really be able to taste the difference.”
Koukl is the host to Stand to Reason’s national radio broadcast and is a frequent speaker at over 30 college campuses in the U.S. and abroad. The first part of his lecture on April 16 will be based from his new book, which he co-authored, entitled, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. On April 17, Koukl will teach the 300-400 expected students at the second part of his lecture, “Is Jesus the Only Way?” Both lectures will begin at 7:30 PM PST in 2050 Valley Life Science Building on the UC Berkeley campus.
Ji Kim, member of ABSK, was providing information and fliers to those interested in the fellowship and the event while sitting at the fellowship’s information table.
She said the first time she listened to Koukl was during a conference last October held in Southern California called, “Exploding the Modern Myths," which also featured Founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries Chuck Colson as a guest speaker.
After attending the event with her fellowship, she learned that she shouldn’t be afraid to voice her views. One myth, according to Kim, described tolerance as the act of not judging others. Kim said last year’s conference helped her understand that people can still tolerate another others by respecting them as creations of God but still disagree with their viewpoints.
“Christians don’t want to step on anybody’s toes,” said the junior. Regarding the event, she hopes “there will be a revival in the Christians more so than in the non-Christians because it will help them to be able to put their foot down.”
One student majoring in Political Science said he occasionally speaks up in class many times against liberal views but sometimes feels very alone in his viewpoint, especially on issues such as homosexuality.
“I feel awkward,” said Tony Splendorio, also member of Grace Period, the student fellowship to Grace Bible Church in Pleasant Hill. “But I have to do it.”
Although he believes there is movement today with a homosexual agenda that glosses over the real facts, Splendorio chooses not to fight fire with fire.
“Politics will never be answer. We need to show them the need for Jesus,” he said.
Sunja agreed, saying, “We need to tell them the Gospel. Their hearts has to be changed.” She believes that relationships play an important role in spreading the Gospel message among college students because friendships between Christians and non-Christians will provide an opportunity for dialogue about Christianity.
Although Christians at UC Berkeley can’t guarantee that all students will understand or accept the Gospel when they tell them, they know one truth is unchanging.
“Bottom line: God is sovereign over all this. He calls people to humility and repentance and to become a vehicle to bring his glory,” said Splendorio.