By GEORGE MARTZEN
THE 2007 Aldersgate Convention
from May 19 to 24 will bring an evangelistic emphasis with special
appeal to Singapore's increasingly high-tech and scientific society.
The Rev Dr David Wilkinson will speak nightly at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) at Dover Road on topics at the intersection of Christian faith and science, linking the popular and scientific quests for truth with the ultimate message of the Gospel.
Church members are encouraged to invite friends and family members who need a fresh hearing of the Christian message.
The convention will begin with a seminar on Saturday, May 19, and end with the Aldersgate Service on Thursday, May 24, when the Rev Dr Wilkinson will preach on "The Supremacy of Jesus".
The Methodist School of Music will hold a hymn festival at Victoria Concert Hall on Sunday, May 20, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Charles Wesley.
The three evening talks will draw upon the Rev Dr Wilkinson's own rich and varied background as a scientist and theologian. Before serving as a Methodist pastor and in his current position as Principal at St John's College, University of Durham, he was already a recognised cosmologist. He earned his Ph. D in theoretical astrophysics in 1987, giving special attention to the study of star formation. He also holds a Ph. D in Systematic Theology.
In the first evening talk on May 21, he will speak on the topic, "God, the Big Bang and Stephen Hawking". The topic refers to the famous Oxford-born cosmologist whose research has given greater focus to the theory of the Big Bang and the finiteness of the universe.
The Rev Dr Wilkinson says: "Science has changed our way of thinking about the beginning of the universe, and yet the question of God will not go away."
He notes that some have argued that the work of Stephen Hawking and others has meant an absence of God. However, drawing from his own background as a cosmologist, the Rev Dr Wilkinson will present a multi-media tour of the universe and the Big Bang, and suggest that the Christian understanding of God actually does make sense in the light of new scientific discoveries.
The topic for the second evening talk, to be held on May 22, is "Are we alone in the Universe? SETI and God". The Rev Dr Wilkinson says that the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) has fascinated astronomers, movie-makers and the public for decades.
He will raise the questions about evidence for life on other planets, whether we are a "visited planet", and whether or not such discoveries would be good news or bad news for the Christian faith. In a multi-media presentation, he will discuss the history and current state of research into these questions. But he will conclude with the more important evidence - that many are in fact searching for God.
One of the Rev Dr Wilkinson's best-selling books.
The third evening talk will take place on May 23. The topic "Left Behind, Frozen or Fried?" refers to current scenarios about the end of the universe, including the popular Left Behind series of novels. The Rev Dr Wilkinson will talk about hope in the face of the uncertain future of the universe.
Are scientists optimistic or pessimistic about the future? In the light of recent scientific work his multi-media presentation will explore the relevance of Christian hope, and argue that only the Christian message gives hope in the face of the futility predicted by modern science.
The evening talks will begin each night at 7.45 pm and end by 9.30 pm. They will be held at the new Centre for the Performing Arts at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) at Dover Road. Admission is free. Chinese translation will be available each evening.
Books by the Rev Dr Wilkinson will be available for sale at discounted prices during the convention.
The Rev George Martzen is Minister Attached to the Bishop's