All Session Topics: Think Well 2018
Listed in alphabetical order by speaker's last name (see a listing by day here)
Science, Faith, and Culture
Thursday, June 28, Session 5
This session will address how a biblical worldview is not only historically compatible with science, but gives the best foundation for scientific thought. The session will also confront the topic of evolution, where science and faith seem to be most at odds.
Sharing Your Faith (Parts I & II)
Friday, June 29, Sessions 3 and 4
These sessions will explore God's call on all believers to take the gospel to those who don't know Him, both in our own cities (including here in Charlottesville) and to the ends of the earth. While the first session focuses more on the ideas and motivation behind evangelism, the second session will be more interactive. Students will learn practical tips and have an opportunity to practice sharing the gospel with one another so they are equipped to begin sharing with the people God has already placed in their lives.
Love Thy Neighbor: A Call for Biblical Engagement
Wednesday, June 27, Session 4
What if loving your neighbor meant more than mowing their lawn when they’re in the hospital? What if you could love one neighbor or do basic things that showed love for your entire community? In this session, we’ll learn how engaging in our representative democracy allows us to love our neighbor.
By Design: A Look at God's Design for Family Life
Wednesday, June 27, Session 5
Christians believe that there is a Designer, not just of the world but of human beings as well. We believe that He also created things like the law of gravity, which exists whether or not one believes in it. Yet, society, including self-proclaimed Christians, treat relationships and family life as if there isn’t a fundamental design and relational order created by God that, when ignored, results in life malfunction. This session examines relational order as if it is as true as the law of gravity—it works whether or not you believe in it.
The Case for the Resurrection
Tuesday, June 26, Session 3
“Everything hinges on the resurrection.” This quote by author Lee Strobel is not an exaggeration. If the Resurrection did not happen, then the apostle Paul was right when he said, “our preaching is worthless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Is there good reason to believe Jesus rose from death to life, or do Christians rely on a “blind faith” when it comes to the Resurrection? This talk will give solid reasons why anyone who looks at the evidence should believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Among Other Gods
Tuesday, June 26, Session 4
We are living in a time when you can believe anything as long as you do not claim it to be true for everyone. Do Christians have good reasons to believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no one comes to the Father except through the Son” (John 14:6)? To many, this claim sounds too exclusive. “Surely,” they say, “God is more inclusive and accepts people from many faiths as long as they’re sincere.” This talk will look at various claims (in and outside of Christianity) concerning whether Jesus is the only way one can be saved.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Thursday, June 28, Session 3
Whether it's the news, the latest Hollywood movie, or the chart-topping hit song, every entertainment outlet is filled with ideas. These ideas shape the way we think; they shape our worldview. In this talk, Pastor Cothran gives students some steps to navigating our entertainment-filled culture without lulling our minds to sleep—or worse, "amusing ourselves to death" (as Neil Postman put it in his book of the same title).
What Is a Successful Life?
Friday, June 29, Session 5
Everyone wants to succeed in life, but the definition of what a successful life is varies widely. This talk will explore what the Bible says about the successful life and will consider seven keys to the well-lived life. These keys revolve around the reality of being a new creation in Christ and how this new identity should have an impact on every area of our lives, so that when the end of our life comes, we can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Biblical Archeology: New Technology, New Discoveries
Tuesday, June 26, Session 5
These sessions will explore the most important and recent (past two years) archaeological finds that relate to biblical history. Students will learn where these discoveries were made and why they’re significant, as well as how they strengthen the case for biblical accuracy. In addition, students will learn about some of the amazing technologies that are now available to assist with field digs and laboratory examinations of archaeological finds.
Can You Trust the Bible? (Parts I & II)
Tuesday, June 26, Sessions 1 and 2
If you’ve ever wondered about how the Word of God was transmitted from the mind and heart of God to regular people like you and me, you are not alone. A strong and confident understanding of that story forms one of the foundations of the Christian faith. Perhaps you’ve asked—or been asked—questions like these: Why are these 66 books, only these and no others, considered inspired Scripture? What does inspired mean anyway, and how did it actually occur when we know that human authors were involved? Do all our English translations come directly from the original written scrolls and letters? If not, how do we know the version we have at home is reliable? Is the Bible truth, or does it merely contain truth? How can I better trust, understand, honor, and submit to God’s Word? These sessions will equip students to answer these questions with confidence, even in the midst of an increasingly skeptical world.
Working Out Your Faith: The Great Paradox of the Christian Life (Parts I & II)
Friday, June 29, Sessions 1 and 2
The author of Hebrews tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1)—a most extraordinary assertion that, at face value, might look like a contradiction. But this is, in fact, the very heartbeat of Christianity, the means by which we receive the grace of God, and what gives the Christian life a sense of wonder and joy. Your faith must be your own—not just your friends’ faith, or your parents’ faith. Let’s explore together what the Scriptures say about the object of our faith, the result and fruit of our faith, the nature and power of our faith, and how that faith works out in everyday life.
The Human Body: Divine Engineering [VIDEO]
Thursday, June 28, Session 4
Evolutionists say everything evolved through random mutations and any appearance of design in nature is just illusion, but how does that stack up to reality? Just consider the human hand. Nothing else comes close to its fluid precision and control. Our hands enable every level of human activity, from the work of artists, surgeons, concert pianists, professional baseball pitchers, to a mother brushing her daughter's hair. Such great engineering could only result from great design. Dr. Randy Guliuzza, a professional engineer and medical doctor, explores the wonders of the human hand, demonstrating the precise interactions of our nervous systems and muscles that provide its powerful grasp, precision grip, and exquisitely controlled finger movements. By video (shown with permission by the Institute for Creation Research), students will join Dr. Guiliuzza as he unwraps the astounding design features that testify to the engineering genius of our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.*
*Description from the ICR website
The Beautiful Life with God (Parts I & II)
Thursday, June 28, Sessions 1 and 2
This session will discuss God’s gift of beauty (in general) and within music (in particular) in order to relate these concerns to His good work in and among us—shaping our character for the defense and confirmation of the gospel. It is important to “think well” about this because our encounter with beauty produces a more real and profound sort of knowledge than mere rational deduction. Careful reflection is, of course, essential. However, if we do not attend to beauty, then our knowledge-faith will be impoverished and our living communion with God will be compromised. Music is, of course, an important part of modern life. It’s everywhere—influencing us in mysterious ways. How can we, in some way, affirm all of it while also developing discernment concerning the ways it is forming us for good or ill?
The Case for Life [VIDEO]
Wednesday, June 27, Session 6
Since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973 by the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, more than 60 million abortions have been performed according to recent estimates. As one of the nation's leading pro-life advocates, Scott Klusendorf travels all over the United States, Canada, and Europe training students and other groups to engage the conversation about abortion and make a persuasive case for life as a part of their worldview. He contends that the pro-life message can compete in the marketplace of ideas if properly understood and articulated. Although he cannot be physically present at Think Well 2018, his passionate and engaging presentation by video will inspire students to learn how to make a defense for the unborn in an intellectually rigorous and informed yet compassionate fashion. Note: The same video was shown at the 2016 Think Well Conference and was one of the sessions students indicated as being most impactful.
The Race-Transcending Gospel
Special Tuesday Evening Session, June 26, 7:00 p.m. (open to parents and the community)
Taking Ephesians 2:14–18 as its focus text, this session will discuss biblical reconciliation. Specifically, Jesus reconciled us to God and one another, and only the gospel (salvation through Christ) is powerful enough to make us family. Because of how we are loved, we are compelled to love one another.
Identity in Christ
Wednesday, June 27, Session 1
With Ephesians 2:1–10 and 1:3–10 as our foundational texts, this session will focus on who we are and the need to root our identity in Christ and in nothing and no one else. God takes dead people and gives them resurrection life. Salvation is gift enough, but God doesn’t only save us—He gives us Himself. We can know Him—through salvation and the work of Jesus—and as our hearts rest in Him, we can delight in Him. Being in Christ is a stupendous reality.
Radical Love Leads to Unity
Wednesday, June 27, Session 2
God gives an impossible command: love your neighbor as yourself. It’s impossible to love like this without the power and work of the Spirit. He’s also given us the gift of one another, but as we know, relationships are hard. We can, however, learn to love, which displays to a divided and broken world what has been accomplished on the cross. Using the text of Mark 12:28–31, the session will impart to students a biblical understanding of two common topics/buzzwords nowadays: unity and diversity.
John Stonestreet [Keynote Speaker]
Why Does Worldview Matter?
Sunday Evening Kickoff Session, June 24, 6:30 p.m. (for parents and registered students, plus members of the community as space allows)
In this opening session with both students and parents, John Stonestreet will speak on a biblical worldview, what it is, and why it's important. As one of the nation's leading voices on this topic, he speaks from more than 15 years of experience training students first at Summit Ministries and now as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Is Your Worldview Really Biblical?
Monday, June 25, Session 1
Our view of the world informs our view for the world. We live out what we believe through the lens of our worldview, and by reading and meditating on Scripture, we discover God’s revealed will and purpose. John Stonestreet will speak on a biblical worldview and its relevance to life and culture, pulling from more than 15 years of experience training students first at Summit Ministries and now as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Imago Dei: The Christian Vision of Humanity
Monday, June 25, Session 2
Who is God? and Who is man? are two questions at the center of every worldview. A biblical worldview answers the second of these questions based on Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Thus, a human being is a divine image-bearer—in short, we are special; we’re not like the animals, and we’re not random collections of molecules that assembled by chance. This view of humanity has implications for all of life and all of our relationships.
Christianity and Culture: Being In but Not Of
Monday, June 25, Session 3
Jesus said His followers would not be “of the world” any more than He is of the world (John 15:19; 17:15–16); yet, He places us in the world and calls us to engage in it (John 17:15). How are we to follow and love Him while not being conformed to its thinking (Romans 12:2)? How, especially, do we live in but not of the world amidst profound cultural change, away from a culture rooted in Judeo-Christian values, as we’ve seen in recent years? As coauthor of A Practical Guide to Culture and a frequent speaker on this topic, John Stonestreet will address this topic with biblical clarity—helping students understand how they can engage the culture while also rising above it.
Why a Good God Allows Suffering & Evil
Monday, June 25, Session 4
John Stonestreet will address one of the most-asked “gotcha” questions leveled at the Christian worldview: If the Bible is true, and if God is really good, how do we explain the existence of evil and suffering in the world? The answer, in short, is that we point to Christ, who entered our sinful, broken world and joined our suffering, crying out even from the cross “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” The Suffering Servant is now the enthroned King who has conquered sin, pain, and death forever, so that we can know with confidence they will not have the final word. While this answer doesn't explain every instance of suffering, nor does it necessarily dull its pain, it does offer a living hope.
Virtue: Living What We Say We Believe
Monday, June 25, Session 5
In today’s society, there’s been a loss of virtue both in practice and in knowledge. Not only do people not practice virtue, but they're not even sure what true virtue is, or whether it has any absolute basis. This session will issue a resounding call for renewing those distinguishing marks of followers of Christ—courage, wisdom, temperance, justice, faith, hope, and love—which Christians have practiced for centuries and which align with the standards set out for God’s people in Scripture.