There’s a white door. There’s a ‘5’ on it. Two ARISE students, Victor Carreiro and Lindsay White, stand beside the apartment door and knock. There’s a post beside Victor that he leans upon, his hand plays with a chip in the wood. Lindsay can be seen taking a few glances in the direction of a cat with lopsided shoulders.
“Hi, can we ask you a few questions?” Victor asks the young man in front of them. He is wearing basketball shorts and a white t-shirt, he is blonde, skinny, and stiff in posture.
“Sure,” Tucker responds, that’s his name, “but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with my answers.” After Victor and Lindsay assure him they won’t be offended, he agrees, they begin and the survey goes well.
Through the survey the students found out he is an agnostic, a seeking agnostic, but nevertheless in doubt.
Victor looks at him inquisitively, tilts his head to the side and inquires, “What is your greatest obstacle for belief in God?”
Tucker unfolds his arms, “A lack of evidence,” he confesses.
“Can I present an argument for His existence?” Victor wants to know.
Victor then begins to elaborate on the Kalaam Cosmological argument and explains its premises to Tucker and the way they harmonize and lead you to the logical conclusion that God exists. Victor has made himself known around his classmates as a man of information. A former skeptic himself, God has gifted him with an ability to take very abstract information and present it clearly to those around him. And at this moment, the Spirit takes Victor and his partner, Lindsay, into a dance with Tucker. They will go on to tackle many of the young agnostic’s questions and unravel some of the obstacles in his way to God.
As Victor finishes he asks, “So, Tucker, can you see how believing in a transcendent, timeless, eternal, spaceless, and personal Uncaused Cause follows if we grant the premises of the Kalam cosmological argument?” Tucker nods. “But you’re a smart guy,” Victor continues, “and you probably caught on to the fact this argument does not bring us to the Judeo-Christian God, right? Tucker smiles and nods, actively listening to where Victor is going next.
He walks him through some arguments for the validity of the resurrection of Jesus. He answers all the questions and the way in which it makes sense with what history agrees on: Jesus died, His tomb was empty on the third day, and the Christian movement exploded shortly thereafter. Tucker continues to be intrigued.
I don’t usually talk to Christians, but I have never heard it explained so intellectually.
During the whole conversation, Victor and Lindsay are continually impressed that Tucker is a very sincere agnostic. His questions are heartfelt and he very much assesses the answers given to him. Their conversation continues for almost an hour, questions and answers, inquiries and responses, the one being used by God to proclaim and the other being softened by God to receive.
Towards the end of their conversation, Tucker just blurts out, “Why did God literally have to shed blood for the sins of man?”
They talk about human stories. Human books and movies and the way they are littered with strife and conflict, the way the plots usually square good versus evil and how human-created heroes so often find their heroism in giving their lives, handing themselves over for the sake of the greater good. These well-known stories, the Avengers and Star Wars of culture, so often feature redemption—so often feature a valiant hero who gives his life. Victor claims that this testifies of a very human longing for redemption.
“You have to admit,” Victor argues, “if this story of the cross is true, then it is the greatest act of love in history. Think of it,” he continues, “it depicts a God coming down from His throne and dying for His enemies who sinned against Him. Though their crimes were directed at Him, He bore their punishment for the sake of their reclamation,” he ends softly.
Tucker is very thoughtful as this ends.
Lindsay then pipes up, “And think of it, life is in the blood. Of course a life needed to be given for the reclaiming of a life. His blood being shed represents that!”
The question and answer continued for some more time, but soon it was 7:30 p.m. and work called Tucker. Victor and Lindsay needed to get home too. They say their goodbyes and exchange numbers. Tucker is very interested in meeting again.
“I don’t usually talk to Christians, but I have never heard it explained so intellectually,” Tucker exclaims.
Victor and Lindsay walked away from Tucker’s apartment having provided a sense of clarity which he did not have before. In the same way Victor had played with the chip in the wooden post beside him, the Lord used the pair to crack a chip into the hardened doubts and confusions in the mind of Tucker.
And this, is ministry.
Victor Carreiro and Lindsay White studied in the 2012 ARISE program.