Roots Christian Club hosts guest speaker

Roots+Christian+Club+hosts+guest+speaker

Athira Penghat

Evangelist Tim Reilly addresses students’ questions about spirituality and the consequences of choosing not to believe in God.

Evangelist Tim Reilly spoke at the Roots Christian Club meeting on March 11. Though he spent some time presenting his life story to his audience, he also incorporated a student-generated question and answer session in order to address the comments and concerns of both Christians and skeptics alike.
Evangelist Tim Reilly spoke at the Roots Christian Club meeting on March 11. Though he spent some time presenting his life story to his audience, he also incorporated a student-generated question and answer session in order to address the comments and concerns of both Christians and skeptics alike.

In his past, Tim Reilly has shoved his elementary school vice principal over a desk, stabbed a classmate in the neck for bullying him and addictively watched pornography. Now, he is a devoted evangelist at the Trinity Church of Sunnyvale and spoke about his experiences at the Roots Christian Club meeting on March 11.

Reilly came to MVHS after hearing about the opportunity to speak about spirituality to high school students from Roots Christian Club Senior Advisor senior Darren Yau.  According to Yau, he believed Reilly would be able to provide students on campus with a perspective of overcoming adversity through religion and engage skeptics in some positive, respectable conversation.

A peculiar turn of events

Reilly began his presentation by telling the crowd his life story. When Reilly was eight months old, his parents divorced, and about three years later, he was kidnapped by his mother. After making public pleas to help save his son, Reilly’s father found him and took custody of him.

Five years later, his mother passed away after being diagnosed with breast cancer. This seemed to be a breaking point for him. He got into trouble, hurt people physically and became, in his own words, a difficult kid to raise. As a result, during his teen years when Christians would come up to him and tell him about Jesus, Reilly was frustrated. He wasn’t willing to believe that a truly loving God would take his mother away from him at such a young age.

“In high school, I talked three Christians out of their faith,” Reilly said. “And in a weird turn of events, I’ve baptized two of them back into their faith since.”

Even in his adult life, after being led toward the Christian faith by his religious wife, he still found himself acting out to the point where he was not proud of the person he had become. Then one day, he witnessed his oldest daughter experience a 28-minute seizure. She miraculously survived without suffering any brain damage, a blessing he credits to have directed him toward his true calling in life — teaching others about Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Questioning beliefs

Reilly’s speech was followed by a discussion involving the students.

Senior Barak Gila brought up his Jewish religion and his choice not to believe in God.

Specifically, Gila asked whether or not a non-believer is destined to Hell despite the fact that he or she may be a moral person. In response, Reilly incorporated the Ten Commandments in order to support the idea that choosing not to believe in God is technically a sin.

However, Reilly also asserted that believing in God shouldn’t be the expectation. Rather, people should trust Him.


 

Senior Leo Zhang also expressed his skepticism by asking Reilly why his interpretation of the Bible is correct as opposed to other interpretations, such as that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Reilly answered by pointing out that he bases all of his teachings in the Bible whereas Westboro preachers do not.


 

To this, Zhang brought up the fact that Westboro preachers also claim that they base their beliefs in the Bible. Reilly replied by pointing out the fact that the major difference between his teachings and those of the Westboro preachers is that he brings back what he says to grace, which according to him, is the very basis of the Bible.


 

He also pointed out that some interpretations of the Bible overstep the boundary of religion and are thus labeled as cults.


 

Learning to trust

Toward the last few minutes of lunch, Reilly led a brief prayer and then dismissed the audience members. According to Reilly, his ultimate goal was to get people to spread his message of trusting in a higher power, even if they don’t necessarily “believe” in God.

“I’m constantly telling people about Christ as much as I can because I believe that his death and resurrection meant something,” Reilly said. “I have a beautiful wife, three beautiful daughters, I’m a pastor, I’m a missionary, I’m an Evangelist, I’m an okay guy, but none of that would matter without Christ because without Him, I would suck.”