I am posting a study guide for Tim Keller’s The Reason for God that I created to lead my small group through. I hope it is a blessing.
Reason for God Week 4
The Church is responsible for so much injustice.
- When have you felt treated unjustly?
- What was your favorite part of this chapter?
- What made you struggle in this chapter?
- What did you learn about God in this chapter?
- What did you learn about yourself in this chapter?
Truth: Many people take an intellectual stand against Christianity do so against a background of personal disappointment with Christians and churches.
Behavior of Christians that have undermined the plausibility of the gospel.
- Christian’s character flaws
- War and violence
- Shouldn’t Christians be better than non-Christians?
- Mistaken belief about Christianity.
- Common Grace James 1:17. All goodness is from God, an is given to all humanity.
- Not Perfect but forgiven. The Bible speaks that real Christians are flawed.
- This means that the church will be filled with broken and immature people.
- Hospital for sinners not a museum for saints.
- Good character is primarily due to a good home and family. You are not responsible for that.
- You can measure the power of the gospel from how much life change happens in their life.
Religion and Violence.
- Christopher Hitchens- religion takes racial and cultural differences and aggravates them.
- Religion transcendentalizes ordinary cultural differences making them seem like a cosmic battle of right and wrong.
- The problem is that non religious regimes have done the same. French Revolution
- Alistair McGrath – when the idea of God is gone, a society will transcendentalize something else or concept.
- Violence done in the name of Christianity is wrong. It is not Christian
- Violence is rooted in the human heart.
- Perhaps the biggest deterrent is fanaticism.
- People try to understand Christianity on a scale of nominalism to fanaticism.
- they think the best kind of Christian is in the middle.
- The problem is that this view thinks that the Christian faith is some sort of moral improvement.
- We should be fully fanatical but in a different way. Fully committed to being loving and giving.
- What seems over fanatical is actually a failure to be fully committed to Jesus.
The Biblical Critique of Religion
The way to run from oppression and injustice is not to tone down your beliefs but to pursue a fuller and truer faith in Jesus.
- Jesus critiques the religious people in the sermon on the mount.
- Jesus cannot be manipulated by our good works or moral performance.
- True faith is marked by a profound concern for the poor and marginalized.
- The way we treat them is how we treat God.
Where do we get the list of virtues that we criticize the church? The BIBLE
- Many cultures think it is ok to use power to get what you want. Including Islam and Evolution
- Being others centered is a Christian Ethic. Example of Anglo-Saxon’s self based shame culture.
- The crusades are a result of Anglo Saxons not fully understanding the gospel. Hadn’t penetrated their culture fully. The Shame based culture of pride and respect was still intact among the leadership.
- The right way to understand and criticize the Church is to not abandon the faith but move to a deeper and fuller understanding of the gospel.
- Christians first understood that Slavery was wrong.
- they eradicated slavery in America and Britain.
- Even almost broke the British government. Racism
Martin Luther King Jr.
- Did not call churches to become more secular. He called them to become more true to the gospel.
- Desmond Tutu
- Commission for Truth and Reconciliation.
- Catholic Church in Poland
- Forgiveness in Jesus’ name
- Deitrch Bonhoeffer – He went to Germany and made an illegal seminary
- It is not a religious act that makes the Christian but participation in the sufferings of God in the secular life.
Download Week 1:
Download Week 2:
Download Week 3 here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1370227/Reason%20for%20God/Reason%20for%20God%20%E2%80%93%20Week%203.doc
Download Week 4: