Intro: Take time to briefly highlight main points from last week’s discussion on “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?” Tonight we are going discussing the question “Is Christianity Too Narrow in Our Culture?”
The Church used to be seen as a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and taken seriously by the wider culture.
Question: Do you think that is true of the Church in the culture we live in today? If not, what do you think the majority of Americans think of the Church and Christianity as a whole in our culture?
Although many of us here have similar beliefs about Christianity and following Jesus in our culture, some of you might not be on the same page. Please know this is a place you can be transparent and real.
WATCH VIDEO NOW – PULSE OF THE WORLD: Christianity and Culture
The point of this video is to create a tension. Don’t seek to resolve it yet!
Take some time to discuss what we just watched
Which of these viewpoints would you say the majority of your friends/family/classmates/etc. agree with?
Did you identify with a specific view from the video? If so, which one and why?
Why do you think “nearly half of all US adults believe it doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons”?
Ultimately, tolerance of sin has watered down absolute truth in our culture. Many people live with an unclear picture of who God is and what the Gospel is. Therefore, their understanding of the differences between religions is confused and based off of their false understanding of the character of God. For the Christian, the Gospel is the defining difference that separates Christianity from all other religions.
SECTION 2: Tension (15-20 minutes)
(Take a minute to set up video) Watch The Curiosity Collective
Which of these stories/view points do you identify with? What did you find intriguing or compelling?
Does the media represent Christianity accurately? Do Christians represent Christianity accurately?
In the video, Corey suggests, “When people say that all religions are the same, that sounds really humble and tolerant.” Why does he go on to say that those claims are actually exclusive? (content in video)
What are some examples in which most people believe that narrow ideas are good?
What exclusive views do you have? Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable when discussing your views with others?
We’ve been talking about purpose, God and suffering over the past few weeks. The more I think about the narrowness of Christianity, the more I see how connected it is to these big topics. Without the narrowness of Christianity, I wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with God. I wouldn’t be able to know absolute truth. I would still be on my search for soul satisfaction that is ultimately found in the narrowness of following Jesus. –**think about this for yourself and tailor it to fit your own personal wrestling through this question.
SECTION 3: Content (20 minutes)
As we finish up tonight’s discussion, lets look at the narrowness of Christianity from a different perspective.
Read John 14:1-7. In this, we see how…
Narrowness brings purpose
CT: Thomas wants to know the way and is searching for purpose. Jesus’s direct response allows Thomas and the rest of the disciples to see their inability to know the way on their own, but also stirs up in them a hunger to know more about Jesus and His Father.
CT: God created man for relationship with Himself. But sin brings eternal separation from the holy God. From the beginning God set a plan into motion to restore His people and their relationship with Him.
CT: “Christ was his own way, for by his own blood he entered the holy place, and he is our way, for we enter by him.” –Matthew Henry
QUESTION: How do you see people walking in their own way in our culture? Do they have clear purpose?
Narrowness brings absolute truth
CT: 1 John 5:20—Through Jesus, God has given us the ability to know Himself. Jesus is the human form of God, and He came to show a clear picture of who God is and He is the essence of truth.
CT: Through Jesus, all the darkness is dragged into the light and exposed for what it really is—LIES—so we might know the truth.
QUESTION: Have you ever believed a lie and then later found out the truth? How did finding out the truth make you feel and how did it change things?
Narrowness brings freedom
CT: Apart from God, people are walking in sin. Sin enslaves and leads to death (Romans 6:23).
CT: By being tolerant and accepting of all, people are celebrating the depravity of man and continuing to walk on the broad path towards death.
CT: Christianity isn’t just about getting a free ticket into heaven. It’s about living in the abundant freedom that only comes from following Christ in the here and now. John 10:10.
CT: Followers of Christ are set free from sin to live as God created them to, and invite the world around them to do the same thing.
QUESTION: What do you think abundant life in Christ looks like? Why do you think He desires for us to have abundant life? Do you honestly believe that this is possible for you?
SECTION 4: Closing
Following Jesus is counter-cultural. But without Jesus, it’s like Propaganda said in the Curiosity Collective video—we are throwing a bunch of spaghetti noodles at a wall, hoping one will stick, There is no specific target or real way to be made right with God. You can pile up a heap of good works, but in the end you will never be able make yourself clean or holy enough to have a relationship with God.
As Christians, we find the true way to life through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This way is narrow, but it is worth walking in.
Close by reading Psalm 16:11 over the group.
Question: If there is no absolute truth, then what is the purpose of life?