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This 8-session study will help you and your group think biblically about the hot topics that you read and hear about daily. It covers such issues as: homosexuality, gay marriage, immigration, genetically modified food, the environment, animal rights, torture, and war.
Hope for Homosexuals
If we are a product of our genes, we must look beyond them for hope and victory.
Genesis 19:1–11; Judges 19:1–30; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–32; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11
Karen Swallow Prior claims that reports linking moral behavior to genetic traits actually prove Scripture’s claims, not undermine them. In this study, we’ll look at Scriptures that will help us deal lovingly with our gay friends and relatives.
The Case Against Gay Marriage
Why should we oppose legalized same-sex marriage?
Genesis 2:24; Psalm 127:3–4; Mark 10:5–9; Ephesians 5:31–32; 1 Corinthians 6:12–20; 1 Corinthians 7:6; Hebrews 13:4
How should Christians respond to the push for the state to recognize same-sex couples as married? How does Scripture define marriage? How does the Christian understanding go deeper than legal definitions? Using Christianity Today’s article “Why Gay Marriage Would Be Harmful,” we’ll look at the issues surrounding the cultural debate about whether marriage should encompass same-sex couples.
The Immigration Debate
We need to engage both heart and mind to resolve America’s problem with illegal immigration.
Genesis 18:1–8; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35–41; Luke 10:30–37; Romans 13:1–5; Hebrews 11:13
This study asks: How does stereotyping obscure Christian love? What kind of guidance does the Bible give about immigration? What is God’s standard for loving strangers? How does the Bible guide public policy?
Genetically Modified Food
What are we eating, anyway? And how is it affecting our world—and our souls?
Genesis 1:1–2:3; Leviticus 19:1–9; Psalm 104; Luke 22:7–23
Since 1996, the United States has been producing genetically modified crops. Scientists are spreading the techniques of industrial-style farming around the world. The U.S. also leads the world in producing and consuming convenience and fast foods. Technologically enhanced food has made eating cheaper and easier, but is it better for us? For the earth and future generations? For the world’s hungry? What are a Christian’s responsibilities in a world where food is big business? In this Bible study we look at the biblical roots of a Christian approach to food.
Christians and the Environment
What is a biblical environmental concern?
Genesis 1; Job 38–39; Psalm 104; Isaiah 11:6–9; 35; Matthew 6:25–34; Romans 8:18–25; 2 Peter 3:10–13
Humans are going to spend eternity on Earth. The vision given to John in the Book of Revelation ends with heaven coming down, and Earth being renewed and restored as a dwelling place for humans who are no longer disconnected from their God (Rev. 21–22). While Christians may be ready to leave this world and fly away into heaven, this study examines the fact that we are born to live on Earth (Gen. 1) and find our identity wandering this world (Ps. 104). We are terrestrial (Job 38–39), and that has practical implications for how we treat our planet.
Should We Be Concerned with Animal Rights?
Finding a responsible Christian approach to this thorny subject
Genesis 1–2; Job 39; Psalm 8
Sure, humans and animals are different. But the line of differentiation is blurred at times as animal rights are championed with increasing fervor. As Amy Julia Becker says, “Christians will always be charged with ‘speciesism,’ as we believe that humans are the most valued (and most valuable) species, and our species is fundamentally different from others. But evidence should never exist to warrant the charge of Christian indifference to the suffering of animals. . . . Adhering to God’s instructions in Genesis should lead to mutual flourishing and blessing for animals and humans alike.” How can we appropriately respond to the animals that share our world?
Christians and the Use of Torture
Should we set aside moral codes for the greater good?
Genesis 1:26-27; Exodus 35:30-36:2; 2 Chronicles 3-4; 1 Kings 10:18-20
While Christian theologians of past centuries debated “just war” theories (assessing international conflicts in light of biblical principles of fairness), modern discussions focus on high-tech weapons that make armies obsolete and religious terrorism that ignores rules regarding non-combatants. In this new psychological chess match, knowledge is critical. How will it be obtained? Is torture necessary to get insider information? Can we justify dehumanizing some to rehumanize society?
Christian Views of War
Making sense of how Christians differ on military intervention
Exodus 14:13; Isaiah 10:1–11; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5:39; 24:4–8; John 14:27; 15:13; 16:33; Romans 12:21; 13:1–5; Colossians 2:15; James 4:1–6
We may feel that God is on our side in military conflicts, but that view is difficult—if not impossible—to substantiate from the Bible. If that’s so, why do so many Christians support war efforts? On what do they base their beliefs? In this study, we’ll explore five possible responses to war and some biblical texts that seem to support two opposite conclusions. How should we react to military intervention?
Total number of pages - 83 pages
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