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Old 07-09-2003, 08:58 AM   #1
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A Place For Questions

I know many people who are inquisitive about God. They don't disbelieve, but they don't fully subscribe either. They have questions - literal and figurative ones. They have experiences, and want to share and hear believers' opinions. I often get in long and intense discussions with these people. I see this curiosity as a good thing- the desire to find one's way, and realize God through one's own experiences rather than it be forced down their throat.

But I feel that I am not equipped to answer all their questions. I just don't know enough about the Bible. And I of course don't have all the answers myself!!

So what do I do? I wonder why there aren't church groups out there that invite people to come and discuss, regardless of what stage they are at in their faith, and where they won't be judged or ridiculed. I can't tell my friends to go to church, because some of them would say "how can I go and sit through a service when I don't believe?" I'm also not sure a service would even begin to answer their questions. I've recommended a few books but those can be tedious and sometimes overwhelming for someone just beginning.

Any suggestions? This is important to me and I want to be of better service to my friends but I'm not sure where to turn. I don't want to give them wrong information.

Thanks for any thoughts,
Carrie
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Old 07-09-2003, 09:30 AM   #2
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If you live in the Boston area, you know what my response is gonna be. Send them to L'Abri. They specialize in questions.

That's my short answer. I think that dialogue and being willing to invest time talking to your friends will also go a long way, even if you don't feel like you have all the "answers". Genuine human interaction and caring are usually the best apologetic, as well as being willing to own up to your own lack of knowledge and/or doubts on specific things.
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Old 07-09-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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oliveu2cm: you could ask them to join us virtualy - maybe one of us has the answer..

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Old 07-10-2003, 09:08 AM   #4
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Thank you Sula & Klaus for your answers.

Klaus that sounds like a v. good idea & easy for them to do but not intimidating!
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:26 PM   #5
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Re: A Place For Questions

Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
I wonder why there aren't church groups out there that invite people to come and discuss, regardless of what stage they are at in their faith, and where they won't be judged or ridiculed.

There are groups out there. One is called Alpha, a group started in England with many classes in the United States and around the world.

Another choice would be Bible Study Fellowship, a lay ministry with about 1000 classes world-wide. BSF is a bit more structured but is open to believers and non-believers alike.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:04 PM   #6
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You beat me to it Doug - both of those groups are wonderful
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Old 07-12-2003, 01:20 AM   #7
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Re: Re: A Place For Questions

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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Another choice would be Bible Study Fellowship, a lay ministry with about 1000 classes world-wide. BSF is a bit more structured but is open to believers and non-believers alike.

Can you tell me more about this group? The site only tells about the classes. What else do you know about them?
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Old 07-12-2003, 06:45 AM   #8
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BSF is a seven year program, running from September through May. The classes offered are: Genesis, Life of Moses, Israel & the Minor Prophets, Matthew, John, Romans and Acts of the Apostles. You can start the program at any time.

By structured, the program involves each class member answering about 30 questions for that week's portion of Scripture. Each class member is expected to use only the Bible in answering the questions, no outside sources (books, magazines, commentaries, "my preacher says", etc.) should be used (keeps everyone on the same playing field). A majority of the class time is spent in discussion groups where class members share their answers. The Discussion Leader only acts as a facilitator and does not teach or "grade" responses.

The typical class time runs as follows: 1) open by singing two hymns, 2) members share their answers to the week's questions in discussion groups (no more than 15 people per group), 3) return to hear a 40 minute lecture regarding the passage covered, and 4) receive notes for the passages covered together with questions for the following week's passages.

Classes begin again the week of September 8. All newcomers are given a more formal introduction (including the history of the program, etc.).

My wife and I have been involved for a number of years. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.
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Old 07-12-2003, 11:30 AM   #9
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Is it helpful to be Christian? For example, would a Christian have more, um...context for the study and the answers?

"Context" isn't really the word I want. Maybe "reference point" is a better way of putting it.
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Old 07-12-2003, 01:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
Is it helpful to be Christian? For example, would a Christian have more, um...context for the study and the answers?

"Context" isn't really the word I want. Maybe "reference point" is a better way of putting it.

Not really. As an expositional study (going through the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse) the vast majority of questions do not require previous study or a "reference point".

Actually, some long time Christians can struggle in the class as they process what they have known for years versus what they are reading out of God's Word.

Non-Christians have one advantage - they get moved to the top of the list if there is a waiting list!
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Actually, some long time Christians can struggle in the class as they process what they have known for years versus what they are reading out of God's Word.
Wow. That must be quite an experience for them. Unsettling at times.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Non-Christians have one advantage - they get moved to the top of the list if there is a waiting list!



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Old 07-13-2003, 09:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The typical class time runs as follows: 1) open by singing two hymns,

That alone would scare me away!

I have never been in this forum before, it's waaaaay too intense for me, but Olive, that's a very nice thread topic! You have always been such a non-judgmental and easy person to talk to about this stuff. You come accross as someone who doesn't secretly think that I am on the road to hell, which always makes for a more trusting conversation.



One general question though, if you are never a Christian and suddenly become one, are you then a born again Christian, or does that only apply to people who were a Christian, then cancelled and then re-joined (thus the "again" part)?
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge

I have never been in this forum before, it's waaaaay too intense for me,
This is a great little forum, Jess! Take it from me. I feel welcome here, and I'm not Christian. The mods do a great job of keeping it on the right track. Stop by any time!

Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge

One general question though, if you are never a Christian and suddenly become one, are you then a born again Christian, or does that only apply to people who were a Christian, then cancelled and then re-joined (thus the "again" part)?
"Cancelled." I love that word here.
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge



That alone would scare me away!

I have never been in this forum before, it's waaaaay too intense for me, but Olive, that's a very nice thread topic! You have always been such a non-judgmental and easy person to talk to about this stuff. You come accross as someone who doesn't secretly think that I am on the road to hell, which always makes for a more trusting conversation.

Thanks Jess! I love talking with you about this stuff.. and everything! Stop by here whenever- it is a quiet forum but it's nice every once in a while, or when someone has questions!

Quote:

One general question though, if you are never a Christian and suddenly become one, are you then a born again Christian, or does that only apply to people who were a Christian, then cancelled and then re-joined (thus the "again" part)?
I don't think born-again is a term restricted just to "already christians" who cancelled (lol).

I personally believe if you are/become a Christian & believe in God and accept Jesus as His son & your savior, then you are "born again," you are a Christian. I sort of think it's semantics with these terms. Some people may think that "born again" has a stricter definition. I knew a born again christian who told me my Catholic parents (who raised 4 children with their religion, went to church every week, etttccc) were going to hell since they were Catholic (and not 'bornagain' christians).

So I'm going to add I don't think human labels or categories are really what matters- what matters is what each person personally believes & how they live their lives according to those beliefs. God knows what's inside everyone's hearts! (yeah sometimes that can be scary but it forces you to be honest with yourself, which I think is good.)

Carrie
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:29 AM   #15
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Re: Re: A Place For Questions

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader



There are groups out there. One is called Alpha, a group started in England with many classes in the United States and around the world.

Another choice would be Bible Study Fellowship, a lay ministry with about 1000 classes world-wide. BSF is a bit more structured but is open to believers and non-believers alike.

Hope this helps.
Thanks Doug! I'll check these out on my lunch breaks! It's humbling to see God working in your life and in your friend's lives... I hope it will continue.
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
That alone would scare me away!
It's not too bad. You can hide your voice pretty well when there are 100 to 500 other people singing with you!


Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
One general question though, if you are never a Christian and suddenly become one, are you then a born again Christian, or does that only apply to people who were a Christian, then cancelled and then re-joined (thus the "again" part)?
When asked "are you a born again Christian?" the response is "Is there any other type?"

From a theological perspective, being "born again" means becoming a Christian - when you, as an individual, put you faith in Jesus Christ alone.

The media mixes the term with a political definition, which is used in a negative way.


Remember, not everyone who goes to church, or even grew up in a church, are Christians. It is not about attendance or heritage, it is about a personal relationship that is available to everyone.
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Old 07-14-2003, 04:35 PM   #17
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Jess, I hope you feel welcome here. Chris and I try really hard to keep things from becoming judgemental and counterproductive. And I promise we're not tooo scary.
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Old 07-14-2003, 04:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
My wife and I have been involved for a number of years. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.
Why are there separate classes for men and women?

Do you know much about Alpha?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-14-2003, 05:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
Why are there separate classes for men and women?
Probably to help keep the focus to the task at hand. Sharing may be more open when the "other" gender is present. There are "mixed" classes available (called Young Adult classes).

Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
Do you know much about Alpha?
Just a little. The target audience is the individual with no knowledge of Christianity and is designed to be very open and inviting. A very casual, relaxed atmosphere.
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