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Faithfulness with the Next Generation – Discussion Guide

3.1.24            Discussion Guide

Determinism is the idea that what we believe to be a choice is an illusion. The outcomes of our lives are fixed by factors mostly or completely outside of our control.

The Bible presents God as fully sovereign and humans as being fully responsible/choosing beings.  There is a mystery in how this works out, but to be fully biblical, you must hold firmly to both sides of this tension – between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s ability to choose.

We cannot fall prey to a “Christian” determinism that believes (and behaves) as if human choices don’t really matter since God is sovereign.  This is a wrong and disastrous way to live.

We also cannot fall prey to the idea that our choices “determine” certain outcomes without considering both the sovereignty of God and the choices of others. 

In society at large, there are other forms of determinism, such as biological, where we are merely the product of our genetics, and what we believe are choices are largely illusions.  The outcomes of our lives are fixed mainly by biology, not by our own wills.

Q1: What does biblical balance look like in all of this?  Why is balance so hard to maintain? 

Q2:  You have probably seen kids from godly homes go astray and kids from ungodly homes do well.  How do you think about this?  Perhaps this is your story? Perhaps your own child has gone astray?

Q3: Theology is the application of truth to our lives.  God is there, and God has spoken to us.  Do you have full confidence that in the Bible, God has given us all we need to thrive?  Why or why not? 

*The Bible doesn’t tell us how to make antibiotics or air conditioners.  By thriving, I mean he has given us what we need to know how to navigate and make sense out of all aspects of our lives.  Do you believe this? Or do you believe that His Word is not fully sufficient? 

Q4: You may be convinced of the sufficiency of Scripture intellectually but struggle to actually act on that belief practically.  If so, why do you think this is true for you? 

Read:  So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now, it is required that those who have been given a trust (stewardship) must prove faithful. 1 Cor. 4:1,2

Q5: The gospel is your stewardship. What are all of the implications of this for your life?

How does it apply to parenting, vocation, leisure, etc.?

Read: Col. 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Q6: How does this verse form the foundational “why” of your life? 

Q7: What does it mean that every other goal is a subset of this fundamental “why”?

Q8: How has living in community been a key factor in your parenting?  How has it been a key factor in your growing up?  How has a lack of community had a negative impact on your parenting or in how you navigated life growing up?

Q9: When has a lack of “perfection” in your life caused you to live with guilt or anger or led to apathy?

Q10: Would you describe your personal relationship with God as “vibrant”?  Why or why not?

Read: Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Consider:  God’s peace is to guard (referee) our hearts.  Our ongoing anxiety can be evidence that we are not living in the vital union with Christ that he desires.  It may be other factors as well, but it is always worth asking whether we are, right now, living by faith or by different motivations and perspectives.

Pray:  Take your concerns to Christ right now.  I urge you to not talk about them, just pray.  I urge you to not do image management, be honest.