Is the Bible historically legitimate or is it filled with folklore? Has the Bible changed over time? Does it contradict itself? How do we know we have something even close to the original text? Why have some writings been left out of the Bible? Do you really expect me to take every word as truth and not merely as a general guide to help me live a better life? Clark provides evidence that “the Bible is actually one of the most, if not the most, reliable and credible documents from antiquity.” He systematically tackles many of the toughest questions, including issues related to slavery, women and even polygamy in the Bible. Not only is it accurate, complete and true, the scriptures have power to speak. “And if we listen, and heed them and let them take us over, they will transform us, forever.”
What are the hurdles or questions you have had to confront in relation to the Bible, and why? Do you relate to any of the questions raised on pg 65? What issues do you hear most often from people regarding their hurdles with the Bible?
How literal do you believe the Bible is? For instance, was the universe created in 6 days? Was the entire Earth under water in the flood? Was Jonah in the mouth of a fish? Are there parts of the Bible that are difficult to accept?
Take a few minutes as a group and share what portions of the book or the Sunday morning message helped build your trust in the Bible?
Do you give the same weight or reliability to the Old Testament as you do the New Testament? Are there areas of the Bible you hold tighter to than others? Why is that so?
In developing your trust, or mistrust of the Bible, how much have you considered the historical scrutiny it has been placed under? Does this level of scrutiny render it more valid that other historical documents?
On pg. 80, Clark shares his personal experience and states, “I began to realize that there’s a world of difference between the Bible explaining what is happening and God affirming and encouraging what is happening.” Does this distinction help you with issues related to slavery, polygamy, the treatment of women and children, etc.?
Why do you believe it is easy for others to dispute the accuracy of the Bible, yet they accept other ancient texts with far less legitimacy? Is it simply a lack of knowledge, or an intentional decision to refute scripture as it would require life change to live out the Christian faith?
https://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.png00Morgan Farrishttps://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.pngMorgan Farris2019-09-11 10:44:302019-09-11 10:44:37Chapter Three: The Problem of the Bible
Clark begins by stating “If we are going to believe in God, then we must ask what the evidence is for his existence. What proofs and clues are there that an all-powerful, eternal, infinite being actually exists?” His arguments are then categorized into two primary areas, the morality of people, and the order of the universe. In short, why do we have an innate desire to do what’s right, to lay down our life for people we love instead of doing whatever necessary to advance ourselves. “The very fact that something within us is repelled by racism, sexism, and unequal treatment of the poor and disabled begs the question that such convictions would have to come from somewhere, for they are not natural.” The chapter goes on to provide evidence against the Big Bang Theory, as well as evolution, and supports evidence of an intelligent design.
Take a few minutes as a group and share what portions of the book or the Sunday morning message where interesting to you. What was most “eye opening” as you heard and read about an intelligent designer.
On pg.58, Clark writes “The laws that govern
physical matter would need to exist prior to the big bang. They could not come
into existence at the same moment as the big bang itself or else they would not
do their work.” Based on your faith and beliefs, what existed first? When did the
laws of physics exist? Heaven? Hell? Angels? Jesus? Holy Spirit? Devil?
Theories and opinions regarding creation are
readily available today. How do you lead your kids, grandkids or young people
through the discovery process to determine what they believe is truth vs
theory? How do they do this while honoring God and loving people along the way?
Based on the information you’ve read in this
book, and the discussion that took place, do you feel your confidence in God
has increased? Do you feel you have more questions than when you started? What
is your next step with this new position? This may be intentional conversations
with your kids, other family, friends, co-workers?
Prior to reading this chapter or listening to
the message, how would you explain our society’s desire to live by a moral code
or a desire to “do the right thing”? In your own words, how do you explain the
fact that we as a whole are against murder, or racism, or other “wrong things”?
Many people believe that the creation of the
universe was simply a “lucky”, single occurrence (Big Bang Theory). Clark
shares a poker analogy where the odds of the universe being created consistent
with the Big Bang is equivalent to being dealt a perfect royal flush in poker
every hand, forever. Why do you believe so many people feel it is easy to
believe in the Big Bang, when they would never believe in the poker analogy?
If someone came to you and argued that the Grand
Canyon was created millions of years ago, how would you began to use your faith
in God to defend the creation story? What are other examples of theories people
share and we accept as facts when it relates to creation and the universe?
https://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.png00Morgan Farrishttps://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.pngMorgan Farris2019-09-09 12:24:162019-09-09 12:24:22Chapter Two: The Problem of God's Existence
In the first chapter, Clark tackles the widely held view that both the discoveries of science and the positions of the Christian faith cannot coexist. Someone must choose to either believe in science or commit intellectual suicide and hold onto a blind faith. Clark explains the dichotomy of the myth: “science is about thinking, evidence, and rational justification, while Christianity and faith in general are about evading evidence and clinging to nonrationality.” He not only works to dispel the myth that the church, faith and Christianity are NOT universally opposed to science, but that science was actually birthed from Christian beliefs. He leads us to believe that the continued advances of science will bring confidence to the Christian faith.
Take a few minutes as a group and share what portions of the book or the Sunday morning message where interesting to you. Have you changed your mind about something related to science or faith because of what you’ve heard?
Based on what you’ve been taught in the past, do you feel you have a larger knowledge base about scientific arguments FOR or AGAINST the Christian faith? Why is that?
Was there something specific in the reading or from the Sunday message that grew your confidence that God is real and the creator of the universe?
Hearing Christians provide scientific evidence to support the Christian faith may be new for you. What is most encouraging about being equipped with new knowledge?
What do you need to keep in mind as you share this new information with skeptics? What do you what them to think? What do you want them to feel? What is the role of the Holy Spirit?
Have you ever experienced a conversation with a friend or family member who scientifically opposed the Christian faith? How did you feel, and is there something more you wish you would have known?
Clark shares an analogy, that believing in the Big Bang Theory is comparable to accepting that someone could have been dealt a perfect royal flush in poker, on every hand, forever. Why do you think our culture accepts something as unlikely as this, before they would accept the idea that there is an ultimate designer (God)?
As scientists learn more, do you believe more people will turn to the Christian faith or fewer? Why?
What scientific questions do you still have regarding faith (creation, evolution, dinosaurs, etc.)? What do you feel can’t be explained by the Bible?
Read Romans 1: 19-23. How do you believe our culture today has become “futile in their thinking”? What have we decided to believe instead of the truth of scripture? As you continue to read Romans 1, what other cultural issues do you see as an effect of our “futile thinking”?
https://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.png00Morgan Farrishttps://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.pngMorgan Farris2019-09-05 16:46:002019-09-05 16:46:02Chapter One: The Problem of Science
StoneWater Church has created the following questions for groups as a guide for discussion. They have been based on the book The Problem of God by Mark Clark, as well as a sermon series at StoneWater Church in the fall of 2019. These questions are simply a guide to help you grow in your faith and gain confidence in the teachings of the Bible.
During your first meeting, we would encourage you as a group leader to spend some time getting to know everyone in the group. Below are a few questions that can help initiate conversation. You can also take a moment at the beginning of each subsequent session and allow someone different to share how they heard about Jesus and the Christian faith for the first time.
What were some key conversations, truths or experiences that led you to take the next step and commit your life to following Jesus?
What doubts or hurdles did you have to overcome or what questions are still waiting to be answered in order for you to make that decision to commit your life to Jesus?
If you had to complete this sentence, “My problem with God is ….?”, how would you complete it?
https://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.png00Morgan Farrishttps://stonewaterchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SWC_Logo2018_whiteWEB.pngMorgan Farris2019-08-29 16:24:282019-09-05 16:43:43Intro: The Problem of God