A Lesson for youth groups based off of the book entitled "Unchristian" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
The Issue: Too Political
The Perception: Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.
Questions and Quotes for Discussion:
Name for me who you think the top 5 Christians of all time would be.
We are in full gear for a political season that will have a major impact on your JH/SH years. The next president could possibly have that office all the way into your college years.
1. First of all, what political issues do you feel strongly about?
2. Secondly, if you could vote, who do you think you would vote for in November and why?
3. Thirdly, should Christians be involved in politics?
Listen to Fermi Project Podcast: Episode of unChristian featuring Mark Batterson
Did anything that Mark Batterson had to say jump out at you? Why do you think outsiders equate Christians with being Republicans? How difficult do you think it must be for him to pastor a church in D.C. where many people feel very strongly about both political parties? What about our church - do you think we are tied to a political party? The stereotype out there is that evangelical churches lean right and mainline churches lean left. Is that always true?
1. The Impact of Religion on Recent Politics
A. In the last two elections George Bush was very outspoken about his faith whereas his democratic opponents did not. The results are obvious.
B. In this political season we have seen one very qualified candidate get eliminated more or less because he identified himself with Mormonism.
C. Democrats have turned the corner in being much more outspoken about their faith.
D. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have had to distance themselves from religious leaders they considered as friends and allies who have said things that were offensive to a vast majority of people.
E. And let’s not forget, it was a radical religious ideology that brought down the World Trade Center that initiated much of where we find ourselves today.
F. It is a radical religious ideology that is influencing Iran’s government today and will have major implications with the next American administration.
2. The Influence of Religion on Politics
A. Is there a connection between faith and politics? The Bible has a lot to say about issues related to life, human dignity, the poor, marriages and families, just war, environmentalism, good vs. evil behavior, wise vs. foolish decisions, the influence of the Spirit of God vs. our own selfish desires, etc.
B. What is a worldview? What factors help to shape our worldview? How important should our faith and knowledge of the Bible develop our worldview?
C. Do Christians agree on everything politically? So, is it possible that a biblical worldview can operate out of the Republican AND Democrat parties?
D. Should Christians align themselves with one specific party or should our faith rise above both parties critiquing the positives and negatives of both sides against a Christian worldview?
3. Political Change vs. Spiritual Change
A. In Barack’s campaign you have seen, and will see up until November, the word “change”. Also, McCain will work hard to show a difference (change) between Bush and himself, although Barack will argue against that (no change from Bush’s policies with McCain). What do you think he means by using that word? How does “political change” occur and how does that affect us?
B. Think of an issue you feel strongly about. If the government changed the law to go against what you believe would that automatically change you beliefs? Why? Example: my view on abortion.
C. What kind of change was Jesus interested?
D. How is the change that Jesus is interested in that different from the kind of change that comes through politics?
4. The Bible and Politics
A. Matthew 22:21 - Jesus does not dismiss the importance of politics but recognizes our duty to serve God and our leaders.
B. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 - Regardless of political parties or even faith, Paul calls us to pray, intercede and thank Him for those in authority over us. Bill Clinton was not treated like this by many conservative religious leaders, instead he was vilified.
C. John 18:33-40
1. Jesus’ kingdom is radically different from political kingdoms.
2. The political climate was used against Jesus to murder him.
3. Jesus was determined that he came to testify to the truth even in the face of death.
4. Pilate, the politician, questioned the idea of truth as his conscience is being battered by the demands of the people who wanted blood.
Politics: Under the right circumstances help to create laws that will deter people from acting out in evil ways. The hope is that the law will change people from the outside-in. Although a law may cause someone to hold back from making a bad decision, it does not and will not change the HEART of a person. They can still hate as long as they do not murder. They can still lust as long as they do not rape or molest.
Faith: This is a radical change from within in which the Spirit of God transforms us from the inside-out. We willfully open ourselves up to God changing and transforming us to be more like him. The change begins within the heart of a person.
THE NEW PERCEPTION: Christians are characterized by respecting people, thinking biblically, and finding solutions to complex issues.