Chapter 11—The Resurrection of The Body
1. Open with Cassie’s view of death and Heaven—of a soul that leave the body to go to a body-less “spiritual” heaven while the body molders forever in the ground. Discuss how common this sub-Christian view of the afterlife is among Christians today. Be careful at this stage of knocking down folk who believe this way—the rest of the lesson will do the gentle correcting.
2. This chapter starts out by claiming that this classic doctrine of Christians “inspires more unbelief among today’s church attendees than any other statement in the creed.” Why do you think it is that many Christians today do not believe this doctrine? How free are today’s Christians to discard doctrines the church has believed for several thousand years?
3. Discuss the practical problems hat make unbelief of the “bodily resurrection” easy—what is hard to explain about this doctrine? (e.g. people burned up in a fire, bodies thousands of years old with nothing left of them etc.)
4. Take some time to explore recent human scientific advances (p 164. cloning etc.) that seem to enable a fresh view on the resurrection of the body.
5. Discuss the difference between coming back to life (e.g. Lazarus) and the resurrection.
6. Talk about what might happen to us in the mean time (p 165) between our death and resurrection. List the options of orthodoxy here. End up with the statement from the book, “Whatever we envision as the intermediate state between death and final resurrection, a Christian doctrine always ends with a real resurrection of a real body.”
7. What are the risks of discarding the doctrine of the resurrection of the body (see p. 167). Consider a study of 1 Corinthians 15 at this point.
8. Discuss and clarify the Christian view on who gets resurrected.
9. Encourage the class to ponder how our resurrected bodies are similar and different from our present bodies—especially in the context of Christ’s resurrected body.
10. how does a firm belief in the resurrection of the body change how we live practically each day?
11. Have the group read the “What about us” ending to this chapter to themselves as a closing meditation, or have someone prepared to read it aloud for the group. Consider closing by having someone read the prayer at the end for the group, or praying their own prayer based on the response we have to this part of Christian beliefs.
I invite you to post your own ideas on this chapter by adding a comment to this post to help other leaders. -- Keith Drury