Chapter 9—The Holy Catholic Church
1. Read Brian’s and Kevin’s opening remarks at the beginning of the chapter. See if anyone in the class knows someone who ahs dropped out of assembling with other Christians completely and practices private or “solo-Christianity.” Have them tell the stories but try to keep the class from judging whether they are “real Christians” or not yet.
2. In what ways are all Christians everywhere “one?”
3. How can we say the church is Holy? Is it a lie to say this?
4. Discuss the meaning of “catholic” in the creed—the difference between catholic and Catholic. What does the Creed mean by “catholic?” What does it not mean?
5. Discuss the Nicene Creed’s use of “apostolic” and what me mean by this term when applied to the church?
6. Discuss this statement in the book: “The church is not two people playing golf on Sunday mornings and merely claim to be Christians. The church is the physical gathering of Christ’s followers.” If the church is the gathering” or “assembly” of Christians when does the church exist? When can it not exist?
7. See if anyone can find a long-term “solo-Christian” in the New Testament then discuss “How long can a person who comes to faith in Christ on their own remain a Christian if they shun all other Christians? (There is no clear answer to this in days or months but wrestle with it anyway for it is revealing to discuss it).
8. While our church buildings all pass away what happens to the church after the end of time?
9. Invite testimonies form your students on how the church has been a blessing to them. make this a time of praise and gratitude for God’s creation of the body of Christ.
10. Have your group do a mental experiment imagining their life if they would NOT have had a church—what would they not have if there was no church throughout history—what would a church-less Christianity be like?
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