Chapter 3—Jesus Christ
1. What do Christians mean when they say “Jesus is God?” What mistakes do we make in vocabulary that can lead to sub-Christian doctrine? (e.g. referring to the Father as “God” etc.)
2. Look up First Council of Nicaea in an encyclopedia (or on Wikipedia, printing out the story assigning the several role in discussing the “Arian controversy” –see if your students can recreate the debate using real Scriptures. Make sure you have (or serve as) the narrator to ell the story of how this decision came out.
3. Discuss how Christians might have a friendly chat with a person who believes that Jesus was a good man and great prophet but not God.
4. What is loaded into the Greek term “Jesus is Lord (Jesus is Yahweh)? How does this change our discussion of who Jesus is looking at “God” in the Old Testament?
5. Describe how Christianity might be different today if all Christians had agreed with the Arian view in 325.
6. Do you think “God protected” or the “Spirit inspired” this council in AD 325 to make the decision they did? To what extent does God guide and lead the church to make such decisions? Is “the church” always right in such decisions? What would we do if we decided they were wrong?
7. Ask someone to distinguish between the use of “I believe” in the Apostle’s Creed (which was rooted in a personal baptismal confession) and the “we believe” of he Nicene Creed and how it plays out today.
8. Why is it important theologically for Jesus to have been God “who came down for us and our salvation” (Nicene Creed)?
9. 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