Beginning October 14th, we’ll be going through the book Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin. This book asks 12 tough questions that we as Christians and a as a church should wrestle with so that “you may give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope you have.” (I Peter 3:15) It is with this in mind that we’ll discuss the following questions. Join us on Zoom (check website for link) on Wednesday nights beginning at 7PM.
October 14 Aren’t we better off without religion? In 1971 John Lennon wrote “Imagine” in which he envisioned a world with “no heaven, no hell, and no religion too” and that if this were done there would be, “nothing to kill or die for...” Ten years earlier Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gave his “I have a dream” speech which saw a better world not without religion, but because of it. So who was right? Are we better off without the institutional church (religion) or faith in general?
October 21 Doesn’t Christianity crush diversity? Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6), so does that mean that Christians have the only path to heaven? Can we “Coexist” (as the bumper sticker says) with Islam, Judaism, Toaism, Wicca, and other faith that teach an alternate path to heaven? We’ll also look at the meaning and usage of the terms “diversity” and “tolerance”.
October 28 How can you say there’s only one true faith? This week we’ll take up Pontius Pilate’s question “What is truth?” With over 250 “mainline” Christian denominations, does anyone have an exclusive on the truth? How do we know what is true and what is false in the spiritual realm? What does it mean to “test the spirits” (I John 4:1)? We’ll also look at how our answer to this question influences what we do as Church and shapes our purpose for existence.
November 4 Doesn’t religion hinder morality? When we see good people doing bad things and often in the name of Christianity, we may wonder if we’d be more moral without the institutional church. What are we to make of those who live moral lives, but do not accept Christianity? What does it mean to be moral anyway? Morals, values, ethics, and doctrines will all be discussed this evening.
November 11 Doesn’t religion cause violence? With the rise of ISIS and Islamic Jihad, we may wonder if religion is spread by the word or by the sword. Christians have their own history to come to terms with in the Crusades and witch hunts. Every religion has had periods of violence, so how do we deal with that?
November 18 How can you take the Bible literally? Does “day” in Genesis 1 really mean a 24 hour period as it does everywhere else in the Bible? How are we to understand the meaning of the word “is” when Jesus says, “This is my body” in the Gospels? Tonight we deal with the subject of hermeneutics, which is a fancy way of saying how we read Scripture. In the LCMS we follow the hermeneutic of Scripture interprets Scripture (a word or phrase means the same as where it is used elsewhere in Scripture), but all other church bodies have a different hermeneutic. We’ll look at a few of those as well.
November 25 No Table Talk tonight. It is Thanksgiving Eve, so we invite you to join us in person or on Zoom for our Thanksgiving Eve worship service starting at 7:30.
December 2 Doesn't Christianity denigrate women?
December 9 Isn't Christianity homophobic?
December 16 Does the Bible condone slavery? What of reparations?
December 23 off for Christmas Eve prep
December 30 off for holiday break
December 6 (Epiphany) How can a loving God allow so much suffering?
January 13 How could a loving God send people to Hell?
January 20 Open Mike night - bring your questions and we'll chat
January 27 Doesn’t the Bible condone slavery? Slavery was the cultural norm for both the Old and New testaments. In the days prior to the American Civil War, both abolitionists and anti-abolitionists quoted the Bible in their view of slavery - so what does it really say and what does that mean for us over 150 years after the emancipation proclamation? Does slavery still exist in our locale today? What, if anything, should we do about it?
February 3 How could a loving God allow so much suffering? This is the question that bothered Job and his three friends in the days before Abraham. That God is loving is true, but it’s also true that there is much suffering and sorrow in this world - so what gives? We’ll discuss what we mean by a “fallen world” as well as the concepts of Free Will and total depravity. Nietzche came to the conclusion that “If God is god, He is not good. If He is good, then he is not God.” Was Nietzche right? Join us to find out.
February 10 How can a loving God send people to Hell? Piggybacking on last week’s discussion, we’ll go from worldly suffering to eternal suffering. Does hell exist and if so, how does one get there? Is it passive where one is “sent” there against one’s will or is it what one chooses (active) if one rejects God and the salvation He offers? How does this shape our understanding of what we mean when we say “God is love”? This will be the last of our Table Talks until after Easter.
Once again, if you want to read the chapters in the book before our discussion, the book is “Confronting Christianity” by Rebecca McLaughlin. It is available in both hard copy and e-book on Amazon.com. We hope you will join us for these discussion times. As we’ll be on Zoom, feel free to get comfy as we chat and grab your favorite beverage (Luther would tap a fresh keg before starting his table talks) as we go through these 12 critical questions for Christians to answer. Click on the link above to join us live on zoom.