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The Challenge of Faith
Dealing with Doubt
Evil and Suffering, Part 1
Evil and Suffering, Part 2
Why Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
The Power of Faith
The Challenge of Faith
For me, having lived much of my life as an atheist, the last thing I want is a naive faith built on a paper-thin foundation of wishful thinking or make-believe. I need a faith that's consistent with reason, not contradictory to it; I want beliefs that are grounded in reality, not detached from it. I need to find out once and for all whether the Christian faith can stand up to scrutiny. It was time for me to talk face to face with Charles Templeton.
Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith
If possible, read the introduction ("The Challenge of Faith") and "On the Road to Answers" in The Case for Faith book in preparation for your group meeting. Otherwise, read it as follow-up.
Video Teaching Segment
Space is provided to take notes on anything that stands out to you.
1. What are your greatest doubts in life? What spiritual doubts do you carry around with you?
2. How do you define doubt? Where do doubts come from? What effect do they have on people when they hit? What are the pros and cons of a healthy dose of doubt?
3. Briefly describe your faith journey. When have you been closest to God on your journey in life and at what points have you felt furthest away from him? Explain.
4. To what extent are questions and doubts regarding spiritual matters inevitable? Why? Is faith a simple process of belief or does it require a certain degree of thought and struggle or a combination of both? Explain.
5. Why do you think Charles Templeton abandoned the faith that had once been the cornerstone of his life?
6. Does the process of asking tough spiritual questions ruin or strengthen one's faith? Why? If you could ask God one question and you knew he would answer you right away, what would it be?
7. How does society define faith? According to the preceding Bible verses (see the "Think About This!" box), how does the Bible define it? Why does God place so much emphasis on faith?
8. Lee suggests that the process of asking tough spiritual questions is crucial because the answers we find inevitably influence our perceptions of God. Do you agree or disagree with Lee's reasoning? In what ways do the answers we obtain shape, and even distort, our perceptions of the truth?
9. Is it unfair of God to require faith of us when there are so many obstacles to overcome in order to have it? Is God too demanding? Does he require "blind faith"? Give reasons for your responses.
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
1. What is it about little children that makes them so absolutely trusting? How often do you long for the faith of a child when it comes to spiritual matters and life in general? Aren't things just simpler for those who believe things easily and never second-guess what they've been told?
2. Then again, isn't it those who trust easily who get taken advantage of? What is it about giving away trust that makes you vulnerable to disappointment, rejection, and hurt? How many times have you been let down by the very ones you thought would be there for you, the very ones who promised to take care of you? How many times have you said, "Never again"?
3. Little children flocked to Jesus, and he welcomed them and loved each one unconditionally. What did Jesus demonstrate to his followers about his trustworthiness when he welcomed and embraced the little children? What is it about Jesus that makes him so different and so completely worthy of such unabashed faith? And what is it about faith in God that is so alluring and yet at times so difficult?
4. The Bible tells us that Jesus was also completely pure and innocent—completely sinless—making him the only one absolutely worthy of our complete trust. Do you believe this? How might your life be different if you were able to begin to trust God with renewed faith?
Please read the following book content in preparation for session two:
The Case for Faith, Objection #8: I Still Have Doubts, So I Can't Be a Christian
Excerpted from The Case for Faith Study Guide Revised Edition by Lee Strobel, Garry Poole. Copyright © 2013 Lee Strobel and Garry Poole. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Session 1 The Challenge of Faith.................... 7
Session 2 Dealing with Doubts.................... 19
Session 3 Evil and Suffering, Part 1.................... 33
Session 4 Evil and Suffering, Part 2.................... 47
Session 5 Why Is Jesus the Only Way to God?.................... 61
Session 6 The Power of Faith.................... 79
Small Group Leader Helps.................... 93