Review and Discuss

Quick Questions about Devotional Life, Presbyterian History, and Governing the Church

1. What are the two "means of grace"?
     Church attendance and service to the needy
     Sacrificial giving and singing hymns
     Prayer and Bible study
     Worship and fasting

2. True or False: Part of prayer is to listen quietly to the voice of God and let the words of Scripture bubble through us and reorganize our thoughts showing us what we might not otherwise see.

3. Which of these is not one of the five kinds or parts of prayer mentioned in the article?

4. True or False: Allegories are never used in Scripture.

5. Which aspect of the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation is controversial?
     Studying the text in the original languages
     Studying the archaeological materials related to the text
     Studying the social structures in existence at the time the text was written
     Studying the changes made over the generations since the text was written
     Studying the literary structure of the text
     Studying the differences among different versions of the same story

6. When people identify themselves as literalists regarding biblical interpretation, what are they usually saying that they believe?
     That there are no metaphors or figurative language in the Bible.
     That some parts of the Bible should be interpreted differently than
          conservative Christians interpret them.
     That some parts of the Bible should be interpreted differently than liberal
          Christians interpret them.
     That they reject the historical-critical method of interpretation.

7. The largest Presbyterian denomination in North America split into two denominations in 1861. What was the split about?
     the trinity

8. After the split in 1861, when did the two largest Presbyterian denominations settle their differences and reunite?

9. How do Presbyterian Churches govern themselves?
     the pastor governs the church
     the denomination tells the church what to do
     all members vote on all major issues
     congregations are representative democracies

10. Presbyterian government includes a series of governing bodies each one progressively more inclusive (including more congregations). What is the order of these bodies from less to more inclusive?
     Session, Synod, Presbytery, General Assembly
     General Assembly, Presbytery, Session, Synod
     Session, Presbytery, Synod, General Assembly
     Presbytery, Synod, Session, General Assembly

Discussion Questions

We encourage everyone to read the Bible and study it for themselves. What difficulties arise when everyone brings her or his own interpretations into worship? What benefits arise? How should we deal with these problems and how can we enjoy these benefits?

In the Lord's prayer we pray for God's will to be done. What about the times when we are praying for something different than God's will or when we don't know what God's will is?

The issue of slavery was very important in the development of churches in the 1800s. What issues are shaping denominations today? Since slavery is not clearly condemned in Scripture, why did it suddenly become so important in religion?

A congregation may be formed as a member of one denomination, it may became a merged congregation involving two or more denominations, or it may became a congregation of a different denomination. What were some of the reasons for these changes? What lessons about denominations can you find in this change.

The Presbyterian form of government we use has both positive and negative aspects. What do you think they might be?

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