Different Beliefs

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Age Group

Youth

Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Different Beliefs”

This unit provides young people with the opportunity for honest discussion about living in a world filled with people of varying religious perspectives. In addition to helping youth identify questions, these sessions guide teenagers to formulate answers within a trusted Christian community. Young people are led to ask, “Why are there so many different ways of viewing and expressing faith in God, and what does that mean for me?”

Session One–Many teenagers have close friends who attend any number of churches in their communities. The differences among those various Christian denominations and groups are less evident now than in previous generations. In Session One, a study of Acts 11:19-26 shows how early Christians discovered that room exists under the umbrella of Christianity for anyone who turns to Christ. In a like manner, and for any number of reasons, many contemporary followers of Christ are relating as members of the larger Christian family that we’ve always been.

Session Two–Matthew 22:15-22 highlights an instance when politically powerful religious leaders attempted to trick Jesus, who wisely responded, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The religious freedom that we enjoy provides the diversity that has enabled many Christian denominations to grow in membership and, in some instances, political power. “Civil denominations to grow in membership and, in some instances, political power. “Civil religion” occurs when one’s distinctive allegiances to God and country become muddled or confused. Session Two leads young people to ask, “How can I simultaneously honor my country and remain faithful to God without confusing my allegiances?”

Session Three–In Acts 4:5-12 Peter boldly proclaims Christ in the presence of persons of a different religious perspective. As Christianity makes authoritative claims about truth, Scripture, and God, so do most other major world religions. Many young people exposed to religious diversity have questions about their personal beliefs and the existence of so many different religions. Session Three helps teenagers learn that in the presence of differing religious perspectives, they can do as Peter did and identify Christ as the way of relating with God.

Session Four–Acts 10:1-35 reveals an important turning point in the history of the Christian church. Previously, the early church limited its focus to Jewish people. In our focal passage, God prepared the heart of a Gentile to receive the gospel and the heart of a Christian to receive a Gentile. The U.S. has more than 1,700 major religious groups, many of whom, though claiming Christian roots, have teachings that differ from historical Christianity. As teenagers encounter distortions of truth, they can model and speak about the truth of Jesus Christ. By bringing greater awareness of the differing perceptions of truth in the world, Session Four helps young people reflect on what they believe and why.

by David Adams

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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