Freedom to Believe

n03072_freedom

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Age Group

Adult

Brief Description

Freedom to believe is a vital issue for every Christian. In this unit’s three sessions, we will attempt to pry open some of the key texts from the New Testament that point us in the direction of freedom. One biblical selection comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, whereas the two other New Testament selections come from Matthew.

In some ways these three sessions return us to basic challenges of Christian ethics—namely, in that they push us to ask a very timely question: how can we be both free and responsible at the same time? If you are seeking an easy answer to this question, there isn’t one. What we will find in our brief study here is that freedom throws us into a world where the pieces don’t always fit together neatly.

These sessions could be a priming of the pump to think about the issue of Fundamentalism that has emerged with new force in a number of world religions, including Christianity. Fundamentalism can be an attempt to run from freedom and the anxiety that freedom can produce. If growing in faith is about getting the right answers, then freedom isn’t that important. All we need are the answers. However, even the Apostle Paul spoke of working his salvation in “fear and trembling.” Growing in the Christian faith as taught by Jesus and modeled by the Apostles is an ever evolving relationship with God wherein we find our own sense of mission and giftedness. Freedom is a requirement if we are to know God and what God has in store for each of us.

In this unit you are invited to look for resources that give freedom its momentum. Protestants are sometimes criticized for lacking structure and rules to assist the bewildered believer who is thrust into the world with only love as a guide. Such criticism is valid because love by itself is not enough. Sometimes in our freedom, we need more than the love principle to keep us steady. And yet, all the resources we can muster cannot exempt us from the difficult choices freedom brings.

At the end of the day, it is God’s command we hope to hear in the midst of our struggle and prayer. It should not surprise us that God may send us in unfamiliar ways—not to mention, in separate directions. Freedom makes being Christian much more difficult than we would like it to be. How we live out our freedom in Christ is perhaps the most pressing and demanding issue we will ever face. Hopefully, this unit will be of some assistance to your learners in sharpening the tools they need to be free and faithful followers of Christ.

by Thomas E. Clifton

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