dilemma: a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made
sceptic (skeptic): someone who doubts all that is standard and accepted.
Psychoanalysis: a system of psychological theory aimed to treat mental disorders by bringing the sub-conscience to the surface.
patriot: someone who vigorously supports and is willing to defend their country.
pacifist: someone who believes that any form of violence for any reason is unacceptable.
complacent: self satisfied.
coterie: a small exclusive group of people with shared interests.
faction: a small organized dissenting group within a larger group.
sect: a group of people with somewhat differing views from the larger group they are a part of.
temporal: relating to worldly rather than spiritual matters; having to do with time and space.
This week’s lesson from Screwtape letter #7 focuses on four questions, which were the basis for discussion:
1. What is the difference between forces and spirits? This opening paragraph to letter seven illustrates what the author points out in his preface, that there are two equal and opposite errors that we fall into. The first is that we do not believe in the devils, and the second is that we do and place too much interest in them. The Bible tells us that Satan and the demons are real. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7, ESV)
2. What are the effects of divisiveness in the Church? Screwtape states that the “subordinate factions within [the Church] have often produced admirable results”. How do denominations, and even strife within denominations limit the effectiveness of the Church’s purpose on earth?
3. How should we view conscientious objection and the Just War theory? How should we approach military service, and armed conflict. This issue can be complicated, but God’s word can help us as we begin to sort out the issues behind the role of the military, and domestic law enforcement:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is Godâ€™s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out Godâ€™s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid Godâ€™s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)
4. What are the effects of combining other things with religion, or confusing other things as a part of, or vital to Christianity? Notice the next to last sentence: “the more “religious” . . . the more securely ours.”What effect does a diluted or absent gospel message have on the purpose of the Church? For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2, ESV) Also read Philippians chapter three.