Chapter 10: Growing in the Faith: A Passionate Pursuit
Being a Christian is not a passive experience. Instead, it is an active passion. To grow as a Christian, dedication to spiritual disciples is required. For one, finding a healthy Christian church is vital. This allows the Christian individual (collectively called the “body of Christ”) to encourage and equip each other. In addition, believers need to take personal responsibility for their faith by reading and studying the Bible while following its teachings. A consistent prayer life is also important because it is the Christian’s lifeline to God. All in all, living God’s way will lead to a life of fulfillment and joy.
Discussion Questions Chapter 10
1. What effect do you think the doctrine of the Great Apostasy has on those who have left the LDS Church when it comes to considering the case for Christianity?
I think it has a tremendous hold on those who hold (or at least once did) to LDS teaching. They have learned from written LDS scripture that God Himself said that all of the churches were wrong and that all their professors (pastors) were wrong (JSH 1:19). When those leave the “one true church” hear about Christianity, I have found that they are often suspicious and have a difficult time becoming Christians. One thing I like to emphasize with those who have left their church is that this is a doctrine taught by leaders they no longer believe. “So why are you believing another one of their lies?” I like to ask.
2. How important is finding a good Christian church for a believer? What are benefits that come from getting involved in a local congregation?
It’s tremendously important. For one, it’s a place where others can be an encouragement, as Christianity was never meant to be a solo event. It’s a team endeavor, where others can use their gifts so the entire church body benefits. This is especially true for someone who has left Mormonism. The benefits are many, including having difficult questions answered, reworking theology in one’s belief system, and learning from the pulpit and Bible study settings.
3. How difficult do you think it will be for the average Latter-day Saint to venture into a Christian church? What are some ways that church members can make visitors more comfortable at a church service? Explain your ideas as if a Christian pastor is listening.
I don’t think it is likely that a Mormon just walks into a Christian church. It’s going to take an invitation from a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. Be that as it may, I think the Christian makes it a point to practically hold the person’s hand and makes the person feel welcome. Church members should not overdo it and ask too many questions, whether that person remains a part of the LDS Church or has already left. I don’t think making visitors stand up or be acknowledged is helpful, because many who come want to be wallflowers and not be recognized for fear they might be found out. Members should be encouraged to be friendly and reach out to visitors, but be careful about making them feel uncomfortable.
4. Why is reading the Bible on a regular basis important? What advice could you give in making this an interesting and beneficial time for those who are not used to reading it for themselves?
The Bible is our spiritual source of nutrition and we need to learn how to feed ourselves. There are so many different strategies, but what is most important is clinging to a particular one and sticking with it. Like exercise, a habit must take place for 21 days before it become a routine, but it just takes a few days of negligence before it falls apart and is no more. As mentioned in the chapter, there are a variety of tactics. For me, it’s finding a personal time of the day (mine is the morning) and having a set plan. I do enjoy reading a short piece from several different places (i.e., Old and New Testaments, Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs) so I don’t feel “stuck” in the Pentateuch.
5. Why can a personal prayer life sometimes be difficult to manage? What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with this discipline in their Christian life?
Like anything else, something that can be considered “good” and “right” is not always easy to prioritize. Sometime, to be honest, it may feel like a rut and just a time where you don’t know what to say. As a way of encouragement, I would say that many people struggle in their quiet times. Yet this ought to be the most valuable time of every Christian’s day!
Among other ideas, consider putting the media (especially the phone) away. Have your time alone where it is considered your “prayer closet” and nobody will bother you. Sometimes body position (kneeling is an idea) can help. We all struggle with daydreaming and feeling that prayer is more of an obligation than a time of anticipation. One possibility is keeping a prayer journal and seeing how God answers our prayers. And, of course, consistency will make all the difference in the world.