Living Christianity: A Review
Here at the UCCF Politics Network we seek to equip each other to better understand our role in the world as believers. The world can be confusing and it can seem easier to withdraw or keep our heads down when it comes to politics. However, it is vital we remain engaged and here is a brilliant resource to help you to explore how to do this…
Living Christianity is a publication by the Christian Institute which seeks to equip Christians to engage with the contemporary world. It consists of five sessions covering the following topics:
- Concern for society
- Christians and the world
- Christians and work
- Life, gender, marriage and family
- Christians as citizens.
The study series includes contributions from UCCF Director Richard Cunningham as well as Dr Chris Sinkinson, Caz Dodds, Pete Nicholas, and Michael Ots. Each session lasts just over an hour and takes the form of an introductory discussion question and a 15 minute video, followed by a Bible Study with application questions.
Although the series is not explicitly aimed at politics students it provides a helpful Biblical framework for better understanding the world in which we live and our place in it. Beginning with the broad concept of Christ’s Lordship and care for the world the studies then build on this to demonstrate how this should impact our attitude to work, family policy, and citizenship more broadly.
The first two studies contain the crucial underpinnings needed for any Christian thinking about how to engage with the world whether in a political sense or not. Whilst not overtly focussed on political life, references to the public square are frequent and the Biblical basis for engagement outlined forms the foundations for the practical questions we tend to jump to. Without acknowledging the theology that should guide us, our attitudes towards the real-life questions will be weak and unstable.
The third study more broadly applies to the topic of work which at times can be distant from the political focus we want to maintain in the Network. However, the contributors successfully dismantle the ‘sacred/secular’ divide that can often dominate in any conversations on engagement. The notion that our work in and of itself is a good thing that brings God glory shines through this study and provides helpful encouragement for any student seeking to enter politics but who is unsure of its ‘validity’ as a Christian occupation.
The fourth study is particularly useful for understanding how the Bible is good news in the controversial areas of gender, life, and marriage, and why Christians should stand up and speak on these matters in a political climate which thinks so differently. The episode does so in a manner that is clear on the Biblical principles whilst also being full of grace and kindness - something we should all be modelling.
The final study comes to the tricky topic of citizenship and how as Christians we submit to God whilst also following the call to submit to every human authority. Helpfully, we are also reminded that whilst we are to be a positive influence, a perfect society will elude us until Christ returns. We leave therefore with a conviction that government is good and we are to serve, but we are to keep our hearts and minds set on things above. A vital truth for anyone going into the political game.
I would thoroughly recommend this series of studies for Politics Network students for these reasons: it provides a Biblical and historical overview of faithful engagement; it handles tricky practical questions well; the studies are easy and accessible (and are accompanied by a leader’s guide) whilst also providing a good basis for deeper discussion and Biblical investigation.
If you’re part of a Hub, why not try using this tool over the following year? You could use one study per Politics Network Hub session. As you use it, pray that your understanding of the Biblical call to engagement would grow across the year.
If you’re not part of a Hub, why not try setting one up and use this as the skeleton on which to build your year’s meetings? Alternatively, if there aren’t enough of you to meet as a group why not try doing this one-on-one with a friend?
For students the series is free and can be accessed via an ac.uk email address. Check out the following link and sign up here: https://livingchristianity.org.uk