Category Archives: Sunday School Classes & Discussion

Non-Conformity: Pluralism, Materialism, Relativism, Narcissism

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?


My church history professor once remarked that it is always the sector of the Christian church that most earnestly strives to engage the culture,  that runs the greatest risk of conforming to it.  For fear of conformity, others groups throughout history have sought to live a Christian life apart from the culture of the day, and therefore away from the pull of society’s values.  John Stott tells us that escapism and conformism are both forbidden to us.  He then identifies four challenges to our “being in the world but not of it.” For each of these, I have gathered some online readings that I have found to be of interest. (I am still adding to the list but we begin with these)

I hope that you can pick a topic that seems relevant to you and read about it.  Consider what stance a radical, faithful adherence to Jesus’ teaching would require in that area, and  prepare to discuss it in class.


Every belief system “has its own independent validity and an equal right to our respect. ” pg 19 RD

Harvard Pluralism Project       Global Centre For Pluralism 

Agree or disagree?

a) There are people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

b) This diversity is good

c) All backgrounds, worldviews, and values are equally deserving of our respect.

d) Dominance of one view necessarily leads to the suppression of other views

e) Suppression of a culture or belief leads inevitably to the suppression of the people who espouse it.

Is there a difference between religious pluralism and cultural pluralism?

Consider the mixing of Jews, Christians, and Muslims  11th century in Spain,  various Christian denominations in the 18th century in America , Islamic groups in the Arab world,  and the mass immigration to Europe in the past decade.

How have Chinese suffered or benefited from multiculturalism in Canada?

How are material prosperity, status, and pluralism related to each other in countries that are on the rise?  What was the outcome of pluralism in Israel during the united kingdom under Solomon?              1 Kings 11 

‘I told you so.’  Deut 17:14

How did Paul relate the gospel to the multi-cultural-multi-religious world of the Roman Empire?

What is the vision of heavenly worship in the New Jerusalem?

The Good of Religious Pluralism -Peter Berger


Relativism is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.[1]

Tell the story of my patient, the world traveller from PEI 


“A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values”
Consider the wilderness temptation of Jesus.  Luke 4
“The tendency of the world is to see things in terms of an indeterminate grey; but the duty of the Christian is to see things in terms of black and white.”  G.K. Chesterton
“The Christian must be consumed by the conviction of the infinite beauty of holiness and the infinite damnability of sin.” Carlyle
What did the tempter want to take from Jesus in exchange for what he offered?

The Millennial Minimalists



“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts”.  DSM IV

The Narcissism Epidemic 

Summary of Narcissism Epidemic 

Birth Cohort Increases in Narcissistic Personality Traits Among American College Students, 1982–2009

A Sociocultural Approach to Narcissism: The Case of Modern China 



Which one of these is the greatest threat to your discipleship?   What is Christ calling you to do about that ?

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.   1 Pet 2:9 


The Radical Disciple

Jesus is Lord.” While many of us would wholeheartedly confess this, all of us need to be mindful of Jesus’ admonishment: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” We will examine eight aspects of Christian discipleship that are commonly neglected, according to John Stott’s personal faith journey and extensive ministry to the evangelical world. We will learn through study of Scripture, personal reflections during the week, and sharing and encouragement from one another. Let us pray that the Lord will use this Sunday School series to transform our lives.


Oct 1

Introduction: What is a radical disciple?

Oct 8 (Thanksgiving)


Oct 15


Oct 22

Maturity  (moved one week earlier to this date)

Oct 29

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Nov 5

Creation Care

Nov 12

Simplicity, part 1

Nov 19

Simplicity, part 2

Nov 26


Dec 3


Dec 10


Dec 17

Sharing: Following Jesus as Lord

References / Recommended Reading

  • John Stott, The Radical Disciple – some neglected aspects of our calling. (Downers Grove: InverVarsity Press, 2010).  Preface & Chapter 1

How to make the most of the sessions?

  • Read each chapter before the class.

  • Have a partner for sharing and prayer.

  • Use the preparation questions provided by the facilitators. Keep a simple journal on your reflections, and share with the class if you are comfortable.