The Gospel of Inclusion by Bishop Carlton PearsonThe Gospel of Inclusion
Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism
to the True Love of God and Self
 

Tuesday Night Bible Study
Fall 2017 • St. John's MCC Raleigh

Discussion facilitated by Cindy Norton & Jim Manchester

Chapter Two and Chapter Three

Chapter Two: Divine Oneness and Chapter Three: What Brand of God Do You Use?
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read the chapters. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the chapters that are listed below....


Chapter Two: Divine Oneness

Pearson says on page 52:

The message of Inclusion is a miracle in one way, but in another it is not miraculous. It is simply what is, what has always been, and will always be. It is God resolving the problem of separation by introducing [God’s] resolution into the inaccurate presumptions of humankind. [God] reconnects the [presumably] disconnected particles and makes [God’s] body whole once again, by dispelling the erroneous presumption that separation is possible.

How did you relate to that thought this week? Can you believe that there Can you believe that there never actually was a rift between you and God?

What does it mean to “be like Jesus?”

What does Pearson mean by the “oneness of God?”

“If God is omnipresent, then [God] is everywhere at all times, encompassing all things and all beings. Thus, it is impossible for all men and women NOT to be one with God.”

In reflecting on your spiritual journey thus far, have you been “figuring out” God or “figuring into” God?

How does Pearson define “atonement?” (Romans 5:11) Do you understand atonement that way?

How does Pearson define and understand “reconciliation?”

“Since we came from God, we are made of the same substance as Divinity. Therefore, we remain intrinsically connected to God and to each other.” (p. 44)

Part of Walsch’s quote on page 44: “Every sadness of the human heart, every indignity of the human condition, every tragedy of the human experience can be attributed to one human decision – the decision to withdraw from each other….”

“Christ sees all of humanity as one flesh in Himself, the Body of Christ. The word body means a combination of separate parts or particles, each with its own unique function and purpose, but at the same time uniquely and inseparably knit together. This is the body of Christ. All life is a part of it.” (p. 48) Who does this mean you are connected to? Can you be comfortable with that?

Does Pearson’s interpretation of the Genesis story change or alter your view and/or understanding of hell and death? It culminates with Pearson’s belief that “original sin was this act of deliberate disconnection from interdependence on God [the Adam and Eve story], which has led us to invent ways to reconnect through religion ever since.” (p. 51)

What do you need to do to find spiritual security, to embrace the invitation to reconnect with God?


Chapter Three: What Brand of God Do You Use?

Starting on page 73, Pearson says:

As I understand it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of redemption, not the act of redemption. It is not a command for righteousness; it is a declaration of righteousness. Jesus at Calvary is the work of salvation. According to Scripture, Jesus is the Beloved Son in whom God is well pleased (Matthew 3:17). Why? Because Jesus met all the requirements of the law by which the enemy accuses the entire human race. He paid the price on our behalf.

There is a popular adage, “What would Jesus do?” The question should be “What did Jesus do?” Until we recognize the full revelation of what Jesus finished, we will never really know what He started.

What do you think about Pearson’s summary of this chapter? What challenges, questions, and thoughts did it raise for you this week?

At the beginning of chapter 3 (on page 53), Pearson cites John Shelby Spong’s quote: “To be called an orthodox Christian does not mean that one’s point of view is right. It only means that this point of view won out in the ancient debate.” What concerns does that raise for you? In your opinion, was Spong correct?

Pearson says on page 55: “… the guilt, grief, and agony of saving the world before Jesus returns gnaws at the gut of every Evangelical Christian.” He later asks, “Under the guise of this supposedly holy mission, are Evangelicals actually committing a greater evil – neglecting families, sparking resentment in the so-called unsaved, and damaging their minds? Would we serve God better if we stopped trying to save others through evangelism and started saving them by example?” How would you answer those questions?

Are we, as a part of God’s rainbow nation, still victims of Constantine today?

How has the “merchandising of religion” adversely affected us today?

Are you “addicted” to your religion? In what ways do we, as part of God’s rainbow nation, continue to be addicted and contribute to our own spiritual and biblical abuse?

If Jesus never told us or anyone to save anyone, what then are we supposed to be doing?

Pearson asks on page 67 (in the How Should We Then Live? section): “Do we honor God and Christ if we live virtuous lives solely because we fear hell, or because we are bribed with the carrot of heaven? By that logic atheists, who presumably do good not out of hope for an eternal reward but because they feel it is right, are more virtuous than Christians.” How do you feel about that?

In the next paragraph, Pearson identifies the “accountants of Christianity who insists on “keeping books” on people’s sins.” In what ways do we, as God’s rainbow nation, continue to “keep books” on other “sinners?”

Just as Pearson does, do you “know many people who love the Jesus of Scripture but who keep their distance from his ‘cult?’” Can you understand why they react to the typical evangelistic bashing of certain Christians? (page 68)

According to Pearson, who is it that needs saving? (page 68 and following) How can we go about being a witness to those people without bashing them?