Monday, August 11, 2008

Jerusalem: Facing Criticism, Acts 20:1-23:22, 21:17-29, 39

I’ve discussed criticism before in a post about Blind Spots, which may be helpful in teaching this week’s lesson, “Jerusalem: Facing Criticism”. Paul faced unfair and untrue criticism in Acts 21:17-29, 39. How did he handle it? How do you handle criticism?

It’s interesting that by taking a Gentile Christian offering to the (poor) Jerusalem church, Paul was practicing the ministry of reconciliation. Yet, just the opposite happened. Paul ended up in prison, and that Church failed to bring people together in unity under Christ.

Perhaps a way to start this lesson is to talk about failures at home, at work, or in church. Then ask members what criticisms were leveled as a result. Or to take up the background passage in more detail, ask members to list criticisms that could be leveled against the Jerusalem church and its failure to reconcile with Gentiles, and how its leadership advised Paul to handle his critics.

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