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GCSE RE Quiz

Christianity - Jesus and Some Key Christians

This GCSE RE Christianity quiz takes a look at Jesus and some key Christians. Jesus is described by St Paul as 'the true author and perfector of our faith', but there have been other inspirational believers following in the footsteps of each of them.

Jesus’ first followers were the fisher-disciples he called away from their nets to ‘become fishers of men’; it was not long before He was standing in one of their boats, a little off the shoreline, bouncing His voice off the water to preach to crowds on the land that were following His every word and move. The accounts of His earthly life by people who were there, or directly knew others who had been, constitute the narrative backbone of the early New Testament (i.e. the Gospels and Acts); much of the rest of it consists of the correspondence and other written wisdom of St Paul and other writers.

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After a downright hostile start, Paul turned out to be a stalwart founder and promulgator of church activity around the eastern coastal regions of the Mediterranean: a standard diagram of his journeys by land and ship would hardly shame a modern regional airline route-map. And in almost 2,000 years since then, the hand and light of God have shone through an otherwise extraordinary collection of people ~ as with the original disciples, God’s choice, though they might not have been our own.

In the confines of a quiz we can do little more than touch on a tiny but fascinating selection, but we’ll do our best to meet a few such people and see how their lives were touched by their faith, and how they in turn brought God's message and values to others.

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  1. 'Jesus was the first Christian', some people might think ~ but even that isn't actually true: why not?
    All the following reasons are valid apart from ONE: which is this one FALSE argument?
    Answer 3 contains elements of truth but is irrelevant to the question; all the others are essentially true and relevant. For more on this see ICHTHYS (or ICHTHUS) on Wikipedia.
  2. St Paul was responsible for founding and nurturing Christian communities ('churches') more or less all round the north-eastern shores of the Mediterranean and inland from them. As with question 1, all of the following are broadly true about him apart from ONE. Which is the one FALSE description?
    Paul's conversion was certainly dramatic, but St Peter and any others were not involved. Chapter 9 of Acts, in any accessible translation of the Bible, vividly tells what is said to have happened.
  3. As mentioned above, Paul then travelled extensively (in terms of available transport some 2,000 years ago) and had his fair share of thrills and spills 'on the road for Jesus', including a hair-raising shipwreck ~ the then-equivalent of a major train or plane crash ~ on the island of Malta.

    In the small hours of his final night during a visit to Troas, Paul reportedly brought back a young man from the dead in surprising circumstances: what had happened?
    The false answers may each make quite a good story, but Acts chapter 20 tells the original tale ~ as chronicled by St Luke, a trained doctor (whose knowledge may have seemed primitive by modern standards, but we must trust he would have recognised life from death).
  4. Another later but iconic believer who 'came to Christ by way of a shipwreck' was the slaveship captain John Newton, whose experience inspired that much-loved hymn 'Amazing Grace'.

    Newton provided much 'insider knowledge' of the slave trade, which in due course helped statesmen and parliamentarians to bring about its abolition. Which other very famous Christian was instrumental in bringing about the necessary changes in British law?
    All those William-s! And the politician William Pitt was genuinely and actively involved, too. The slave trade was formally abolished in 1807.
  5. With which Indian city was Mother Teresa strongly associated in the late 20th century, for her ministry to its poorest and most marginalised people?
    She was an outstanding case of Christian compassion in action in a place of need, on such a scale as earlier believers could hardly have begun to imagine.
  6. The name of Henri Dunant may not be instantly familiar to you, but three of the following four items about him are true and will set him in perspective for you. Which ONE of the following contains significant FALSE detail?
    Rather sadly after such an outstandingly active life, he apparently declined into depression and paranoia in later years, one symptom of which was that he lost his faith and, ironically, died a sad death in a sanatorium or hospital. One would probably pray that when judgement came, God in His own wisdom and mercy would have seen he was rewarded on his overall merits.
  7. Almost exactly 500 years ago, in 1517, a German monk felt convinced that the (Catholic) Church in which he had grown up had been 'getting it wrong' on almost 100 specific points, such as whether God's forgiveness could be earnt or bought with money. So the story goes, he nailed a detailed analysis of his arguments onto the church door at Wittenberg: which became the 'spark' of publication that gave rise to the Reformation, the setting-up of the Protestant branch of the church and the translation of the Bible into modern languages such as people actually spoke ~ rather than its ancient originals (Hebrew, Latin and Greek).

    Who was he?
    If you chose answer 4, see our next question!
  8. Which of the following is NOT true of Martin Luther King?
    There seem to have been some turbulent times in his childhood and teens (see Wikipedia). We may rightly regard him as virtually 'a modern saint' for his overall achievement (and perhaps, also, his martyr's death in the cause) ~ yet maybe there is a grain of hope for others of us, in that he was far from totally perfect.
  9. Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer may seem another obscure name to you, but the answers offered below give a thumbnail biography of him ~ except the ONE which contains at least one outright falsehood or fabrication.

    Which is this odd one out?
    The quote is genuine, but refers to the Nazis' open persecution of the Jews from 1933. Practising Christians may find themselves compelled to express such harsh truths in difficult times. Since Bonhoeffer was killed by the Nazis, sadly he could not have been around to comment on the bus boycotts or the US Civil Rights movement generally, some ten years later ~ though had he lived, such may well have been his view.

    As mentioned in the question, a prior trip to the US at a formative age had put him in strong sympathy with the faith of the (mainly black) southern Baptists, and one can well imagine his meditations being accompanied to a mental soundtrack of Negro Spirituals ~ a label we may still nobly use in musical and cultural scholarship, to identify such songs as 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' and 'Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?', which were the Afro-American response to Christian stories the slaves were told in between their stints of work. Collectively (though of course, sadly) they form an eloquent, echoing living response to the experience of oppression. If musically inclined, you may wish to explore the masterly settings by Harry Burleigh, perhaps in performance by Paul Robeson, and probably trackable-down on YouTube.
  10. Best-known for his adventures and initiatives described in his book 'God's Smuggler', mostly about the years he spent travelling into and around (chiefly) communist countries in Eastern Europe ~ where Christianity and Bibles were officially forbidden ~ this man blithely and bravely brought hope and materials to struggling and oppressed members of the 'underground church'. His organisation Open Doors continues a broadly comparable ministry to 'difficult' countries today (see their website: Open Doors).

    What was the name of the man who spearheaded this particular ministry?
    The book may (in some ways) now thankfully appear somewhat dated, but brims with extraordinary and evocative anecdotes and is thoroughly recommended. The story from his mission trial in the Scots seminary, about the chocolate cake, is a remarkable ~ if comparatively trivial ~ example of faith and providence in action, but there are many far stronger and more plangent tales to follow.

Author: Ian Miles

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