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GCSE RE Quiz

Christianity - What is Life for Christians?

This GCSE RE Christianity quiz takes a look at the Christian life. How should the life of a Christian differ from anyone else’s? If the believer does not find that their faith has a positive effect on their lifestyle and choices, then something would be amiss. Not only ought they to have taken on board a rich lore of values and examples, but true Christianity (remarkable as it may seem to those outside it) is essentially about a direct personal relationship with, and experience of, God through Jesus and His Holy Spirit. Such a change of emphasis and loyalty are bound to show out in the life of the believer, and the decisions and priorities by which they conduct themself.

There should also ideally be a seamlessness in their life, whereby daily activities and devotional times overlap into one another.

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Of course there will be special times of worship, Bible study and private prayer, but the precepts picked up and nurtured here will have direct bearing on the everyday; while even in the least of one’s activities, one can be doing God’s purpose and glorifying Him.

It has been said of Christians (by St Paul, no less) that while they are ‘in’ the world, they are not ‘of’ it ~ rather like citizens with dual nationality who are making the best use of their time and opportunities in this life, while ultimately awaiting another place and existence. Two cardinal points in our earthly life should therefore be to love, honour and serve God (in daily witness, charitable good deeds etc.) and to ‘let [y]our light so shine before the world, that others may behold God’s glory’. Which may seem a tall or even fanciful order, but it is in that spirit that the Christian faces whatever life may bring, knowing God is with them at all times.

This GCSE RE quiz explores how this works out in principle and practice!

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  1. According to the earliest stages of Genesis, what is the first main positive purpose of humankind?
    Free will would certainly land humans in trouble, yet without it we would all be 'slaves' or 'robots' ~ which would be somewhat unrewarding for all concerned. There continue to be keen debates on the topic of answer 3 ... but this is probably not the place to engage with those. (Any god who kept changing his mind could not claim to be infallible, for starters ... except that his absolute universal ability would, presumably, include the ability to be 'wrong' &/or to change his mind ... deep dark philosophical waters, as we said!)
  2. Rather later in the Old Testament, the prophet Micah offers an almost disarmingly simple prescription for the behaviour of a true believer (see 6:8 in his Book).

    'What does the Lord require?' he asks, rhetorically ... and then offers three of the following answers, among which we have mischievously hidden a false fourth one. Which is this FALSE one?
    For all its echo of the Ten Commandments ~ and an entirely worthy notion ~ this was the false entry, in terms of quoting from Micah.
  3. Jesus Himself summarised the Jewish Law in basic terms of memorably few principles: how few?
    In modest further paraphrase, the essence of His advice was to 'Love the Lord your God with every fibre of your being [as in the 1st 4 Commandments: see Exodus 20], and love your neighbour as yourself; on these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets'. Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes (12:13), had reduced matters even further to 'Fear God and keep His commandments ... that is the whole duty of man'.
  4. St Teresa of Avila (born 1515) beautifully described the mission of living believers in a meditation which begins:

    'Christ has no body now on earth but ... (?) ...
    Teresa's point is that it is down to our living selves to identify and implement His works of compassion and other good deeds:
    ' ... no body now on earth but yours; no hands, no feet ... '
  5. St Richard of Chichester wrote another, somewhat parallel, devotional prayer which has also remained deservedly popular. It concludes:

    'May we ... (?) ...

    (There then follow three of these four Christian intentions; which ONE is not in the original?)
    The intention may be similarly worthy, but this is not in the original!
  6. The story of the very early Church (as told by 'Dr. Luke' in The Acts of the Apostles) sheds interesting light on how the first believers sought to live. Chapter 4 vs. 32-5 might reasonably fairly be paraphrased:

    'Everything was shared between the believers ... so nobody went short; even funds from the sale of private dwellings were distributed to help alleviate the needs of others.'

    On first glance, at least, to what great political movement does this behaviour (and even wording) bear almost startling similarity?
    The key difference, however, is that in the Communist case, the aim was to iron-out inequalities (fair enough) but so that humankind would then become self-sufficient ~ without needing to pray to, or 'accept handouts from', any supernatural agency such as God. The early believers, on the other hand, were sharing precisely because their belief in God and His values impelled them to.
  7. Within the Lord's Prayer, Christians daily pray 'Thy kingdom come; Thy will be on earth, as it is in heaven'. Several other Bible texts give ground for hope and encouragement towards this being achieved: which of the following seems the LEAST relevant?
    Answer 4 carries more of a suggestion that others should be sharing in bearing the load.

    There are echoes here of a fine old missionary hymn, 'God is working His purpose out', for which some background, analysis and rationale may be found at Missionary Hymn
  8. St Paul has plenty to offer on the purpose of Christian life, having taken this up with great enthusiasm in surprising circumstances (see Acts 9). In his letter to the Romans, who were living at the very centre of the then-known world with all its bustle and luxuries, he wrote:

    'The kingdom of God is not a matter of ( ... ... ) , but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit'.

    What was, or were, the rejected priority in the 'blank' above?
    Jesus Himself had made reference to God taking care of more than our modest bodily needs (what sociologists and others now refer to as the lowest tier of Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs, which you could look-up accordingly). The quotation from Paul here is at Romans 14:17.
  9. What, as understood in mainstream Christianity, happens when a personal Christian believer dies?
    Answer 1 sadly shows no glimmer of Christian hope; answer 3 does not apply to personal believers, and so lies outside the terms of the question; in reply to answer 4, if Jesus is already dwelling in the believer's heart (in any meaningful sense), this gesture would be redundant.

    As mentioned above, an analogy some find helpful is that of dual citizenship: St Paul wrote that we are 'in this world, yet not of this world', and once our mortal body expires, we migrate into that other realm to which we are entitled (through Jesus having conquered the apparent barrier of death in the Resurrection).
  10. Of course, 'being us', we find ourselves naturally led to look at life, and the world, taking our own immediate surroundings and experience as a starting-point. But the Psalmist (possibly David ~ him again: shepherd, king, musician, soldier ... with an unusual variety of experience in his own life!) sets himself firmly into humble perspective in the context of creation: the God whom he later claims to be his personal 'shepherd', is Lord of the universe. Having explored the dimensions and majesty of this ~ see Pss. 8 and 19 ~ he signs-off with a prayer which any believer might echo:

    'May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be (always) pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my ~

    (How does he then refer to God?)
    The 'Rock' is of course a symbol of stability; a Redeemer is someone who 'buys back' or 'rescues' a thing or person that would otherwise never remain or return. If, with patience, practice and prayer and the help of God, we can maintain acceptable and worthy speech and impulses, we stand some chance of helping make the world a better place. But as St James puts it (in his 3rd chapter), even 'taming the human tongue' can be a challenge!

Author: Ian Miles

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