Clear: Your messages need to be clear if they are to be effective.
Concise: If you want your messages to be read by busy people, make them brief. Say what you
need to say, and say no more (while maintaining goodwill, of course). Remove all words phrases
and sentences that serve no purpose. You can also eliminate wordiness by substituting one word
for wordy, overused expressions.
Concrete: You have a choice in your writing to use concrete (specific) or abstract (vague) words.
They both have a place in business writing. However, concrete terms are typically more accurate
and, in some cases, more believable.
Correct: Correctness in business writing includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format.
For spelling, punctuation, and grammar, you should keep a dictionary and a writer's guide at
Coherent: Messages need to "hang together." Ideas need to flow from one to the next through
smooth transitions. You can achieve this by outlining your messages, writing simple sentences
and focusing each paragraph on one idea. You can also improve the coherence of your message
through parallel structure, connecting words and phrases, and guide posts.
Complete: Check to be sure that your message is complete. Have you included all the
information you need to ensure that the other person can do a complete job or make a reasonable
Courteous: Your message should be positive-building goodwill and focused upon the reader.
Watch gender specific language and always use proper titles.
Universally accepted, compassionate, loving, Christ-like principles --
Ethical and honorable ways to relate of others -- The practice of
encouraging unity, harmony and brotherhood -- The principles and
modes of behavior taught by Jesus (as written in the Christian Bible.)
Moral = Webster's Dictionary defines "moral" as: Relating
to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between
right or wrong conduct -- Principles, standards habits with
respect to right or wrong in conduct.
Values = Webster's Dictionary defines "values" as: The social
principles, goals or standards held or accepted by an individual,
a class, a society, etc.
Gender inequality refers to the obvious or hidden disparity between individuals due to gender. Gender
is constructed both socially through social interactions as well as biologically through chromosomes,
brain structure, and hormonal differences. Gender systems are often dichotomous and hierarchical;
binary gender systems may reflect onto the inequalities that manifest in numerous dimensions of daily
life. Gender inequality stems from distinctions, whether empirically grounded or socially constructed.
Wage discrimination is the discrepancy of wages between two groups due to a bias towards or
against a specific trait with all other characteristics of both groups being equivalent. In the case
of gender inequality, wage discrimination exists between the male and female gender.
Historically, gender inequality has favored men over similarly qualified women.
Income disparity between genders stems from processes that determine the quality of jobs and
earnings associated with jobs. Earnings associated with jobs will cause income inequality to take
form in the placement of individuals into particular jobs through individual qualifications or
stereotypical norms. Placement of men or women into particular job categories can be supported
through the human capital theories of qualifications of individuals or abilities associated with
biological differences in men and women. Conversely, the placement of men or women into
separate job categories is argued to be caused by social status groups who desire to keep their
position through the placement of those in lower statuses to lower paying positions.
Human capital theories refer to the education, knowledge, training, experience, or skill of a
person which makes them potentially valuable to an employer. This has historically been
understood as a cause of the gendered wage gap but is no longer a predominant cause as women
and men in certain occupations tend to have similar education levels or other credentials. Even
when such characteristics of jobs and workers are controlled for, the presence of women within a
certain occupation leads to lower wages. This earnings discrimination is considered to be a part
of pollution theory. This theory suggests that jobs which are predominated by women offer lower
wages than do jobs simply because of the presence of women within the occupation. As women
enter an occupation, this reduces the amount of prestige associated with the job and men
subsequently leave these occupations. The entering of women into specific occupations suggests
that less competent workers have begun to be hired or that the occupation is becoming deskilled.
Men are reluctant to enter female-dominated occupations because of this and similarly resist the
entrance of women into male-dominated occupations.
The gendered income disparity can also be attributed in part to occupational segregation, where
groups of people are distributed across occupations according to ascribed characteristics; in this
case, gender. Occupational sex segregation can be understood to contain two components or
dimensions; horizontal segregation and vertical segregation. With horizontal segregation,
occupational sex segregation occurs as men and women are thought to possess different physical,
emotional, and mental capabilities. These different capabilities make the genders vary in the
types of jobs they are suited for. This can be specifically viewed with the gendered division
between manual and non-manual labor. With vertical segregation, occupational sex segregation
occurs as occupations are stratified according to the power, authority, income, and prestige
associated with the occupation and women are excluded from holding such jobs.
As women entered the workforce in larger numbers since the 1960s, occupations have become
segregated based on the amount femininity or masculinity presupposed to be associated with
each occupation. Census data suggests that while some occupations have become more gender
integrated (mail carriers, bartenders, bus drivers, and real estate agents), occupations including
teachers, nurses, secretaries, and librarians have become female-dominated while occupations
including architects, electrical engineers, and airplane pilots remain predominately male in
composition. Based on the census data, women occupy the service sector jobs at higher rates
then men. Women’s overrepresentation in service sector jobs as opposed to jobs that require
managerial work acts as a reinforcement of women and men into traditional gender roles that
causes gender inequality.
Once factors such as experience, education, occupation, and other job-relevant characteristics
have been taken into account, 41% of the male-female wage gap remains unexplained. As such,
considerations of occupational segregation and human capital theories are together not enough to
understand the continued existence of a gendered income disparity.
The glass ceiling effect is also considered a possible contributor to the gender wage gap or
income disparity. This effect suggests that gender provides significant disadvantages towards the
top of job hierarchies which become worse as a person’s career goes on. The term glass ceiling
implies that invisible or artificial barriers exist which prevent women from advancing within
their jobs or receiving promotions. These barriers exist in spite of the achievements or
qualifications of the women and still exist when other characteristics that are job-relevant such as
experience, education, and abilities are controlled for. The inequality effects of the glass ceiling
are more prevalent within higher-powered or higher income occupations, with fewer women
holding these types of occupations. The glass ceiling effect also indicates the limited chances of
women for income raises and promotion or advancement to more prestigious positions or jobs.
As women are prevented by these artificial barriers from receiving job promotions or income
raises, the effects of the inequality of the glass ceiling increase over the course of a woman’s
Statistical discrimination is also cited as a cause for income disparities and gendered inequality
in the workplace. Statistical discrimination indicates the likelihood of employers to deny women
access to certain occupational tracks because women are more likely than men to leave their job
or the labor force when they become married or pregnant. Women are instead given positions
that dead-end or jobs that have very little mobility.
In Third World countries such as the Dominican Republic, female entrepreneurs are statistically
more prone to failure in business. In the event of a business failure women often return to their
domestic lifestyle despite the absence of income. On the other hand, men tend to search for other
employment as the household is not a priority.
The gender earnings ratio suggests that there has been an increase in women’s earnings
comparative to men. Men’s plateau in earnings began after the 1970s, allowing for the increase
in women’s wages to close the ratio between incomes. Despite the smaller ratio between men
and women’s wages, disparity still exists. Census data suggests that women’s earnings are 71
percent of men’s earnings in 1999.
The gendered wage gap varies in its width among different races. Whites comparatively have the
greatest wage gap between the genders. With whites, women earn 78% of the wages that white
men do. With African Americans, women earn 90% of the wages that African American men do.
With people of Hispanic origin, women earn 88% of the wages that men of Hispanic origin do.
There are some exceptions where women earn more than men: According to a survey on gender
pay inequality by the International Trade Union Confederation, female workers in the Gulf state
of Bahrain earn 40 per cent more than male workers.
 Professional education and careers
The gender gap also appeared to narrow considerably beginning in the mid-1960s. Where some
5% of first-year students in professional programs were female in 1965, by 1985 this number had
jumped to 40% in law and medicine, and over 30% in dentistry and business school. Before
the highly effective birth control pill was available, women planning professional careers, which
required a long-term, expensive commitment, had to "pay the penalty of abstinence or cope with
considerable uncertainty regarding pregnancy."  This control over their reproductive decisions
allowed women to more easily make long-term decisions about their education and professional
opportunities. Women are highly underrepresented on boards of directors and in senior positions
in the private sector.
Additionally, with reliable birth control, young men and women had more reason to delay
marriage. This meant that the marriage market available to any one women who "delay[ed]
marriage to pursue a career...would not be as depleted. Thus the Pill could have influenced
women's careers, college majors, professional degrees, and the age at marriage." 
 Customer preference studies
A 2009 study conducted by David R. Hekman and colleagues found that customers who viewed
videos featuring a black male, a white female, or a white male actor playing the role of an
employee helping a customer were 19 percent more satisfied with the white male employee's
performance, suggesting customer bias as a reason why white men continue to earn 25 percent
more than equally-well performing women and minorities. Forty five percent of the customers
were women and 41 percent were non-white, indicating to the researchers that even women and
minority customers prefer white men. In a second study, they found that white male doctors were
rated as more approachable and competent than equally-well performing women or minority
doctors. They interpret their findings to suggest that employers are willing to pay more for white
male employees because employers are customer driven and customers are happier with white
male employees. They also suggest that what is required to solve the problem of wage inequality
is to change customer biases, not necessarily to pay women more.
 At home
 Gender roles in parenting and marriage
Gender roles develop through internalization and identification during childhood. Sigmund
Freud suggested that biology determines gender identity through identification with either the
mother or father. While some people agree with Freud, others argue that the development of the
gendered self is not completely determined by biology based around one's relationship to the
penis, but rather the interactions that one has with the primary caregiver(s). From birth, parents
interact differently with children depending on their sex, and through this interaction parents can
instill different values or traits in their children on the basis of what is normative for their sex.
This internalization of gender norms can be seen through the example of which types of toys
children are typically given (“feminine” toys often reinforce interaction, nurturing, and
closeness, “masculine” toys often reinforce independence and competitiveness) that parents give
to their children. Education also plays an integral role in the creation of gender norms.
Gender roles that are created in childhood permeate throughout life and help to structure
parenting and marriage, especially in relation to work in and outside the home. Despite the
increase in women in the labor force since the mid-1900s, women are still responsible for the
majority of the domestic chores and childcare. While women are splitting their time between
work and care of the home, men are pressured into being the primary economic supporter of the
home. Despite the fact that different households may divide chores more evenly, there is
evidence that supports that women have retained the primary caregiver role within familial life
despite contributions economically. This evidence suggest that women who work outside the
home often put an extra 18 hours a week doing household or childcare related chores as opposed
to men who average 12 minutes a day in childcare activities. In addition to a lack of interest in
the home on the part of some men, some women may bar men from equal participation in the
home which may contribute to this disparity.
However, men are assuming the role of "care giver" more and more in today's society. Education
plays a major factor in this. The more education a male or female receives, the less likely they
are to hold roles within the house distinctly based on one's sex. Males are doing more
cooking, cleaning, and house-hold "chores" than they were in the 1950s.
 Explanations for gender inequality
 Structural marginalization
Gender inequalities often stem from social structures that have institutionalized conceptions of
 Cultural stereotypes
Cultural stereotypes are engrained in both men and women and these stereotypes are a possible
explanation for gender inequality and the resulting gendered wage disparity. Women have
traditionally been viewed as being caring and nurturing and are designated to occupations which
require such skills. While these skills are culturally valued, they were typically associated with
domesticity, so occupations requiring these same skills are not economically valued. Men have
traditionally been viewed as the breadwinner or the worker, so jobs held by men have been
historically economically valued and occupations predominated by men continue to be
economically valued and pay higher wages.
 Sexism and discrimination
Gender inequality can further be understood through the mechanisms of sexism. Discrimination
takes place in this manner as men and women are subject to prejudicial treatment on the basis of
gender alone. Sexism occurs when men and women are framed within two dimensions of social
Benevolent sexism takes place when women are viewed as possessing low degrees of
competency and high degrees of warmth.[neutrality is disputed] Although this is the result of a more
positive stereotype of women, this still contributes to gender inequality as this stereotype is only
applied to women who conform to the caring or nurturing stereotypes, with the remaining
women still being discriminated against as they are not viewed in this positive light. Also, this
form of sexism has negative effects as well, as these notions of women include the idea that
women are weak and in need of the protection of men.
Hostile sexism takes place when women are viewed as having high levels of competency but low
degrees of warmth. This form of sexism is framed as an antagonistic attitude toward women, and
occurs as women are perceived to be attempting to control men, either through sexual seduction
or feminist ideology.
Discrimination also plays out with networking and in preferential treatment within the economic
market. Men typically occupy positions of power within the job economy. Due to taste or
preference for other men because they share similar characteristics, men in these positions of
power are more likely to hire or promote other men, thus discriminating against women.
Discrimination against men in the workplace is more rare but does occur, particularly in health
care professions. Only an estimated 0.4% of midwives in the UK are male.
 Gendered media
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Media helps create and reinforce a gender duality based on traditional views of men and women.
Often, females and males are portrayed differently in television and film according to
stereotypes. Boys and/or men are often portrayed as active, aggressive and sexually aggressive
persons while women are portrayed as quaint, passive, pretty and incompetent beings. One way
of portraying the man is in this 'macho-man' image. The macho-man image relies on a man
disrespecting a female in order to show and prove his manliness. It is also rare to see men doing
any type of housework or caring for children in the media. The portrayal of women also has an
assumptive aspect that says that whiteness is ideal and standard. Even when black women are
shown, they conform to white definitions of beauty which includes straight hair and light skin.
Latina and Asian women are shown in a sexual manner which is derogatory to their races. The
portrayal of women varies from women sitting around watching men do things to women being
dominated by men in music videos. Women are shown as being helpless and wanting guidance.
Magazines cater to what they decide or believe women want. They give advice on how to please
men, how to cook for them, how to look attractive by loss of weight and care for families.
Social inequality is different from economic inequality, though the two are linked. Economic
inequality refers to disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. While
economic inequality is caused by the unequal distribution of wealth, social inequality exists
because the lack of wealth in certain areas prohibits these people from obtaining the same
housing, health care, etc. as the wealthy, in societies where access to these social goods depends
Social inequality is linked to racial inequality and wealth inequality. The way people behave
socially, through racism and other forms of discrimination, tends to trickle down and affect the
opportunities and wealth individuals can generate for themselves. Thomas M. Shapiro presents a
hypothetical example of this in his book, The Hidden Cost of Being African American, in which
he tries to demonstrate the level of inequality on the "playing field for blacks and whites". One
example he presents reports how a black family was denied a bank loan to use for housing, while
a white family was approved. As being a homeowner is an important method in acquiring
wealth, this situation created fewer opportunities for the black family to acquire wealth,
producing social inequality.
Circumcision and Initiation
This is a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. Only boys were circumcised and they lived in forests. They constructed structures called Itumbi
where they stayed and were taught different behaviours e.g. not going into their parent's bedroom. The initiates are kept in one place i.e. Itumbi until
they are healed. This "Itumbi" is a place of seclusion. This practice is very pre-dominant though nowadays the initiates are taken to hospitals. When a
boy is not circumcised he is not a man and so he is not expected to slaughter or eat the chicken's leg because during the circumcision day they may over
bleed. After their stay in the forest they put on animal skins. During circumcision women are not allowed to meet with the circumcised group unit when
they are healed. After healing, they are removed from seclusion and a big party is performed.
The order of circumcision of the Maragoli "Vikevo mu vologoli" : The dates upto 1925 are estimates.
1720 - Lweyaya; 1730 -Lumbadadia; 1740 -Ngulungulu; 1750 -Munanazi; 1760 -Angaya; 1770 -Sawe; 1780 -Kigwambiti; 1790 -Kigulusi; 1800 -Ingumba;
1810 -Vuzilili; 1820 -Nyongi; 1830 -Aluse; 1840 -Likuvati; 1850 -Kihungilu; 1860 -Savile; 1870 -Ivagile; 1880 -Engengele; 1890 -Engengele; 1900 -Libwoni;
1910 -Kegedi; 1920 -Embalabala; 1925 -Si Vialangwa; 1927 -Ametamba; 1932 -Ametagali; 1938 -Litsulitsa; 1946 -Balolere; 1952 -Selula (Silula); 1960 -
Form (Uhuru); 1968 -Hybrid(Embego); 1975 -Kilo (Libina Lihya); 1983 -Nyayo (Induvatiru); 1992 -D.C. (Disi).
Memorial Ceremonies called Lovego
Slaughtering of bulls is done to evoke the spirit of the dead during this memorial party. This is done by slaughtering the bull from the grave to show that
they are sharing blood with the dead person so that the spirit does not haunt them (clan members).
Shaving of the hair after the burial for a relative
This is done when one member of the family has died to show respect for the dead. It is also done so that the dead spirit does not haunt them.
Married ladies were not supposed to eat gizzards or eggs. They were not also supposed to climb trees as a sign of moral uprightness basing on the
nature of their clothes. Married husbands were not allowed to greet their mother- in- laws before paying their dowry as a sign of respect to
the brideÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s parents. Traditionally dowry was paid in form of money and animals. They celebrated during the
marriage time. Also the son in law should not face the mother in law directly as respect for moral good. Beauty was greatly valued. A natural gap in the
teeth was of great value. For those who did not have it, a forced one was to be made. This was a very painful exercise. Relatives are not supposed to
marry each other. In case this happened, the children born would die. When was discovered as the cause of the deaths, a ritual was performed. The
houses were fitted with a cover called kekereko. When a woman gets pregnant outside wedlock she is forced to marry that man. If the man was married,
then he was supposed to be a polygamist. Incest in Luhya community leads to expulsion.
Some people are given names according to the place, time of birth and the situation at birth. Names such as Kisia are given showing the situation of birth
that is a child born after the birth of twins. Other names are passed over from the ancestors. Always the second name is given with regard to the faith
e.g. Christians, Muslims, and Catholics etc. When a child is born the name is given according to the names of the relatives. When a child is born he/she
stays indoors for seven days before being exposed outside. The child is prayed for by the church and then the child is shaven to cleanse it. The mother in-
law does the shaving.
If somebody is killed the person is buried at night and only old men are allowed to go to the grave. A ritual is performed through which the killer is
cursed. If the wife of the dead person was found to be unfaithful in the course of there staying, they widow sits on the side of the legs of the dead
person. During this time she is not supposed to bath until the husband is buried. She is not allowed to carry the pictures of the dead as it is practiced on
the burial day. If she breaks this law then something bad is expected to happen. When one of the married partners dies after divorce, the woman suffers
the same consequences.
The Maragoli cultural festival, which is, conducted in Vihiga District of Kenya every 26th of December, involves cultural practices being demonstrated.
Traditional foods such as pumpkin leaves, "Nderema", "Kitiezo", bean leaves, cowpeas, cassava/millet flour, cassava/sorghum flour and local brew called
"busaa" are displayed. Traditional dressing and dances are shown during this day. Relationship and taboos are discussed during this occasion. Storage
equipments such as gourds for milk, pots for water and flour, baskets and granaries are shown. Prominent persons such as the founder of the Maragoli
tribe called Mulogoli are remembered. Traditional foods are provided
Who Decides Morality?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 2 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Times change. New customs evolve. Standards of morality
change. Society accepts behavior today that it would not
tolerate yesterday. Yet, society does not determine acceptable
behavior, God does! “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in
himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps”
To put it bluntly—if we think that moral issues are decided by
the times we live in, then the devil has blinded us to the truth
“...it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god
of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should
shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Not only does “the god
of this age” color and skew the way we think, but he masks the
truth behind confusing questions, emotional situations, and
rationalizations which hide real motives. All of these make the
truth harder for us to accept.
Many of our assumptions twist and slant the truth, convincing
us that they are the truth. Even though they directly oppose the
Bible, we find difficulty convincing ourselves that they are
wrong. Notice a few of our more common cultural
There is the assumption that “self is number one,” that we
should always look out for ourselves and think about what is
best for us. God’s way is better—put God first, others second,
and self last (Matthew 22:37-39; Philippians 2:3-4).
There is the assumption that “I can’t help myself.” No one
takes personal responsibility for their actions anymore—the
fault is with our environment, our parents, or the lack of social
programs. Yet, God will judge us for what we do (1
Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Then there is the popular assumption “no one can claim to
know the truth.” If someone claims to know the truth about
moral issues, then he is labeled as an arrogant, religious bigot.
Jesus said “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set
you free.” (John 8:32). Was He a bigot?
Add the assumptions that “all social and moral values are
relative” and “the church must keep up with the times” and we
have a real mess! Is the Bible relative to today’s moral
questions? Not only is it relative, but it is the ultimate
“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel
weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.” (Matthew 2:18)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 3 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) What is abortion?
2) What do you think is the key thing that separates the attitude of the pro-choice advocate from
the attitude of the anti-abortionist?
3) What are some common reasons given to justify abortion?
4) What are some of the strongest arguments?
5) What are some inconsistencies between the stand pro-choice advocates take on abortion, and
their stand on other popular cultural issues?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) What light does the Bible shed on the question of abortion from the following Scriptures?
Are there any indications as to when life begins?
Genesis 5:3-4,28-32. When is the only time the father is directly involved in the birth
Genesis 25:21-26. Does the Bible make a distinction between a fetus and a child?
Job 3:11. Could he give up something he did not have?
Jeremiah 1:5. Did God call him a fetus or a man?
Amos 1:13. How does he describe these pregnant women?
Matthew 1:18-25. When did Mary become “with child?”
Luke 1:41,44. Where was this living child when Elizabeth heard the news about Mary?
2) Does God make a distinction between the unborn child and the newborn child? What clues
does the Bible give in answering the question “When does life begin?”
3) What part of the nature of all human beings does the abortionist overlook when taking his/her
stand (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 4:16)?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 4 Lessons by Rob Harbison
4) What distinguishes the life of humans from the life of animals (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:1-6)?
5) How important does God consider life (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-10)?
1) What can we do about the problem of abortion?
What can we do to stop it?
What can we do to help those who are considering it? What would you say to someone
you know who is considering abortion?
2) Where can we draw the line with sin, so we avoid the temptation of abortion (Hebrews 13:4;
3) What should our attitude be toward such an atrocity (Matthew 2:16-18; Galatians 6:7)?
4) Do you have a closing thought?
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal.” (2 Timothy 3:2-3)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 5 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Domestic violence and abuse are often thought of as private family problems. Does that make
them no one else’s business (James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1)?
2) Who are some of the people who suffer the worst abuse?
3) What forms does abuse take today?
4) How can abuse happen (Romans 1:28-32; esp. vv. 31-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5)?
5) What are two primary factors that contribute to abusive behavior (Romans 1:21-22,28;
2 Timothy 3:2)?
6) What are some of the explanations offered by abusive people for their actions?
7) Although there are many sociological and psychological reasons why people become abusive,
what is one motivation which psychologists won’t often consider (1 John 5:19; 3:8-12)?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) In the first case of domestic violence and abuse recorded, how did God describe this action
2) How does God respond to violence (Genesis 6:5-7,11-13; Psalm 11:4-6)?
3) What does the Bible say about resolving some of the factors at work in making people abusive?
Guilt? This is one of the major contributors to irrational and abusive behavior. How can
we effectively deal with guilt, rather than taking out our frustrations on others (Hebrews
8:12; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 John 1:9)?
Selfishness? How is this a characteristic of abusers (2 Timothy 3:2-3)? How will such a
person respond to those who do not serve his desires? What does he need to learn
Lack of control? Is a hot temper and fiery response a sign of strength (Proverbs 16:32;
James 1:19)? Why does the Bible demand self-control (2 Peter 1:5-11; 1 Corinthians
Brutality? Is brutality and roughness a sign of strength or weakness? If force and
manipulation are principles which weak people use to control others, then what principles
can guide our lives in a positive way (Matthew 7:12; Colossians 3:12-13; Philippians
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 6 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Ignorance? Some people don’t know how to deal with problems, marriage, parenting, or
other difficult pressures and situations. Rather than abusive behavior, how would God
have us resolve such problems (Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:4; Colossians 3:18-21)?
1) How can older women get involved (Titus 2:3-4)?
2) Since many abusers consistently abuse those people who they really do love, what can we teach
them about love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Philippians 2:3-4)?
3) Where can we point people with abusive tendencies for help (Philippians 4:13; 1 Corinthians
4) What are the consequences if abuse does not stop (Psalm 58:1-11; Galatians 6:8)?
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness… but put on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:13-14)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 7 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Describe some of the different types of dancing.
2) Name some influences that keep people from studying this subject objectively.
3) Many reasons are given to justify and rationalize modern dancing. Consider each reason—
along with the Bible passages—then write down your conclusions:
“It is good exercise.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
“It is fun.” (Hebrews 11:25)
“It is socially accepted.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“It helps me develop poise.” (Romans 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:12)
“I can dance without having evil thoughts.” But can you control the thoughts of others
(Matthew 5:27-28; 18:7)?
4) Can you think of other reasons that people use to justify dancing?
5) Would you say that dancing allows people certain privileges with the body of another person,
which would not be accepted or tolerated in the absence of the accompanying music?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Some people say that modern dancing is all right because the Bible condones dancing in many
passages. The Bible mentions three types of dancing:
Dances of public rejoicing (Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6; 2 Samuel
6:12-16; Psalm 30:11; Ecclesiastes 3:4; Luke 15:25).
Dances of public worship (Psalm 149:2-3; 150:4).
Dances of lust, amusement, and pleasure (Exodus 32:19-28; 1 Samuel 30:16; Mark
What is the difference between each of these expressions of dancing? Under which would you
classify modern dancing?
2) Define the word “lasciviousness.”
3) Define the word “licentiousness.”
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 8 Lessons by Rob Harbison
4) Define the word “lewdness.”
5) Define the word “revelry.”
6) Define the word “wantonness.”
Each of these words is used in various Bible translations.
What does the Bible say about these and similar activities (Mark 7:18-23; Romans 13:13;
2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:17-20; 1 Peter 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:18; Jude 4)?
7) Would modern dancing fit the description of any of the above activities? How?
8) What is it that makes modern dancing immoral?
9) Do changes in the forms or styles of dances—from generation to generation—change its basic
10) If one dancing partner has evil desires while dancing with the other, who has sinned (Matthew
5:27-30; 18:6-9; Romans 14:13)?
11) Can you be a good example to others when dancing (Matthew 5:13-16; James 1:27; Romans
12) If all dancing is not lascivious or lewd, are the weak always able to distinguish the difference?
Could they be made to stumble? What should Christians do (1 Corinthians 8:1-13)?
1) Many enjoyable activities promote dancing (proms, nightclubs, music videos). That makes this
a tough question. But if it is sinful, what kinds of places should Christians avoid (1 Peter
2) Many people say they just enjoy spending time with their friends and having a good time. But
if it is wrong, how can we enjoy watching our friends sin?
3) What should we do about dancing?
4) What can we do to provide entertainment where there is no dancing?
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation;
but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 9 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Define the word “wine” as it is used in the Bible, with a Bible dictionary.
2) What is the difference, if any, between “alcoholism” and “drunkenness?”
3) How big is the problem of drinking in our society.
4) Do a little research to see if today’s alcoholic beverages have the same concentration of alcohol
as those in Bible times. Record your findings.
5) What positive benefits does drinking bring us?
6) What negative consequences does drinking bring us?
7) Am I ever the only person who is affected by my drinking?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) How are men deceived by the influence of strong drink (Proverbs 20:1)?
2) According to the following passages, what are some of the reasons that people drink?
Ecclesiastes 10:19. How long does this last?
Proverbs 31:7. Is drinking the solution? Why or why not?
Proverbs 31:6. How can God relieve the same problem (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7)?
1 Peter 4:1-4. What kind of pressure are they under?
3) How does wine “sting like a viper” (Proverbs 23:32)?
4) According to the following passages, what are some of the negative effects of drinking?
Proverbs 23:19-21. Name at least two.
Proverbs 23:29-35. Name at least six.
5) Do you think God is trying to keep something good away from us when He warns us to stay
away from strong drink?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 10 Lessons by Rob Harbison
6) What does the Bible say about drunkenness (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Romans
7) What does the Bible say about social drinking (1 Peter 4:1-4)?
8) How does the Bible portray men who were influenced by wine?
Noah (Genesis 9:20-27)—
Lot (Genesis 19:30-38)—
Elah (1 Kings 16:8-10)—
Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1-6)—
9) If drinking is so often portrayed in a negative way, why do people insist that some passages
give us liberty to drink (Matthew 11:18-19; John 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 5:23; Titus 2:3)? Are
these passages necessarily talking about the intoxicating kind of wine?
1) If unbelievers are alarmed at the harm which alcohol brings, should Christians somehow try to
2) Should one indulge himself in an occasional beer or glass of wine? What are the advantages?
The disadvantages? Which one outweighs the other?
3) Under what influence should a Christian find himself (Ephesians 5:18)? How can he do that?
4) What should a Christian do if he finds himself in a situation where he is offered a drink, or is
pressured to drink socially?
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness,
passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 11 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) What is gambling?
2) Why do you think people like to gamble?
3) What forms—even seemingly innocent ones—does gambling take?
4) If you say gambling is wrong, some people counter with the following statements. Is each of
these a legitimate point, or does each merely confuse the issue?
“Life is a gamble.” But “time and chance happens to everyone” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12). Is
that a gamble or just a part of life?
“Farming is a gamble.” But God promised “seedtime and harvest would not cease”
(Genesis 8:22). Is farming really a gamble or is someone else in control of what happens
(Psalm 24:1; 104:14)?
“Buying insurance is a gamble.” But “if anyone does not provide for his own he has
denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8). Is insurance an attempt to make provisions for
someone, or wagering money against good health?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Some people say that gambling is wrong, and others say that since it is not mentioned in the
Bible, it could not be wrong. Consider each of the principles below, and determine whether or
not gambling violates any of them:
a) Does gambling violate the principle of stewardship (1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10)? Who
owns all of our possessions (1 Chronicles 29:13-14)? Are we accountable to Him for how
we use them?
b) Does gambling violate the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12; 22:39)? Are we doing a man
good if we take his goods on a wager (Romans 13:8-10)? Is gambling a way of seeking
another person’s well-being (2 Corinthians 12:14-15; Philippians 2:3-4)?
c) Is gambling equal to stealing (Mark 7:20-23)? Does the fact that two people have
consented to a bet make it any less stealing (Psalm 50:16-21)?
d) Is gambling an outgrowth of covetousness (Ephesians 5:3-7; Colossians 3:5-6)?
e) Does gambling exhibit the “love of money” (1 Timothy 6:9-11)?
f) Does gambling exploit others or extort money for one’s own advantage (Acts 20:33-35;
1 Corinthians 6:9-11)?
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g) Does gambling contradict the work ethic (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10)? Which is
more consistent with the Christian walk of life—gambling on a chance at great wealth or
working hard for the sake of earning your money (Ephesians 4:17-22,28 [esp. v.19];
h) Does gambling lend itself to addiction (2 Peter 2:19; 1 Corinthians 9:27)?
i) Does gambling hurt our influence as a Christian (Matthew 5:13-16; 2 Corinthians 8:21)?
j) Does gambling associate us with good or bad company (1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians
k) Does gambling lay up treasures on earth or in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)? Does it bring
just or unjust gain (Proverbs 28:6-8)?
2) The Bible indicates three legitimate and honorable means of transferring money or commodities
which are listed below. Can you think of any others? Explain each of these methods in greater
Law of labor (Ephesians 4:28)—
Law of exchange (Proverbs 31:16)—
Law of love (Proverbs 17:8; Luke 14:12-14)—
Does gambling fall under any of these categories? If not, how would you categorize it (Titus
1) Gambling is either right or wrong in principle. How far does the principle need to be applied
in relation to various forms which gambling takes (cf. Preliminary Thoughts, question #3)?
2) How can we arm ourselves to overcome the temptation to gamble?
1 John 2:15-17—
2 Corinthians 10:5—
3) Do you have a closing thought?
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.
Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…” (1 Corinthians 6:9)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 13 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) What is homosexuality?
2) Is homosexuality a new practice? Why do we hear so much about it now?
3) What are some reasons people give to justify homosexual practices?
4) Why are some people tempted with homosexual feelings and others are not?
5) Are feelings and temptations wrong, or do they become wrong when we do something about
them (James 1:12-15)?
6) Is there a limit to the power of any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)?
7) The subject of homosexuality is confusing because everyone calls it something different.
Is homosexuality a physical or genetic disease?
Is homosexuality “the sickest sin there is?”
Is homosexuality “natural” for some people, being an inborn trait (Romans 1:26-27)?
Is homosexuality a legitimate “alternative lifestyle” (Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4)?
8) Most people seem to have no idea how homosexuality can be a temptation to anyone.
Therefore, we are not very helpful to a person who is struggling with the temptation (cf.
Galatians 6:1-2; Jude 22-23). Maybe that can change if we understand a few general things
God makes every person unique (Psalm 139:13-16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). He may be
different, but God does not make him “gay” (James 1:13).
Homosexuality generally has little to do with sex. The sexual involvement with another
person of the same sex, is a compromise for the need to be loved and accepted.
Some inborn factors may contribute to the development of homosexual attractions, but
these are not sufficient to make a person homosexual (James 1:14-15; 1 Corinthians
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 14 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Factors which lead to each person’s struggle with homosexual attraction are different, but
certain stages are common to many—low self-esteem, gender emptiness, gender attraction,
sexual attraction, homosexual reinforcement, homosexual identity.
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Is homosexuality a new practice (Genesis 19:1-29; Judges 19:1-28; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12;
22:46; 2 Kings 23:7)? Is there anything new (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)?
2) What did God say about homosexuality under the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)?
3) Many people say that homosexuality is an inborn trait. Is a person born greedy, jealous,
malicious, gossiper, slanderer, thief, child abuser, serial killer (Mark 7:20-23)? Why would
people say that homosexuality is inborn?
4) Is homosexuality a “natural” practice (Romans 1:26-27)?
5) Is homosexuality against God’s law or sanctioned by it (1 Timothy 1:8-10)?
6) Homosexuals advocate “coming out of the closet” and being open with their lifestyle. What
does the Bible say about such open sinning (Isaiah 3:9)?
7) Men try to lessen the severity of sin by softening its description. The Bible does not describe
homosexuals/lesbians as “gay” or living an “alternative lifestyle.” How does the Bible
describe such people?
1 Kings 14:24—
1 Corinthians 6:9—
8) What two things does 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 teach us about homosexuality?
9) Those who oppose homosexuality are often called “homophobes” or “gay bashers.” Some
people really are—but how would you describe a caring, concerned Christian who wants to
help a person overcome his struggle with homosexuality (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; James
1) Can a person who is engaged in homosexual practices remain in that condition? What must
he/she do (Ephesians 5:1-14)?
2) Does God care about our struggle? What are some practical ways that God gives us to
overcome this temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)?
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How did Jesus overcome temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)?
Who can we turn to for help (Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4)?
How must we respond to the devil’s temptation (James 4:7)?
What activity helps us as much as anything (Philippians 4:6-7)?
What do we need to try to master (Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5)?
3) After you rid yourself of this practice, what must you do to keep worse sins from returning
4) How is the church to react to a practicing homosexual who repents (2 Corinthians 2:3-11)?
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and
moderation… which is proper for women professing godliness with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 16 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Is immodesty a relative or absolute term? Does that make it harder or easier to judge what is
2) Is society’s view of modesty a good rule for Christians to follow (Romans 12:2; Matthew 7:13-
14)? When society’s view of modesty changes, do Christians’ view of modesty change too?
3) Is it possible for the Christian’s manner of dress to set him/her apart from the world?
4) How does any kind of clothing reflect a person’s attitude?
5) People justify wearing revealing clothing for various reasons. Are each of these justifiable?
Comment on each reason.
“It is too hot to wear much clothing.”
“No one notices me.”
“It is not a sin to swim.”
“If someone is going to lust, they will lust no matter what I wear.”
6) Do people realize that the immodest clothing they wear is revealing to others? Consider some
of their preparations in the spring which affects their appearance in the summer.
7) Let’s take an honest little test. What is the difference in these two attitudes? Which of these
attitudes is yours?
“Where do you draw the line?”
“How does my clothing reflect my character?”
What Does The Bible Say?
1) After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and becoming enlightened:
What did Adam and Eve realize about themselves? What did they do (Genesis 2:25; 3:7)?
What did Adam say about Eve and himself, even though they were wearing the fig leaf
coverings (Genesis 3:8,10-11)? Is it possible to have a covering but still be naked in one
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 17 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Is there any hint that God may be displeased with the clothing that humans wear—that He
has different ideas about how we should dress than we do (Genesis 3:21)?
2) Is it possible to be naked in one sense, and still have on clothing (Job 22:6; Matthew 25:34-39;
3) What does nakedness often symbolize when it is mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 9:20-25;
Isaiah 47:2-3; Revelation 3:18)?
4) One’s dress can actually reflect certain things about a person—specifically his character and
attitude toward certain things. In each of the following passages, describe what kind of
clothing is involved, and what message it is conveying.
1 Timothy 2:9-10—
5) Define the following words from 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
6) Define “lasciviousness.” What is the consequence of it (Galatians 5:19-21)?
7) What happens when we lose the ability to blush or be ashamed of our actions (Jeremiah 6:15;
8) Does a Christian bear any responsibility for the thoughts and actions of others (Matthew 5:28;
9) Was Bathsheba completely innocent in David’s seduction of her (2 Samuel 11:1-5)? Why or
10) How much difference is there between a man or woman dressing modestly?
1) Someone has said, “A swimsuit is like a barbed wire fence. It doesn’t hide anything, it just
covers the territory.” Do you agree or disagree? What can we do about it?
2) Some people say, “No one would ever lust after these legs,” but is lust the only consideration
or criteria for judging what we should wear?
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3) If it is the public display of immodesty that is wrong, how can one rightfully enjoy swimming,
tanning, and outdoor water activities? Give some practical solutions.
4) In a question like this, sometimes the response comes “Well, I probably shouldn’t dress that
way, but I probably still will.” Which part of our nature does that attitude accommodate
5) Do you have a closing thought?
New Age Movement
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men,
according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
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1) What exactly is the “New Age” movement?
2) Why is this philosophy so popular these days?
3) Who do the ideals of the “New Age” movement appeal to?
4) The following are some of the more common and important “New Age” beliefs. Explain each
one the best you can:
Create your own reality—
5) The following are some of the common “New Age” practices. Explain each one the best you
6) The “New Age” promises unparalleled enlightenment and human potential—an evolution of the
soul to a higher level of consciousness. What ancient practices does it adopt to take that step
7) According to New Agers, we are entering the “Age of Aquarius.” Powerful new energies are
radiating on our planet—cosmic energy from outer space, originating in various star groups.
Each age brings new cosmic energies that produce a change of consciousness on the planet.
How is astrology an important part of the “New Age” concept?
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8) Why do Christians tend to dismiss all expressions of occultism and supernaturalism as fringe
lunacy, fakery, quackery, trickery, and in general, “not real.” Does that mean we are right
What Does The Bible Say?
1) What does the Bible teach—in contrast to pantheism (i.e. “God is the world and the world is
God”) (Psalm 90:2; 102:25-27; 113:4-6)?
2) What does the Bible teach—in contrast to reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 12:7;
1 Corinthians 15:35-57)?
3) What does the Bible teach—in contrast to meditation for contacting our “higher self,” thereby
finding the answers to all of our questions (Jeremiah 10:23)?
4) New Agers say the world is evolving with increasing complexity, and that evolution is “an
ascent towards consciousness.” The globe itself will develop a consciousness—they call this
“Gaia,” after the earth goddess of Greek and Roman mythology. Therefore they are very
active in global pursuits to save the planet.
What kind of insight does the Bible give about those who worship any part of the creation
5) What is there, in those who claim to be enlightened, that will lead to their ultimate undoing
6) Do we need an explanation for psychic phenomena, and all the different experiences of New
Agers, to know that their philosophies are wrong (1 John 2:18-23; 4:1-6)?
7) Perhaps there is enough explanation in the Bible to help us understand who is behind much of
this activity (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:3).
Why did God warn His people to avoid the occult (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)?
Is it possible to have “fellowship with demons” (1 Corinthians 10:19-21)?
Does Satan have any kind of amazing powers that he can work in the world today (2
How is Satan able to deceptively cloak his evil intentions (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)?
Is there a realm with beings created by God, which are fundamentally not of this world, yet
are very real (2 Corinthians 12:2-4; Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 18:10; Luke 15:10;
Is supernatural activity the same as miraculous activity? What is the difference, if any.
What are we to consult for our knowledge about the world (Isaiah 8:19-20)?
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What will happen to us if we delve too much into this spiritual realm (2 Timothy 2:26;
8) Is channeling a new practice (1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14)? Why are people so
interested in channeling?
9) How can we judge whether an appearance—or a channeled message—is genuine? Should we
listen to any of them (Jeremiah 23:16-18; Galatians 1:6-8; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 John 4:1-6)?
10) What will God do if we forsake Him and engage in such conduct (Isaiah 2:6; 8:19-20;
1) Should a person even experiment with “New Age” practices and philosophies (Romans 16:19)?
What should he do instead (Ephesians 5:6-13)?
2) Why is it so important to fight these influences (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)?
3) Where can a person find answers instead of looking to crystals, spirit guides, channeling,
astrology, etc. (Proverbs 3:5-8)? Who is our source of enlightenment (Ephesians 5:14)?
4) Where can a person find meaning and fulfillment—rather than in a “New Age” (Colossians
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it on the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 22 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Define “obscene.”
2) Obscenity occurs in many different areas. Explain how each of these things can be obscene:
3) Define “profanity.”
4) What is the most common object of profanity (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 18:21; 21:6; Ezekiel
5) Why are we loosening our restrictions and accepting such obscene things (Proverbs 14:9)?
6) What do our First Amendment Rights—which everyone hides behind—have to do with what is
right or wrong? Does the First Amendment to the Constitution make obscenity right?
7) How do good, moral people react to such obscenity (2 Peter 2:7-8)?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) What does the Bible say about obscene language?
What does our speech show (Matthew 12:34-35)?
Why must we keep our speech from being obscene (Matthew 12:36-37)?
What kind of language must we put away (Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 2:1)?
What kind of man uses such coarse language (Psalm 10:4,7)?
Why is cursing and swearing inconsistent with the Christian life (James 3:8-12; Colossians
4:6)? Why do you think people swear?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 23 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Can you make a fairly accurate estimate of a person’s character by the way he speaks
2) What does the Bible say about obscene pornography?
What does it say about any kind of illicit sexual behavior (Romans 1:29; Ephesians 5:3-4)?
Even though pornography is not an active sexual relation with another person, does God
consider it to be any different (Matthew 5:28-29)?
Does pornography associate you with the better, or the worse side of human activities
(Ephesians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 15:33)?
3) What does the Bible say about obscene entertainment (music, television, movies, etc.)?
What kind of attitudes can singing portray (James 5:13)? What kind of attitudes does it
portray when the songs are obscene?
What influence does television or entertainment have on the world if it depicts obscenity?
Is that proper (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:15)?
4) What does the Bible say about dirty jokes?
Are there topics and language which a Christian should avoid (Ephesians 5:3-4; 4:29;
Colossians 3:8)? What are some of them, and how should we avoid them?
5) What does the Bible say about obscene gestures?
A gesture is just an action. How could it ever be considered obscene (Galatians 5:19-21)?
1) What should moral people do about such obscenity (Psalm 39:1)?
2) How can you stop your mouth—if it has been used to cursing, swearing, and speaking evil
things (Ephesians 4:17-29; Colossians 3:1-11)?
3) Where does your speech come from (Matthew 12:34)? Where must we start to make the
change (Proverbs 4:23)? How can we control what our hearts think (Philippians 4:8-9)?
4) What should our goal be in all the above areas (Acts 24:16; 1 Corinthians 10:32; Philippians
5) Do you have a closing thought?
“The Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But
in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’” (Acts 10:34-35)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 24 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) Define “racism.”
2) Define “prejudice.”
3) List some common statements which we make, or hear being made, which are racist.
4) Why are some people racist?
5) Explain how each of the following things can contribute to racism.
6) How are the differences between races exaggerated when pink and brown people are called
“black and white?” How do these terms polarize our thinking?
7) Is it possible for a person to be “racist” even if he is not white?
8) Would you agree or disagree that churches, as a whole, remain segregated along racial lines?
Why or why not?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Was racial prejudice a problem in Bible times (John 1:46; 4:9; 8:48; Acts 22:21-23)?
2) What does the Bible say about those who judge according to outward appearances (John 7:24;
1 Samuel 16:7)?
3) Is there one race that is superior to any other (Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 17:26,28)?
4) God commanded Israel to remain a separate and pure race (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). Was it
because they were a superior race? Did they think that was the reason?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 25 Lessons by Rob Harbison
5) Racism is a sin of pride—one considers himself to be better than others. What does the Bible
warn us about (Galatians 6:3)? How should we consider all other people (Philippians 2:3-4)?
6) What is God’s attitude about different races of people (Galatians 3:28; Acts 10:24-35;
7) What does the Bible say about hatred for anyone (1 John 2:9-11; 4:20-21)? Could a Christian
be a member of the Ku Klux Klan? Of the Black Panthers? Of a racial gang?
8) How does love react to any man—regardless of race, social standing, or anything else (James
9) What had God told the Jews about the Gentiles and salvation (Isaiah 2:2-4; Joel 2:28-32;
What had Peter preached in the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:21,39)?
Why did it take a miracle for them to understand God’s will (Acts 10:9-22,44-48; 11:1-
What is the church supposed to be (John 10:16; Ephesians 2:14-18)?
10) Did Peter sin in refusing to have fellowship with the Gentiles, or in refusing to socialize with
them as equals (Galatians 2:11-16)?
Is there any difference between that attitude, and today’s attitude that “blacks should stay
with blacks and whites should stay with whites” (cf. Galatians 2:12; Acts 11:3)?
What should we do about racial distinctions and segregation (Colossians 3:10-11; Galatians
Is that attitude of “equal but separate” acceptable to God (Ephesians 2:16)?
11) Some people have tried to use the Bible to justify racism—like in the following examples:
The curse of Cain (Genesis 4:1-15). What was the mark (4:15)? What was Cain’s curse—
being sent out or being marked?
The sin of Ham and the curse of Canaan (Genesis 9:20-25). Does the curse placed on
Canaan infer that there would be perpetual servitude of the black race? Were Canaan’s
descendants settlers of Africa, and therefore black (Genesis 10:6,15-20; cf. Joshua 9;
12) Are interracial marriages condemned in the Bible?
Was God’s prohibition against intermarrying with the Gentiles based on racial, or religious
and moral grounds (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; Joshua 23:3-13; Ezra 9:12; 10:10-11; Nehemiah
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 26 Lessons by Rob Harbison
Did God disapprove of Moses’ marriage (Numbers 12:1-16)?
Who were the Gentile women in Jesus’ ancestry (Matthew 1:1-17)?
1) Listen to yourself talk. Are you prejudiced or racist?
2) Is racism—or bigotry—an innocent attitude if we only hold it in our hearts and don’t express it
3) Is racism an area especially noted for accuracy, fairness, and rationality?
4) What commands can we follow to help us overcome racist attitudes?
1 Samuel 16:7—
2 Corinthians 5:16-17—
1 Corinthians 15:33—
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 27 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) What is “worldliness?”
2) How would you describe “respectable worldliness” (cf. Isaiah 5:20)?
3) Who finds this kind of worldliness respectable—God or man?
4) Many people realize the sinfulness of things that are vulgar, immoral, and sensual. Why
would some kinds of worldliness be harder to condemn?
5) Describe how this principle of “respectable worldliness” is a danger in the following areas:
Use of free time—
Choice of marriage partners—
Choice of career—
6) Give an illustration of an individual who is “respectable” but still “worldly.”
7) Give another illustration of an individual who achieves a lesser goal at the expense of a more
What Does The Bible Say?
1) What does the Bible say about “respectable worldliness?” Is it respectable with God (1 John
2:16; James 4:4)?
2) What does the Bible say about those who concentrate their lives and works on earthly things
(Philippians 3:19; James 3:15)?
3) What is more important than anything else in this world (Matthew 16:26)?
4) Why is there nothing in this world which is worth obtaining at the expense of spiritual things (1
John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 3:10)?
5) Explain how some Christians can be caught up in a respectable, albeit worldly lifestyle.
6) What does the Bible say about some of these attitudes which prompt worldliness?
The attitude that we can give ourselves completely to both God and worldly pursuits
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 28 Lessons by Rob Harbison
The attitude that “things” come first and God comes later (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:15;
The attitude of being satisfied with mere church membership (Ephesians 4:16; Romans
The attitude of near-sightedness (Hebrews 11:14-16; 2 Peter 1:5-9)?
7) Explain how each of the following Bible characters were caught up in “respectable
Lot (Genesis 13:1-18; 2 Peter 2:7-8)—
Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:1-11)—
Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-27)—
Martha (Luke 10:39-42)—
Rich fool (Luke 12:15-21)—
Demas (2 Timothy 4:10)—
8) Explain how each of these Bible characters was tempted by worldly things—which seemed
respectable enough—but refused them:
Moses (Hebrews 11:24-27)—
Daniel (Daniel 1:8-21)—
1) What areas of your life fit into this pattern of worldliness which seems respectable enough—
and sometimes even honorable?
2) In what ways can “respectable worldliness” be more dangerous than the obviously immoral
and ungodly type of worldliness?
3) How can each of the following actions help us overcome “respectable worldliness?”
See things through the eyes of God (1 John 1:5-6; 1 Samuel 16:7; Isaiah 55:8-9)?
Seek transformation rather than conformation (Romans 12:1-2)?
Seek association with other Christians (2 Timothy 2:22)?
Give up whatever stands in our way (Philippians 3:7-14)?
Setting our sights higher (Colossians 3:1-4)?
4) Do you have a closing thought?
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.”
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 29 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) How extensive is the problem of suicide?
2) Why do we often avoid the topic of suicide?
3) Perhaps you have never contemplated suicide yourself—why would you need to study the
4) Is suicide more common in a specific age group or social group, than it is in others?
5) What are some stressful situations that can trigger suicidal feelings?
6) Consider each of the following. How do each of these statements explain the suicidal actions of
Some people attempt in order to fail.
Some people attempt in order to escape the problems of life.
Some people don’t feel like they belong.
Some people have no vision of a brighter future.
7) How can attempted suicide actually be a cry for help?
8) Suicide doesn’t end pain. How does it increase pain? Is the person who attempts suicide—or
who succeeds—the only person who is affected by his actions (Romans 14:7)?
9) What emotional feelings are associated with suicide?
10) People used to uphold the “sanctity of life.” Unfortunately, this view has eroded into a
“quality of life” standard. How does that attitude alter people’s view of suicide?
11) Is suicide a way to “die with dignity?”
12) What would you call “physician assisted suicide?” Why?
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Name some Bible characters who committed suicide.
2) Name some Bible characters who thought about suicide—or at least a death that would take
them from this world.
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 30 Lessons by Rob Harbison
3) What does the Bible say about:
Who gives us life (Acts 17:25; 1 Timothy 6:13)?
Who we belong to (Psalm 100:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)?
The unauthorized shedding of blood (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Romans 13:9)?
4) Some people who commit suicide feel that life has lost its meaning and is no longer worth
living. How should we feel about ourselves and our own life (Romans 12:3; Matthew 22:39;
5) Explain how each of the following factors are involved in the thinking processes of those who
consider dying or who contemplate suicide. Then show how each of the characters associated
with that thinking process exhibited it.
Depression—Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-18)
Seeking an escape from problems—Job (Job 3:11-26; 6:8-11; 7:11,15-16; 14:13) and Paul
Feelings of failure—Philippian jailor (Acts 16:25-29)
Pride—Saul (1 Samuel 31:3-5) and Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23)
Guilt or remorse—Judas (Matthew 27:3-5)
1) In what ways can we help someone who contemplates suicide?
2) How did Paul deal with his desire for death (Philippians 1:21-24; 2:3-4)?
3) Where can we point people for help (cf. Acts 16:27,30-34)?
What kind of people did Jesus come to help (Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 12:18-21; 11:28-30)?
Whose strength can we lean on (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews
4) Do you have a closing thought?
“The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who
loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 31 Lessons by Rob Harbison
1) What are some of the forms that violence takes?
2) What makes us such violent people?
3) How do each of the following things lead to increased violence today?
Lack of respect—
Feelings of defeat—
Feelings of entitlement—
4) How can a country—once built on biblical morals—become such a violent nation?
5) What does the term “group mentality” mean? How does it contribute to violence, gangs, gang
rapes, riots, vandalism, etc.?
6) Violence is not exclusively physical. What kind of mental and emotional forms can it take?
7) Explain the motivation behind vandalism.
8) Explain how people can torture others—enjoying those violent acts along with the suffering of
9) Explain how rape can be as much an act of violence as it is an act of lust.
10) How is it possible that violence can be “fun” to some people.
What Does The Bible Say?
1) Is cruelty and brutality a sin (2 Timothy 3:3)?
2) Sometimes we wonder how anyone’s mind can be corrupt enough to do the violent acts we
hear about. What is the Bible’s explanation for their motivation (Romans 1:28-32)?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 32 Lessons by Rob Harbison
What was the motivation behind Cain’s violence (Genesis 4:1-8)?
What was the motivation behind Simeon and Levi’s cruelty and violence (Genesis 49:5-7;
3) How does God feel about the violent man (Psalm 11:5-6; Micah 2:2)?
4) Does God take note of violence (Ecclesiastes 5:8)? How does God respond to violence
(Genesis 6:5-7,11-13; Psalm 11:4-6)?
5) Is violence consistent with the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39)? Is intimidation
consistent with violence too (Luke 3:14)?
6) How was rape punished under the Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 22:25-26)? Who did God
hold responsible for that terrible situation (22:26)?
7) Explain how divorce can be considered a violent act, even though no physical abuse is involved
(Malachi 2:16; cf. 1 Peter 3:7)?
8) Although a violent person may terrorize others, will he get away with it? What principle will
catch up with him (Galatians 6:7; Psalm 7:16; 140:11; Habakkuk 1:2-3)?
1) What is God looking for to help overcome such oppressive violence (cf. Ezekiel 22:29-30)?
2) Have we come to the point yet that “enough is enough”? What should we do (Ezekiel 45:9)?
3) What is a better way than violence (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-7)?
4) What is a good way to stay out of trouble, and out of the middle of violence (Proverbs 4:14-
17; 1 Corinthians 15:33)?
5) Do you have a closing thought?
Moral Issues Facing The Church page 33 Lessons by Rob Harbison
There is a popular term being tossed around a lot these days—
“political correctness.” A person who is “politically correct” is
blown along by the winds of popular opinion. He is influenced
by the thinking of those who are outspoken about moral and
social issues, who sway our thinking in a way that is consistent
with the way they think we ought to think! Even without a
certified list of politically correct or incorrect stands on issues,
the influence and pressure is there nonetheless.
Our challenge is to take the proper stand on each of these
issues, regardless of the way the political winds blow.
Oftentimes, being politically correct will require that we be
biblically incorrect. Which is more important? “Woe to those
who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light,
and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20).
When it comes to the politics of right and wrong, we need to
be on the side of that which is right. Which is more
important—to be politically correct or biblically correct? It does
not matter what our society believes and accepts in this or any
other generation. What matters is that we rise above these
issues and be what our heavenly Father wants us to be, “that
he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the
lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough
of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we
walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking
parties, and abominable idolatries In regard to these, they
think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood
of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” (1 Peter 4:2-4).
People may think it bigoted or narrow-minded to say what the
Bible says about these moral issues. They can choose to go
along with the crowd if they want, but we have to teach what
God said, “politically correct” or not! “And you shall know the
truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). My friend,
it is time to take a stand for what is right! Where do you stand?
Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who
does not gather with me scatters abroad.” (Matthew 12:30).