My class continued with week 2 out of 4 of our Influential Christians throughout History class. The lesson focused on "The Game Changers" (1412-1791). Below you can find a bit of information and a discussion question for each person we talked about. Clicking on their name will take you to their Wikipedia page for more information.
Next week, my class will continue and Shawna will start a 2 week class about Thankfulness, centred around an art project. Students should bring an old shirt or they can borrow one of ours.
Joan of Arc - semi-legendary figure and martyr, believed her visions from God meant that she should support the 100 Years War, turning it into a religious fight for which she was a role model for some and was eventually executed by others. She was pardoned after her death.
- Discussion question: If you truly believed you had a mission from God, what would it take for you NOT to actually do it?
Nicolaus Copernicus - Renaissance mathematician, astronomer, physician, scholar and more; famous for forming model of solar system that placed Sun, not Earth at centre, triggered Scientific Revolution, important for us today because he shows that Christians can work in all areas of life and engage with science.
- Discussion question: Do you think we will ever have a 100% sure answer on scientific theories such as evolution? How should we view and interact with these theories in light of our faith?
Michelangelo - sculptor, painter, architect, etc. during the Renaissance, famous for Sistine Chapel, statue of David and other artwork that depicts Christian figures and stories. Known as the "Renaissance Man,' his work has an unparalleled influence on western art, shows us that art can be used to worship God.
- Discussion question: How can art or other hobbies/activities be an act of worship? What hobbies or activities bring you closer to God?
Martin Luther - German friar, theologian and priest, famous for the 95 Theses and being the 'Father of the Protestant Reformation,' criticized some un-Biblical Catholic teachings and practices, especially those that dealt with salvation, purgatory, and paying the church for salvation. Called for reform, leading to the split between Catholics and Protestants. Also translated Bible into German, and known for his great relationship with his wife.
- Discussion question: How would you explain salvation to a friend who had never heard of it?
John Calvin - French theologian and pastor during Reformation, developed theological system known as Calvinism (predestination), still a controversial figure as those who do not believe in predestination consider him as someone who makes God 'the author of sin.'
- Discussion question: On a scale of 1 (Calvinism - predestination) to 10 (Armenianism - no predestination), where do you stand on this issue of salvation?
John Bunyan - English writer and preacher, famous for writing The Pilgrim's Progress, the most famous Christian allegory ever, also one of the most popular Christian books after the Bible. He was often jailed for preaching without a licence and lived a life of poverty. His book has been translated into 200 languages and used by missionaries.
- Discussion question: Have you read The Pilgrim's Progress? How are allegorical books useful for explaining or understanding our faith?
Isaac Newton - English physicist and mathematician, one of most influential scientists of all time, explained laws of motion and universal gravitation, optics (sunlight has all colours), invented calculus, built first reflecting telescope, removed "magical" thinking from Christianity and showed that God designs along rational principles and laws.
- Discussion question: What do scientific laws and principles tell us about God's character?
John Wesley - Anglican clergyman, theologian, and author, founded Methodism with brother Charles, influenced Holiness Movement and Pentecostalism, believed in Armenianism, travelled Britain to form small groups and charities, outspoken against slave trade, preached 40,000 sermons and gave away $30,000, often felt that God was far away in his life but kept his faith anyways.
- Discussion question: Do you live your life differently when you don't feel close to God? What can we learn from Wesley?