Bible & Theology | Response Magazine

Discussing disagreement: Study pushes students to encounter theological difference

How do you have a conversation with someone whose convictions you disagree with?

SPU students and local pastors addressed that question in a Bible study hosted by University Chaplain Lisa Ishihara over Winter Quarter. The seven-week series, titled “What the Church Isn’t Talking About?” examined texts from Galatians, and students read and discussed a different chapter each week.

The group included about a dozen people, including pastors from different denominations who visited each week.

The group discussed questions like how to disagree when exploring polarizing topics, and how to discuss important questions when people disagree about the best answer. 

“By participating in this Bible study, I feel as if I am able to engage in the topics that come up in Galatians while also sitting in a space where I am free to listen,” said participant Maddy Fulcher, a senior.

Ishihara wanted the group to serve as a place where students could ask hard questions about faith, politics, and other aspects of life, which they might not be comfortable asking in their own church communities or University Foundations classes.

Her goal was to model how Christians with different convictions and faith backgrounds can have hard discussions while sharing core faith convictions. 

“It is challenging to grow in relationships with one another as we engage our differences, but I believe it is possible,” Ishihara said. “It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and a willingness to be molded and shaped by the love of God.”   

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