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The context of my question is is directed mostly toward "non-denominational" or independent Christian groups, though feedback from the perspective of more established (e.g. Protestant) churches is welcome where applicable.

I'm aware that there are Sunday-schools by churches to teach their congregations about the scriptures, the gospel, etc. Some churches also teach classes about other churches.

Why do some Christian churches have classes about other churches? What is the Christian, not secular, reason for having them?

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I for one think that last bit detracts rather than adds to this question. I'm not even sure how I would word it as separate question because starting off with "should churches do x" generally doesn't lead to constructive questions. –  Caleb Mar 25 '12 at 21:29
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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Because, and I say this with all humility, everyone of us concedes (or at least should concede), we could be wrong.

Besides- one thing we know about God's Truth is that it can always stand up to rigorous inquiry. If it did not, either we serve a weak God (which we don't) or our understanding of God is wrong.

Either way, the last thing any Christian should be scared of is the Truth.

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+1 "Either way, the last thing any Christian should be scared of is the Truth." –  Ben Nov 5 '12 at 20:41
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Several reasons:

  1. We don't want to pretend that everyone else agrees with us.
  2. We want to understand the extent to which we have common ground with others.
  3. As Affable Geek has said, we want to demonstrate our openness to alternative points of view.
  4. We want to show why we believe that our own POV is superior to everyone else's.
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When I was a Evangelical/Presbyterian(ish), I always took it as an opportunity to contrast beliefs: these people believe this, which is why we say that "such-and-so" and not "this-and-other." Comparing theology of communion and predestination was especially beneficial as that was an issue which was of particular interest to the people in my congregation.

And even though I have a different perspective (Catholic), that is still true: we can learn a lot from the teachings as to what is wrong with the gnostics. Augustine's refutation of Donatism and Manicheism are made more invaluable when you actually have opportunity to learn a little bit about the heresies.

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I made a little game called "Heresy/Not a Heresy" and made the kids in my CCD class guess whether what I was describing was a heresy or its refutation, that was pretty fun. –  Peter Turner Mar 26 '12 at 16:00
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@PeterTurner You know, I'd really be interested to play that game. I'd count myself lucky to get 50%, but it would be really instructive for a lot of people... –  Affable Geek Mar 26 '12 at 16:04
    
@AffableGeek I'll see if I can dig it out of my pile and post it on chat (I've only got one class left so I'll be cleaning up soon) –  Peter Turner Mar 26 '12 at 16:07
    
@PeterTurner I'd like to see that too. –  cwallenpoole Mar 26 '12 at 17:16
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