The Atonement Child - Discussion Guide
You have just finished reading the deeply moving and controversial novel The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. The author has clearly laid out her desire for everyone touched by the act of abortion to find peace and restoration. She also desires for every reader to seek God’s Word for the answers to every agonizing decision you might be facing. The following study guide is designed to whet your appetite for God’s Word and for discerning His plans for your life.
Dynah was called by God to “come out from among” the majority, the educated, the spiritual leaders, her family and friends to choose God’s way for herself and her unborn child. Similarly, God calls each of us to “come out from among” the popular beliefs and behavior of our culture, to live the life He designed for us. To live out through our actions what we say we believe, to live a life of integrity and obedience to Him.
May God help you discover what you need to “come out from among” in order to stand with Him. May you discover that the peace He offers will flow to those around you as you walk with Him.
1. Read Psalm 139:13-17. What can we learn from this passage about the creation of a new life? Who is involved and to what degree? What does God think about each new life? About your life?
2. Which character in the story do you identify with the most? Why?
3. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” Discuss Hannah and Evie in light of this verse. What motivated their decisions? How were they trapped?
4. In what ways did Dynah make her decisions differently? Whom did she fear? How was God a place of safety for her?
5. Contrast Ethan with Joe. How did Ethan’s perceived future affect his decisions and his capacity to be merciful? How did this affect Dynah? What does Galatians 6:2-3 say about helping others?
6. How did Joe’s past affect his decisions and his capacity to listen? What effect did he have in Dynah’s life? What effect did Dynah have in his life?
7. Compare Dr. Wyatt and Dean Abernathy in light of Galatians 6:2-3. What did Dr. Wyatt discover about himself? What did you discover about the dean? Which one ultimately obeyed the law of Christ?
8. Discuss Doug and Hannah’s marriage. What was missing? How did each contribute to their problems? What advice does Galatians 6:1 provide that could have helped them?
9. How did Dynah bring her parents’ marriage issues to a head? How did her decision ultimately bring healing to her family?
10. Read 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, where God says to “come out from among.” Who or what do you need to “come out from among,” and why? What boundaries or limitations do you need to set? What relationships do you need to reevaluate?
11. What areas of grief in your own life has this story helped you identify? What do you plan to do with this information?
12. What are you wrestling with that may be robbing you of a sense of safety and God’s peace? What can you do now to relieve yourself of your heavy burdens? In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Listen to Him, beloved!