Everyone is a theologian, whether they like it or not. When someone says "There is no God" they are making a theological statement and as Christians we need to be prepared to answer them with the truth. Theology, or doctrine, is simply a way of us expressing key beliefs about the biggest questions we face in life. Those key beliefs will either be based on culturally relative assumptions about God or on what God himself has revealed about himself. Over the next three years, we will spend some time over lunch, a couple of times a term, discussing what the Bible says about key questions in life, such as: Who is God? How do I know anything about God? What does it mean to be human? How can God love me? What happens when I die?
Over the course of three years we will be spending 18 sessions going through Wayne Grudem's smaller summary of his Systematic Theology, Bible Doctrine which can be purchased here. We meet twice a term for lunch at New Road Baptist Church, followed by discussion about a key doctrinal issue.
I want to know one thing,—the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. For this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! John Wesley
Can we trust the Bible?
How do I deal with apparent difficulties and contradictions in the Bible?
Is the God of the Old Testament simply violent and petty?
In our next doctrine lunch, we will be looking at these three questions and seeking to gain increased confidence that the Bible is sufficient and clear in all matters pertaining to salvation.
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us" - AW Tozer: The Knowledge of the Holy
So many of the problems in our church stem from small or incomplete views of God. Is God just a Superman figure, or does he stand above and beyond everything we can imagine? A right view of God's majesty, holiness, power, love, patience and beautiful character is the best antidote to a life of trial and difficulty.
"No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the Splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Them than I am carried back to the One. When I think of any One of the Three I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of That One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the Undivided Light." Gregory of Nazianzus
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." Controversial and yet foundational words. How ought we as Christians rightly to think about God as creator? How does that impact our lives? Join us for our doctrine lunch to find out.
1. The Authority and Inerrancy of the Bible: How do we know that the Bible is God’s Word? Are there any errors in the Bible?
2. The Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency of the Bible: Can only Bible scholars understand the Bible rightly? For what purposes is the Bible necessary? Is the Bible enough for knowing what God wants us to think or do?
3. The Character of God: The incommunicable and communicable attributes of God
4. The Trinity: How can God be three persons, yet one God?
5. God’s Rule: Creation; God’s Providence; Prayer; Angels, Satan and Demons
6. The Doctrine of Man: The creation of man; man as male and female
7. Sin: What is sin? Where did it come from? Do we inherit a sinful nature from Adam?
8. The Person of Christ: How is Jesus fully God and fully man, yet one person?
9. The Work of Christ: The Atonement; Resurrection and Ascension
10. Grace: Common grace; election
11. The Gospel: The Gospel call; regeneration; conversion (faith and repentance)
12. Justification and Adoption: How and when do we gain a right legal standing before God? What are the benefits of being a member of God’s family?
13. The Christian Life: Sanctification; The Perseverance of the Saints; Death, the Intermediate State, and Glorification
14. The Nature of the Church: How can we recognise a true church? What the purposes of the church? What makes a church more or less pleasing to God?
15. The Sacraments: Baptism; The Lord’s Supper
16. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
17. The Doctrine of the Future: The Return of Christ; The Millennium; The Final Judgement and Eternal Punishment; The New Heavens and New Earth