We met on Sunday night for our tenth Foundations session - we've looked at a lot so far, from the doctrine of the Trinity, to the ministry of Christ. This time, we were starting a five-part series on 'soteriology' - our theology of salvation! What an amazing subject. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...
In this, our first session, we we were looking at the very fact that God has chosen to be a Saviour God - he didn't have to, no one forced him. He was under no compulsion. He graciously, sovereignly decided to save us. This is otherwise known as the doctrine of Election. Now, in the words of Karl Barth (a famous theologian of the 20th Century), election has cast a dark shadow for many. It has stoked controversy and outrage. But - as we established on Sunday - this needn't be the case.
Election is at the heart of all theology - God has freely chosen to be a Creator God, a known God, a worshipped God, etc. Election is at the heart of the Triune life of God - the Father chose the Son from all eternity to work out his purposes by the Spirit. Election is at the heart of the Gospel - God chose the historical Israel, and God has chosen his Bride. We dishonour God when we ignore election, or when we treat it as some insignificant off-cut. After all, when the authors of Scripture discuss it, it's not as a 'matter of controversy but as a theme for worship'! [J.I. Packer]
Find below a few things. First, the notes from Sunday's session - expanded to include more details and several appendices. Second, the medley of worship that we opened our session with. And third, the modern adaptation of Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven, which we finished with.
We met last night to begin our study of God as Saviour - what a privilege! We will eventually turn to look at the Cross, at the Resurrection, at Justification and Sanctification (etc.). But last night our focus was very simple: God has freely chosen to be a Saviour God. This is undeserved, unprovoked, and unmerited.
And yet he seeks us anyway.
Our focus was the doctrine of election - God's free choice to be God in whatever way he sees fit, the Father's predestination of the Son to the praise of his name, and the Triune God's election of a people who he takes as his precious possession.
"Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me;
And on his shoulder, gently laid,
And home rejoicing brought me!"
You can find notes below - greatly expanded, with five appendices! You can also the find the below I played last night, a modern adaptation of Francis Thompson's "Hound of Heaven".
Second year TTS students - click here for the S10 notes!
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