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.
Fiona led us last night in a wonderful examination of 2 Tim 1:8 - 2:7. We looked at Timothy's calling - to faithfully teach the Word no matter what, to expect and endure suffering, and to be sustained in that suffering by the the grace of God in Christ.
Fiona also read to us a beautiful poem by G.A. Studdert-Kennedy (aka 'Woodbine Willie'), entitled A Sermon In A Hospital - in which the poet (a WW1 chaplain) wonders why God chose to allow his mate Bill to suffer, ultimately finding in Christ not only the example of our sufferings, but in his death we find "the God that sees it through", for me and for you. Even when we're called to endure horrors.
A great session - find notes below.
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.