Well, I hope you all had a lovely summer break - did you go anywhere nice? On Sunday we met for the first session of the new term, starting a new two-part series on 'Pneumatology'. (I.e. our theology of the Holy Spirit.)
Gregory of Nazianzus, a fourth-century Church father, said about the early Church's discovery of Pneumatology: "We see light breaking upon us gradually..." Due to false teaching about the nature of Christ, it took the Church a little while to wrestle with the full deity and personhood of the Spirit. But God is faithful to his Bride, and we spent the first part of our time together on Sunday telling this story.
We then moved on to look at how the Holy Spirit is described in Scripture. We saw how he is presented as integral to our salvation, to creation, and to the life of the Church - but there is one big theme throughout, and it's that of the Spirit's relationship with the Word. His delight is to serve the Father in exalting the Son, the living Word. His joy is Jesus being made to look beautiful, in Jesus being magnified and praised. It is impossible, after all, to confess 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Spirit! [1 Cor 12:3]
Find a full set of notes below.
Thanks to all who attended last night's session! It was our first time back together after my operation - we persevered through some fine points of detail and some complex history, but in the end we had gained a better understanding of how God preserved his Gospel during those early centuries of the Church.
Whereas last time we were looking at the doctrine of the Incarnation in Scripture, this time we were tracing how this Incarnation had been fought for, defined and defended by the early Fathers.
We traced things right from the beginning: from Scripture's counterattack against Docetism; to Irenaeus and Justin Martyr rebuking Gnosticism; to Athanasius' rebuttal of Arius' belief that Jesus was a created being; to the Nicene Creed and Gregory of Nazianzus' help in revising it at Constantinople; to the 'barney' between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius, and ultimately the creed of Chalcedon in 451AD.
Yes, we were stretched; we were challenged. But this is ultimately God's story - it's all about his faithfulness and providence, and as such there's so much joy in telling it. It was (as G.K. Chesterton said) one great, whirling adventure!
Find full notes below, as well as a pictorial guide to those early heresies we discussed in the session. Hopefully it'll prove both helpful and self-explanatory! If whilst looking at either of them you have any questions or need any help (perhaps because you weren't able to make the main session), please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Thanks to everyone who attended last night's TTS Foundations session at Freedom Church! We were finishing our introductory series on the doctrine of God. This time, the 'big one' - the doctrine of the Trinity.
For many it's like theology's quantum physics; for the super clever, but not-for-me. However, as we established last night, we cannot afford to neglect the Trinity. Not because we need all our intellectual ducks in a row - but because it's what God's people have confessed since the beginning, all Christian doctrine is Trinity-shaped, and it's the jewel in the crown of Biblical theology. The Trinity is God's most intimate revelation about himself.
For all eternity, there has only ever been one God - the LORD God of Israel. He has eternally existed as three totally distinct persons, each sharing the same divine being and one united will. Kings and prophets have longed to know what we know. What a privilege!
Find full notes below, as well as two videos - one is Piper's 'sermon jam' on the Trinity, the other is "All Praise to Him", a Trinitarian doxology, both of which we played last night.
We had a great time last night, beginning our study of Pneumatology - our theology of the Holy Spirit.
We began with a refresher on the doctrine of the Trinity, and then quoted Gregory of Nazianzus, describing God's faithfulness in revealing to his people the full truth about the Spirit over time. (In Gregory's words: "You see lights breaking upon us gradually...")
We then explored this history - how heresies about Jesus gave birth to heresies about the HS, leading to the Church honing its understanding about both. We then explored the full Scriptural witness to the Holy Spirit's person and ministry. In short? We cannot delight IN the Spirit, whilst neglecting the delight OF the Spirit - namely, the Word of God, both living and written.
Full notes available below, as well as two songs played during our time together.
Second year TTS students - click here for the S16 notes! If you can't remember your password, please do get in touch.
Last night, we were story-tellers - recalling how God has led his Church through the centuries, protecting her, preserving her, working through emperors and councils and godly men to fight against false teaching. We told the story of the first five centuries of the Church - of heretics and saints, of the doctrine of the Incarnation, of complex thinkers called to defend simple truths that have lasted millennia.
Perhaps our most complex sessions yet - but also such an encouragement, not least for me!
Find a copy of the notes below :)
Second year TTS students - click here for the S9 notes!
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.