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.
We've just finished the fifth Foundations at Freedom Church - but for our 'second years', we're nearly at the very end of the Foundations course. In fact, on Sunday 9th Dec, we'll be meeting for our last ever session.
Last time, we looked at the Christian's life this side of eternity - looking at discipleship, and the various aspects of the Christian walk.
In this penultimate session, our focus is on the Church's life this side of eternity - how do we relate to the political world? What is the Christian's relationship with the world around us, and with governments and power? How do we bring Scripture to bear upon such a massively important subject?
Though we did not actually meet for S24 due to scheduling complications, I've worked hard to provide you with the notes in advance of this Sunday's meeting. You can find them at the link below. Again, this is a huge subject, often called 'Public Theology'. There are many inter-weaving topics, related to history and political philosophy. But as always, the message is still about Christ the King - the one for whom we turn the world upside down [Acts 17:6] ...
Second year TTS students - click here for the S24 notes! If you can't remember your password, please do get in touch.
Following our last Foundations session, in which we examined our theology of Scripture, we last night paused our study of 2 Timothy to pick up some left-over threads.
In particular, we asked two questions:
First, how ought we to receive Scripture? Answer: by the Spirit, through the Church. God's people are shaped by the Gospel Word, and are indeed a people of the Word. The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth [1 Tim 3:15]. It's no surprise, then, that through the Spirit we have received the Canon of Scripture. This is a complex topic, with a complex history, but last night we looked at why we have 66 books, and why we in the Protestant tradition believe these (and only these) to be God-breathed.
Second, how ought we to use Scripture? Answer: prayerfully, with God's people, and with care for the primary sense. We started to explore some of this in practice, but we'll no doubt unpack this more in future weeks.
Find full notes below!
(NOTE: we weren't able to discuss even half of what I had prepared last night, which is obviously fine - but there are plenty of other subjects covered in the notes, if you're interested. E.g. how would we respond to the Roman Catholic charge that the canon presents a challenge to Sola Scriptura? What's the relationship between Scripture and the Church? Can we disagree with the creeds, for example? All this and more.)
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.
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.