On Sunday we looked at our theology of Scripture - its nature, its authority, and its role in the Christian life. We started by observing that we're really still in the realm of 'Pneumatology', i.e. our theology of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who inspired the Scriptures, and it is the Spirit that makes the Word come alive in our hearts.
We also observed that it is utterly remarkable that God - the indescribable One - has described himself. Creaturely language cannot adequately describe the Creator, and yet the Creator has put his words in our mouths! Such things are too wonderful for us. And he has by the Spirit revealed the written Word, which points to the living Word, so as to bring his people to himself.
We looked at how Jesus approached the Bible - how he viewed it as final, authoritative, and sufficient, how to put it to memory and cherished it, using it as a tool in the hand for his purposes. In the notes you'll also find an examination of how Peter and Paul approached the Scriptures, as well as a brief discussion about how we ought to receive the Bible. I.e. Protestants have a canon of 66 books - why is that? Why do other traditions have more? What ought we to make of the so-called 'Apocrypha'? Etc.
Find notes below, as well as a couple of videos from different parts of the world, showing us perhaps what we have lost as a people so familiar with the Word - that is, wonder and thankfulness!
At our last Foundations session, we finished our two-part series on 'Pneumatology' - i.e. our theology of the Holy Spirit. Our focus this time was on the Word / Spirit balance. How has that balance been struck throughout Church histories? What about those who believe the spiritual gifts have ceased, and the Word must remain the focal point? What about those who believe the Spirit must be given free reign in the Church?
We addressed each of these questions and more in this session. It's a complex subject, one that requires us to be attentive to the details. On the one hand, the New Testament does describe spiritual gifts, and much of the modern Church takes it for granted that these are still operative today. On the other hand, the New Testament also emphasises the centrality and sufficiency of the Word - it must be given the supremacy, as it is itself a gift of the Spirit.
Find a full set of notes below!
I. The Awesome Sound
Imagine waking up in a great concert hall amongst a vast congregation of singers. The first thing you hear is a wondrous song, a musical masterpiece, proceeding from the stage at the centre of a circular arena. The sound, though not particularly loud at first, is filled with a thousand perfect harmonies. The intertwined music and lyrics seem more ancient than you can possibly imagine, but at the same time refreshing and relevant. The song never seems to end, and yet it somehow stays entirely captivating, telling a great tale of many movements. It is easily the most beautiful music you have ever heard.
Your heart is gripped in awe, and you are drawn to the source to which all the audience direct their voices. You gaze in the same direction, for on the stage is an awesome scene: a throne, overarched by a rainbow. The One sitting on it has the appearance of precious gems, and next to the throne there is an empty bloodstained cross. All around the throne is a host of musicians and vocalists, young and old, addressing their various sounds to the One in echo of His song. In front of them stands the Conductor, and you realise that you somehow know Him; He has the appearance of the Son of Man. You notice a large songbook in front of you. You pick it up in the hope of confirming what your memory is telling you. The title reads: “The Holy Word of God and The Gospel of Grace: The Wisdom by which the Earth was founded and the Heavens Established”, followed by the conductor’s name, “The Word who was with God in the beginning and is God, Who dwelt amongst humanity for their redemption”.
Now you remember. He is the One who saved you from the state you used to be in; the One who rescued you from the sea of destruction.
We met last night for our last session of 2019, beginning our study of God as Creator.
We asked 'How?' - how has God created? Looking at Ps 65, we saw that God's creation is as much a present-tense activity as it is a past-tense one, and he creates as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (We also spoke a little bit about how Christians have approached Genesis and responded to the challenge of Darwinian evolution.)
We asked 'Why?' - why has God created anything? Put simply, creation is a decree of grace. None of us asked to be born, and yet here we are. God freely chose to be a Creator God, and freely chose us to exist as his creatures. All of creation is an act of unmerited, undeserved grace, all through and for the Son! (Col 1:15-20)
We asked 'What?' - what has God created? In the New Year we'll look at human nature, and at our being made in his image. But last night we looked at his having created invisible things (e.g. angels and demons), as well as the whole universe, and animal life. How ought we, as Christians, to approach these things?
Find below a copy of the notes, as well as the hymn that was played - This Is My Father's World, by Wilder Adkins.
Whilst a whole bunch of new guys have just started the Foundations course in recent weeks, the 'second years' are now coming to the end of it. We met on Sunday evening to begin our last ever series - on eschatology, or our theology of the end times.
In this first session, our focus was on living the Christian life before Christ's return - how does Scripture imagine the walk of discipleship? What about suffering and tribulation? What about prayer, and evangelism?
IMPORTANT: we will not be meeting for the second instalment in this eschatology series, instead I'll be providing written notes. These will focus on the Church's life before Christ's return - how are we to engage (for example) with the state, and with politics? We will then be meeting on Sun 9th Dec at Gill Brown's house for our last ever Foundations session, looking at the triumphant Christ's return, and the end of all things. Exciting stuff!
Find below a link to the notes for last Sunday's session, as well as two videos. The first is a copy of the Tommy Walker song we played, which asks how we'd behave if we knew Christ was returning tomorrow. The second is a time-stamped section in the 'Revival Hymn' video referenced in the notes (beginning at 31 mins 18 secs) - which describes the fundamental Christian disposition in all things. We do evangelism, we do prayer, we do everything - not because it 'works', but because the Lamb deserves the reward for his suffering. We rejoice in him in all things - and so, there can be joy in all things.
Second year TTS students - click here for the S23 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.