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Fall classes begin

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Reminder : classes begin tonight, and the class locations have changed from last year. Systematic Theology I will be in room 141, and Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (part 2) will be in room 142. Park in front of the church and use the main entrance. Thanks!

theology class update

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"Far from being dry or abstract, Christian doctrine deals with the fundamental issues of life: namely, who am I, what is the ultimate meaning of the universe, where am I going?" (Millard Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine ) The fall semester of the Systematic  Theology I class will begin in two weeks (Sept. 15). If you plan to take this class, we request that you let us know by next Thursday, Sept. 8. You can register by going to our home page and using the menu in the upper left-hand  corner. The text we will be using is Introducing Christian Doctrine , by Millard Erickson (Ph.D., Northwestern University). The author has served both as pastor and professor for many years. He was professor of theology and academic dean at Bethel University seminary, and also Distinguished Professor of Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He has authored over 20 books. We will also include some supplemental readings. The reading assignments will cover about 30 pages each we

why be systematic?

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Why do we study systematic theology? That is, what's the big deal of having a doctrinal system, rather than just believe whatever the Bible says ? God would have us know and love him with our whole being, which includes our minds (Deut 6:4-9; Matt 22:36-40). Love for God begins with the mind -- hearing and understanding his words, knowing his commandments, thinking about his character, and trusting his promises. God is true, reasonable, and consistent in what he reveals. If we do not think rightly about God, we may become idolaters (Ex 20:3-7; 1 John 5:20-21). Systematic theology is stating and connecting the various truths of the Bible into a reasonable and coherent worldview.  Now, everybody has a particular view of God , of salvation, of humanity, of the world, of the future -- it may be fuzzy, or faulty, or disconnected -- but in that sense all of us are theologians, whether good or bad. R. C. Sproul writes, “The purpose of theology is not to tickle our intellects but to ins

big things and small things

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"He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name..."  (Amos 5:8) BIG THINGS, AND SMALL . The universe is a big place. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has enabled us to peer farther -- in the case of the Cartwheel galaxy pictured above (photo courtesy NASA), some 500 million light-years farther -- into this amazing universe. In the words of the first chapter of Genesis this creation of stars and galaxies in the vastness of space is simply stated, "He also made the stars" (Gen 1:16 NIV). At the beginning there was not a what, but a who. An infinite, self-existent, personal Creator made this vast universe. In the book of Job, we are told that the stars and the constellations reveal to man the power of God and his unfathomable wisdom (Job 9:1-10; cf 38:31). SIZE AND DISTANCE NO MATTER.  Recently, I wrote

the purpose of man

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"The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." (Genesis 2:15 ESV)  "Originally this first man was simply called the man ( ha-adam ) for he was alone for a while and there was no one beside him who was like him. It is not until Gen. 4:25 that the name Adam occurs without the definite article. There the name first becomes individual. This indicates clearly that the first man, who for a while was the only human being, was the beginning and origin and head of the human race. As such he received a double task to perform: first, to cultivate and preserve the garden of Eden, and second, to eat freely of all the trees in the garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "The first task defines his relationship to the earth, the second his relationship to heaven. Adam had to subdue the earth and have dominion over it, and this he must do in a twofold sense: he must cultivate it, open it up, and so cause to come up out of

praying the ten commandments

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Martin Luther wrote to his barber in 1535, giving him a few simple guidelines for prayer. This was later published as "A Simple Way to Pray". It's brief and practical, especially in how he instructs Peter (his barber) and us in how to use Scripture in prayer. Specifically, Luther gives directions about praying the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Luther says that the Ten Commandments have a fourfold use -- for instruction, for worship, for confession, and for petition. What he means is this, the Decalogue is in turn a textbook, a hymnal, a confessional, and a prayer book. I have recently enjoyed giving praise to the Lord (second use, worship) for his goodness as revealed in the Ten Commandments. They point us to God's perfect character, his good plan for us, and what the future world will look like, what Jonathan Edwards called "a world of love." There, people will rightly honor God, think well of him, show dignity to one anot

Christ and nature

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Here are some excerpts from The Sacrifice of Praise by Herman Bavinck, specifically relating to how our Lord Jesus viewed the natural, created world... "Christ acknowledges and respects the ordering of natural life in all areas, because he did not break down the works of the Father but only those of the devil. He pays taxes [Matt. 17:24-27] He refuses to act as an arbitrator between two brothers quarreling about an inheritance [Luke 12:13—15]. He commands to give to Caesar that which is his [Mark 12:17]. He requires submission to those who are seated upon the seat of Moses, and forbids his disciples, even in the most frightful hour, from use of the sword [Matt. 23:1; 26:52]. He never encourages revolt. Words of love are always heard from his lips. Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do well to those who hate you and pray for those who do violence to you and persecute you [Matt. 5:44]." "He also loves nature with a childlike joy. He enjoys her beauty and refres