Category Archives: Blog

Spiritual Gifts Q&A #2

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Just in case you didn’t have the opportunity, or if you’ve come up with a new question, we’re having a second Spiritual Gifts Q&A. All questions submitted will be tackled on Tuesday 27 November, 7:30pm.

If you’d like to submit an anonymous question, then use the form below:

Systematic Theology

Have you ever wondered what the whole sum of the Bible’s teaching is on God’s providence, or on the work of the Holy Spirit, or on the application of the atonement in the believer? Sounds like a big job? Well, yes it is!

Thankfully, there are many books, called systematic theologies, that do this work for us. In these, scholars have spent years pulling together all the biblical teaching on almost every important topic imaginable.

Inevitably, some go into more detail than others (one famous one is in 13 volumes with over 6 million words — which is vast compared to the NIV Bible’s 730,000 words!) The problem is, the longer a version is, the less likely most people are going to be able to read the whole thing!

I’ve recently set myself the task of working through one of the most well known evangelical Systematic Theologies of recent times, by Wayne Grudem. It’s quite a weighty work, weighing in at 1290 pages and 57 chapters, but I figure if I give it around half an hour each morning then I’ll get through it before too long.

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The reason I’ve decided to do this is to keep stretching myself. To help me to keep thinking through the deep truths of God. That’s something it’s important for each of us to do. We can settle and be happy with the simple basic truths of the gospel, which is great of course, but we can also set ourselves to go deeper and deeper into the good news and all that God has shown about himself. So long as we don’t pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, it will only do us good to go deeper and deeper in.

If you’ve never read any kind of systematic theology, then I’d really commend it to you. I can’t imagine many people would read it all the way through in one sitting. It might be something you read a little of each day. Or it might be something you have as a reference for whenever you come across something the Bible teaches and want to know everything else that is taught on that subject. Here are some links to a few shorter ones I’d recommend as well as the full length one:

Bible Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem (528 pages; £15.99)

Know the Truth, by Bruce Milne (384 pages; £12.99)

Concise Theology, by J. I. Packer (224 pages; £8.29)

Christian Beliefs, by Wayne Grudem (160 pages; £6.79)

Or if you want the full length one I’m reading: Systematic Theology, by Wayne Grudem (1296 pages, £25.99)

Spiritual Gifts Survey

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

As we approach the end of our series on Messy Worship, having spent a lot of time thinking through spiritual gifts, we’re going to finish with a survey. This is simply to give us a feel for what different gifts the church has. It will also give us the chance to see if there are large numbers who aren’t sure where their gifts are as well.

Very simply then, if you’re planning on being there on Sunday morning, then start thinking and praying about what your gifts are. Come prepared with your answer on Sunday.

photo credit: albertogp123 Exam via photopin (license)

Mercy, Grace and Patience

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I’ve been reading my way a little bit each day through a Systematic Theology, which I may talk about in another blog post soon. But at the moment, I’ve been tackling the characteristics, or attributes of God.

Many of these three attributes of God overlap significantly. They’re not fighting against each other, neither are they any lesser because of any other attribute. They’re like a dance group in sync with each other. They benefit each other and even explain and clarify each other.

For example, God is both a God of love and a God of justice. Because he loves perfectly, it is only right that he judge and punish sin, which then lines up with his justice. And he satisfies his love and justice in his Son’s death and so is able to bring forgiveness to us.

In the Systematic Theology I’m reading, Wayne Grudem explains how three attributes that significantly overlap can be separately defined by the object of their operation. Here’s what he says:

God’s Mercy means God’s goodness toward those in misery and distress.

God’s Grace means God’s goodness toward those who deserve only punishment.

God’s Patience means God’s goodness in withholding punishment toward those who sin over a period of time.

Isn’t that brilliant. Isn’t God brilliant. Let those thoughts mull over in your mind and cause you to delight in him!