Hey, y’all! Hope your year has been starting out well. Ours has been the normal, de-holiday the house, get back to school after getting over a cold and getting back to the normal swing of things at work and church (probably just like you ☺). One new thing for us is that Anja is in drivers ed! No road work yet, but that will come soon enough.
Another new thing is that I’m in a class, too, not just Anja. Cru staff can join straight out of college without a seminary degree. In light of that, Cru has all of our staff take condensed theology classes, a total of eleven, for what we call the Institute of Biblical Studies certification. These classes are a big part of what happens every summer, especially the years we’re in Colorado – that’s part of what the Conference team we work on makes happen.
Other times a ministry location brings in a professor and many staff in that region (like Indy ☺) take an intensive one week version of the class. This happened at our office last week with our staff delving into the depths of physics and philosophy and so much more as they learned more about Apologetics (which means testifying and providing reasoned defense, not apologizing like it sounds).
In recent years, technology has made it possible to do the classes online. Normally I’ve taken one every year or so in Colorado, but last year Karl and I did the apologetics class online together (and I’m so glad we did it together, it is a lot to chew on and really made my brain hurt!). So now I am taking my very last class! It’s about Systematic Theology, focusing on God, the Bible and the Holy Spirit. I thought I’d share just a tiny bit of what I’m learning. Maybe it will whet your appetite to study it, too.
Systematic Theology answers this: What does the whole Bible teach us today about any given topic? It treats topics in a carefully organized way, it is gospel-centered, and seeks to accurately handle all the relevant Bible passages.
All people live by some theology, some view of God and the world, and believers formulate their own understanding as we learn more about God, but much of what we do is disjointed. That can lead to picking and choosing a scripture out of context, misunderstanding the whole of God’s character or His expectations of us.
Since we are both finite in our ability to retain all of our knowledge and we still have the effects of sin marring our comprehension and desire to follow God perfectly, we all need to continually examine what we think we know and compare it to the whole of God’s word. But, since our time is finite as well as our minds, doing an entire, complete search of each topic every time – well it just wouldn’t happen.
That’s where studying Systematic Theology can help. It’s a resource that you can use to check your personal theology against and it can point you to the Biblical sources for your own research. And ultimately, the more you genuinely know and understand God and his character, the more you will love and obey Him and the more abundantly you’ll see/understand Him active in your life. We’re using Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem if you want to check it out. He designed it so you can study topically instead of needing to read it all at once or in a specific order. It is meaty, so you have to think, but I’ve found that my awe of God grows every time I put the effort in to digest some of it. This is a way we can love God with our minds as well as our heart and soul and strength. I hope you enjoy it!