Baptist History (2), with Rob Harrod (Grace Baptist Church, Christchurch)
The second of two sessions exploring Baptist History. Having looked at the defining marks of a church from Scripture, we are continuing to trace out how these have been pursued in the life of Baptist churches down through the centuries. In the course of this, we will identify what have been some of the historic distinctiveness of faithful Baptist churches. In this session, we will take up modern Baptist history after its beginnings in 17th century England and trace it down to the present day. Along the way, we will note many of the challenges and issues faced by these churches as they developed from an English ‘sect’ into a ‘global movement’. This course will acquaint us with many faithful churches and believers who stood for biblical truth, planted churches, endured great hardship and opposition, and sought to co-labour with Christ in the extension of His kingdom in the world.
Old Testament Theology (1) , with Joe Fleener (Rolleston Baptist, Rolleston)
Many Christians are unfamiliar with the content of the Old Testament, let alone it’s historical setting and theological purpose for the covenant people of God. In part one of what is planned to be a three-part course, we will look carefully at the first 17 books of the English Old Testament canon. In doing so we will aim to gain a better grasp of their historical setting and God’s purpose in revealing Himself as He has in these books for His covenant people – both Old and New. History and Theology will come together as we bask in the glory of God’s timeless revelation of Himself to His people.
(For those who would like to complete some advanced, preparatory reading, please read the associated chapters from Van Pelt, Miles V. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised. Crossway. 2017.)
The Ministry of the Word, with Hanli Liu & Stephen Turner (West Church, Auckland)
There is no question that the Word of God ought to occupy a central role in the church. For example, the apostolic leaders of the New Testament church stated that they would “devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Paul’s last letter to Timothy charges him before the presence of God and of Jesus Christ to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Without the Word, we would not have come to a saving faith in Jesus, for “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Passages like these all throughout Scripture highlight the central role of God’s Word in the church. In this class, we will consider what the Scriptures teach about this ‘ministry of the word’ by considering questions such as: What does this term actually refer to? What are the theological convictions that must undergird it? How is it to be practiced today? Who ought to carry out this ministry? And so on. May the Lord encourage us all as we consider this important topic, for even if every one of us should be bound in chains, “the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9).