Teaching Theology

By Paul Wilkinson, Adult Ministry–Groups Associate, BBC Campus

As we embark on 13 weeks of theology in Transforming Truths, I wanted to give some encouragement and tips about teaching theology. We like the know-be-do (or head-heart-hands) model for transformational learning. Generally, we understand that model as knowbe–do, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. What’s significant is that we are speaking into all three domains as opposed to giving a particular domain priority. Doing without knowing leads to drudgery and doing without being leads to legalism. Being without knowing leads to subjectivism and being without doing leads to selfishness. Knowing without being leads to Phariseeism and knowing without doing leads to hypocrisy. We must always keep these domains in tension with one another. When teaching theology, however, it is generally the case that know will come first. Here’s the biblical truth about God from the Bible; because of this knowledge about God, you should understand yourself a certain way; because you are that certain way, you should live out the life appropriately.

My two major questions with theology are what’s at stake and so what. If we answer those questions or lead our people to their own discovery of answers to those questions, then we will be doing something great. I ask what’s at stake because it emphasizes critical reflection and a submissive focus. For instance: what’s at stake if I were to give up the Incarnation? Couldn’t God the Father just have anointed some particular person to be Messiah and redeem the world that way (e.g., adoptionism, http://www.theopedia.com/adoptionism)? We’d be giving up Jesus’ divine nature which wreaks havoc on God being the justifier (Romans 3:26), we’d be giving up the eternality of Christ (John 1:1ff.), we’d give up the fallen nature of humanity (Romans 5:12-14), Jesus would not be worthy of worship (Matthew 2:11, John 20:28, Revelation 5:1-14), etc. In short, we’d have to forego much of the Bible’s explicit teaching about the nature of Christ. And without understanding that nature, how can we fully understand what price was paid for our redemption?

Likewise, I ask so what to hit the practical realities of the doctrine. What does it matter that God is a Trinity or not? Well, if God is not at His core relational, then what sense does it make for us to be relational with our communities as a necessary reflection of the divine nature? And if God isn’t Trinitarian, then was God really satisfied in His existence before creation? Perhaps such a God would actually need a creation in order to relate to it. And in that case, would God be at His core, loving? How can God truly express love if nothing else exists? And if God loved only self, then is that worthy of worship? It is hard to see how if there is no plurality and other persons within the Godhead.

Lastly, I like to think of theology as a set of dials on an incredible machine. As soon as you turn one dial, all the others self-adjust to different settings than you had prior. Thus, if we push an attribute too far or separate one aspect of God too far from the others, then we are corrupting the God revealed in the Bible. For example, if we push God’s power and will too far, then we might end with a God who is less than morally good. Isn’t it a power to sin? Isn’t it a power to deceive? Yet, we rightly conclude that God can do neither of those things. We let God’s character determine the capacity of God’s power, claiming something like: God can do all those things that are logically possible and in accord with His divine nature and character. We must be respectful, careful, and most of all, biblical, as we tinker with the divine attributes.

In the end this stuff matters a great deal. Are you willing to die for a God who can deceive? Who can reject His promise to save those who confess and believe (Romans 10:9)? When tragedy strikes your family and life, will you stand firm in the goodness of God as evidenced by the resurrection? Let’s do the heavy lifting now so that we are prepared on that day. And let’s develop in our people a robust theology so that they are ready, at a moment’s notice, to be the church wherever they are and whoever they’re with through sound defense of the faith, a faithful Gospel, and confident testimony!

Interview with the Author of Transforming Truths

 

 

Today’s blog post is an interview with Dr. Michael Duduit. Dr. Duduit is the Dean of the College
of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina, and he is a professor of Christian ministry at the university. In addition to his dean and teaching duties, Dr. Duduit is the founder and executive editor of Preaching magazine. Perhaps most importantly for us, Dr. Duduit wrote our Transforming Truths curriculum. You will be impressed with his heart for ministry, his passion for theology, and his love for Christ. I found
his comments encouraging and inspiriting. I hope you are as excited for this season of theology
as I am!

Paul Wilkinson
Adult Minister–Groups Associate
Brentwood Baptist Church

 

 

How I Think of You

By Paul Wilkinson, Adult Minister–Groups Associate, Brentwood Campus

In a book by Sunday School guru Allan Taylor (http://www.embertoblaze.org/about-us) titled Sunday School in HD, he makes this bold declaration, “At this point I want to make a big statement. The adult division of the Sunday school is the most strategic area of ministry in the church! I did not say that it was more important than these other ministries; I said it was more strategic.”  I wholeheartedly agree with Allan Taylor.

God has great plans and great work in store for the members of Brentwood Baptist Church. The preparation of those members to serve occurs in large part through your adult groups. As I walk the halls of the church throughout the week and see mission trips on our CCTV’s and posters, I realize that those who are doing the missions trips are coming out of adult groups. When the Student Ministry, Children’s Ministry, and Preschool Ministry need volunteers, they seek them in the adult groups. The great music ministry provided by our talented choir and orchestra is comprised with many adult group members and adult group leaders. When we launch new campuses, adult groups are siphoned off as the core membership to stabilize the new venture.

No doubt exists for me that Adult Group Ministry is the most strategic ministry in the church. And that ministry falls at the feet of each one of you and us, your Adult Discipleship team. Our work, together, provides the manpower to do all the wonderful evangelism and service God has planned for our people. (Ephesians 2:10) Your faithful Focus on the Word each week paints a biblical image of who our God is and what our God demands. Your Engagement in your communities builds within your people a desire to be servants and to see people come to know Christ. Your Involvement in the life of your people through biblical community creates a space for their sanctification to mature as they begin to understand their calling in ministry. And your Love for your people, your prayers, your preparation, your visits, your phone calls, and everything else you do demonstrates to your people how much God loves them.

How do I think of you? I think of you as the engine and core of all the hopes I have for what Brentwood Baptist Church can be. Everything we feel called to do as a local fellowship is contingent upon reaping from the harvest that you have nurtured in the power of the Spirit through your groups. “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) And you are the leaders that have been called to grow those workers, “For the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11)

What an honor it is for us to serve you. Thank you for heeding your call to shepherd well the people of God. May we all rejuvenate over the holidays in order to lead our people well in 2017. In Christ, we love you.