One of the great things about our local church is that my wife and I have been given the dangerous responsibility to do is to convene and coordinate an evening service focused on theology.
Over three weeks (spread across three months or so) we’ll attempt to do some theology in a local church context. Our hope and prayer is to engage and enthuse folk to think and pray in new ways.
The first week, we went for a broad introduction. We tried to explain what theology actually is, busting some myths, and unpacking the Bible’s vision for theological thinking (Which, as far as we are concerned, involves pursuing the mind of Christ, so I offered a mini-sermon in my talk about the Mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul writes this:
‘We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.‘
As part of that introduction, we also pondered the importance of asking questions, and invited anyone there to give us their hardest and best questions. We were really grateful for our Worship Pastor getting on board with a text-app-thingy to gather these – and we got some great questions.
Week 2 saw us engaging with one of the big questions: how do we read the New Testament and the Old Testament together? Aren’t the OT and NT different? How can we reconcile the Old Testament God of Judgement with the New Testament God of Love? We took this as an example of the importance of thinking carefully about hermeneutics, inviting folk to think more deeply about how we read the Bible and who we read the Bible with.
Week 3 came at the end of this trio of opportunities to do theology in the local church. We are excited – but apprehensive – to be tackling the question of evil and suffering. We hope to offer a Kingdom perspective.
Strangely, we were asked back to do it again, and on the second term we decided to tackle the biggest elephant in the room: sexuality.
First, we looked at the questions and conversations around sex and sexuality by looking at Jesus.