Just wanted to send out a quick post today. Something that I didn’t realize until the last six months is that the first century Jews didn’t create a systematic theology, meaning they didn’t arrange the teachings of the Old Testament in a systematic way like Christians. This is important to understand, because it is easy to equate Pharisees with modern day Bible scholars and teachers, and become negative about doctrine/theology. In seminary, I wrote a paper on the early Jewish view of the fall of mankind. Basically the fall had little to no place in early Jewish thought. If I remember correctly Genesis 3 isn’t even referenced in the Mishnah. There are some funny anecdotes, like Adam was asleep while the serpent talked to Eve because Adam and Eve had just had sex, but nothing you could call doctrine. What the Pharisees did do was debate how to keep the law in every conceivable circumstance: how far could you walk on the Sabbath, if you could divorce your wife if she burned dinner, etc. Jesus was anti-manmade religion, legalism, and hypocrisy not anti-truth and understanding.
This may be going to far, but I don’t think a church can be stronger than their children’s ministry, at least not in the long run. The link below contains a series of brief videos answering questions about various aspects of children’s ministry. As a bonus, my daughter is in the intro to each one. It is well worth your time, particularly if you are in church leadership or work with children.
Justin Martyr in his Apology [65-67]:
“…on the day called Sunday there is a meeting in one place of those who live in cities or the country, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the president in a discourse urges and invites [us] to the imitation of these noble things. Then we all stand up together and offer prayers. And…when we have finished the prayer, bread is brought, and wine and water, and the president sends up prayers and thanksgivings to the best of his ability, and the congregation assents, saying the Amen; the distribution, and reception of the consecrated [elements] by each one, takes place and they are sent to the absent by the deacons. Those who prosper, and who so wish, contribute, each one as much as he chooses to….”
I’m now finished with Seminary. My project now, along with one of my pastors, is to develop a curriculum for the adults at the church I’m attending. This is so exciting as I finally get to take what I’ve learned in Seminary and use it to build the church. It is a bit daunting, though. There is so much to say, but what must we say? For example, I really want to teach people about God, but what is essential and what can be left for another time?
The things I’m clear about are teaching people to read the Bible well, teaching them the overview of the Biblical story, teaching the gospel, giving them a Christian worldview. Below is a list of classes, basically copied from my seminary. I’m wondering if any of my readers (if there are any left; I know I’ve been very negligent with this blog) have any suggestions for additional classes. I’m particularly interested about suggestions for classes from a more Charismatic/Pentecostal bent. I appreciate whatever suggestions you might have.
Core Class 1
Core Class 2
Spiritual Life (spiritual disciplines and the work of the Spirit)
God and Man
Ecclesiology and Eschatology
Christ and Salvation
Psalms and Wisdom
Acts and Paul
Marriage and Family