FALL 2019: CHRISTIAN BIOGRAPHY; APOLOGETICS
Our two topical series this fall should provide several benefits. By considering three unique Christian forbears, we will see some of the marvelous works of God in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. We will also see how these three saints devoted themselves to God and what he was doing in their age. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was an intellectual, a contemplative, a pastor, and a missionary. William Carey (1761-1834) is regarded as the father of modern missions. One writer has described missionary doctor Helen Roseveare (1925-2016) as a woman of whom the world was not worthy (Heb. 11:38).
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to make a defense of our faith; we are to do so with gentleness and respect. Logical argumentation is not the key to seeing a friend come to faith in Christ, but it can be part of the process. Non-Christians need to have their hearts softened; the gospel calls a person to surrender their self-centered will to Christ. But we don’t check our brains at the door. One benefit of apologetics for the Christian is that it builds our confidence. In our day and age, the world’s thought patterns can seem so foreign, so hostile, that the temptation to withdraw is real. This November and December we will consider some of the most common objections to Christianity that we hear today. May God use this to further equip us to be salt and light in the world.
Oct. 6: Jonathan Edwards (Mark Weldon)
Oct. 13: William Carey (Stefan Matzal)
Oct. 20: Helen Roseveare (Nathaniel Jackson)
Oct 27: Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (James Mathis, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church)
Nov. 3: What’s So Great About Christianity? (Nathaniel Jackson)
Nov. 10: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? (Stefan Matzal)
Nov. 17: Inside Out (Mark Weldon)
Nov. 24: Is Christianity Too Restrictive? (Stefan Matzal)
Dec. 1: How Can a Good God Allow Evil and Suffering? (John Hartung)
Dec. 8: Does Science Disprove the Bible? (Nathaniel Jackson)
Dec. 15: Where Does Morality Come From? (Stefan Matzal)
Dec. 22: Christmas (Nathaniel Jackson)
Dec. 29: New Year’s (Stefan Matzal).
The Eldership: September 2019
Summer 2019: First John
The Apostle John wrote his first epistle to combat doubt-inducing false teaching. The false teachers – former church members – returned to the congregation to promote their self-derived “insights,” playing on the believers’ fear of missing out. In response, John assures his readers of their relationship with God.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father (2:13).
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (4:4).
But such assurances mean nothing if the readers don’t actually demonstrate a living faith by means of their behavior. Hence, John also exhorts:
Do not love the world (2:15).
Beloved, let us love one another (4:7).
These two forms of address, assurance and exhortation, run side-by-side throughout the epistle. Additionally, John addresses the errors of the false teachers, especially regarding the person of Jesus.
How does John organize this material? The word “amplification” captures the structure of 1 John. John takes up a topic, then expands upon the same topic later on. For example: John discusses the topic of sin in 1:6 – 2:2, and then again in 3:3-10 and 5:16-18. Similarly, John discourses on love at 2:7-11, picking up that theme again at 3:1-2; 3:11-23; and 4:7 – 5:3. Finally, the topic of truth comes to the fore in 2:18-27; 4:1-6; and 5:4-10. Today, we are not beleaguered by the same false teaching as the original readers. Nonetheless, we too need to be reminded afresh of these fundamental Christian beliefs and practices.
Jul. 14: 1 Jn. 1:1-5 “God is light.” (Stefan Matzal)
Jul. 21: 1 Jn. 1:6 – 2:2 “We have an advocate.” (Mark Weldon)
Jul. 28: 1 Jn. 2:3-11 “By this we know that we have come to know him.” (Scott Auwarter)
Aug. 4: 1 Jn. 2:12-17 “Do not love the world.” (Stefan Matzal)
Aug. 11: 1 Jn. 2:18-27 “Many antichrists have come.” (John Hartung)
Aug. 18: 1 Jn. 2:28 – 3:10 “By this it is evident who are the children of God.” (Aaron Luke)
Aug. 25: 1 Jn. 3:11-24 “We should love one another.” (Mark Weldon)
Sep. 1: 1 Jn. 4:1-6 “Test the spirits.” (Stefan Matzal)
Sep. 8: 1 Jn. 4:7-16 “If we love one another, God abides in us.” (Nathaniel Jackson)
Sep. 15: 1 Jn. 4:17 – 5:4a “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (Stefan Matzal)
Sep. 22: 1 Jn. 5:4b-13 “That you may know that you have eternal life.” (Nathaniel Jackson)
Sep. 29: 1 Jn. 5:14-21 “The evil one does not touch him.” (Stefan Matzal)
The Eldership: June 2019