SAINTS & SCHOLARS
““Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long…“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.” (Psalm 25:4-5, 8, ESV)
Christianity has always emphasized the mind, our piety has a distinctly intellectual component. A host of texts confirm this: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18).” “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness, and worldly desires….(Titus 2:11-12).” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt 22:37).” “Take every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ Jesus (2Cor 10:5).” “Set your mind above where Christ is…(Col 3:1).” Stephen Charnock, the English Puritan was put it well, when he said, “You cannot glorify God as you ought unless you know Him as He is.”
None of this should surprise us, God reveals Himself to us through words. He is the speaking God, the Great Communicator, we need to use our brains to grasp His message. As Peter tells us, rubbing his weary head, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15–16, ESV).
Paul wrote difficult Scripture, and the Holy Spirit saw no need to iron out or dumb down his profundity. Understanding this and other Scripture takes mental effort, and this is all part of what it means to love the Lord. Ignorance, rather than being the mother of devotion, is much more commonly the mother of heresy.
Your elders are committed to your spiritual growth and have designed a curriculum to help develop both your ability in and your taste for hard-thinking, wholehearted love for God. This curriculum covers the full gamut of theology, bible, church history, Christian world and life view, together with the practicalities of living and sharing the Christian faith. Thanks to the organizational genius of Eric Bolton, we have organized this material into 2 teaching tracks, together spanning 6 years of Sunday School material.
I am sure a number of you are wondering, ‘Why can’t we just study the Bible?” First of all, let me begin by saying, Christ Covenant will always prioritize the study of Scripture. That’s what I spend most of my week preparing to do, and the thrust of both Sunday sermons will always be expository messages drawn directly from Holy Scripture. On top of this we plan to offer an increasing menu of Bible studies for both men and women throughout the work week. Without fear of contradiction, I can tell you: We prioritize Scripture. We always have and we always will!
Second, however, it surely goes without saying that, as well as a back to front, inside out knowledge of the Bible, Christians also need training in other disciplines. Teaching that for example might unpack the character and nature of God, or the person and work of Christ, or the flow of the Covenants from Old Testament to New, or how to share our faith with others, raise Christian children, strengthen our marriages, and how to understand the sweep of Christian history in a way that helps us benefit from the wisdom of the ages and avoid the mistakes of former generations. Scripture is, to be sure, our only rule of faith practice, but it is not our only proper field of study!