Theological Discernment, Part 2

There were several good comments under my previous post. Thank-you to all who contributed some very practical ideas.

Some years ago I worked as both a full-time Associate Pastor and full-time school administrator for a church-run Christian School. My schedule did not allow me the time to do a lot of reading/study outside of what I would be teaching on, and I was also out of the theological loop to a great extent for about 5 years. I can remember going to an ordination council and being amazed at how almost every area of evangelical theology was being confronted by either a new twist or a different teaching. It is no different today.

My own theological education is on an undergraduate level, though I have taken some classes on a graduate level. Someday I hope to get my Masters. But for now that has to wait. Nevertheless, I have tried to remain theologically fluent in these ways:

  1. When I preach or teach a new area of Scripture, I update my commentary collection with one or two of the newest conservative commentaries. I made reference a few months ago to two books (one by DA Carson and the other by Tremper Longman) that give assistance in choosing commentaries. For example, as I began to prepare to preach on Romans, I bought Douglas Moo's latest commentary from the NICNT (Eerdmans)and Tom Schreiner's commentary from the ECNT (Baker). Both of these are up-to-date.
  2. I subscribe to Modern Reformation magazine, from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. I find their contributions to my understanding of Biblical Christianity most helpful.
  3. I purchase highly-recommended current systematics. In the last five years I added Wayne Grudem's and Millard Erickson's systematics. When dealing with an area of theology, I am able to be exposed to new lines of thinking that way.
  4. Blogs - Jon Trainer said that he finds that there are several blogs that discuss new thinking in theology, though he wisely encouraged continual reading of older works that have stood the test of time.
  5. Scripture - we need to be grounded in Scripture, as several of you said.

The challenge, of course, is finding time. Making time is probably a better word. I do not read as voraciously as I did when I was younger (my mom would often chide me as a kid about being up too early reading). But making a list of books that need to be read and then working through them is helpful.

Keep the comments coming, folks. I think that this has been of value and hopefully there are some lurkers who may share some thoughts as well.

Make sure that you check Milton Stanley's site today - he has a link about a number of preaching-oriented discussions that are on various blogs. It would be good to note them. Milton - you're moving soon, aren't you??

This will be my last blog entry for a couple of days. About 25 years ago my parents retired to Charlotte, NC. While they are in good health, I have tried to take a quick trip around their birthdays each year. My Mom turned 72 on Thursday, and I will be leaving either Sunday night or Monday for a quick trip down (basically sandwiching a day with them between two 600-mile days of travel). I have a number of sermons/lectures on my iPod to listen to on the road, plus some good Country music. I'll be back in the office on Thursday morning. I hope to have internet access while I am away, but will see all you folks again late next week.

Have a great day learning, worshiping and serving Christ tomorrow!!


JP said...

Have a safe trip and a good time!

Kristen said...

Yes, as JP said, have a great time!! :)

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the mention, Peter. Yes, we'll be moving to Virginia the first of June. I'll be preaching at the Lexington Church of Christ. Hope you have a blessed trip to Mecklenburg County, NC. Peace.

jon said...

Godspeed and good listening!

tommy said...

Nice post. Some good thoughts. Thanks you.