Reflecting on the Doctrine Class since 2011, we decided on a few changes for 2013:
- Taking a ‘Biblical Timeline/Bible Books’ rather than treating an aspect or theme of systematic theology (which we have been doing for 18 months now and which we can return to again).
- Unifying the topic, i.e. each week a different person taking us through the topic will be asked to cover a given portion of the material. Previously each person has led their own theme. Our textbook and theme will be Hendriksen’s Survey of the Bible (see under ‘H’ in the Church Library).
- Tighter scheduling of topics – no carrying forward if we do not finish a topic in ‘one sitting’.
- Wider group of people to share the duty of leading the group through that week’s topic. We are delighted that the Pastor has agreed to lead the meeting on a couple of occasions (see ‘Rota’ link on right for details) although we are all keen to support the Welsh language work, Capel y Rhath which meets at the same time.
- To develop our ‘date-consciousness’ with any part of God’s Word (Hendrikson, p43). This ‘historical perspective is absolutely essential to the mastery of the meaning of Scripture’, he says.
- To highlight the ‘one, central theme which, like a golden thread, runs through all…’ (p83), namely, ‘the central revelation of the Triune God in Christ’ (p55).
The doctrine class themes:
- Mike Johnson: The Westminster Shorter Catechism
- Alex Hutter: Affirmation 2010
The Doctrine Class on the 5th June will consider (DV) the first question and answer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
We may cover more than one question and answer in a week, or we may take several weeks to cover a single question. A key book for the Shorter Catechism studies will be Thomas Watson’s ‘A Body of Divinity’: this was the first book published by Banner of Truth! It is thoroughly logical, concise, and provides us with an ample supply of subordinate questions which can help us think around the subject in hand.
There are a number of sites which contain the full text of the Catechism, and more, for example, http://www.shortercatechism.com, which contains links to a number of full-text commentaries by eminent puritans. A remarkable resource!
We will not be recording the doctrine class initially, freeing us up to follow a more discussion-based format. We will certainly try to record meetings with a single speaker.
The time we have can be best spent in a number of ways, including public prayer.