Friday 27 May 2016

Helping gospel workers to put theology into practice

       Primer is a project I’ve been working on with the FIEC. It’s written for gospel workers to help them put good theology into practice in the life of the church. 

In each issue of Primer we take one pressing topic and over the course of 80 pages or so we offer a kind of theological digest; summarising contemporary debate, drawing on at least one classic historical text, and always keeping the realities of ministry in view. In the first issue we covered the doctrine of Scripture. The second issue (released today) looks at the doctrine of sin. What does that look like? Well, 

      -          We gave Graham Beynon a pile of books recently published on the topic and asked him to go away and juice them for us, discussing the various ways in which they define the essence of sin.

      -          Then we asked Tim Ward to reflect upon the ways in which we customarily preach sin. He considers the dominant models we use to explain sin to unbelievers (idolatry and rebellion), and then asks how well our preaching to believers about their sin stacks up against the New Testament.

      -          Next we reprint a classic passage from Calvin’s Institutes on the extent of human sinfulness. It’s a fantastic passage that takes us into the depths of the human condition in a way that leads us back out to God’s grace as the only possible remedy.   To help that medicine go down, we have Mark Troughton, a serving pastor, guiding us through the text. He sets the passage in its context and helps us follow the argument and apply it to ministry today.

Beyond that, three articles have a more practical focus:

      -          Kirsten Birkett explores addiction and its relationship to sin from both a medical and theological perspective (looking at it through the lens of Augustine’s account of sin).

      -          Next, John Frame gives some short sharp answers to some FAQ’s about sin in the Christian life (Why do we confess sin if we’re forgiven? How does God feel about us when we sin? etc.)

      -          And finally, I’ve written on how we can communicate sin in a culture of entitlement and victimhood. How do we explain sin when everything is someone’s fault?

Primer is published twice a year and is available from the Good Book Company