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Knowing God

 

SoCM's Adult Sunday Class
Time: 11 am to 12.15 pm
Place: DB6
No registration required

A highly educated man named Nicodemus came to see a young rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. He wanted to talk about truth. His first words were a claim to considerable knowledge. He said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him ” (John 3:2). Unfortunately for Nicodemus, Jesus replied that such an approach to knowledge was wrong and that he could know nothing until he first experienced in inward transformation. Jesus told him, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Through the ages, many have sought to know God through reason alone, experience alone, or various religious traditions. J. I. Packer famously said, “Knowing God involves listening to God’s word and receiving it as the Holy Spirit interprets it, in application to oneself.” In other words,

A little knowing of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about him”.

24 March 2019 – How Do We Know God?

Today, there is much confusion about what it means to know God. Proponents of world religions take issue with the exclusivism of evangelical Christianity, particularly with Jesus’ assertion that he is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Then there are those Christians, who insist that God speaks to them directly through miraculous signs that go beyond scriptural teachings. This talk focuses specifically on what it means to know God, as he is revealed in the Bible. It will, thus, differentiate the all-important distinction between the fact of divine revelation (the act of God whereby he discloses himself to us through general and special revelation), illumination (the act of the Spirit, whereby he grants spiritual insight and the truthful perception regarding the Bible), and biblical interpretation (the act of God whereby he breathed his word and guided biblical writers to write his word without errors in the original manuscripts).

14 April 2019 – The Triune God

Many today, both lay and professional theologians, have criticized the traditional formulations of the doctrine of the Trinity (e.g., Nicaea, 325) as too Western and irrelevant for Asian societies. The Bible does not explicitly teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Rather, the doctrine of the Trinity is a theological construct. It does teach, however, that God is one, yet the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. This talk examines the biblical teachings, which imply the doctrine of the Trinity, and their importance to Christian faith and living. It will also consider alternative approaches proposed by Asian church leaders and theologians in recent years.

28 April 2019 – God, Evil, & Suffering

This talk examines one of the more, if not the most, difficult challenge facing evangelical Christianity today. David Hume, the 18th century Scottish philosopher and sceptic once lamented, “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing: whence then is evil?” (Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, part 10). This talk focuses on how Christians can hold simultaneously three concepts: God’s power, God’s goodness, and the presence of evil in the world. It will also offer guidelines on how we can strengthen our faith in Christ, in spite of this vexing intellectual challenge.

12 May 2019 – The Plan & Mission of God

Does God have a mission, a plan, or a purpose that he himself is working toward? The Bible says he does. In Ephesians 1:9-10, one of the most succinct definitions of mission, Paul says: “(God has) made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment — to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” God is in the business of bringing all of creation — all things in heaven and on earth — into a healed, reconciled, and restored unity in Christ and through Christ and for Christ. And that is the mission of God. It is cosmic and creational. It begins with creation and ends with new creation, all focused on Jesus Christ. This talk helps us to get a better grip on the whole teaching of the Bible on the mission that God has entrusted to us.

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