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The Book Every Theologically Minded Anglican Must Have

Ryle

The following post was written by guest contributor Rev. Hamilton Smith, Pastor and Planter of St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Mount Pleasant S.C.  Hamilton is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry, with a focus on J.C. Ryle’s Reformation theology for today.

As a pastor, church planter, evangelist, parent, and disciple, I get (and have) a lot of questions about Christianity.  When confronted with such questions, I have a universe of resources to help me answer them:  study bibles, websites, Christian blogs, Christian magazines, online theological journals, Biblical commentaries, Systematic Theology text books, books, etc., etc., etc.  Accurate answers can be found in text books, but it usually takes a large investment of time and energy to get them.  Large sections must be reviewed, translated to laymen’s terms (literally), summarized, and then shared.  I don’t get answers quickly, and it’s difficult to give them succinctly.

Blogs and articles, however, can give me quick, short answers, but are they accurate?  Are they in line with Biblical teaching?  Are they based in the way Christians have wrestled with this topic for 2000 years?  Are they coming from a Christian tradition that is compatible with Anglicanism?  On top of all this, do these resources actually give me information that is practical?  Are they useful to the person asking the question?  Do they satisfy intellectual curiosity AND also warm the heart with God’s forgiveness and love?

So, where do I turn to get quick, succinct, accurate, and practical answers?  My “go to” source:  Knot’s Untied by J.C. Ryle (Copyright laws allow it to be published online for free).  Why is this 139-year-old book by Victorian English Bishop my primary ‘go to’ when answering Postmodern questions?  5 Reasons:  (more…)

This post was written by Rob Sturdy

Building a Personal Theological Library: A Guide for New/Young Clergy

At The Ridley Institute we work very hard to bring theology back into the heart of the local church.  A key component Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 4.04.21 PMof that is to train pastor/theologians and to champion the model of the pastor/theologian as a model worthy of emulation.  There are a variety of components that go in to that.  The one I’d like to focus in on with this post is the very practical discussion of building a personal theological library as a resource for the pastor/theologian.  It’s generally taken for granted that clergy ought to be lifelong students of the Bible as well as the Christian tradition, and yet very little direction is given by senior clergy to junior clergy on how to go about this lifelong pursuit and how to acquire the resources to do this effectively.  This post is meant to offer a very practical guide to acquiring the types of resources that will help you be a lifelong student of the Bible and Christian theology as well as equip you to pastor, disciple and preach to your people from within the rich resources of Christian tradition.   (more…)

This post was written by Rob Sturdy

Are Evangelicals Even Christian?

diegomontoyaEvangelicals have been in the news quite a bit recently.  In the much ballyhooed US Religious Landscape Study, the Evangelicals were one rare breed of US Christians that remained relatively stable in the midst of an overall precipitous decline amongst religious adherents in the U.S.  That alone makes Evangelicals newsworthy.  Of course in an election cycle, Evangelicals become endless fodder for the 24 hour news cycle because they are an important voting block, with different parties making different attempts to appeal to them.  In the midst of all this press, both positive and negative, one story about Evangelicals may have escaped your notice.  The piece written for The Federalist, titled “Survey Finds Most American Christians are Actually Heretics,”(hat tip Lee Nelson) loses some important points amongst the snark, nevertheless it remains worth your time.

The piece is essentially an op-ed commentary on a survey conducted by Lifeway Research and funded by Ligonier ministries. The defining feature of the survey, at least to me, was an inability for those surveyed to think consistently about their faith.  For example, 60% of respondents believed that Heaven is a place where “all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones” however 54% percent of respondents said that only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior” will go to heaven.  Adding to the confusion, 64% believe that “God accepts all forms of religion.”  It doesn’t take a seminary degree to see the incompatibility of the above viewpoints.  The only way I could reconcile the above viewpoints would be with the theologically liberal solution of a Universalist Cosmic Christ, which is probably not what the respondents intended!

And while logical inconsistency might be the defining feature of the survey, it is by no means the most interesting.  (more…)

This post was written by Rob Sturdy

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