Theology has been really interesting. We're doing Soteriology and we're working through the Ordo Salutis (yay!). The things we've been discussing recently are:
- Grace - there are various different types, common and special for example, and all the implications therein.
- Union with Christ - what it means to be "in Christ".
- Calling - Effectual, Internal and External, the differences and the debates that rage on the topic.
This week it's regeneration and conversion. Mostly our lectures contain a lot of discussion and pleasant mannered debates because we know all the readings for the semester and we have the list of questions to ponder. Our main texts are Hoekema - Saved by Grace, Venema - The Promise of the Future, and Louis Berkhof - Systematic Theology. Reymond's Systematic theology makes regular appearances and I expect Grudem and Erickson will too.
Our text for CH is Gonzalez and we have a lot of extra reading ie. 39 Articles and Scots confession. I think there is a quiz every week or fortnight and we have a 200 word write up due every Friday. Week one was on the Tudors and Stuarts. I had a good giggle over a John Knox quote in which he said Mary Stuart was the "New Jezebel"!
In OT we've been learning about the 'Toledoths' and the different covenants. Last week we talked a lot about Issac and Jacob. We finally got to Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestles with God.
24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob's hip on the sinew of the thigh.
We talked about the apparent "weakness" of God in this passage. I find I cringe when it's put like that and I think we must be careful of the presuppositions we draw on to understand this passage. I came at it from the "God is eternally and ultimately sovereign" view point and went from there. The question on lips of most was: if Jacob could prevail against God, does God have a weakness? This is my take on the passage: God is sovereign and omnipotent; He can have no weakness and the implications of a god with a weakness are too horrific. So the next question I asked myself was who was the man? A Theophany or Christophany? Could be either and I'll leave it at that. However, a person of the Godhead came and it would appear He took the form of a man. Now think back to when our Lord Jesus was in the middle of His earthly ministry. He knew things only God could know, He did things only God could do yet His body was subject to the same "weaknesses" as us: hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Back to Genesis - God pursued and instigated the wrestling with Jacob. They wrestled man to man but God did not forsake His power. I believe Jacob only prevailed because God allowed him to do so and we can see that God was in complete control by His power to "affect an effect" on Jacob's hip. If one took those verses to mean Jacob had any power of his own, or God has a weakness, one may fall into the trap of diminishing the power of God and the efficacy of the Cross of Christ.
I haven't settled into a church...yet. There are so many to visit and people keep inviting me to all sorts of things like prayer meetings and bible studies. I thought church hunting would be a drag but I've really enjoyed visiting different denominations and meeting new people. So far I've been to two Reformed Presbyterian congregations (sister churches in fact) and a regular reformed church.
On the socialising side things are very busy! We have a table tennis table in the dining room which is often in use and is a great break (procrastination) from study. I the evenings/wee hours of the night I often study in the guest kitchen (because the table can hold all our books) with two of my friends, Caleb and Henry. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays one of the day students, Tim, joins us in the dining room and we study Greek together. Sometimes we end up with a few of us going over the vocab with flash cards after a Greek lesson.
Tim and Henry go to the same church, with our other friend Esther, and they invited me to their church camp the other week. It was so great! The talks were fantastic and spending time with solid, mature Christians was so encouraging. The camp is located northish of Melbourne where the Black Saturday fires were 2 years ago. I was amazed at how well the flora and fauna was recovering. I love waking up to a dew-soaked bush - the aromas and sounds were so familiar and they reminded me of Tassie. I haven't seen a lot of country Victoria so I really enjoyed the trip.
I'm excited about the coming weekend because my best friend is coming to visit. Henry is planning paintballing for Saturday and we're going to visit Caleb's church on Sunday. We always have an abundance of food (in part because of Caleb's vegetable garden and because our friend, Joni, is a fantastic cook.) and I'm sure the weekend won't be an exception. I'm hoping for a nice walk up a big hill so I can take photos of Geelong to post on here. I shall try to get a picture of everyone and then you'll know who I am talking about.