A second post on the classes I am taking this semester, but first a couple of quotes about studying history (since I am taking so many history classes):
“He who has no spiritual heroes will certainly not be one.” Dr. Whitney shared this with us, but I am not sure if it originated with him. Either way it is helpful in encouraging me to study the lives of faithful servants of Christ that I might fulfill Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
A second quote Dr. Haykin shared with us: “To do theology without history is like studying cut flowers, not living plants.” Michael Blecker
Back to my classes for Spring ’11:
History of the Baptists – My teacher for this class is Tom Nettles. This is a class that I am required to take because of the specific concentration I am in within the M.Div. curriculum. That said, most people do not seem to think of this as one of the more exciting classes, but I am actually really excited about it. Dr. Nettles is ridiculously learned in church history, and his specialty is Baptist history. Because of this he knows his lectures inside and out and is able to communicate them very well. The content of the class covers the late 1500s (when the first Baptists started to separate from paedo-baptist groups) until the modern day. The class’ focus is Baptist identity (i.e. What is a Baptist?). This is important for me because I do not finally know whether I am a Baptist yet. Among those who have influenced me spiritually an equal amount have been credo-baptists (believer baptizers) and paedo-baptists (infant baptizers), so this class will help me get a full picture for what the credo-baptist position is. (In the future (i.e. within the year) I hope to use this blog as a record for how Meg and I work through the teaching of Scripture and come to a conclusion concerning the practice of baptism.)
Books: Most of our reading for this class is from Dr. Nettles own three volume series entitled The Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming Baptist Identity. I am about two-thirds of the way through these three volumes and have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Great Christian Lives: This class is led by Dr. Whitney (from my Personal Spiritual Disciplines class last semester). For this class we are studying the lives of three pastors/theologians, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The semester is broken up into thirds with the first third studying Edwards, the middle third studying Spurgeon, and the last third studying Lloyd-Jones. There are no lectures for this class. We simply read designated chapters, come to class (twice a week), report that we did in fact read (or not), and then spend two hours in discussion. I really like reading the biographies for this class. They are the new balm for my brain after all of my Hebrew studies (which means less Blink-182 and Third Eye Blind). Learning about pastoring first hand like this is very thrilling for me. We also get to see the faithfulness, power, and mercy of God working in these broken, sinful men to draw many to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
Books: Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray, Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore, and D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: The First Forty Years (vol 1) and The Fight of Faith (vol 2) by Iain Murray