Systematic Theology

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine

by Wayne Grudem

Portions of this text will be read over the entire program.

The Christian church has a long tradition of systematic theology, that is, studying theology and doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introduction to systematic theology has several distinctive features: – A strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching – Clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum – A contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today – A friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect – Frequent application to life – Resources for worship with each chapter – Bibliographies with each chapter that cross-reference subjects to a wide range of other systematic theologies.

Semester 1

The Cure: What if God isn’t who you think He is, and neither are you?

by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall

We thought we were cured. We thought so, but most of us unwittingly carried an old, dead outlook into our new life. We couldn’t measure up to a standard we created, so we convinced ourselves it was God’s. We read his words through our grid of shame and felt ourselves fall farther and farther behind. We took it out on each other, judging, comparing, faking, splintering. Some of us retreated from the whole charade, becoming cynical, mistrusting, jaded from hope. Our marriages, churches, families, friendships, our marketplaces, our culture… they all need the cure.

But God’s cures rarely come in the form we expect.  What if, indeed, God is not who we think he is… and neither are we?

Tangible Kingdom Primer

by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

Everyone’s talking about community, Everyone seems to want it, most complain if they don’t find it, but it’s harder to pull off than you’d think. As we said in The Tangible Kingdom, God’s ways are natural, but they aren’t easy – especially at first. New ways of life must be formed in us through hours, days, and years of intentional practice.

Galatians 5 tells us, « So I say live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. »

Sure, we all know we need this thing called « community » and we even have an inkling telling us that our friends need it too. Yet, a Grand Canyon-sized gap exists between our hopes and our realities.

That’s where this primer comes in.

The Primer is about building life-long habits, with two primary purposes: first as a formation tool to prepare your heart for mission, and second as a field guide for starting mission together. So whether you’re a pastor hoping to reinvigorate your church, a planter needing to get your people on the same page, a small group leader wanting to push your friends into mission, or a regular guy (or gal) looking to start something new–get started with this Eight-Week guide to Incarnational Community.

Cultivating A Life For God

by Neil Cole

Cultivating a Life for God calls upon us to rethink our busy, fast-paced lives. If there is a stirring in your soul for « something more » in your spiritual journey, take a risk on what God might do in and through your life. Discover the compassion that comes from heaven and can be experienced in a Life Transformation Group (LTG). You may never be the same again!

Semester 2

FourFold Gospel

by A.B. Simpson

A.B. Simpson was a Canadian Evangelical who preached around the globe and wrote important words such as:  » Wholly Sanctified » and « The Gospel of Healing ». The Fourfold Gospel explains the four folds that unify the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Christ the Savior, Christ the Sanctifier, Christ the Healer, and Christ the Coming King.

Strengths Based Leadership: Great leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.

In Strengths Based Leadership, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath and renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of continued Gallup research into the topic of leadership. Based on their discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.

A unique access code allows you to take a new leadership version of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder program. The new version of this program provides you with specific strategies for leading with your top five strengths and enables you to plot the strengths of your team based on the four domains of leadership strength revealed in the book.

Semester 3

Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough

by Justin & Trisha Davis

How safe is your marriage? The answer may surprise you. The biggest threat to any marriage isn’t infidelity or miscommunication. The greatest enemy is ordinary. Ordinary marriages lose hope. Ordinary marriages lack vision. Ordinary marriages give in to compromise. Ordinary is the belief that this is as good as it will ever get. And when we begin to settle for ordinary, it’s easy to move from « I do » to « I’m done. » Justin and Trisha Davis know just how dangerous ordinary can be. In this beautifully written book, Justin and Trisha take us inside the slow fade that occurred in their own marriage, each telling the story from their own perspective. Together, they reveal the mistakes they made, the work they avoided, the thoughts and feelings that led to an affair and near divorce, and finally, the heart-change that had to occur in both of them before they could experience the hope, healing, and restoration of a truly extraordinary marriage.

Wholly Sanctified

by A.B. Simpson

Simpson’s own testimony in regard to personal sanctification reveals the focus of his message: « I prayed a long time to get sanctified. Sometimes I thought I had it. On one occasion I felt something, and I held on with a desperate grip for fear I should lose it. I kept awake the whole night fearing it would go, and, of course, it went with the next sensation and the next mood. I lost it because I did not hold on to him. »

  • We give ourselves to him, he takes us.
  • We bring an empty hand, he fills it.
  • We are the capacity, he is the supply.
  • We are the temple, he occupies it.
  • We are the channel, he flows through it.

You can also download a free pdf of the book from the C&MA, here.

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication

by Andy Stanley

When You Talk, Are People Changed?

Whether you speak from the pulpit, podium, or the front of a classroom, you don’t need much more than blank stares and faraway looks to tell you you’re not connecting. Take heart before your audience takes leave! You can convey your message in the powerful, life-changing way it deserves to be told. An insightful, entertaining parable that’s an excellent guide for any speaker, Communicating for a Change takes a simple approach to delivering effectively. Join Pastor Ray as he discovers that the secrets to successful speaking are parallel to the lessons a trucker learns on the road. By knowing your destination before you leave (identifying the one basic premise of your message), using your blinkers (making transitions obvious), and implementing five other practical points, you’ll drive your message home every time!

Great stories capture and hold an audience’s attention from start to finish. Why should it be any different when you stand up to speak?

Spirituality Of Fundraising

by Henri Nouwen

Have you ever raised funds for your church, another organization, or a mission trip? Maybe you felt uncomfortable about asking people to donate money. It’s time to change the way you view this important task. « Fundraising is, first and foremost, a ministry, » renowned author and teacher Henri Nouwen writes in the introduction. Nouwen approaches fundraising from a position of strength rather than weakness, seeing it as spiritual work. « Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging, » he points out. The core of fundraising is casting a compelling vision that people want to be part of. Unlike most business/leadership books, A SPIRITUALITY OF FUNDRAISING is brief and can easily be read in one sitting. Sections of this booklet include –Fundraising as Ministry –Helping the Kingdom Come About –Our Security Base –People Who Are Rich –Asking –A New Communion –Prayer and Gratitude –Your Kingdom Come.

Semester 4

The Gospel of Healing

by A.B. Simspon

In The Gospel of Healing Simpson affirms that health and divine life flow from Christ not from man.  This Twenty-first Century Classic originally appeared in A.B. Simpson’s magazine, The Word, The Work and The World, between the years 1883 to 1885. Simpson had this book printed in 1888 and it was the first of his more than 100 books.

Simpson wrote, « The importance of this subject and the emphatic way in which God’s Spirit is pressing it into the attention of His people demand for it the most careful and thorough scriptural study ». Simpson’s healing message remained consistent, balanced and biblically grounded throughout his entire ministry.

You can also download a pdf of the book from the C&MA, here.

Members of One Another: How to Build a Biblical Ethos into your Church

by Dennis McCallum

Dare to face an uncompromising look at the real need in modern western Christianity; something far more important than methods, structures, or gimmicks–ethos. Once you build a biblical ethos into your group they will handle any obstacle and continue to thrive. Readers will think through some of the most perplexing issues facing local churches today: How to build high commitment into your group, How to resolve the contradictions between modern time demands and close body life, How to understand biblical teaching on church discipline in a today’s world, How to stop the bleeding from western churches losing student-aged members to the world, and instead make student ministry the strongest part of your church, How each of 7 key New Testament metaphors for the church contributes its own unique insight into church health, How the dozens of « one-another » passages in the New Testament require a radical view of church life, quite at odds with many modern assumption.s The Lord will encourage you that New Testament church is possible, and He’ll give you biblical and practical ideas for building a biblical ethos into your church.

Church Unique

by Will Mancini

Written by church consultant Will Mancini expert on a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry that leads to redemptive movement. He guides churches away from an internal focus to emphasize participation in their community and surrounding culture. In this important book, Mancini offers an approach for rethinking what it means to lead with clarity as a visionary. Mancini explains that each church has a culture that reflects its particular values, thoughts, attitudes, and actions and shows how church leaders can unlock their church’s individual DNA and unleash their congregation’s one-of-a-kind potential.

Renovation

by Dwight Smith

The church in America has wandered. In recent years we have forgotten the conviction of thousands of Christ followers, across two thousand years, who gave themselves to completing the last sending command of Jesus: “In your going, make disciples of all the peoples of the world” (Matt. 28:19). Instead, in an effort to draw people to Christ, much of the Western church today has sought to become relevant through golden-tongued leaders, star-quality worship bands, large-scale buildings, and myriad social programs.
God is on a mission to redeem lost men and women to Himself and restore them to relationship with and representation of Him, and we, the already redeemed ones, are servants in this mission. Relevancy is not the primary need of the church in our day; rather, it is to provide people accessibility to the gospel through our day-to-day lives. God’s ultimate design for the church is simply for every member of Christ’s church to live the gospel in whatever places God calls us, thus saturating every home, workplace, community, city, and nation with the gospel message through the people of God.