As promised from the last post, today I’ll give you the rest of the details on this idea:
I decided we would start our own reading group. I’ve wrestled with wanting to start an apologetics forum/group and the idea to have a theology reading group dovetailed nicely into that idea. I’m still finalizing the details, but I’ve got 5 guys from our small group who are all in college and wanting to both learn Christian theology and how to defend the faith. We’re planning to meet once a week and talk about our reading, as well as having a monthly meeting where we talk apologetics and dialogue with anyone they might want to bring.
So, here’s the plan.
Each month has a theological focus, as well as a historical theologian focus:
- January: Metaphysics and Ante-Nicene Fathers
- February: Epistemology and Post-Nicene Fathers
- March: Bibliology and Augustine
- April: Trinitarianism and Aquinas or Anselm
- May: Anthropology/Hamartiology and Calvin or Luther
- June: Christology and Puritans
- July: Pneumatology and John Owen
- August: Soteriology and Jonathan Edwards
- September: Ecclesiology and Charles Spurgeon
- October: Eschatology and Early 20th Century theologians
- November: Ethics/Culture and Late 20th/21st Century theologians
- December: Apologetics
I borrowed the idea for a different theologian each month from Mark Dever (HT: Tony Reinke in Lit!). But, notice how there is no theologian focus in December. This means is that the cycle of theologians would restart, so that the next year, it is a different theologians linked with a different theological focus. So, when there is a wide variety of books that could be read by the particular author, the monthly focus helps to limit the options.
The bulk of the reading in the reading group though is going to be split between John Frame’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Jan-Feb) and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (March-October). I am going to additionally be working progressively through Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics and Shedd’s Dogmatic Theology, as well as some assorted other books like The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (a chapter a month gets me through it in a year) and the books in the Contours of Christian Theology I haven’t gotten to read yet.
You may be wondering at this point when I’ll find the time to read Scripture, but no worries, I have a plan for that, which of course, I’ll tell you about in a post next week.
This may seem like a lot of reading, but it really isn’t much more than what I’ve already been doing, it’s just more focused. Also, by reading each week from other theologians, I am hoping to be able to facilitate our weekly reading group discussions better, as well as provide insightful posts here on the blog.
Which brings us to how you can be involved if you’re interested.
The reading group has assigned sections of each of the two books we’re reading together. I’ll post a schedule on here closer to January, and if you’d like to read along, I’d love to interact with you. Throughout the week, I’ll have other posts relating to my reading or possible reviews of relevant books. Our group is meeting on Saturday, and then I’ll post a recap of some of the thing we discussed on Monday morning, inviting you to jump into the comments when you want to interact.
This also allows youthe flexibility to even work through a different systematic theology along with us and add your voice to the conversation. Say you’ve already read Grudem. Pick another one then and set up your schedule to follow ours and fill us in on what you think about what you’re reading. You’re welcome to work through Bavinck with me (or Shedd) but if you’ve never read a systematic theology before or done any heavy theological reading, I’d recommend just starting with Grudem.
If you like the idea of reading theologically with us, but feel intimidated or don’t have a ton of time, you could always opt for the abridged version of Grudem’s work, Bible Doctrine: Essential Teaching of the Christian Faith or Frame’s short systematic theology (Salvation Belongs to the Lord) or Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine. I’d steer away from Horton’s The Christian Faith personally, unless you’ve done a good bit of theological reading elsewhere. If you have, then have at it with Horton and be sure and check out the series I already did on that book.
Our impulse in the group was to do some harder theological reading together. The interest of many of the guys is in apo