Recently i have been looking for Good materials to learn from to further Progress my faith as well as help educate the youth under me about God and not just believe it any reason. Thanks :]
Great question, @Nathan5!
I’ll be interested to see the wealth of information others here will posts.
For myself, I’m an analytical person so systematic theology jives well with me. The most enlightening book I remember reading during an important stage of Christian development was Millard J. Erickson’s Introducing Christian Doctrine. It provided the full range of different Christian doctrines, different viewpoints to each, and the author was quite open about his personal leanings rather than being dogmatic about telling the reader how they should believe. It was quite thorough, not overly difficult to read, and very objective.
To apply theology into active spiritual discipline, I found Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth positively encouraging rather than legalistic. It’s written in three sections, focusing on inward discipline, leading to outward discipline, preparing Christians for healthy corporate discipline and fellowship.
Looking forward to see what others recommend! Theology is quite a broad topic, so feel free to mention any special topics or focus that come to mind.
@Nathan5 I believe the best thing you can do it determine your learning style. After you do that, we are blessed with a variety of resources to choose from.
One of the first things I did after I became a believer was to purchase an audio bible like this one:
I would listen to it 24/7 and even had it playing when I slept It greatly helped me.
As you may have guessed I prefer to learn through audio so I listened to podcasts from a number of excellent preachers such as John Piper, Ravi Zacharias and a number of Pentecostal/charismatic teachers. I basically listened to teaching constantly to renew my mind from the years of junk I had been putting into it. At this point, I am listening to weekly podcasts from William Lane Craig, Reasons to Believe and Ravi.
When I was teaching a youth group I would try to have them lead bible studies themselves, with my guidance as soon as possible. We used a participative bible study method that would scaffold them to lead. I believe that connecting people directly to God through his Word and spending time with him, to be the best way to help youth grow.
I hope this helps.
Thanks @andrew.bulin for the recommendations of resources to read. those books sound like good reads and I would like to hear why you chose to believe the Christian world view what led you on this path?
Ah thanks for the insight @brianlalor any tips on finding my learning style not quite familiar with the types of learning styles haha
Sure @Nathan5 this research is a bit dated now and many dispute it but if you look up Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences you will see the nine he proposed. I bet when you read the list one or two will resonate with you. Did any stand out?
Yes just read about it @brianlalor for me the Mathematical-Logical Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence and Existential Intelligence stood out
Another great question, @Nathan5
Four primary worldview questions that are important to me are best answered from a Christian worldview:
I believe that God made man in His image because He is love, not because of any need. However He does desire to have an intimate relationship with all people, to call them His own and despite the fall, He has known our futures and has made a way for us to return to Him again.
As physical beings we are to live within the context of our limitations, and in the context of this fallen and broken world. This means a dependency on God for everything, and through the demonstration of His Son, Jesus Christ, we are to be about the business of caring for others, serving them, and selflessly sharing the love He has shared for us, to make disciples of all nations.
As followers of Christ, we are not only to serve others, but are also to try our best to emulate His righteousness with a new heart planted in us, making us new creatures capable of following His sinless nature. Though not sinless yet, we are to obediently strive for righteousness for He is righteous, forgiving others of their shortcomings. If we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and love others as ourselves, we will be able to encompass all the laws and teachings of Christ within these two laws.
God has made us eternal beings, intended for His service and fellowship. However, as He is a just and holy God, our destiny with Him in heaven is in jeopardy. It is not until we accept His mercy through Christ who took our just punishment for sins which we are wiped clean of our iniquity to be able to enjoy this future with Him in heaven when we die, otherwise cursed to eternal separation from Him.
Thanks for your inputs and replying @andrew.bulin I like how you broke them down into four questions its a sad thing to see now a days normal sunday church goers when you ask them specially teens why they believe in the Christian world view most are unable to answer. Its really important to know the why and not just follow blindy or because of circumstances.
I have to give credit to RZIM and their Core Module. I found it very instrumental in taking me further into giving clearer explanations for my faith and understanding better other worldview perspectives compared to my own:
I’d highly recommend it if you have the time to dedicate to it. It’s not very long and runs like a short semester in college.
Yes @andrew.bulin I have actually applied for the scholarship in the core moudle because im a student and I can’t pay for the full amount but they haven’t answered back its been two weeks sadly
Have you tried calling them at this number: 770-449-6766 to check on your schlolarship application?
Ohhh thanks @tpauls8 for reading the thread and giving the number im gonna call it up to check on my scholarship thanks that helped a lot
One thing we’ve done is try and come up with categories, or areas of engagement, that seem essential to a full life of Christian discipleship. I think these four areas are critical for believers to grow in, if they are going to become more committed to the faith:
- Systematic and Biblical Theology
- Church History
- Spiritual Formation
The next thing would be to find good resources at various levels in each area. For example:
- Beginners - Wayne Grudem’s Sytematic Theology
- Intermediate - Thomas Oden’s Classical Christianity or Millard Erickson’s *Christian Theology
- Advanced - Karl Barth Church Dogmatics
Of course particular doctrines fall under this category as well like:
- The Trinity - Fred Sanders The Triune God
- Justification - Michael Horton, Justification
and so on…
Biblical Theology can be broken down into Commentaries, Encyclopedias, On-Line resources, etc.
- Beginner - Bruce Shelly Church History in Plain Language
- Intermediate - Justo Gonzalez The Story of Christianity
- Advanced - J.N.D Kelly *Early Christian Doctrines or *Early Christian Creeds
Spiritual Formation (hard to this category rank by difficulty level)
- Dallas Willard Renovation of the Heart or *The Divine Conspiracy
- Bruce Demarest Seasons of the Soul*
- Classical Authors: Brother Lawrence, Thomas a Kempis, Tozer, etc.
- Beginner - Lee Stobel “Case for” Series or William Lane Craig, On Guard
- Intermediate - William Lane Craig Reasonable Faith or Turek & Geisler I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
- Advanced - Alvin Plantinga Warranted Christian Belief or Richard Swinburne *The Existence of God
Obviously there are thousands upon thousands of books and resources in each category, to include online or podcasts like:
- The Center for Pastor Theologians Podcast
- Onscript Podcast (biblical theology)
- the Christian Classics Ethereal Library
- The Center for Christian Thought (The Table) at Biola University
- Reasonable Faith ministries
- Reasons To Believe ministries
- Capturing Christianity ministry and blog
Hope this helps!
Hello @anthony.costello wow this is very informational I will try to ponder on this more then hopefully implement it aswell
First and foremost let me say congratulations on your eagerness. It is awesome to see someone hungry and thirsting for knowledge.
Everyone has made some good points here. My advice would be to read or listen to God’s Word constantly. Psalm 119:11 states, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You.” Know God’s Word inside and out and pray for guidance, understanding, a spirit of strength so that you will obey God’s commands and a humble spirit to repent when you do fail to obey. On top of that I think many of the books and resources other people have provided above are awesome. I learn better listening so I listen and learn from ministers of sound doctrine. Obviously, Ravi is a great listen for defending the faith and RZIM has a questions playlist on YouTube that is very good. Other ministers of sound doctrine I enjoy listening to or reading are Paul Washer, John McArthur, Charles Spurgeon and John Lennox among others.
Always remember, God’s Word reigns over all so learn it and test every man, book or video you come across to make sure the material aligns with God’s Word. If it does not align with God’s Sword then it is useless and should be ignored. I hope this helps!
This is great advice!
A major turning point in my life was when I had to do a 1.5 hour commute one way, in an beat up old car about nearly a decade ago. I had just acknowledged the Lord that I’d surrender to Him, but had no idea how I could best make time or where to get started. Would my life really change? Then I remembered that my old beater had a cassette player, and when I was a teenager, I had one of those cassette-to-audio jack adapter things. I found one on ebay, connected it to my cellphone, and listened to the Bible to work and back home, 3 hours, everyday. After the Word poured over me cover to cover a few times, I could really sense my heart changing and found myself finally understanding the Bible as one cohesive unit. Granted, my brain is quite receptive to audio books, and I had a deep desire to hear the Word and read it at home as well. But I really believe in the power of the Word as it’s God’s message of life to my heart.
Amen, brother! My current commute to work is an hour total daily and the ability to utilize the technologies we have to listen to the Bible during that time is such a blessing. Listening to God’s Word, storing it in your mind and in your heart so that you may avoid the temptations of the flesh while living a life of courage and boldness, being a light in this world for Him and sharing the Good News with others is the life we are called to live. The battle against the human heart and the ways of this world are daily. Let us all not forget that Satan tempted Jesus with The Word and Satan will twist Scripture to deceive us if we are not constantly yearning for the knowledge, guidance and understanding that the Holy Spirit can provide.
Thanks @robhenry15 for your words of insight!