Resources for Important Upcoming Observances and
the New Sep/Oct Issue of Theology Matters
As you are planning for the next several months, here are some dates to keep in mind and resources designed as aids to your preaching and teaching.
December 1, First Sunday in Advent
Your congregation will be inspired and grow in faith by using John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion for their advent devotional reading. Rev. Edwin Hurley put together a collection of excerpts from the Institutes along with daily prayers from Calvin's sermons.
Calvin's words in these meditations are deeply moving. In addition Calvin's explanations of the doctrines of Christian faith give greater understanding of the meaning and importance of Christmas. You will find the devotional by clicking here for the issue of Theology Matters in which the excerpts appear or click here for the material reformatted into a devotional booklet.
January 19, Sanctity of Life Sunday and
the New Sep/Oct issue of Theology Matters
January 19 is the Sunday closest to the date when the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion in 1973. Back issues of Theology Matters include a number of articles on abortion that you can find by clicking here. An article that you might find particularly helpful is by Elizabeth Achtemeier, "Abortion and the Sacraments" reprinted in the Sep/Oct 2013 Theology Matters. Achtemeier applies the doctrine of baptism to unborn children, framing the issue of abortion in a Christian worldview. Help your congregation see the relationship between baptism and our care for one another, born and unborn.
This Sep/Oct issue of Theology Matters sets forth a Reformed understanding of baptism. Articles explain how baptism is neither an empty ceremony nor a magical rite that saves us. It is rather the seal of God's gracious claim on our lives, which we must grasp by faith. This issue counters a common view of baptism as a spiritual entitlement empowering the recipients to fill any church office as they engage in any behavior they please.
February 7-14, National Marriage Week
Important marriage articles such as Alan's Wisdom's, "Is Marriage Worth Defending? Part 1" and Part 2, and "What is Marriage?" by Robert George, Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis, will help your congregation to understand God's good plan for a man and a woman, and why the marriage of a man and a woman is different from all other relationships. Remember too our video, "What's the Big Deal about Marriage?" that examines the Biblical revelation in the Old and New Testaments, the history of marriage, and the current social science data. To order the 6-part DVD series, email me here. For more ideas on how your church can celebrate and strengthen marriage, look here .
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