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Theology Matters Jan/Feb - Nov/Dec 2004

Created, Loved, and Called: Looking at the Issues of Life from the Perspective of Christian Faith, Part 1  
(Part 2 is printed in the Jan/Feb 2005 Theology Matters)
"These transcripts are printed from the six part recorded series with accompanying discussion questions and supplementary discussion sessions that are available on DVD, VCR and print from Presbyterians Pro-Life. This series develops a Christian  worldview with application to life issues.....This curriculum is based on the reformed conviction that faith and practice are and ought to be related.  All of our lives we are busy developing our view of the world--of what we regard as reality and truth.  Often that development takes place without our conscious involvement.  Because we Christians live our lives immersed in messages from a wide variety of sources, we often adopt both beliefs and practices without careful scrutiny.  And without a thorough knowledge of Scripture and careful application of it to our modern situations, we are often unaware that some of the beliefs held by Christians are not necessarily Christian beliefs."   p. 1


The Missional Church by Alan J. Roxburgh
Roxburgh, who is one of the authors of Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, explains the characteristics and meaning of a missional church. Roxburgh argues that the "missional church conversation challenges some of the most basic assumptions we have about the nature and purpose of the church."  p. 1

Can the Church be Converted? How 'Missional' Came to College Hill Presbygterian Church by Stephen Eyre
Eyre explains the step-by-step process that College Hill Presbyterian Church followed as they sought to become a missional church.  p. 6

The Initial Steps of Transformation by Valerie Hershberger
Hershberger follows the details from the session's exploration into missional church to the teams set-up and the discussions held to share and then implement the vision at College Hill Presbyterian.  p. 11


Essential Tenets and Reformed Distinctives: Discussion Questions by Bob Davis
These questions supplement the Essential Tenets and Reformed Distinctives approved by the San Diego Presbytery and published in Theology Matters in Sep/Oct 2003. 


The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2003 by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe.
This article is reprinted from the National Marriage Project at Rutgers, the State University of NJ.  The Marriage Project is co-directed by Popenoe and Whitehead.  "The Project's mission is to provide research and analysis on the state of marriage in America and to educate the public on the social, economic, and cultural conditions affecting marital success and well-being."  p.1

What Marriage Is For by Maggie Gallagher
Gallagher argues that the purpose of marriage is "that children need mothers and father, that societies need babies, and that adults have an obligation to shape their sexual behavior so as to give their children stable families in which to grow up."  Contrast that historic view with the highest court in Ontario Canada that ordered gay marriage on June 10, 2003 saying, "marriage is without dispute, one of the most significant forms of personal relationships...Through the institution of marriage, individuals can publicly express their love and commitment to each other. Through this institution, society publicly recognizes expressions of love and commitment between individuals, granting them respect and legitimacy as a couple."  p. 8

I Do? by David Blankenhorn
Blankenhorn argues against couples writing their own vows because this leads the couple to assume that they are creating the institution of marriage tailored to meet their needs and feelings.  Their personalized vows convey that marriage is "a loving relationship of undetermined duration created of the couple, by the couple, and for the couple.  The couple should be helped to understand that they are entering an institution ordained by God, not one that they personally craft.  p. 12

The Nordic Track by Gene Edward Veith
Veith highlights Stanley Kurtz's work on marriage in Scandinavia where not only marriage is disappearing, but consequently the birth rate is plummeting.  p. 14


Why Doctrine Is Inevitable--And a Good Thing Too! by Alister McGrath
McGrath responds to those who seek a doctrine-less Christian faith in which people simply trust and love God. "There thus exist two pressures which make dogma inevitable: the human desire to make sense of things and extend the horizons of understanding; and the social need for the church to offer a definition of its identity and boundaries...."

Reform from Within by Terry Schlossberg
In this talk given at the Presbyterian Coalition Gathering, Schlossberg calls evangelicals to love those they seek to change, understand their calling in difficult times, rely on Scripture, have a realistic understanding of the current situation in the church.  She gives some specific areas that need reform. p. 6

The Lord Saves by Jim Berkley
A brief devotional on Luke 8:22-25 when the disciples fear they will drown on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus sleeps and also David and Goliath.  p. 10

The Stewardship of Selecting General Assembly Commissioners by Bob Davis
Davis calls Presbyterians to accept their covenant responsibility of electing leaders.  He examines Scripture, the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order.  He gives specific steps to follow in accepting covenant responsibility for identifying leaders.  p.12