Watching the Webcast?
June 2012 marks 3 years since the inception of the Timothy Partnership - an online Diploma of Theology with the aim of “equipping every Christian, everywhere”.
Three years later and the Timothy Partnership is up and running – starting out with 27 students in January 2010 and now with over 150 students doing either a Diploma of Theology or a Certificate of Theology.
Thursday 21st June
7pm - 8pm
Do you find church history boring? What about 'minor' arguments about words? Does any of that stuff even matter?
Recently I had to write an essay about the deity of Jesus. The question asked about the 4th century heretic, Arius, and what was at stake in his claims about Jesus. As Christians we often take for granted that Jesus is God. But does it really matter? And if so, why does it?
Arius was born in Libya a long time ago, only 150-200 years after the New Testament was written. At the time, the church was trying to grapple with the implications of the apparent paradox that Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man. If there was one God, what did it mean to say that Jesus Christ was God? Was it true? Did God change from one to the other, or gradually expand who he was?
Arius argued that because God could not change, the Son could not be everlasting creator God, but rather the first of God's creatures. This is summed up in his famous statement about the Christ: "There was when he was not"
In 325 AD, a church council met at Nicea and condemned Arius as a heretic and excommunicated him from the church. It produced a creed stating that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, of one substance with the Father. After decades of more controversy over the issue, the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD affirmed the creed of the Council of Nicea and produced the Nicene Creed which we use in churches to this day, confirming that we believe Jesus Christ to be the 'only Son of God ... True God from True God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father'.
For those who argued against Arius, the very issue of salvation was at stake. Athanasius, who led the argument against Arius and his followers, maintained that only God in flesh could redeem and reconcile mankind.
So why does this argument over a few Greek words matter for us almost 1700 years later?
Only one who is both fully God and fully man can effect our salvation for us - man must pay the price for sin but only God is able to.
We are surrounded by people, inside and outside the church, who do not believe that Jesus Christ was really God, but want to insist that he was just a good man.
Our understanding of the truth of Scripture matters. Jesus' followers were convinced he was personally divine. John's gospel leaves us in no doubt that Jesus was both God, and eternal (from the beginning) (John 1:1f). This is affirmed by the apostle Paul (Phil 2:6 and Col 1:16f) and by the writer to the Hebrews (ch 1). To deny Jesus' deity is to deny Scripture is true.
Human reason is not above Scripture. That is not to say that when we become Christians we leave our brains at the door. Far from it! But we are to allow Scripture to inform our thinking, not our thinking inform Scripture. In what areas do we allow our culture and our thinking to dictate our understanding of God's word?
Within the trinity there is both equality of being, and an order that cannot be reversed. One does not exclude the other.
Recently the Federal Government extended the National Schools Chaplaincy Program by a further 3 years. Along with the extension, the government brought in new minimum training standards for Chaplains from 2012 onwards. The Timothy Partnership is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with the Australian Government for two units of Pastoral Care, which will give Chaplains a solid basis for understanding what pastoral care is, and then the equivalent of the two Certificate IV required units, Mental Health and Referrals.
As a collaborative venture of Youthworks and Presbyterian Youth, working through the ACT's affiliated colleges, Anglican Youthworks College and the Presbyterian Theological Centre, these two units specialising in Pastoral Care, will be on offer from 2012. Click here to go to the Certificate page to read more.
Last night a young woman was interviewed in my church about the year she spent at Bible college, having taken leave from her job to do a Diploma in Sydney.
It was great. She talked about the encouragement of spending time with other Christians, the blessing of being able to take time to study God's word, and the privilege and responsibility that are ours in having the access we do to such excellent Bible teaching. She talked about the way that studying God's word changes how we do ministry because it changes who we are.
All this I have found to be true.
And I realised again what a really cool thing the Timothy Partnership is - it allows me to do almost exactly the same thing on a bean bag in front of the heater in my lounge room - a technique I learnt from my high school aged children. And the dinner table conversations are still with my family.
The Timothy Partnership is hosting a Webcast of the Information Night Thursday 23rd June at 8pm.
Join us to hear more about the Timothy Partnership.
To join the online meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
1. Go to https://aufreetrial.webex.com/aufreetrial/j.php?ED=155631727&UID=1205051...
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. Click "Join".
Come and hear about how the Timothy Partnership can be used by people from many walks of life to further equip them for ministry. Meet some of the lecturers and have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the Timothy Partnership.
When: Thursday 23 June 2011 8pm
Where: Presbyterian Theological Centre,
77 Shaftesbury Rd, Burwood
RSVP: 22 June 2011 by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone: (02) 8567 4700
Having started the Timothy Partnership course as a full time student at the beginning of 2010, I am now over half way to completing my DipTh. This last semester has been the hardest for me. This has nothing to do with course content, but stuff going on in and around my life apart from TP. The problems I faced caused me to consider 'throwing in the towel'. TP students are not alone and as such, my mentors and friends encouraged me and gave me the help I needed to continue on. It is by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, that the problems have been overcome and I am encouraged to 'soldier on'. I do not mean that in a hard way. The course content has its highs and lows, but I do not think it possible for anyone who chooses to take TP on, to mature in their relationship with Christ as a result.
Just last week one of the students in my English class commented 'I think that you have a very happy religion'.
Maybe it was my grin (a combination of nerves and my delight at the questions they were asking), but I would rather think that it was in response to my answer to her previous question: 'So are you saying that if you are a Christian, all you have to do is believe Jesus and you will go to heaven?'.
It was a great reminder to me of the very real joy that comes from truly understanding the grace of God. It is so different from the burden of a religion that tries desperately to appease God, to do 'enough'.
What a wonderful opportunity to share this joy with others for whom it is so foreign!
This week we are doing Timothy Partnership exams. It has been another full and busy and rewarding semester of learning, which seems again to have gone so fast. After the exams I am looking forward to catching up with and meeting some of my fellow students 'in the flesh', having 'met' them in class this term. One of the great 'fringe benefits' of this course has been getting to know brothers and sisters in Christ I would otherwise not have met, and sharing with them the joys, and struggles, knowing that we are working together in serving the King.
As I write this, there is a week of the school term left, and I find myself wondering again where the term has gone! A new school term brought with it a new semester of study with the Timothy Partnership, and another opportunity to study God’s word and be encouraged and equipped in ministering to others. The subject I am doing is OT 202, which unfathomably seems to have three different titles. But I am glad, because each gives a slightly different, and helpful, perspective on what the subject is about.
‘Old Testament Prophets and Writings’ is written on the front of the study guided provided for the subject, which contains all the notes and the core readings. This title gives me a clue which books of the Bible will be looked at (in our Bibles, basically an overview of everything from Chronicles to the end of the Old Testament).
The ACT (Australian College of Theology) title for this subject is ‘From Israel to Judea’, and this title helps me to understand the historical perspective and the changes in the nation of Israel and their situation amongst the nations around them over this period. It has been exciting to see the connection between this and the things I learnt last semester in looking at the background to the gospels.
The prospectus calls the subject ‘Judgement and Restoration’. I think this is a theological title, and for me it summarises what God is doing in dealing with his people – both his people Israel, and his people all over the world. We have seen as we have looked at the prophets that God’s judgement of Israel and the promised judgement of the nations around them is a foretaste of the judgement to come and God’s punishment of his Son in our place; and that the restoration of Israel and the return to the land is not all there is – it looks forward to the restoration of God’s people brought by the Messiah, and the return to Eden. And just this last week we have been looking at Ezekiel, and have been reminded that God's glory and majesty are the basis for both judgement and restoration, so we have seen more of who God is and what he is like.
We keep being reminded of the way that all of the prophets, and indeed all of the Old Testament, looks forward to Jesus, and the way that all that God is doing in history revolves around bringing all things under his headship. Maybe having so many different titles does that too – points to Jesus and each of the different titles given to him, that all tell us something of who he is!