23 December, 2008

Bible Study in St. Louis - Law and Gospel

Below is the substance of an invitation sent out to families attending the St. Louis Preaching Station of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). If you are interested in attending this study, please contact me for directions, etc. All are cordially invited to attend.

Dear friends,

Through our Wednesday evening study of Scottish Theology, an interesting and vital question has arisen: how should the Christian relate to the law? This is a most necessary question for us to take up, and because of the gravity of such a question, the errors that have been committed in times past, and the great confusion concerning it in the present age, we are taking a break from our usual course. For the next seven weeks, Lord willing, we will consider questions relating to biblical law and grace, with a special focus upon how such relates to the believer today.

From the outset I feel constrained to make clear that my understanding of this question has already been answered by Scripture; and that this answer is accurately stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Such an answer I believe is not out of blind submission to these documents; indeed, I can testify of the personal struggle I experienced several years ago now as I wrestled through this and related questions in a diligent study of Scripture. With this clarification, I also wish to make it known that the course of study will be heavily Scriptural. In this study I am not interested in giving a course of lectures through the Confession or Catechisms. This has been wonderfully and helpfully done by several men of note in the past. Of course, reference may be made to these writings as reference may be made to other writings, but our great emphasis will be that of looking directly to the word of God. We hope to be of the noble character ascribed to the Bereans of old.

I heartily invite any and all to attend. Whether you are well established in the Scriptural teaching on law and grace, are continuing to study, or have not given much attention to it at all, please accept my warm invitation to you. The method will be one of orderly studying of Scripture. We will try our best to take matters in a Scriptural, and therefore logical manner. Each lesson will build upon what was considered previously, but will be able to stand alone as a self-contained study. Nonetheless, it would be best to attend all, if possible. Obviously the heart of the issue will be dealt with later on in our weekly meetings. However this is necessary for the ground work that must be laid beforehand. Such a course we feel will prevent the common disappointment of misunderstanding and also encourage a more biblically informed conviction, having spent more time in God's word together. Please consider coming if you find you have the time, also feel free to invite your friends. We will try and spend 30-40 minutes at the most in study each week, reserving time for questions and prayer. Lord willing, we will resume our study of Scottish Theology once we conclude this present course.

The tentative course of studies will be as follows:
1) Tuesday, December 23 - Introductory Matters;
2) Wednesday, December 31 - Origin of Biblical Law;
3) Wednesday, January 7 - The Biblical Distinctions and Use of the Word Law;
4) Wednesday, January 14 - Christ's Work and the Law;
5) Wednesday, January 21 - Sin and the Law;
6) Wednesday, January 28 - The Christian and the Law;
7) Wednesday, February 4 - The Christian and the Sabbath - A Special Consideration.

As we are not fixed upon this setup by any outside constraint, we will reserve the liberty to amend it as necessary. Nonetheless, the overall direction will remain the same. We neither wish to shorten or lengthen the study unnecessarily. If there are any changes, I will be sure to keep you notified.

Each of these meetings will take place at 7 p.m. Please note that this week's meeting is Tuesday, as there were several families who had made prior commitments to their extended families for Wednesday evening. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. May we all look to the Lord for direction, grace and peace.

Kind regards,


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