Getting orientated (May 3 study summary)

On May 3 the first Reformed bible study was held at the Jooste home with the hopes that it might be the first step towards planting an English-speaking Reformed congregation in the southern suburbs of Rondebosch.  The following is a brief summary of our time together.

I began by posing some questions about the church and the Christian life with the hope of getting people to think – perhaps in new ways.  Some of these questions can be found by clicking on the “Ever wondered” tab on the home page.

Second, I shared something about my journey as a Christian, which has exposed me to many different traditions: ranging from high Anglican to Pentecostal to Baptist.  My hope was to show that I did not become convinced of the Reformed tradition over night, but that it has been a process.  I have nevertheless become persuaded that the Reformed tradition most faithfully adheres to the Word of God in its doctrine and practice, and hence my desire to be a Reformed minister and plant a Reformed congregation with the Reformed Churches of South Africa (see the “About” tab on the home page).

Third, I set out the possible duration and format of the study.  The hope is that over the next six to nine months the bible study will generate sufficient interest to warrant the commencement of church worship services on Sundays.  The study itself will ordinarily include a period of an hour during which time we will study the Word of God – most likely the book of Titus.  I will allow time for questions and discussion, and intend to close our time in prayer.  My hope is that our time in Titus will bring to light many of the grand biblical truths that have shaped the teaching and practice of the Reformed tradition.  After the study, folk are encouraged to stay and enjoy fellowship time together.  This will be a time to get to know one another better and perhaps engage in further discussion about the study.

The remainder of our time was taken up with looking at some of the distinctives of the Reformed tradition, which included answering questions like What is a confession? and What is tradition?  For more on this, please click on the “Reformed distinctives” tab on the home page.

During our time I tried to make it clear that joining the study is completely voluntary and involves obligation to ultimately join the church plant down the road.  I also tried to be clear that while the Reformed tradition shares things in common with other bible-believing Christian traditions – most importantly the gospel – it is nevertheless different in some important ways.  It is up to those attending the study to become convinced from Scripture that the Reformed tradition offers a more God-glorifying and richer account of the church and the Christian life than what they have previously been exposed to.  My prayer is God would take us all deeper into the riches of His Word for the sake of Christ, His gospel and His church.

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