I’m very excited to be able to commend this resource. It’s basically ‘the film version’ of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology , all packaged up as an accessible and helpful training course. The course could readily be used for personal development, leadership training or even in a house group. I’ll be using it to train our gospel community leaders.
The DVD consists of Grudem speaking to an audience. So we cut from head and shoulder shots to congregation shots to Grudem writing on a whiteboard. It’s nothing fancy, but there’s plenty to keep your attention. Sometimes the video moves to one side to allow summary text to be displayed on the screen; sometimes a heading or Bible reference along the bottom. The sessions are in effect lectures with truth being set out clearly, but it’s all done with warmth, passion and a smattering of anecdotes to bring the truth alive.
There are twenty sessions, each about 40 minutes long (see below for the session titles), plus an accompanying book with brief summaries and discussion questions.
It adds up to six DVDs with over 16 hours of teaching. The sessions have breaks built in where you can pause the DVD for group discussion. Each session ends with a call to ‘know it’ (broader discussion questions), ‘do it’ (application to life) and ‘teach it’ (a challenge to pass on what you’ve learnt). The call to ‘teach it’ is particularly welcome as having to articulate truth for ourselves always helps embed it in our minds.
The Christian Beliefs DVD is based on Grudem’s book Christian Beliefs which is itself a summary of his Bible Doctrine and Systematic Theology . So many readers will know what to expect. The theology is evangelical and Reformed (without being stridently so) so it should appeal to conservatives and charismatics alike.
Grudem has a great section in the session on the church on the need to pursue both unity and plurality with a recognition that sometimes there can be a tensions between the two. I would judge his Christian Beliefs DVD to be a good example of getting the tension right. Grudem is a Baptist, non-cessationist, complimentarian and premillennialist. But when he addresses these topics he presents the different views fairly and graciously. Those who take differing positions need not fear using this material. (That said, I would supplement the material on millennial views to give my understanding of amillennialism a better run for its money!)
What excites me about this resource is that it makes theology available for a non-book generation. Here is truth on which you can build your life and ministry presented in a modern and engaging way. It gives your church the capacity run a course on systematic theology.
Tomorrow I’m going to post a second review of the Christian Beliefs DVD – this time from a typical ‘punter’.
Christian Beliefs DVD Session Titles
- What is the Bible?
The authority, necessity, clarity, and sufficiency of scripture
- What is God like?
The attributes of God. God’s holiness, love, justice, omniscience, and much more
- What is the Trinity?
Exploring the beauty, complexity and roles within the Godhead
- What is creation?
The origin and purpose of creation, and the implications for us today
- What is prayer?
Understanding our relationship with the Lord and how it works out in prayer
- What are angels and demons?
How the activities of both angels and demons affect us today
- What is man?
Understanding the implications of being made in God’s image
- What is sin?
The origin and effects of sin
- Who is Christ?
The humanity and deity of Christ and its implications for salvation and worship
- What is atonement?
The cause, necessity, nature and results of Christ’s atonement
- What is the resurrection?
Understanding the effects of the resurrection for us today
- What is election (or predestination)?
What election does and does not mean, and its implications for faith and worship
- What does it mean to become a Christian?
The process of calling, regeneration and conversion
- What are justification and adoption?
The central role of justification by faith and its result in adoption
- What are sanctification and perseverance?
Christian growth and God’s preservation of the saints
- What is death?
The death and resurrection of Christians and non-Christians
- What is the church?
The power, purposes, purity, unity and consistency of the church
- What will happen when Christ returns?
The timing, signs, tribulation, and millennial views of Christ’s return and reign
- What is the final judgment?
The purpose and events of the final judgement and the scriptural teaching about hell
- What is heaven?
The renewed heavens and earth, what we will do, and how it will glorify God