An Invaluable Resource for Learning

I wanted to call attention to an invaluable resource that I’ve been using for a few years now, but lately has become precious to me and I want to share. It’s called iTunesU, and its essentially a podcast that you can download that features thousands of colleges and universities across the world. There are tens of thousands of classes you can listen in on, whether its anthropology, economics, political sciences, philosophy, etc, and it’s all free.

What I’ve been using it for however, is the seminaries. Specifically, Reformed Theological Seminary. I’ve been “taking” their classes for two years now, listening in on hundreds of lectures primarily involving Church History, Doctrine and Philosophy, Old Testament History and Reformed Epistemology. This year though my interests have shifted, and what I’ve become passionate about is pastoral ministry.

In this RTS doesn’t disappoint. I’ve lined up some 700 hours of classes, all surrounding various aspects of pastoral ministry and ecclesiology. I wanted to share some of the specific classes with you

1. Disabilities and the Church

21 hours of classes on how the reality of physical and emotional disabilities plays out in the church, from how to outfit a church to make it disability accessible, how to work with professionals and caregivers, how to have a theology of suffering, the medical contexts, how to prepare for death, the role the deacons and elders play, family dynamics, the role of church order in a disability context, outreach to those with disabilities, and about 25 other lecture sessions in the same vein.

Other classes, each of which  has 20-40 lectures in them, are:

2 Educational Ministry of the Church

3. Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies.

3. Pastoral and Social Ethics

4. Roles and Relationships in Pastoral Ministry

5. Theology of Pastoral Ministry

6. Pastoral Counselling

That is just from one seminary and those are just some of the classes. There are others. After I finish I have my eye on Westminster Theological Seminary, and then perhaps Concordia University. Oh, and they also have hundreds of chapel sessions, which is a fantastic bonus.

Who is the Church for?

The Church is a place for repentant whores and whoremongers. The Church is a place for repentant idolaters and homosexuals. The Church is a place for repentant thieves and coveters. The Church is a place for repentant drunkards and  murderers. The Church is a place for repentant liars and gossips. The Church is a place for repentant prostitutes and pimps. The Church is a place for repentant pornographers and rapists. The Church is a place for repentant child molesters and pedophiles.

The Church is a place for repentant people, and so we ought to welcome all of these people and love them fiercely as important  members of the body of Christ, remembering that such were some of us, but we were washed, we were justified, and we were sanctified by the blood of Christ

Paperthin hymn: You Have Been Raised

 

You Have Been Raised

Verse1
How do we know we’ve been forgiven?
How do we know that we have been made clean?
How do we know we’ll go to heaven?
How do we know we’ve been redeemed?

Chorus
You have been raised, the tomb has been opened
Nothing can take away our hope in You
You have been raised
You have been raised, the work is completed
Hell and its powers have been defeated
You have been raised

Verse 2
Now we are free from condemnation
There is no judgment left for us to fear
We don’t have to wonder if we’re welcome
You are the One who’s brought us near

Bridge
The price You paid for us
Has fully been accepted
Because of Your shed blood
We cannot be rejected

REFLECTIONS

“You have been raised” is one of my favorite songs from the new Sovereign Grace album “Risen”, released just a few months ago. [Click link to listen and purchase] The music is by Mark Altrogge, Bob Kauflin, and Ken Boer; and the lyrics are by Mark Altrogge and Bob Kauflin. The album itself is a concept album, whereby

“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”  These words, spoken by an angel to the women at Jesus’s tomb, changed history forever. Christ’s resurrection was more than a display of raw supernatural power. It was the single event that assures us that his payment for our sins has been accepted. God’s wrath is satisfied. Death is defeated. The powers of darkness are overcome. Sin’s dominion has been broken. And the life of the age to come has dawned.  The songs on this album celebrate these realities, experienced and enjoyed by all who place their faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure I can say it better than that. I’ve said before in other posts that our praise and worship music is a sermon; that it’s purpose is to teach us about Christ and his word.This song does exactly that. At the same time praise and worship is also a form of prayer. There is a little known Latin phrase whereby “lex orandi, lex credendi” -As we pray, so we believe. That strikes me as a very apt term, and a wonderful way to express what we’re listening to and singing. The more we sing this, [ie, confess this] the more it will shape and reinforce our beliefs.

As it were, this is a perfect song to demonstrate the sheer “singability” of a song that would rival almost any hymn for theological and biblical depth. There are many great hymns which have beautiful lyrics, but have a very jarring composition. This is not one of them.It is hard to listen to this song without standing up and cheering while you sing.

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bonus: YouTube video w/choir