Historical Theology New Term – Thursday 8th September 2016


Our historical theology reading group is starting back up on Thursday 8th September at 7:45am at the Grace Church Leith office.

This term we’ll be focusing on the Incarnation. Most people accept that Jesus was born, and know that this is something Christians celebrate. But what was so unique and significant about that birth? Christians throughout time have taken this question seriously and written thoughtfully and reasonably about what God has revealed - from leaders of the early church, to pastors and theologians of later centuries and back to the apostles themselves; men like John, who walked and talked with Jesus on earth. Jesus’ birth was unique, they said, because Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:14).

Throughout this term we’ll be reading a selection of texts looking at the Incarnation from different perspectives and starting-points, written in various times by a diversity of people. But why spend time studying ancient texts? C.S. Lewis writes:

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.

- C.S. Lewis, Introduction to Athanasius' On the Incarnation

Rather, then, than read about what these great thinkers thought, we want to read what they actually wrote as they themselves pursued a deeper understanding of the Incarnation. This term we’ll be reading Jonathan Edwards’ The Excellency of Christ (1736), Athanasius’ On the Incarnation (pre-319) and B.B. Warfield’s On the Emotional Life of Our Lord (1912).

One of our purposes as a group is certainly to strengthen our intellectual grasp on what the Bible teaches- but more than that, we want to study the Incarnation of the Son in order to know more of the Son himself, and grow in love for Him.

This has always been our priority. As Athole Rennie writes in the foreword to the Grace Church Leith historical theology study book (Hearing the Church; Knowing Her King, 2015):

The aim of this group was never simply to meet in order to satisfy academic curiosities; it was to have our faith deepened and strengthened. As we sat at the feet of some of the greatest minds in the history of the Church, Thursday mornings became a time to delight in the beauty of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

– Athole Rennie, Foreword to ‘Hearing the Church; Knowing Her King: the Grace Church Leith Historical Theology Study Book’

The group will be meeting weekly on Thursdays at 7:45am at the Grace Church Leith office, from Thursday 8th September.

If you’d like to come along, or to get more information email joe@gracechurchleith.org