First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, a Member Church of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and More Light Presbyterians

Theology Discussion Group Begins Sunday

Theology Discussion Group begins Sunday 9-9-18 EVENING at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. Anyone is welcome to come even if you didn’t sign up. No readings are required for the first session.

One bite at a time. You may know that answer to the question, “How do you eat an elephant?”, but it applies to theology as well. Theology brings to mind densely packed and dusty tomes, chock full of technical jargon that, if you’re lucky, may be in English. Join us this fall for a Sunday evening study group to look at theology in small bites. This will be a discussion group, not a lecture-filled seminar.

The group will utilize Alister McGrath’s The Christian Theology Reader, 5th Edition. McGrath, a theologian from Kings College, London, has compiled an extensive collection of Christian texts spanning from the early church to modern times. Grouped topically rather than chronologically, McGrath gives us manageable spoonfuls of each text with a short introduction, the text itself, a brief analysis, and a few but very thoughtful questions about the passage. It is rare for these materials to run more than two or three pages in length. McGrath’s questions are as valuable as the specific passages; they are neither rote nor rhetorical. His questions really force you to work with the passage, to understand, reflect and critique the author. Amazon’s “Look Inside!” feature provides many examples for free on-line once you get past the preliminaries.

Individually, we will read the scheduled material before we gather, pondering or perhaps even writing our thoughts about McGrath’s questions. During our time together, we will hear each other’s comments on the passage and how we would answer the question. We will also cross the boundary between theology and personal faith by asking what, if anything, do these passages mean to me?

We plan to meet each Sunday night, beginning September 9, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Library with discussion facilitated by Rev. David Oliver-Holder and Steve Hall. You may purchase the text on your own (approximately $36), and Adult Ministries has graciously offered to provide books for those who request. Please contact the church office to indicate interest in the group and whether you wish for the church to provide you with a book. There’s enough material for this group to continue for several months, but we will decide as a group what duration is best for us all.