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Focus on... St Andrews Theology Network

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

St Andrews is a unique place to study Theology as a Christian. A great number of our professors, lecturers and tutors would classify themselves as Christian, and they provide a great example of what a praying academic looks like. In some courses we’re reminded that true theology is only done through prayer and encouraged to make prayer a daily habit. Yet, at the same time, we do have to deal with the divisions that arise out of theological disputes, and we face the difficulties of learning how to integrate a living faith with our academic studies.

In the beginning was the Word

The focus for our group this year is two-fold. From an internal perspective, we want to really equip Christian theology students with the tools and support needed in engaging with these issues. There are so many perspectives and factors that play into these, and they can be quite overwhelming, especially for those who are just now beginning to study (but for us 4th years, too!). With this in mind, our format for the year is to have weekly topics about some of the more common trouble areas – for example, authority of Scripture, hermeneutics, models of the atonement. We have a mixture of academics and pastors coming in to share insight in these areas, and already this year we have gained a great deal from their wisdom. While the bulk of our meetings are given to these discussions, we are also seeking to be intentional in praying together. We know that it is so easy to get caught up in debates, so we have built in some prayer meetings in order to take a step back and refocus on Christ as a theological community.

In addition to our weekly meetings, we have some other events and socials on the schedule. As the New Perspective on Paul has been quite a hot topic in our college – especially with Tom Wright here – we decided it would be useful to host some “New Perspective Evenings” in which we could informally discuss the different facets of the debate and their implications. Our first one last year was well attended and was helpful in framing the debate for further discussion. We are hoping to continue with more evenings this year and look forward to fruitful conversations.

From a missional perspective, we are focusing on taking steps to build good relationships within our college. There has been some tension in the past between our group and other theology societies, and in general between those who would call themselves evangelical Christians and those who wouldn’t. As a first step, we recently hosted a “Wine and Pudding” social in conjunction with the college society that was incredibly encouraging; there were a lot of great conversations, and we’re hoping that it has set a good precedent for dialogue and friendship between the groups.

Visit the groups section for more info on Theology Network groups!

HT: Sydney Drain, Theology Network group leader at the University of St Andrews.
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