Adult Christian Education
The Adult Christian Education program offers classes on Sundays and Wednesdays. The classes run for thirteen-week-long quarters, beginning in September, December, March and June. Typically, there is a choice of two or three classes on Sunday morning and one on Wednesday evening.
The current offerings are:
Is God Good? The Problem of Suffering and the Goodness of God – Pastor Jon Enright (Sunday)
Isaiah – Pastor Chad Lewis (Sunday)
ESL Introduction to Christianity – Tom Watch (Sunday)
1st Thessalonians – Pastor Jon (Wednesday)
Is God Good?
The Problem of Suffering and the Goodness of God
The Bible declares that God is loving and good, and yet the world is full of suffering, evil and pain. Is it possible that both can be true at the same time? This is the question posed by the classical “Problem of Evil,” but the problem of suffering and evil is much more than an intellectual exercise. It is personal to each one of us, because we all face suffering, pain and brokenness in our lives and even seasoned Christians find themselves wrestling with the question of God’s goodness and sufficiency in the midst of their very real and personal suffering.
This class will explore the problem of suffering and the goodness of God from both directions. We will discuss the answers the Bible offers to the classical problem of evil. We will also consider the very personal impact suffering has in our lives and on our faith, and the encouragement, help and hope scripture offers us when our lives are scarred by the evil and brokenness of the world in which we live.
The writings of Isaiah are the best known among the prophets of Israel due to the many messianic quotations and allusions in the New Testament. During Advent, the “voice in the desert,” fulfilled in the mission of John the Baptizer, commences the calendar for every Christian year. Each Christmas season, the Christian community sings the carols, reads the nativity verses and hears the haunting words in Handel’s Messiah, “Comfort, comfort, my people…” Phrases like “The virgin shall conceive,” and “For unto us a child is born,” are so familiar that one hardly pauses to remember that were written nearly eight centuries before the birth of Jesus.
These redemptive themes are justly famous, but the Book of Isaiah is far more than a collection of predictions about the coming of the Messiah. In fact, the prophet’s famous vision of redemption lies firmly rooted in the history of Israel and that of the other nations of the ancient Near East. Central to this history was the conquest of the elect nation of Israel by three great empire-builders, the Assyrians in the Isaiah’s own time, the Babylonians yet to come, and the Persians who would play a key role in restoring Judah to her lands after the exile.
In both poetry and prose, Isaiah challenges the sins of his nation, pronounces the imminence of coming judgment, and looks ahead to restoration and salvation after judgment. The nations of the world are not omitted either, for the message of judgment and salvation is for them as well. It is a vision of unparalleled depth that still speaks after nearly three thousand years.
ESL Introduction to Christianity
This class will begin in early January and will be geared toward introducing students in our ESL program to the Bible and Christianity. The class is oriented to people who are learning English; people who are not believers, but would like to investigate the claims of Christianity; new Christians who would like to learn more about the Bible and Christian doctrine; anyone who would like to participate in our ongoing Cross Cultural ministry to internationals.
Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is the oldest preserved Christian writing, dating to 50 or 51 AD. Paul evangelized the city of Thessalonica, the leading city in Macedonia at that time, during his 2nd missionary journey. He was only able to stay for a short time before he and his traveling companions were driven out by a mob. In that short time, however, the gospel had taken hold in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles, and a church had been established. Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians from Corinth, only a few months later. The letter is marked by the words of encouragement that Paul offers to the fledgling church, especially since they continued to face persecution from the same factions that had driven Paul from the city. It also provides us with a picture of Paul’s theology very early in his ministry. 1st Thessalonians is rich with theological insight, pastoral counsel, and words of encouragement that are as relevant today as in the middle of the 1st century.