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Developing an Outline

For me a journey of studying out this area of truth more deeply was sparked in May 2011. I was listening to John Piper presenting a biography of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the 1991 Bethlehem Pastors' Conference. That talk challenged me, having been a lifelong Cessationist, to go back and re-examine my assumptions, and over the next year or so I considered the theology of both Cessationism and Continuism.

If you're not familiar with these terms, they're just differing perspectives of pneumatology, which may be another new term. They're shorthand to describe Christian belief and practice about the workings of the Holy Spirit. This Bible study - whether class and writing series - is designed to pursue a biblical pneumatology. And seeking to connect with people who may have wrestled with this issue of being a convinced Cessationist, but who want to study out the issue more deeply in God's Word. This study is meant to help.

How do we know truths? We can learn them through philosophy or theology or tradition. We can have experiences through relationships that influence us. I would distinguish these from the Scriptures, because whatever thought or experience may teach us, the Word of God over the thoughts of people is ultimately authoritative in everything. And this study begins with the understanding that the learner already believes in that unique authority of the Bible in life and faith.

So this study addresses "in-house" questions, and if this book arrives to unbelieving eyes, there are a number of excellent resources worth seeking out first that address the root spiritual issues, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to settle matters with Christ first.

As I sought the truth about the Holy Spirit's workings, I didn't want to go by tradition mainly, nor from experience, neither philosophy, nor systematics. They all have their value. But if I want to be a biblical Christian, I had to seek to come by my beliefs in spite of whatever I had or had not experienced. It's important to include a concept like "non-experience;" a term that will be key to this study. It's the flipside of the coin of experience.

I'm writing mainly to people who may be where I was, and are seeking to go deeper into what the New Testament reveals about the Holy Spirit and His workings. So this study assumes a Christian reader, one who is probably Cessationist or undecided, though all are welcome to read and consider.

So since that Spring 2011, I began developing an outline that became a Table of Contents. And the purpose of first blogging this study is to develop each chunk of truth, each module, each section and concept, before aggregating and publishing. Because at the end of the day, until Christ returns, while we're in this godless world, the Spirit of Christ is sovereign over each heart and life, and He is free to work as He wills.

And He has chosen to have that power and majesty interact, interface, and intersect somehow with the faith of the believer. This book is designed to help the reader's faith rise and increase in believing and walking out what the New Testament teaches on this vital area of Christian belief and experience.



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