Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Gap Between Seminary and Sunday School...
If I were on Jeopardy I would answer, "what is Ligonier Ministries!" I have to admit that I am personally indebted to this ministry for grounding me in the basic truths of the faith...and introducing me to Reformed theology; to which I was shortly persuaded thereafter.
Ligonier Ministries was founded in 1971 by R. C. Sproul in Ligonier, PA with the sole purpose of equipping Christians to articulate what they believe and why they believe it . Dr. Sproul had a strong conviction for the layman and felt the need to design a ministry to bridge the gap between seminary and Sunday School (hence the blog title). Realizing that the average Christian could not attend seminary, he identified a need to develop teaching lessons that would have more substance than a sermon or Sunday school class, but not quite as comprehensive as a seminary class.
This ministry has almost anything anyone ever needs to be equipped to handle the Divine Word. Their award winning magazine (TableTalk) is a monthly publication that offers daily studies into the Word as well as short articles on a specific topic. They also offer teaching series in any format, CD, MP3, video, even internet streaming (pod casts). One of their most popular teaching series is called Chosen by God. There Dr. Sproul sets forth his defense for the doctrine of election. But perhaps the greatest accomplishment set forth by this ministry is the Reformation Study Bible. Most recently the Bible has been offered in conjunction with the English Standard Version translation. This was one of the largest endeavors of Ligonier and includes notes from scholars such as Roger Nicole, Graeme Goldsworthy, Wayne Grudemn, Moises Silva, Bruce Waltke, and Tremper Longman III.
Recently Ligonier launched a new division/publishing company - Reformation Trust. Their focus there is to publish books that unfold key theological topics, explore biblical passages, and take you down the halls of church history to tap the wisdom of the past.  They even started a new blog (click here) which has recently included special guest, über-blogger, Tim Challies.
I encourage everyone visit www.ligonier.org; they have my utmost recommendation. Though there are some minor theological issues I dispute, such as paedo-baptism, I still return time and time again to seek the thoughtful and articulate counsel of Dr. Sproul. Most of the writings, publications, and teaching series are written/spoken at a high school (maybe early college) level, but are chock full substance. My personal favorite items are, Blueprint for thinking, Christian Worldview, The Providence of God, and Building a Christian Conscience. But if I were to recommend any series, it would be The Holiness of God. I firmly believe that if every Christian were to listen (and heed) to this series by Dr. Sproul it could change the the whole outlook of the modern church.