LONDON REFORMED BAPTIST SEMINARY (LRBS)
Diploma in Theology & Pastoral Studies
NB: This syllabus does not represent the reading or teaching order; lectures are arranged to provide variation and helpful relativity of topics.
- Systematic Theology: the doctrine of God; the divine attributes; the Trinity; the person and work of Christ; creation (and the young earth); the doctrine of man; the Fall; the doctrines of free and sovereign grace.
- Inerrancy and Authority of Scripture, including study of 19th and 20th-century erosions of orthodox evangelicalism, such as the new-evangelicalism. The canon and transmission of the text.
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctification: views assessed, special attention to progressive sanctification. The baptism and filling of the Spirit - critique of post-regeneration baptism of the Spirit. The charismatic movement and its branches: special attention to its incompatibility with biblical teaching, and the cessationist position. The nature and securing of assurance. The nature of revivals (awakenings).
- The Covenants of Works and Grace: difference between Presbyterian and Calvinistic-Baptist positions. Significance and effect of a correct covenant view. The Owen formula.
- Eschatological Systems and their influence on pastoral interpretation of the Bible.
- False Doctrine: basic elements of world religions and the major cults, including Roman Catholicism, modern liberalism, pantheism and New Age.
Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Hermeneutics)
- Schools of interpretation and their history.
- The methods of the Reformers and the subsequent preaching tradition deriving from them.
- Special attention to the Bible's own revealed procedures including the New Testament 'rules' for the interpretation of the Old Testament.
- Discerning the pastoral, doctrinal and evangelistic potential of all types of biblical passages. (See also Biblical Studies section.
- The new-evangelical system of interpretation and its inherent denial of the spiritual nature of Scripture. A critique of advocates - eg: Kaiser.
- The grammatical-historical principle: its use and limitations.
- The sensus plenior and its implications.
- 'Spiritualising': its place, limitations and dangers.
- Identification of legitimate types in the Bible (based on text of Fairbairn).
- Christ in Moses, the prophets and the Psalms.
- Evangelistic use of Old Testament books.
- Interpretation of prophecy: different schools; the issue of 'double sense'.
- Commentaries: their basis and use; assessment of best commentaries for exegesis and suggestive homiletic use.
Biblical Studies for Preachers
Each of the historical and prophetic books studied under headings:
- Historical context and chronological outline.
- Main interpretative approaches taken among evangelicals.
- Pivotal issues.
- Doctrines revealed by direct instruction or by events.
- How to recognise and present pastoral themes, devotional content and evangelistic arguments.
- Prophetic passages: their purpose, historical and long-term spiritual meaning.
- Pitfalls of interpretation and problem passages.
Psalms and Wisdom Literature
Main arguments or themes. Sermonic use and application.
- Its literature, formation and alleged contradictions.
- Design and purpose of each book.
- Preaching from the parables and miracles of Christ.
- The book of Acts and the emerging pattern-church of the New Testament.
- The epistles and their teaching.
- Construction of sermons from the epistles: the identification of themes; dividing the material; viewing the range of preaching options; balancing doctrinal teaching and pastoral application.
Archaeology of Old and New Testaments, including a special examination of Bible-related discoveries exhibited in the British Museum.
Preaching (see also Outreach Studies)
- The biblical centrality and objectives of preaching.
- The construction of different forms of sermon.
- The importance of persuasion, directness of address, and explanatory skills. Styles of preaching and delivery - an assessment. Severity and sympathy. Rightly reflecting the character of God and the message. Aspects of expository, topical and evangelistic preaching. Pitfalls for preachers. Ministering on particular subjects, such as prayer, assurance and Heaven.
Church Order and Worship
The Regulative and Normative Principles
Distinguishing between them; their application and limitations. How to determine that which is normative in Scripture and that which was temporary or foundational.
The Nature and Structure of the Local Church
God's unit in the world for worship, edification, discipline and evangelism. The necessity of local church autonomy.
Government of Churches
The office of pastor-teacher; elders; deacons; the relationship between offices; the procedure for the calling of pastors; the requisite gifts of the pastor and the nature of a call; the duties and failings of pastors, elders and deacons; the nature and operation of the church meeting; the emergence and problems of the 'democratic' system.
Principles of worship, including errors of contemporary worship; the nature and composition of a biblical worship service; hymnody and hymn selection; the ordinances, their form and significance; public prayer of preachers; the church prayer-meeting - guidelines, topics and format; the theology and practice of prayer. Special Services: marriages, funerals, etc; their biblical basis and vital elements; pastoral preparation and responsibilities.
The basis of fellowship between like-minded churches and its limitations; the nature of spiritual unity; the necessity of biblical separation from false churches and teachers and the issue of secondary separation and 'guilt by association'. The preservation of a ministry of warning.
Local Church Fellowship
Its character and maintenance in holiness and love. The dangers of the new 'house group' experiment.
Local Church Discipline
The biblical categories for discipline; the purpose, spirit and procedure for discipline.
The Role of the Pastor
As preacher, leader, example, counsellor, conscience of the church, defender of sound doctrine, and initiator of soul-winning activities.
Troubles in Churches
Their causes and the pastoral response.
Behavioural Problems and the Ministry, including backsliding and the pastoral response. The biblical model of human personality; the errors of the Freudian model and subsequent secular psychotherapies; an assessment of so-called Christian systems of psychotherapy; the place of psychiatry; biblical counselling procedures - a review; counselling of specific problems; 'prescribing' books for various needs. Depression - pastoral help: measures and Scripture passages for its management.
Principles, literature and pastoral teaching; role relationships; counselling disruption, divorce and remarriage.
Communion with God
The teaching of a living, experimental walk; addressing times of spiritual barrenness; pietism or delusional and mystical experiences which are impediments to genuine spiritual communion; the nature of God's intervention in the everyday affairs of the believer.
Worldliness in the Church
Definitions and manifestations; defining and avoiding worldliness in evangelism, worship, and personal lives.
The Preacher and a Political Stance
Biblical injunctions against; rejection of the 'cultural mandate' for seeking world institutional christianisation by political influence; critique of Reconstructionism.
Biblical Soteriology and Outreach Studies
The Nature and the Elements of Conversion
A biblical model for conversion; hindrances to repentance and faith; discerning between true and false professions; counselling of seekers.
'Decisionism' and 'Easy-Believism' Refuted
The lordship of Christ essential to the offer of the Gospel. The relative places of mind and will in conversion.
The Terms of the Gospel Offer
Scriptural forms of persuasion and expostulation - consistent with a sound theology of conversion; avoiding hyper-Calvinism and preparationalism.
Preaching for Conviction of Sin
Defining and proving sin; relative emphasis of external and heart sins. Preaching the atonement.
Methods of Outreach Consistent with the Great Commission
The role of church members in the church's outreach; training the church to the fullest commitment; training individuals in personal witness.
Ministry to the Young
The evangelistic Sunday School and its operation. Other young people's and children's meetings: governing principles, objectives, syllabuses, contents, topics, etc.
The Church Growth Movement
A critique of modern 'missiology' and its techniques. The error of contextualisation in witness. Positive elements of church planting.
Necessity of Regular and Specific Evangelistic Preaching
Church History(a survey course)
The primitive church; the rise of the Roman heresy; the Anabaptists; key movements such as those of Wycliffe and Hus.
The Reformation: its Doctrines and Heroes
Times of persecution and their fruits; the age of Independent and Baptist church expansion; the Puritan era; periods of awakening; principal figures of church history; the world-wide missionary movement; the emergence of denominationalism; 19th-century liberalism and decline; fundamentalism; post-war evangelical history; the rise of the ecumenical movement; the new-evangelicalism; the charismatic movement.
Biblical decision-making where there appear to be conflicting moral duties. Medical ethics and family issues. Homosexuality.