His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.– 1 Peter 3:3
God has not left His people without help in the day of trouble—or in the day of prosperity for that matter. The Bible is God’s gift to His people, revealing to them Jesus Christ and the salvation He has accomplished. But the gift of Scripture does not end in revealing our need for salvation and God’s provision for it; Scripture is sufficient for the entire Christian life. In his first epistle, Peter tells us that God’s divine power has given us everything for life and godliness (1 Pet 3:3, cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17).
In God’s Gifts for the Christian Life, J. Alexander Rutherford unpacks how God through the Bible has given what we need to live faithfully in His world. Each volume unpacks the Scriptural teaching against the background of contemporary culture and shows how the Bible provides a firm foundation for our lives. Each volume is intended to be short, around 110-150 pages, and accessible to the interested reader. The primary audience is theologically interested lay-Christians (Christians who are not in paid ministry and have no formal theological training), students, and pastors.
This series is intended to fill the spot of prolegomena in a systematic or dogmatic theological work. However, the vision of theology laid out in these volumes is not that of a traditional systematic theology. Instead of laying forth the presuppositions and methods for constructing a system of doctrine from the Biblical data in conversation with tradition, God’s Gifts for the Christian Life is meant to lay a foundation for the theological life. It is prolegomena in the sense that it is meant to lay forth a framework for faithful, thoughtful Christian life in the West and beyond. Theology, as laid out in this series, is the application of the Word of God by God’s people to every area of life (following John Frame in The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God). This series is meant to show how God has made it possible to live a truly Christian life and how the Christian life can and should involve thoughtful, intellectual engagement with culture in order that we might save those who are now perishing. All life is a gift and the Bible, accompanied by the Spirit in the lives of God’s redeemed people, is a gift preeminent, sufficient and clear so that we might have the confidence to live boldly and faithfully for God in this world.
Part 1, the Christian Mind, will address the questions raised by philosophy and culture concerning the nature and possibility of knowledge and truth. Part 2, the Christian Scriptures, will provide an overview of the Bible and its content to equip the reader for a lifelong engagement with Scriptures and with the world Scripturally. Part 3, the Christian Life, will orient the Christian life towards culture and the church in order to show what it looks like to live a faithful, theological life. Drawing on the resources given in Parts 1 & 2, it will set forth a framework for Christians to engage intellectually with culture, life, and the local church in order to serve better within the local church context and so further God’s purpose in the world
Part 1 – The Christian Mind
Part 1, the Christian Mind, addresses the questions raised by philosophy and culture concerning the nature and possibility of knowledge and truth. In this first part, a biblically grounded theology of the Christian mind is presented, encompassing epistemology (the structure and nature of knowledge), ontology (the relationship between the human mind and the objects of thought), and Biblical hermeneutics (the way we interpret the Bible, our ultimate authority) will be presented. Volume 1 and Volume 2 Part 1 & Part 2 are currently available. I have been working on Volume 3 for some time now but hope to have it complete shortly after I submit my PhD thesis, so late 2022 or early 2023.
Part 2 – The Christian Scriptures
Part 2 of God’s Gifts for the Christian Life, the Christian Scriptures, presents an overview of the Bible and its contents in order to equip the reader with a foundation for engaging with Scripture and for applying it to every area of life. Volume 1, The Gift of the Bible, is complete and is set to be released late 2021. Volumes 2 & 3, The Gift of the Old Covenant and The Gift of the New Covenant, are set to be released in 2022.
Part 3 – The Christian Life
In the third part of “God’s Gifts for the Christian Life,” I intend to present several different perspectives on the way God calls us as Christians to live. I am still working on the concepts for the 2nd and 3rd volume, but I suspect they will address in different fashions ecclesiology, or the doctrine of the Church, and theological method.