Pengantar

Pengantar 2018-02-08T08:41:54+00:00

PENGANTAR SINGKAT

Seminari ini bersifat bebas biaya dan tertutup. Seminari tidak tersedia bagi jemaat atau katekumen. Seminari adalah pemuridan bagi Pelayan Gereja Nasrani Indonesia. Semua Pelayan di jenjang Tahbisan Mayor: Shamasha-Qashisha-Uskup diharuskan dimuridkan dalam Seminari St Basil-Australia yang bisa juga dilaksanakan secara online. Tujuan umum adanya seminari ini adalah mempersiapkan para pengajar supaya bisa memperkuat kompetensi mereka dalam mengajar jemaat.

PENGANTAR DARI USKUP AGUNG JOHN CUFFE

The College and the Church

St Basil’s Theological College is an educational institution established by the Orthodox Catholic Church in 1986 and charged with the provision of both secular and religious education to clergy and laity alike. In this capacity it has established a number of courses in several different, though related fields, which it makes available to both members and non-members alike.

It receives no government subsidy for any of its teaching or publishing activities, though it should be acknowledged that the Australian Federal government afforded it tax-deductibility status for the building fund it established for the construction of a small centre in the late 1980’s. This was established at Caboolture, Queensland, and formally opened on St Secelia’s Day, 22nd November 1989.

Since then St Basil’s Theological College has provided both lecture and study facilities alike for its own students and the general public. It is staffed entirely by volunteers whose main purpose is to cater for the spiritual and religious education of those who like them are seeking answers to the many Problems of Life and as a result it is able to offer detailed instruction in a number of related fields, of which this comprehensive Bible Study Course must be considered typical.

Though naturally it likes to feel that its own theological position is the best and most comprehensive available, the Orthodox Catholic Church acknowledges that all religions have been permitted to develop by God in order to provide spiritual sustenance to mankind. Consequently it has not imposed on St Basil’s Theological College any restrictions on the discussion and study of the beliefs of other faiths, or of other Christian denominations even where they contradict its own views.

As a result this Bible Study Course is not prescriptive. It seeks to encourage students to develop their own system of thinking, based upon historical analysis of the Biblical narrative, rather than restricting itself to attempting to justify its own theology. Furthermore, it often refers to non-Biblical and even non-Christian writings where they connect with, or impact upon some particular part of the Christian Scriptures. At times it provides two or more interpretations of various passages in the Bible as well as the historical context in which they first came to be written, and does so without specifically endorsing any one of them.

 

The Bible Study Course

The result is a Bible Study Course that encourages the student to study the Bible with an open mind and to learn and to develop his/her own theological views from the Bible as a whole rather than bringing to such a study a pre-existing system of belief and then trying to make the Bible fit in with it. The latter approach, though all too common among Bible Study Courses usually means that the students are only encouraged to study a few selected passages such as are frequently used to underpin the theologies of most modern denominations, rather than the Bible as a whole.

This course is different. It acknowledges that at times one particular Biblical passage taken out of context may well appear to contradict another, but it also seeks to demonstrate that at least in most cases, such contradictions are more apparent than real. In fact, in many instances, if properly understood these very contradictions can actually tend to enhance or broaden one’s understanding of the subject under discussion and of spiritual matters in general.

Many people have gone about creating their Bible Studies in the opposite way. They have developed theologies, often quite imaginative and complex theologies, and then sought to modify or interpret the Bible to support them and as a result various parts of the Bible are often presented very differently by different denominations.

This course acknowledges the existence of such differing opinions and in places where several well-known and violently opposing views exist, it seeks to provide at least a summary of each common interpretation, so that the student is made aware of them and is able to assess them personally. Sometimes, in order to facilitate this, a history of the development of particular types of view is also provided.

In other places the course finds it necessary to include outlines of the secular history of the times so that the background to particular parts of the Bible can be better understood, for clearly that is important to any genuine attempt at understanding the intention of the original writers. It also examines the links between Biblical and secular history, and although it acknowledges that Biblical chronology is sometimes self-contradictory and rarely exact, it demonstrates that with an appropriate understanding of Biblical methodology, it can in many cases be shown to be at least broadly accurate.

For instance it devotes much effort to a consideration of the key historical events in the story of the Ancient Israelites. In particular it seeks to establish the times of Abraham’s leaving of Ur of the Chaldees and of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, although in both cases, exact dates are hard to determine. This is at least partly because secular historians do not always agree on this own chronology, but the broad thrust of Biblical history is shown to be compatible with archaeological evidence.

Studied as a whole, these lectures are designed to produce a comprehensive understanding of the Bible itself and much that is associated with it. In fact, because of the background information about other religions that they contain, they can even be said to provide broad background knowledge of belief in general. As such they may well be of value, even to individuals from a Non-Christian background and will, perhaps, open the way to a study of Comparative Religion.

 

The Course:   Structure and Purpose.

Nevertheless it is as a Bible Study Course that this collection of lectures is presented to students and it may be studied merely as an exercise in personal development or as a prelude to more advanced learning. Those who are interested in serious study will also be asked to undertake a number of projects, essays and examinations based upon it, successful completion of which will result in them being presented with a Diploma of Biblical Theology (Dip. BTh.) from St Basil’s Theological College.

Individual students are afforded considerable latitude in their study, both as to the time spent thereon and to the length of the total period of study, but the Course is intended to be completed on a part-time basis over a period of up to four years. In this case each of the Four volumes of 25 lectures will be studied over a period of one year, with a single set of examinations at the end of the year. Each of the four volumes is self-sufficient, but it is recommended that they be studied consecutively, for obvious reasons.

The purpose of the course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the Bible and of the whole process of Divine Revelation as portrayed therein and it is suggested that after completing it most students will have developed a broad understanding of this subject. However, if after completing it they wish to extend their activities further in this subject

[1], they are encouraged to do so. Alternatively they may wish to begin studying a related field, such as Comparative Religion, Church History, or Basic Theology in all of which St Basil’s Theological College provides courses.

Other seekers may find this Course alone to be sufficient for their needs; for even before they have completed Volume One some may start to feel that it has already provided answers to many of the questions that previously puzzled them. This is its main purpose, but whatever may be the reader’s present situation, I am sure that all members of the College staff will join with me in wishing them success in their seeking – a success we know that they will eventually achieve, for did not Christ Himself say “Seek and ye shall find”?

You, O Reader, if you have read this far, are surely one such Seeker, and if you persist in your seeking you can be certain that you will find, even if at this point you do not really know what it is that you seek. Go on now to your seeking and May He who made that promise nearly 2000 years ago assist you in your quest.

John Cuffe, Caboolture 2008

[1]

St Basil’s Theological College also publishes a number of works for advanced students of which “The Lost Wisdom of Melchizedek” and “Christianity versus Creationism” are probably the most appropriate follow-ups to this course.