At River Oaks, we value the opportunity we have each Sunday to gather with the body of Christ as well as visitors from our community to worship our Lord in song, prayer, confession, and preaching. We also take this weekly opportunity to continue learning with and from one another about the Bible and theology. Our adult Sunday school ministry is a brief but content-packed half-hour between our two morning services where we can go deeper on various topics than the normal worship service allows.
Our adult education is coordinated by the Associate Pastor, Greg Lanier, and involves a steady diet of three food groups: Scripture (OT and NT), theology, and topical studies of relevance to the contemporary walk of faith. We usually spend 6 or more weeks on a given topic and then rotate to the next one, allowing us to have a balanced diet throughout the year.
We currently meet in the church sanctuary from 10:15–10:45am every Sunday morning. So grab your coffee quickly after the first service and come join us!
January 2019—Seeking Clarity: The Gospel, Gender, and Sexuality
Access Handouts and Audio Recordings (Begin with Week 23 for Part III)
Few things are more divisive in our current cultural moment than issues of gender and sexuality. We are told by protestors, politicians, and pundits that the historical Christian faith is on the "wrong side of history" on all these matters, and that Scripture is an outdated and even oppressive voice. But the challenge is not simply "out there," for within the evangelical church there is increasing tension between "progressive" and "conservative" movements. The noise can be deafening and confusing. How do we find clarity on these matters? How should we talk about them with the children and youth of our church body? How does the gospel provide a way to engage with these important matters with truth and conviction, but also with profound grace and love? Join us for a series on how the gospel of Christ forms our thinking/practice on all areas of gender and sexuality.
February–May, 2019—'The One Who Was, Who Is, and Who Is to Come': Studies in the Book of Revelation
Locusts as helicopters. The European Union as the Beast. Embeddable devices as the mark of the beast. Car crashes resulting from the rapture of their drivers. And most of all, the millennium. The Apocalypse of the apostle John (known as Revelation) has been subject to an incredible array of over-imaginative interpretations throughout the history of Christianity. Many Christians obsess over every detail—while many others refuse to touch Revelation because it is confusing and daunting. Join us as we try to clear the table of distortions and return to reading this fantastic and encouraging book as it was intended: to comfort the church with the central truth that Jesus wins. The lamb who was slain is on the throne.
November–December, 2018—The Church as a Covenant Community
From November 18 through the end of the year, we will be meeting as an entire church body—adults, youth, and kids ages 4 and up—to think deeply about what it means to be River Oaks Church. What is a church member? Do I have spiritual gifts that will benefit others in the church? How do we minister across all generations in this church family? And what will that look like week-by-week at River Oaks? During this series, there will be no children's Sunday school, but the lessons will be designed to engage children throughout, as they learn alongside everyone.
June–August, 2018—Does the Bible Teach that Jesus is God? An 8-Week Study on the Divine Christology of the New Testament
Access Handouts and Audio Recordings (Beginning June 17)
Central to Christianity is the conviction that Jesus is not only the 'Christ' (=Messiah) but a divine Messiah, the Son of the living God—yes, even God himself. As confirmed in the orthodox creeds from the early fourth century onwards, the Son is eternally God, the second 'person' of the one Triune God (Father, Son, Spirit). But the question often arises from outside the church (Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Mormons, religious skeptics) as well as inside the church: does the Bible actually affirm the full deity of Christ? Join us for this eight week crash course that will help you answer the question, "Does the Bible actually teach that Jesus is God?" This study will take us well beyond the few places where Jesus is actually called "God" (theos) to explore the rich ways in which the NT authors, inspired by God himself, articulate that Jesus Christ is truly God yet without collapsing the distinctions between the persons of the Trinity.
June–August, 2018—'Seasons of Waiting': Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed (Special Women's Series)
Join the ladies of River Oaks Church for our summer study of the book 'Seasons of Waiting,' by Betsy Childs Howard. We will begin to explore “Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed” on Sunday, June 17 at 10:15 am in the youth room of the Community Center building. You will get the opportunity to reflect on a different type of waiting each week and encourage other women with God's word. Here's what to expect:
"We’re all waiting for something. It might be a spouse or a baby. It might be healing or a home. Regardless of what we're waiting for, it’s easy to feel discontent when things aren’t going as planned and our dreams are delayed—especially when questions of “Why?” and “How long?” remain unanswered.
January–March, 2018—"How Beautiful are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News": A Study of Romans (Chapters 12–16)
Access Handouts and Audio Recordings (Beginning with Class 20)
In this series we finish our study of Paul's significant letter to the church in Rome. We will see how he powerfully applies the theology he developed in the first ten chapters, touching on the transformation of the Christian heart, the life of the church, engagement with the secular world, and the spread of the power of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Come join us as we delve into the part of Romans that is so often overlooked.
September–December, 2017—The Holy Spirit: Not a Gas, Not a Feeling, Not a Force...But a Person
In many Christian circles, there is a "forgotten member of the Holy Trinity": namely, the Holy Spirit. In other circles, the Holy Spirit is more a life force, or a vague spiritual helium-like substance than can flood this place and fill the atmosphere. And in yet others, the Holy Spirit—and tongues, healing, prophecy, miracles—seem to be the only thing ever discussed. Join us for a two-month series where we will try to make sense of all this and develop a robustly biblical understanding of the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit. We will answer such questions as: What is the the Holy Spirit's role in the Old Testament era? What exactly happened at Jesus' baptism by the Spirit? What is the significance of Pentecost? What does the Holy Spirit do in the life of the church and the individual believer?
July–August, 2017—"How Beautiful are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News": A Study of Romans (Chapters 6–11)
Access Handouts and Audio Recordings (Beginning with Class 10)
We will be going through the middle of this wonderful letter and looking at Paul's teachings on our freedom from the power and presence of sin through Christ, the future hope of the transformation of all things, and the ever-stimulating passages on election, the future of Israel, and the call to proclaim the gospel. (We began our Romans series with chapters 1–5 in January–March; see below).
March–June, 2017—Covenant Theology 101: God's Promise to Save a People
Have you ever wondered how the whole Bible holds together? How all the pieces across the 66 books fit with each other? Do you ever find yourself somewhat befuddled by seemingly obscure portions of the Old Testament? When Christ says, "This is the new covenant in my blood," what exactly is he talking about? And where did the name "Old Testament" and "New Testament" even come from? The center of all such questions is found in the classic biblical understanding of God's covenant(s) with his people. Join us for this two-month series in which we will explore what some have called the "architectonic principle" for all Christian truth. That is to say—the key to understanding not only how the Bible fits together, but how God's saving plan for his people has been working out from the very beginning.
Jan 8–Mar 5, 2017: "How Beautiful are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News": A Study of Romans (Chapters 1–5)
Some have argued that the epistle of Apostle Paul to the church in Rome is the greatest treasure of all the Scriptural writings given to us by God. The first seventeen verses alone were a major catalyst of the Protestant Reformation, so it is appropriate that we study this letter in light of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation that we celebrate this year.
Join us for a nine-week initial study of some of the high points of this famous and transformational letter, covering the first five chapters and Paul's treatment of the human condition, the gospel of God, saving faith, and more. We will continue the series with chapters 6–11 and 12–16 later in 2017 and early 2018.
Nov 20–Dec 25, 2016: "The Genesis of Jesus: Exploring the Fourfold Gospel 'Beginnings'"
- Matthew 1–2, why start with a genealogy?
- Matthew 1–2 and the fulfillment of Scripture
- Luke 1–2 and the fulfillment of Scripture
- Luke 1–2 and the Jesus/John the Baptist comparison
- Mark 1 and the “beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ”
- John 1 and “in the beginning was the Word”
Aug 14–Nov 13, 2016: Beyond the Headlines: Christian Engagement with Islam
Handouts and audio recordings: due to the sensitive nature of this series, we are not posting handouts and audio recordings online. However, email Greg Lanier (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will gladly provide you a link to the archives.
- Introduction and Principles for Engagement
- History of Islam and Diversity within Islam
- Sources of Authority within Islam
- Understanding the Qur'an
- Theological Overview: Allah
- Theological Overview: Soteriology
- Islamic View of Jesus
- Fundamentalist Islamic Movements and Jihad
- Apologetics Issues Part I: "You Christians Corrupted the Bible!"
- Apologetics Issues Part II: Handling Other Objections/Challenges
- Issues in Missions to the Islamic World
May 8–July 3, 2016: "Why These Books? The Canon of Scripture"
- What is Scripture, and why does it matter?
- How did the OT come about, and do we have the right OT books?
- How do we know we have the right words of those OT books?
- How did the NT come about?
- Do we have the right NT books?
- How do we know we have the right words of those NT books?
- Why do we not accept all these other books?
- Wrap-up and Q&A (unfortunately, audio was not captured during this class)