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Back to the Basics! Introductory Matters #8 Systematic Theology?!

We’ve been thinking through some of the issues of a preliminary nature that need to be discussed before we get into the major areas of Christian doctrine. How one defines faith, the reality of heresy, the need for good philosophy, etc. are important topics to touch on before tackling the categories of God, the Bible, the Church, etc.

As we look at the material of the Bible, how ought we to organize and summarize what we find? There are essentially two ways to approach the biblical “data.” One way is to begin at Genesis and read straight through the Scriptures, collecting the truths we find, for example, on the doctrine of God. This is looking at the biblical material chronologically, sometimes called “biblical theology.”

“Biblical theology” is a term used by some in other ways, but we are referring to the collecting of Scriptural truth as it is progressively revealed in the 66 books of the Bible. There is value in seeing how, for example, the doctrine of the atonement (how God saves us) is gradually unfolded in the pages of Scripture (beginning, of course, with the proto-evangelium in Gen. 3:15).

Our approach in these posts, however, is called systematic theology. With a systematic theology approach, doctrines are looked at from a logical perspective. The data of Scripture are collected into logical categories (everything the Bible says about the Person of Christ, for example) and analyzed.

I don’t believe one approach is better than the other. They are just different ways of collecting the same material. The real question is what does the Bible as a whole say about the doctrine of __?

Some would say that the Bible might contain some examples of systematic theology, such as I Timothy 3:16 where we read, “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” (I Tim. 3:16)

Regardless of which approach one takes, aren’t you thankful for the many truths about our wonderful Savior?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in systematic theology

 

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Back to the Basics! Introductory Matters #4 Heresy!

Before we study the areas of Bibliology (revelation and the Scriptures), Theology Proper (the doctrine of God), Christology (the doctrine of Christ), etc., we need to talk about some preliminary issues.

We’ve talked a bit about faith, the need to struggle for the truth, and the concept of belief. Belief in the Bible is not gullibility, but a reasoned decision to align oneself with God’s reality.

The opposite of truth, of course, is heresy, a word that means “choice.” Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses heretics? They affirm the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, and the need of salvation. They are heretics because they choose to deny the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of the Lord Jesus, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

“Heretic” is a strong word conjuring up images of people being burned at the stake. But heresy, untruth, is all around us. It may take the form of a formal denial of biblical truth or the spirit of the age which tells us to live for ourselves.

Jude writes to urge us “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” And that sometimes involves dealing with heresies.

(I’ve written a short booklet entitled Whatever Happened to Heresy which you can order here).

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2018 in heresy

 

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Some of My Favorite Quotes: G.K. Chesterton on Mental Modesty!

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936), better known as G. K. Chesterton, was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the “prince of paradox“. Time magazine has observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.”

Chesterton is well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, his “friendly enemy”, said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius.” Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin.

One of my favorite Chesterton quotes is the following.  He is discussing the issue of certainty and truthfulness:  “But what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pp. 31-32).  (your comments?)

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in G.K. Chesterton

 

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Great Post from Babylon Bee on Rob Bell ……

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in ROB BELL

 

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The Spirit, the Preacher, and the Word (Part 6)

Biblical Eldership Resources (http://biblicaleldership.com/) has invited me to speak at their conference in March and my topic is “Faithful Preaching and the Power of the Spirt.” These posts are helping me to work my way through some of the issues concerning the preacher and the Spirit of God. Let’s look at our second section of the Upper Room Discourse again . . .

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. . . . 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in preaching

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon: Dads and Answers!

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-6-52-21-pmSometimes we dads don’t know the answer!  Actually, I admire Calvin’s dad for being creative with his non-answers!  Teach the child to sort truth from error, I always say!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in fathers

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 21

ש Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-5-39-12-am
    but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
    like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
    but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
    and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
    for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
    for all my ways are known to you.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in truth

 

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