Archive for the ‘Systematic Theology’ Category

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Online Tools for the Theological Trade…

January 12, 2011

There is a great site that I have just been made aware of; Theopedia.com is a “Wikipedia” like site for Theological topics.  It claims to be “essentially a community-driven, information-management system,” whose sole aim is to compile a library of theological and biblical topics.

Theopedia is separate and unrelated to Wikipedia and prohibits word-for-word copying/pasting of Wikipedia articles onto its site.

You can read their Statement of Faith, which every editor of the site is required to affirm prior to editing any material on the site.

As with any site of this type, discretion is called for when searching for and gathering information, as the “community-driven” nature of these sites can be unpredictable and sometimes unreliable.

If anything, use this site as a jumping off point to study and delve into the profound truths which spring from the Word and make up the body of theological studies.

Click here for Theopedia’s Home Page…

Click here for Theopedia’s about page...

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A Christian’s Comfort in the Psalms pt. II

July 19, 2010

ACKNOWLEDGING EVIL

For the Psalmist, evil is ever-present in the world.  Recognizing evil’s presence is key to fighting against its effects and coping with the suffering it engenders.  Much of the Psalm’s express purpose in prescribing action and proclaiming the rightness of Yahweh’s Law is to bless and protect Israel from evil and evil’s being in suffering.[1]

As one reads the Psalms one sees that evil takes different forms.  There is represented within the Psalter the objective conceptual idea of evil; the way in which the righteous should not walk, a place occupied by the wicked, the sinners and the scoffers.  There is also, and more commonly represented, the idea of evil as subjective oppression and suffering.  This subjective suffering, often at the hands of “the ungodly” seems to occur when God is has apparently withdrawn from the situation.[2] The lack of God’s presence, or the lack of His perceived interest, is almost always met with lamentation and cries of distress.  As alluded to earlier, in Psalm 13 David confesses that his enemies are exalted and he is in distress; therefore, David pleads with God to rectify the situation by remembering him and cries out to God to reveal His hidden face.

The acknowledged presence of evil, both objectively and subjectively, stands in stark contrast to the way things should be in light of God’s meticulous creation.  “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”[3] This handiwork is seen in the purposeful formation of the heavens, the seas and trees, all of which He spoke into being[4].  While He displays creation on a cosmic scale, He likewise forms and knits every human being together within their mother’s womb.[5] He formed each eye and each ear; there is no part of creation that does not have the print of His divine design.  He created and called a people; “established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel…”[6] “Christian theology has always regarded God’s creation of the world as an act of love.”[7] Yet despite this act of love there are apparent aberrations present throughout the land; forces which plot and rage in vain against this creator God and His creation.  Evil forces composed of the “ungodly” are pervasive in the Psalter.  Just how pervasive can be displayed by examining two words used throughout the Psalms to describe evil and its ungodly perpetrators.  In the next post of this series we shall examine the first of those words, its use and implications for viewing and using the Psalms.

Click here for Part I of A Christian’s Comfort in the Psalms…


[1]  Evil, for our purposes shall be defined as the malevolent fallen existence which finds its source in the rejection of the creator; its function in opposition through sin; its being in pain and suffering; and its certain dissolution at the hand of Almighty God to and for His glory.

[2] Goldingay, 341.

[3] Psalm 19:1

[4] Psalm 90:2 God formed the earth and the world, and brought forth the mountains. Psalm 95:5, “ The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”

[5] Psalm 139:13, 16. Respectively “you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were write every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.”

[6] Psalm 78:5

[7] William A. Dembski. The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. (Nashville, TN B&H Publishing. 2009.) 25.

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Two is the Loneliest Number

May 2, 2010

Ephesians 2:113:13

How soon we forget.  God has so wisely designed our bodies, each part performs a function, each part is necessary.  His body of the church has likewise been designed with a care and function which ultimately, if guided properly serves to give Him Glory.  Paul’s ministry to Ephesus brought God glory and brings us valuable and necessary encouragement and instruction.  Once we enter the body we must not forget the means by which we entered.  Paul repeatedly, in this passage calls the Ephesians and by extension each of us to remember.  Remember that one time “you were gentiles” (11); remember that one time you were “separated from Christ”(12).  In true Pauline fashion though, he follows these reminders of separation and alienation with his famous “but now.”  Now we the gentiles have been brought near through Christ, and have been joined into one new man literally, “in the place of two.”(15)  This unity of body is marked by three characteristics.

The first is peace.  Once God has joined us both Jew and gentile together into one body through the cross, the hostilities which marked their separation should cease.  This peace was preached to those who were far off and to those who were near; strangers and sojourners alike.  Now all are granted access through the Spirit into God’s household.

The second characteristic is worship.  This far-flung group is being gathered and joined for a function.  The new believers will add to the foundation of a structure begun by the apostles and prophets of which Christ Jesus is the cornerstone.  Peter uses this metaphor to great effect in his first epistle in chapter two; that we are in fact living stones, being built up, a royal priesthood, a chosen race.  Here Paul proclaims that this structure is a Holy Temple, and all those in Christ are built into this structure which will serve as “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”(2:22)

The third characteristic is action.  Jesus’ gospel, “the mystery” made known to Paul by revelation, must be proclaimed to all, both Jews and Gentiles.  So Paul models the message that there has been a plan, a mystery hidden for ages that man must now be made aware.  God revealed that mystery in Christ and it is by God’s grace that Paul and all of us in Jesus, can preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Recognizing that these characteristics are part of God’s eternal plan, should encourage us to both seize hold of the promises God places before us; and take heart when misfortune falls on us as it did Paul.  For though he suffered for the Ephesians the message and hope of Christ pressed on; the structure continued to grow; for increase of our faith and for God’s glory.

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Aware of Scripture… The Doctrine of Scripture with Dr. Bruce Ware

April 8, 2010

Dr. Ware is a highly esteemed theologian and author in the evangelical world. He came to Southern Seminary from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he served as Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biblical and Systematic Theology. Prior to this, he taught at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and at Bethel Theological Seminary. Dr. Ware has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews and, along with Thomas Schreiner, has co-edited The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will and Still Sovereign. He also has authoredGod’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open TheismGod’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance.

His passion is contagious and it is always a delight to hear him extol the applicable merits of Scripture. Biblical Training.org provides access to an excellent outline to Dr. Ware’s teaching on Systematic Theology and the Divine revelation of Scripture.  It is well worth your time to read. 

Read Here…