Posts Tagged ‘Theology’

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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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Word for Word, God-Given…

August 27, 2010

This week I have attempted to draw some focus on the importance of biblical interpretation and how we should utilize the physical Bible we hold in our hands.  It is a joy to meditate on its precepts and an eternal encouragement to delve into its truths; however before one dives in deep its helpful to know how to swim.  The church-at-large is so blessed by God to have men and women who have devoted years to plumb the depths of Scripture and develop the skills to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’

One such giant of evangelicalism is J.I. Packer.  If you have not yet read any of his works such as, Knowing God, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, or his Concise Theology then I would recommend that you do.  There is a glorious simplicity in the way in which Packer tackles the most delicate and immense theological truths.  He handles the text of Scripture with a deft ability, and he is often concise and more often profound.

Below I have posted a link  to a chapter he wrote in 1958 for a book entitled “Fundamentalism and the Word of God.” The chapter is simply entitled The Interpretation of Scripture.  Here is an excerpt from his conclusion:

“We have now presented in positive outline the biblical approach to Scripture. Its text is word for word God-given; its message is an organic unity, the infallible Word of an infallible God, a web of revealed truth centered upon Christ; it must be interpreted in its natural sense, on the assumption of its inner harmony; and its meaning can be grasped only by those who humbly seek and gladly receive the help of the Holy Spirit.”

This brief chapter is informative, accurate and classic Packer.  Its worth your time to read and worth printing and keeping in your library.

Click Here to read The Interpretation of Scripture **

**(This link is from a website called bible-researcher.com an excellent resource for “students who are looking for detailed information on the history of the canon, texts, and versions of Scripture.”)

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The New Testament, Old Tools…

August 23, 2010

As we strive to study and understand the Bible we have been given, it can often seem difficult to know where to turn for resources. ntgateway.com is an excellent website for introductory/advanced New Testament study.  The site’s description is as follows: ” The New Testament Gateway, the award winning web directory of internet resources on the New Testament. Browse or search annotated links on everything connected with the academic study of the New Testament and Christian Origins.”

ntgateway is a product of the Department of Religion at Duke University under the auspices of Associate Professor of Religion Dr. Mark Goodacre.  It contains various commentary resources, greek lexical aids, scholarly articles and catagorized resources on canonical, apocryphal, and historical resources concerning the New Testament.

Important to note is that this site is not explicitly or implicitly evangelical, but attempts to provide an academic resource for those who wish to study the New Testament and its history.  It is also important to remember that while there are some articles and points of view on this site that may make conservative minds a little wary, scholarship regardless of its source or bent can be useful for instruction.  As in all things exercise discernment and first and foremost cling to the Word, the measure of all arguments.

The NTGateway.com

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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…

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Why we are Christians

July 3, 2009

Why I am a Christian

Life is full of questions.  Some questions are incidental, some are meaningless and some are nothing less than profoundly essential.  One such essential question is tackled by John Stott in his book Why I am a Christian.  In addition to serving as the rector of All Souls Church in London; Stott is a best selling author, a preacher, an evangelist and a renowned communicator of scripture.  To that impressive list he would likely add, as paramount, the title of Christian.  As one who has publicly served Christ for many years, Stott has often been posed the question, “Why Are You a Christian?”  Through this book, he responds to that question with a wealth of wisdom and insight.

                        Why I am a Christian, by John Stott, is intended to guide the reader through a brief explanation of one man’s belief on the nature of Christ as Savior; and the natures of those in need of salvation.  Two paramount questions emerge and are answered by Stott.  First, who is Christ?  Second, who are we?  Stott’s answers to both are thorough and easy for almost any reader to grasp.

                        The author begins his testimony not with a recollection but with an acknowledgement.  His testimony begins at the beginning with Christ, the “Hound of Heaven”(15).  The first half of the book deals with Christ; His nature, His Claims, and His mission.  Stott acknowledges that it is Christ who pursues that which is lost, indeed we as believers are the object of a pursuit that is “‘patient but purposeful, affectionate but relentless’” (16). 

                        Stott leads the reader through four examples of divine pursuit displayed against the backdrop of Christian history.  He weaves the personal accounts of Saul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo, Malcolm Muggeridge, and C.S. Lewis into a full testimony of man’s reluctance and Christ’s persistence.  Stott acknowledges that these stories are famous but not unique; “Multitudes of ordinary people have testified down through the years to the same sense of Christ knocking at their door or pricking them with his goads or pursuing them” (29).  Yet whether well known or obscure the author makes every effort to communicate to the reader that “whether or not we are consciously seeking God, he is assuredly seeking us” (30).

                        Once an individual acknowledges the knocking and, by grace opens the door, one will be posed the inevitable question; Why?  Stott professes that one should answer first because we were pursued and second because, “… Christianity is true, or better, the claims of Jesus are true” (33).  Stott provides the readers with a wide range of scriptures testifying to who Christ is and who He claimed to be.  The reader, whether Christian or not, is faced with a decision when presented with these claims.  “The Claims of Jesus are either true or false.  If they are false, they could be deliberately false (in which case he was a liar), or they could be involuntarily false (in which case he was deluded).  Yet neither possibility appeared to be likely” (44).  Christ was a “paradox” in His statements and His behavior.

                        Stott puts the paradox on display for his readers in the form of Christ’s death on the cross.  Here is a man who claimed to be God and yet suffered and died for the sins of all mankind.  The author states, “For on the cross, when Jesus died, God himself in Christ bore the judgment we deserved in order bring us the forgiveness we do not” (55).  For Stott this is the ultimate example of who God is and why the reader should follow Him, “The Crucified one is the God for me! He set aside his immunity to pain…. He suffered for us, dying in our place in order that we might be forgiven” (63).

                        Stott’s progression leads the reader naturally from the provision and forgiveness of God to mankind’s fallen nature and need for forgiveness and provision.

                        “What does it mean to be human?” Stott points out that the Bible itself twice poses this question once in Psalm 8:4 and then in Job 7:17. (65)  The answer to this question is fundamental to understanding what it means to be a Christian.  Stott emphasizes that each individual human is a fallen creature, subject to the judgment and wrath of God.  What mankind possesses is the ability to access freedom from God through His Grace and His Son.  “Salvation frees us from many things—especially guilt, God’s judgment, self-centeredness and fear” (84).  Stott maintains that it is the aspiration for this freedom which consumes lives and energies of every person.  Furthermore, he argues that Christ is the only satisfaction for that aspiration, “There is a thirst that none but Christ can quench” (95).  So to be human is to long for that which only Christ can give, having found that gift by God’s grace, Stott has given the reader yet another reason for being a Christian.

                        Passion and a love for God permeate this book.  One can see the evidences of decades of faithful consideration of this most important of topics.  He ably gives a power and brief explanation of Salvation in light of God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice, and man’s longing.  Stott’s writing is clear and unambiguous which makes his book an effective tool for believers to wield in defending the faith. 

                        Why I am a Christian is also, fundamentally, a success in its stated aims to provde material to “…a genuine inquirer who wants to think through the implications of becoming a Christian” (10).  Non-Christians who pick up this text will be exposed to a theologically sound treatment of scripture and a vivid testimony of God’s grace and love that is impossible to refute and difficult to ignore.