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Why Should You Spend Your Life Studying Christian Theology – part

Why Should You Spend Your Life Studying Christian Theology – part a

O God, You have taught me from my youth;

And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. 

Now also when I am old and grayheaded,

O God, do not forsake me,

Until I declare Your strength to this generation,

Your power to everyone who is to come.

Psalms 71:17-18

 

Introduction Questions:

  • How do people within the modern church view Christian theology today?
  • How big is the theology section of our local “Christian” book store?  What is the biggest section called?
  • How do people outside the church view Christian Theology?
  • Who should be concerned with Christian theology?
  • How does Ps. 71:17-18 explain how the Christian should view Christian theology?

Reymond offers 5 reasons why Christian theology deserves the church’s and the world’s highest interest and respect.  By Christian theology, we mean the study of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments by means of the historical, grammatical and theological approach.

  1. The example of Jesus’ own theological method
  2. Christ’s mandate to the church to disciple and teach all nations
  3. The apostolic model
  4. The example and activity of the New Testament church
  5. The very nature of Holy Scripture and the revealed Word of God

1 – The Example of Jesus’ Own Theological Method

Jesus Regarded the Old Testament As Historical

Jesus regarded the old testament as historically accurate.  Just using Matthew’s gospel alone as an example, Jesus refers to the following Old Testament events.  In each case, He represents these events as historically true and accurate.

  • Matt. 19:4-5 – creation of Adam & Eve
  • Matt. 23:35 – murder of Abel
  • Matt. 24:37 – the times of Noah and the Genesis flood
  • Matt. 10:15 – the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Matt. 22:31-32 – the Word of God coming to Moses
  • Matt. 12:3-4 – David’s eating the bread of the presence
  • Matt. 23:35 – the stoning of Zechariah
  • Matt. 12:40 – the swallowing of Jonah by the great fish
  • Matt. 12:41 – Jonah’s preaching and Ninevah’s repentance
  • Matt. 8:11; 13:14; 15:7-8; 24:15 – allusions to other Old Testament characters such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, and Daniel

Jesus Regarded the Old Testamament  As Inspired

There are also several passages in Matthew that show that Jesus regarded the Old Testament Scriptures as the very words of God.

 

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? – Matt 19:4-5

Notice that Jesus attributes the words from Genesis 2:24 as coming from “He who made them at the beginning” (God).

 

But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,  “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” – Matt. 22:31-32

In this passage, Jesus attributes the words of Exodus 3:6 as being “spoken to you by God”.  He regarded these words as being spoken to Moses and to His own contemporaries (and therefore even to us).  Moreover, Jesus even hung his argument on the present tense verb “I am”, showing that Abraham was still alive and would be resurrected someday from death.  This is amazing.  This shows that Jesus believed that the words of Scripture were so carefully superintended by the Holy Spirit that even a particular verb tense, being without error, could be trusted to support a Christian doctrine.

 

He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

    “The LORD SAID TO MY LORD,

    ‘Sit at My right hand,

    Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’ ”?

If David then calls Him “Lord,’ how is He his Son?” – Matt. 22:43-45

In the above passage, Jesus bases His argument that He is the Son of God on Psalms 110.  He tells us that David was superintended by the Holy Spirit (“in the Spirit”).  He also hangs his entire argument on David’s use of the word ‘adon’ (lord).

 

We could examine many other such texts within the Gospels that show that Jesus regarded the Old Testament as inspired scripture.  But we will stop here.

Does the Old Testament Demand the Killing of Other Human Beings for Religious Reasons?

Whenever we examine Jesus’s endorsement of the historicity of the Old Testament, the following question will often arise.  Did the God of the Old Testament demand people to kill other people for religious reasons.  Examples of this can be found in Deut. 2:34 “We took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city; we left none remaining.”, Deut. 3:6 “And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children of every city.”  Also, some will quote the “imprecatory” (invoking a curse from God) Psalms in Ps. 5:10;10:15;55:15;69:22-25; 109:9-13).  Do these not show that the Old Testament condones the same kind of violence that many find repulsive in the radical Islamic terrorism of today.  There are many examples in scripture where God calls on Israel to destroy its enemies.  Would Jesus agree with such practices?

 

As Christian’s we must be able to provide an answer to our culture, which today often prides itself with being tolerant.  The following are reasons why God at times commanded the killing of other human beings within the Old Testament for religious reasons, and why Jesus has commanded us to “love your enemies” (Matt 5:44, Luke 6:27,35)

  • The Old Testament also forbids all forms of personal vengeance and commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:17-18)
  • The Old and New Testaments are in harmony in declaring that vengeance belongs to the Lord alone.  “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19 (also see Deut. 32:35)
  • The “imprecatory” Psalms are all prayers in which the psalmist commits His problems to God and leaves it up to God to take vengeance.  They show the psalmist’ obedient faith towards God and non-retaliatory intent toward man, expressing indignation regarding his enemies flaunting of God’s holy name.  The psalmist main concern is the vindication of God’s name and therefore an expression of a perfect hatred (Ps. 139:21-22).
  • Jesus and the apostles also pronounced curses towards their enemies (see Matt. 23:13; Gal. 1:8; Rev. 19:1-5)
  • The destruction of those who wished to harm Israel was necessary for preserving the seed of the Messiah.  For example, when Sihon the Kind of the Amorites “gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel.” (Num 21:23), the Amorites posed a threat to the continuation of the people of God and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise.
  • Deut. 9:4 is very clear that God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites because of their own wickedness, “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.” – Deut. 9:4  This principle of the destruction of the wicked is also displayed in the world wide flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The new testament is in full agreement with setting forth these events as examples for us today, that if we do not turn and repent towards God, we will likewise suffer His everlasting wrath.

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;  and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; – 2 Peter 2:4-6

 

But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.  And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.  – Jude 5-7

What is Christian Apologetics – part b

  • What is Christian Apologetics – part b

    “The most crucial issue facing the Christian apologetist is that of method: Should the apologist in his effort to defend the faith and to persuade the unbeliever of Christianity’s truth claims reason to or from special revelation?  Said another way, Should the Christian apologist begin his defense of the faith standing within the circle of revelation or with the unbeliever outside the circle of revelation?” (Robert Reymond, Faith’s Reasons For Believing, p. 26)

    Where do we start from?

    How we answer the following questions will determine where a person starts when engaging in apologetics.

    What is the nature and function of general revelation?

    Major Apologetic Methods:

  • What is the nature and function of special revelation?
  • Are there “two books” of knowledge, specifically general and special revelation?  Or just one?
  • How does sin effect man’s ability to know God?
  • What is the character of faith?
  • What is the test of truth?
  • What kind of certainty does Christianity offer?
  • What is the value of theistic proofs?
  • What is the value of Christian evidences?
  • What is the nature of the common ground between believer and unbeliever that allows for intelligent conversation? 
  1. Evidentialism
    • all truth is discovered through sense perception 
    • asserts the ability and trustworthiness of human reason in its search for religious knowledge
    • relies on probability arguments using empirical or historically verifiable facts
    • insists that religious propositions must be subjected to the same kind of verification that scientific assertions must undergo
    • examples would be the Thomistic Roman Catholic tradition (see Thomas Aquinas), inconsistent Reformed evidentialist (i.e. R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner), and the Arminian tradition)
  2. Presuppositionalism (or Biblical Foundationalism or scripturalism)
    • fear of the Lord precedes understanding everything else (Prov. 1:7)
    • understanding follows upon and is governed by the faith commitment.  This is often expressed by the Latin expression Credo ut intelligam (“I believe in order that I may understand”).
    • believes that human depravity has made human autonomous reason incapable of understanding truth
    • the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is necessary for Christian faith and enlightenment.
    • example would be the consistent reformed tradition
  3. Experientialism
    • stresses inward religious experience as the foundation of truth instead of evidence or written revelation
    • subjective religious experience is the ground of truth and meaning
    • insistence upon the paradoxical character of Christian teaching and that Christian truth is not capable of rational analysis
    • strong emphasis on transcendence and hiddenness of God in religious experience.
    • example would be the Neo-orthodox tradition (see Karl Barth)

Follow Up Questions:

  • Why would an arminian naturally tend towards evidentialism?
  • What does the Bible say about man’s ability to understand truth?  Read Prov. 2:6-7; John 1:4-5; 14:6,16-17; Col. 2:2; 1Cor. 1:17-20 
  • What about Romans 1:32; 2:12-16?  Seems like unbelieving man kind knows a lot without “special revelation”  Are these truths understood through sense perception?  Do they know these truths with certainty?
  • Why are presuppositionalist often labeled as “gnostic”.  What is gnosticism?  How is it different from presuppositionalism?

Related Articles:

What is Christian Apologetics – part A

What is Christian Apologetics – part A

See the Apologetics Podcasts for an mp3 download of this study.

Definition of Apologetics:

Christian apologetics is the intellectual discipline wherein the intelligent effort is made carefully to delineate and to contend for the truth claims of the Christian faith before the unbelieving world, specifically, its claims of exclusive true knowledge of the one living and true God, in a manner that is consistent with the teaching of Holy Scripture.
Comes from the Greet root “apolog” – defense or reply to a formal charge.
Nature – both defensive and offensive

The Biblical Mandate of Apologetics:

1 Pet. 3:15-16 
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense [pros apologian] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;  16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Observations:
  1. command to “sanctify” (regard as holy) God in the face of persecution, and to be ready
  2. assumes a heart of faith “hope that is in you” that can be recognized by others
  3. implies that all Christians are capable of engaging in apologetics
  4. assumes communication with unbelievers
  5. calls on every believer to be ready on every occasion to give to anyone who asks, the reason for his faith in Christ.
  6. indicates the attitude that we should have when engaging in apologetics, “meekness and fear”
This passage does not say we can “reason” men into the kingdom of God.

The “Paraclete” is the master “Apologete”. 


Reymond – “A divinely initiated, regenerating work of almighty grace accompanying the gospel proclamation is alone capable of enabling men to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Faith’s Reasons For Believing, p. 20).

What comes first: Apologetics or Exegesis/Systematics?

If we start with apologetics and allow unaided fallen man to establish both the possibility and presuppositions of Christian theology, what must we deny?
What is necessary before anyone can engage in apologetics?

Aspects of the Task of Apologetics:

  1. To answer particular objections.  For example, resolve alleged contradictions between scripture statements.  Respond to hostile theories to biblical truths such as Christ’s bodily resurrection, His virgin birth, His miracles, etc.  Such discussions with unbelievers will naturally lead to the defense of basic Christian presuppositions (which leads us to #2).
  2. To give an account of the foundations of the Christian faith.  Such foundational issues may involve the following questions.
    • Does God exist?
    • Has he revealed himself?  If so, where and how?
    • Why do I believe these things?
    • How do I know that what I believe is true?
    • This leads us to the study of epistemology (branch of philosophy dealing with the theory of knowledge: what is knowledge, how is knowledge acquired, how do we know what we know.) 
  3. To challenge non-Christian systems.  This involves exposing the irrationality inherent within non-Christian systems of thought.
  4. To persuade men of the truth claims of the Christian faith.  Goal should be evangelistic not merely to “win an argument”.

Taken from Stephen Charnock’s book “The Existence and the Attributes of God”:

Here is a good quote for all to think on, it is from Stephen Charnock’s book “The Existence and the Attributes of God”:  

It is true, God’s will cannot be hindered of its effect, for then God would not be supremely blessed, but unhappy and miserable : all misery ariseth from a want of that which a nature would have, and ought to have : besides, if anything could frustrate God’s will, it would be superior to him : God would not be omnipotent, and so would lose the perfection of the Deity, and consequently the Deity itself ; for that which did wholly defeat God’s will, would be more powerful than he. But sin is a contradiction to the will of God’s revelation, to the will of his precept: and therein doth naturally tend to a superiority over God, and would usurp his omnipotence, and deprive him of his blessedness. For if God had not an infinite power to turn the designs of it to his own glory, but the will of sin could prevail, God would be totally deprived of his blessedness. Doth not sin endeavor to subject God to the extravagant and contrary wills of men, and make him more a slave than any creature can be? For the will of no creature, not the meanest and most despicable creature, is so much crossed, as the will of God is by sin (Isa. xliii. 24): ” Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins:” thou hast endeavored to make a mere slave of me by sin. Sin endeavors to subject the blessed God to the humor and lust of every person in the world.Stephen Charnock’s

Take time to think and ponder:

When we stubborn, unregenerate, measly, nonrepentant, and sinful humans believe we who have violated God’s Moral laws have the right, and a free will, to override God and choose Him and grant ourselves salvation, we make ourselves a God, because we believe we can checkmate God and that He doesn’t have the power to do anything about it. Nor would He be Sovereign with the power to choose (elect) whom He wants to save. When one believes he or she can checkmate God they are on VERY dangerous ground.

Lynn

Excalibur Food Dehydrator

excalibur-3926t

Excalibur Food Dehydrator

You are asking, why in the world would I put this on my site, and I guess you could say, I believe that we are to help each other and when we find something that will help us in our journey here on earth we should share it with our sisters and brothers in Christ. I don’t get anything for putting this on my site but it could be a help to you.

http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/ here is Excalibur’s official web site. I have also placed it in my FavoritesExcalibur’s Offical Site

If you order an Excalibur I suggest you buy it from Excalibur’s official site, you may call them as we did, however ordering from them you actual are assured of receiving your dehydrator.

A friend named Tammy  ordered from another site and never received her unit. She then placed an order direct from the Excalibur’s official site. Tammy knows of others who ordered from other web sites aswell and didn’t get there units either. We ordered our directly from Excalibur without any troubles at all.

I have one Excalibur which I have only had for a few months and also have a 20 year old Vita Mix Harvester stackable dehydrator which you can’t buy anymore. Although, there are other units that are stackable on the market.

I love both of my machines, however I cannot use frozen foods in my stackable dehydrator because the fan and the motor are in the bottom, then when the foods drip it destroys the motor and fan. So do not use frozen foods in a stackable unit… the Excalibur fan and motor are in the back of the unit so when frozen foods drip it does not harm the machine.

The Excalibur comes with a timer or without depending on which you want.

Oh speaking of Tammy she does a LOT of dehydrating and she has two Excaliburs and is getting another one for Christmas this year, she not only dehydrates for her family but for others. She also has a web site you can go to at: http://www.dehydrate2store.com/ – you will really enjoy this site. I have also placed it in my Favorites under Tammy’s Dehydrating Site 

Enjoy,

Lynn

Dehydrating Foods

scan0001Times are tough and we need to take a lesson from the 10 virgin in the Bible – remember some were ready and had oil in their lamps and others had to beg for oil and ended up leaving to find oil, when the Bride Groom came – the wise  went in – but the ones who were foolish were left out.

Stop and think about the times in which we are living… if you set aside food for your family and times do get bad, you will have food for your family, if times get better then your pantry has a supply for you still to feed your family from.

There is a web site I highly recommend…http://www.dehydrate2store.com/.I have it in my favorites under Tammy’s Dehydrating Site. The site is owned by a lady named Tammy and she has filled it with so many tips and helpful things to help you along your journey of dehydrating, even videos on how to.  You can also find her videos on U-Tube.

You ask — why I am suggesting dehydrating and here is my reason… 1 bushel of tomatoes = 32 quart jars of canned tomatoes –  but that same bushel will dehydrate down to 2 quart jars – it takes much less storage space — not only that but dehydrating retains much more of the enzymes – vitamins and minerals than any other method of preserving your food.

I do not know what will happen, as I am not God but I think God has taught us many times to be prepared. I hope you are among the wise and prepare for what could befall us in America, be ready to care for those you love.

Lynn