Archive for category Theology
We had an interesting discussion yesterday during our church’s Revelation Bible Study (we meet weekly, and it’s led by a good friend of mine who blogs about it at The Watchman’s Gaze). I didn’t at all mean to derail the discussion, and I think I only sidetracked us for a few minutes, but I want other opinions.
Revelation 3:14 provides:
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this… (NASB)
Now, I don’t mean to call into question the divinity of Jesus, or his role as creator, but as “the Beginning of the creation of God,” was there a point in time where the manifestation of God as Jesus came into existence or did the representation of God as Jesus always exist?
Our discussion leader and our pastor (who blogs at the Monday Morning Review) were adamant (in a very friendly and cordial way-both are experienced in indulging my quirky rabbit trails) that Jesus always was. I, with very little other support around the table (except for possibly our pastor’s wife-who doesn’t blog yet), however, continue to be nagged with the metaphysical question of Jesus as “the Beginning of the creation of God” and as “…the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…”
I certainly do not see it as heretical to think of Jesus coming into existence in some way as other reflections of God must have, His Word for example. I think we got hung up on the word “created.” And I don’t care if we use “created” or some other word to describe it. Physicists spend an awful lot of time and energy trying to figure out the moment of creation, but I want to know your thoughts about the time before that, specifically the moment of the creator.
Thoughts? Ideas? Scriptural Authority?
I was introduced to Veggie Tales a couple of weeks ago – my wife bought The Libster a DVD. And now that we’ve watched it a thousand times, I’m amazed by both the simplicity and profundity of something like the song “God is Bigger (than the Boogie Man)”.
I think this is a notion we give intellectual assent, but rarely employ in practice. We like the idea of having a big God, but we don’t like the responsibility of having a big God.
For example, I like the idea that God is bigger than the Boogie Man, but what happens when I meet the Boogie Man face-to-face (or, insert scary thing of your choice). I can think back to instances where I’ve cowered, forgot how big I thought God was, or simply realized that I didn’t believe what I thought I believed. Thankfully, there is grace for those situations, and, slowly but surely, I’m learning that God really is that big.
I’m not on the lookout for Boogie Men or Women, but I believe my God is bigger.
Earlier this week in What About Infants?, I directed my readers to TC’s post When Infants Die: Hell? Heaven? or Limbo?. As predicted, it generated a healthy discussion. I can’t definitively say who’s right or wrong, but I wonder if we shouldn’t be more worried about adults than the children.
Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (NASB)
I have a strong suspicion that the children will be fine. We, on the other hand, seem to have a harder time getting it.
I think we get all worked up over sin and original sin, when our accountability begins, right and wrong, and the like. And that is the very problem.
God’s a pretty smart Dude, and when He forbade us from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was for our own good. He knew we would spend the rest of our lives worrying about whether we did good or evil. If not because of our own shortcomings, then because the enemy would beat us over the head with it.
And as if that wasn’t enough, now we’ve got to worry about whether our kids will be held accountable. It’s too much to worry about. And God knew it.
That’s where we go wrong, in our need (or desire) to know. We were better off before the knowledge of good and evil, innocent like a child.
I just wanted to share this sermon on walking with the Holy Spirit. It is one of the best sermons on the Holy Spirit I’ve heard in a long time (and from a Baptist preacher, no less).
I think our mindset is backward. We think we (1) meet Jesus, (2) get saved, and (3) progress into the things of the Spirit, when it is the power of the Holy Spirit that can enable our walk with Jesus from the beginning if we allow it.
Disclaimer: We attended this church (Beltway Park Baptist Church) for a few years, and absolutely loved it. We attended through a satellite campus which closed, so we found a local church. Enjoy!
Posted using ShareThis
I didn’t start this one (I did start this one), but TC has a more specific discussion on what happens to infants who die prematurely. I expect it will generate an interesting discussion. Head on over and share your thoughts.
My readers know I do my best to bring the body of Christ together rather than to divide it, but there are still sources within the body of which we need to beware and be aware. Like where we develop our theology, doctrine, and overall belief system. Might I just suggest “5 Sources of Bad Theology”:
5. Television – I don’t mean TV preachers (although that is certainly a potential source, but, on the whole, they’re not bad), I mean television that is loosely about Christianity. And I love it. I watch the History and History International channels almost religously, but I rarely make it through a program without hearing a narrator say something like, “…as Christians believe.” No wonder people think we’re nuts.
4. Bumper Stickers – Stuff like “My boss is a Jewish Carpenter” always makes me chuckle. Really? Mine isn’t. My Lord and Savior might have been a carpenter or mason, but I don’t think we know that for sure. His earthly step-dad was, but I think it is pretty clear from scripture that Jesus was a rabbi. Now He’s our High Priest and a whole host of other really cool labels, but not “Carpenter.” How about this one, “The Best Vitamin for Christians is B1″? Shouldn’t that be the prescription for “non-Christians”?
3. T-shirts – see above.
2. Blogs – Gotcha! I don’t mean our blogs of course, I mean bloggers who set up straw-man Christian positions to argue against. A loving God wouldn’t do this, this contradicts that, yada, yada, yada. You know what I mean. And shame on us Christians for taking the bait. Arguing to disprove a lie is not the same as arguing from truth.
1. Christian Music – Now, admittedly, I listen. Our church’s worship service is contemporary, and I thoroughly enjoy it and approve of it. But, I don’t think I would trust my child’s Christian education to many contemporary Christian lyricists. I won’t offend by direct quotation, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
I’ve always been taught that when you die you go to heaven (if you’re a Christian, of course). However, I’ve always been a little ambivalent about the immediacy of that trip. I’ve never been entirely persuaded that I, or any of us, will end up in heaven immediately upon death, without a little stop over in “paradise,” “Abraham’s bosom,” or some other equally-cool name for the heavenly holding tank. But, I must admit, I’m not entirely sure.
Well, yesterday during our Revelation Bible study (specifically 1:17-18), this very question was raised (and not by me), as were a few eyebrows, and more than a few hairs on the back of necks. It didn’t generate an argument, but it did generate a great discussion (a perfect example of brothers and sisters disagreeing without becoming disagreeable). One which will no doubt continue in the hallway of our church, over coffee and lunches, and on the blogs of our church members (here, here, and of course, here at BOB).
So, I ask you, my blogging brethren, where do we go immediately upon death (if anywhere)?
My intention for week 6 was to cover all of Hebrews chapter 7. But, you know what they say about intentions (actually, I have no idea what they say about intentions, but it sounded good in my head).
Suffice it to say, we didn’t make it through all of chapter 7, but the discussion was great anyway. It seems that ministry opportunity after ministry opportunity has presented itself during our Bible study (and, henceforth, I will use that term loosely). I’m just trusting that God is trusting our little group with these ministry needs, and I am so thankful for our core group who is more than capable of ministering the gospel, ragtag bunch that we are.
We spent a fair amount of time recapping what we learned about Melchizedek in week 3 because it has, in real time, been over a month since we discussed it. To this Melchizedek, Abraham apportioned one tenth of the spoils (from his battle with the kidnapping kings). We discussed this as the first reference to the Mosaic law of tithing. Also, that the author of Hebrews suggests this as a tithe:
And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:9-10 (NASB)
And, although we are not under the law of Moses, the spiritual principle of making the whole holy by tithing remains operable. And, while we give our tithes to men, Jesus receives them in heaven, “In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.” Heb. 7:8. Thus the principle of the tithe predates the law of Moses and continues on through the New Covenant.
As I mentioned, the balance of our discussion time was spent ministering to the newest member of our group. It was yet another unexpected, but totally awesome week. May there be plenty more of them.
We finally had the fourth week of actual study last night where we covered Hebrews chapter 6, sort of. We actually made it through the first six verses.
I knew once we got into this part of Hebrews, we would be able to cover less ground in our 1.5 hr meeting. Chapter 6 is challenging. It’s not necessarily the most intellectually challenging part of Hebrews, but it is definitely one of the most spiritually challenging. I don’t know many Christians who can read Hebrews chapter 6 and honestly say they are partakers of the “solid food” referenced in chapter 5, and not “milk.”
Do you wonder whether you are? Consider what the author is saying in the first two verses:
1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2 (NASB)
Has the church (collectively) left the “elementary teaching about the Christ”? Hardly. We discussed each item listed individually. “Repentance from dead works,” still plagues the church – we battle with legalism continually, and repentance. There is simply no earning your way into heaven, yet we try our best to measure our salvation by work-related measurements.
How about “washings,” or baptisms. There is still plenty of in-fighting about when, where, who, how, and how often to baptize. Is there one baptism, two, three, or multiple? The author clearly intends to communicate multiple, so which is he or she meaning? We collectively determined the potential for three: (1) water baptism, (2) the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and (3) the baptism by fire. I, personally, had never made the distinction between (2) and (3) until after our discussion last night, but I do now. We also concluded that the list might not be exhaustive, but those were the three we were able to identify.
And “the laying on of hands,” how well is the church coping with that one? Do we? Don’t we? Why do we? Why don’t we? We determined four reasons for doing so still today: (1) healing, (2) commissioning or sending out, (3) impartation, and (4) baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not that the laying on of hands is necessary for each, or that the list is exhaustive, but these are certainly reasons for doing so.
Oh yeah, “and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” As sophisticated as we have become in the Western church, we are regressing in matters of the Spirit. We are able to get the word out better than we ever have, but the word has lost its power. It’s no wonder there’s a problem with “faith toward God.”
I say only half jokingly, fortunate for us that so few of us “have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come“ otherwise we would be in danger of the condemnation contained in verses 5 and 6.
Hopefully we will finish chapter 6 next week and move into chapter 7.
In the blogosphere and elsewhere, I often come across something like this:
Charismatics let their experiences define their theology…yada, yada, yada.
To which, I can only answer, “Well, duh!”
I fail, however, to see how this is a real criticism. Moreover, I fail to see how non-charismatic, acharismatic, or anti-charismatic theology is any less defined by experience (or lack thereof).
Can someone help me out here?