Break-time

September 6, 2006

Theopedia will be taking a break here on the blog, but Theopedia.com is still running and adding new material every day.  Please stop by, take a look, and help out!  Thanks.


The new “Federal Vision” theology

August 23, 2006

The Federal Vision movement seeks a restatement of traditional Reformed theology that applies a more robust Covenant theology in the study of the relationship between obedience and faith, and the role of the Church and Sacrament in our salvation. Proponents are a loosely organized but vocal group of writers among the confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches who appear intent on revising core confessional doctrines of election, covenant, sacraments, and justification.

The Federal Vision proponents are reacting to problems in the contemporary evangelical and Reformed churches, such as the rampant individualism, the neglect of the covenantal objectivity of salvation, an over-emphasized subjectivity in seeking assurance of salvation, the tendency towards antinomianism in some circles, and an inadequate view of the role of the sacraments as signs and seals of salvation.

Critics see the pastoral concern in these matters as commendable, but contend that the FV re-casting of the normal orthodox understanding of certain vital aspects of Biblical and Reformed theology (cf. the Westminster Confession) raises far more serious problems in the end, than the ones which they claim to have solved.

See more at Theopedia’s article Federal Vision


The Millennial Kingdom

August 17, 2006

The Millennial Kingdom refers to the thousand-year reign of Christ specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. This is usually seen as the same Messianic Kingdom anticipated by the Old Testament prophets. The major views regarding this millennial kingdom follow:

Read the rest of this entry »


The Prosperity Gospel

August 12, 2006

“My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that’.” -Mary J. Blige [1]

Prosperity Gospel supporters “believe that faith works as a mighty power or force. That it is through their faith that they can obtain anything they want such as health, wealth, or any form of personal success. However, this force is only released through their faith.” [2] Adherents of the Prosperity Gospel, almost always also part of the word of faith movement, usually hold to the tenet that God never grants suffering or poverty, and that both always should be attributed to sin and Satan in every way, and in no way attributed to God.

This topic hit home for me in July, as my wife almost lost her life in giving birth. She lost 6 units of blood, and had to have a massive blood transfusion and hysterectomy. During the surgery, we were praying fervently for Staica’s life and health, and that God would make it so that she wouldn’t need the hysterectomy. In a short time after the surgery, we were assured that Stacia would be fine. We were both devastated over the hysterectomy though, as it hit head-on our dream of having more biological children. Now we have a beautiful baby boy, and I can’t fully describe how uniquely special and valuable he is to me. He is the only biological child I have or ever will have. He is my son, my only son. Read the rest of this entry »


Textual Criticism and our confidence in the New Testament

August 7, 2006

New Testament Textual Criticism examines the existing manuscript witnesses to the New Testament in order to produce a text that is as close as possible to the original. The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,300 Greek manuscripts dating from the 3rd century to the 16th century. The task of the textual critic, therefore, is to sort through the variants and establish a “critical text” that is intended to represent the original by best explaining the state of all extant witnesses.

The details of the textual variants among the existing manuscripts is the focus of textual criticism. Discussions regarding “which is the best Greek text” can often cause concern for the laymen. However, we should not let scholarly concerns “make a mountain out of a mole hill.”

According to Daniel Wallace, “When one examines the variations between the Greek text behind the KJV (the Textus Receptus) and the Greek text behind modern translations, it is discovered that the vast majority of variations are so trivial as to not even be translatable (the most common is the moveable nu, which is akin to the difference between “who” and “whom”!) . . . When one compares the number of variations that are found in the various MSS with the actual variations between the Textus Receptus and the best Greek witnesses, it is found that these two are remarkably similar. There are over 400,000 textual variants among NT MSS. But the differences between the Textus Receptus and texts based on the best Greek witnesses number about 5000 — and most of these are untranslatable differences! In other words, over 98% of the time, the Textus Receptus and the standard critical editions agree.”

See more at http://www.theopedia.com/New_Testament_Textual_Criticism


Can We Know God?

August 4, 2006

People have the tendency to answer this question in one of two ways: Some of us tend to treat God like he is knowable and near. Others see God as far off and incomprehensible. The interesting thing is that he is both!

Scripture does reveal that God can never fully be known. The Psalmist tells us that “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable,” (Psalm 145:3). Paul adds to this idea, observing that “the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God,” and later notes that, “no one comprehends the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). David further emphasizes this when he says that, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6; cf. 17). This idea is ultimately summed from the very mouth of God,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Although God cannot be known completely, we can know true things about him. For example, we know that God is love (1 John 4:8), God is light (1 John 1:5), God is spirit (John 4:24), and that God is just or righteous (Romans 3:26). These aspects of God have been revealed to us in Scripture. However, more than mere facts can be known about God.

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.'” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Scripture tells us that we can know more than facts about God – we can actually know him as a personal being! Even more, what this passage tells us is that our source of joy should come from knowing God and not from our riches, wisdom, or might. Another significant passage comes from the Gospel of John, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” (John 17:3). John later writes in his epistle, “I write to you, children, because you know the Father,” (1 John 2:13). God can be known, and in knowing God we should take great joy, for by knowing God, we can pray to him, hear him, and commune in his presence.

See main article: http://www.theopedia.com/Knowability_of_God


What is Postmodernism?

August 3, 2006

Within the context of Christianity, postmodernism may be described as a reaction against conventional wisdom in theology and the church and an assimilation of postmodern philosophy which questions objective truth and the nature of knowledge. It emphasizes the otherness and incomprehensibility of God. Paying close attention to the age-old philosophical question of the relationship of “faith” and “reason,” postmodern Christianity usually thinks of the Christian faith as in some way transcending human reason, rather than being unreasonable, illogical, or absurd — on the one hand — or merely logical, on the other hand.

In a general sense, “this new era has been characterised by a rejection of absolute truths and grand narratives explaining the progressive evolution of society. At the same time it has brought to the surface a multitude of different perspectives on society and an appreciation of different cultures. It has highlighted globalisation on the one hand and localisation on the other, the celebration of difference and the search for commonality.” [1]

The Emerging Church movement seeks to revitalize the Christian church beyond what it sees as the confines of modernity, so that it can effectively engage people in a postmodern age. Critics allege, however, that this movement’s postmodernization of faith has led many of its adherents outside of the bounds of orthodoxy. Brian McLaren is a prominent author and spokesperson for this movement.

See more at http://www.theopedia.com/Postmodernism


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