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Showing posts from May, 2013

Can we all just get along?

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It saddens me, and I find it ironic, that Christians sometimes get nasty toward one another when disagreeing about theology. After all, Christian theology is the study of the Triune God who declares himself to be love!

Of course, many people are passionate about theology (it takes one to know one!). However, the nature of theology is that it is "faith seeking understanding"--not faith that has arrived at perfect understanding. God alone is perfect, and good theology (even if imperfect) accurately points to him, and thus away from itself.

Because our theological formulations are inherently imperfect, there have arisen within the historic, orthodox Christian faith multiple theological streams that diverge on certain points. This is so even though the proponents of these streams embrace the same orthodox Christian doctrines (as summarized in the ancient creeds). So what are we to do? Well, I don't think we need to lay aside our theological distinctives and the disagreement…

Trinity Sunday

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This Sunday (May 26, 2013), many Christians will celebrate Trinity Sunday.

This celebration reminds us of God's triune nature as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also helps us keep in clear focus the bedrock of Christian doctrine and theology.

In celebration of Trinity Sunday, GCI has posted this Speaking of Life video with Dr. Joseph Tkach:

What is the gospel?

Scripture declares the gospel to be "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). The following points briefly summarize the gospel viewed through the lens of the person and work of Jesus, which is the lens of an Incarnational, Trinitarian theology. These points are distilled (with admiration) from a KerrysLoft blog post (click here to read the original).

1. The gospel is the Incarnation Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, not a God who is remote from us.

2. The gospel means God is love Through Christ we discover that God is Triune, a communion of three Persons. What the doctrine of the Trinity means is that God is love. We were made for this Trinitarian communion and our love for one another is the expression of the image of God on the human plane.

3. The gospel means that Jesus is Lord He is the Victor; he has triumphed over every power in heaven and earth. Because Jesus is Lord, all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:38–39). Whatever…

All reconciled; some redeemed

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Trinitarian theologians use various terms to distinguish between the universal/objective scope of what God has done in Christ and the personal/subjective realization of that work in the lives of those who have come to faith. For example, some speak of all humanity as reconciled already to God in Christ, while only believers are redeemed.

GCI president Dr. Joseph Tkach makes this distinction in one of his Speaking of Life videos (click here to watch it).

Here is an excerpt from the program script:
[The words reconciliation and redemption] can be used to describe aspects of God’s work of salvation for the world through Jesus Christ. To reconcile means to patch up a quarrel, or to make a relationship that has become strained right again. To redeem means to buy back, or to claim ownership.

Christ has accomplished both for us since there is but one whole and single work of his. But what he inaugurates is a healed, restored relationship making us his very own brothers and sisters. This re…

John McLeod Campbell

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To understand Incarnational, Trinitarian theology it is helpful to know something of its history. Toward that end, a recent post at KerrysLoft helpfully summarizes the work of Scottish theologian John McLeod Campbell and others. Here is an excerpt (click here for the original).
Along with Edward Irving(1792-1834),Thomas Erskine of Linlathen(1788-1870) and a number of other 19th-century Scottish theologians, Campbell(1800-1872) critiqued the Calvinism of the day by arguing that God in Christ assumed our fallen human nature, yet without sin through the Holy Spirit; that the Father loves all humanity and that Christ died for all humanity, not just for those who believe; and that we are somehow joined with Christ in his re-creation of our human nature. In this way, they helped inspire the more lively evangelical tradition exemplified by figures as diverse asGeorge MacDonald(1824-1905),F.D. Maurice(1839-1901) and, in the 20th century, Karl Barth and the Torrance brothers.As with Barth, eac…

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