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Showing posts from December, 2022

The Christian Doctrine of God (part 3)

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This is part 3 in a series  by Torrance scholar  Thomas Noble ,  summarizing Thomas F. Torrance's The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons .  For other posts in this series, click a number:  1 , 2 , 4 . Chapter 5: ONE BEING, THREE PERSONS At the council of Alexandria in 362, the Athanasian and Cappadocian approaches were brought together in a position best expressed by Gregory Nazianzen:  one Being, three Persons, three Persons, one Being. In this chapter we concentrate on the one Being .   Just as we reject a docetic Christology ‘from above’ and an ebionitic ‘Christology from below’, so in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity we must think conjunctively of God’s trinitarian self-revelation from below and from above – of what God is toward us, and what He is in Himself, of the Trinity in Unity and His Unity in His Trinity, and consider the economic Trinity and the ontological Trinity inseparably together. The word the Greek fathers used was ousia , but Athanasius did not

The Christian Doctrine of God (part 2)

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This is part 2 in a series  by Torrance scholar  Thomas Noble ,  summarizing Thomas F. Torrance's The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons .  For other posts in this series, click a number: 1 ,  3 , 4 . Chapter 2: THE CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE God may be known only through God: without God, God cannot be known (Irenaeus). The Christian doctrine of God derives specifically from within the definitive self-revelation of the one Lord God through Jesus Christ and in one Spirit – that is, from the historical self-revelation of God as God becomes man for us and for our salvation. Exclusive relation of mutual knowing between the Father and Son (Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 10:21-22) and between God and the Spirit (I Cor. 2: 9-12). The specifically Christian doctrine of God is thus inescapably and essentially Christocentric , for it pivots on God’s self -revelation and self -communication in the incarnation, in an objective manifestation. Doctrinal statements about God are only possible a

The Christian Doctrine of God (part 1)

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This is part 1 in a series  by Torrance scholar  Thomas Noble ,  summarizing Thomas F. Torrance's The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons .  For other posts in this series, click a number: 2 , 3 , 4 . PREFACE The Holy Trinity is more to be adored than expressed. The Holy Scriptures do not give us dogmatic propositions about the Trinity but a definite witness under which the Church allowed the pattern and order of God’s Triune Life to impose themselves upon its mind, the distinctive mind, or phronÄ“ma of the Catholic Church. Something of definitive and irreversible significance took place in the confession of the homoousion giving expression to the ontological substructure and coherence of the gospel. This is not to claim that the Nicene term homoousios is somehow sacrosanct and beyond reconsideration. It must be continually tested and revised in the light of what it was coined to express, but it proved to be of astonishing generative and heuristic power. I liken the i

Jesus is launched into public ministry (preaching resource for 1/22/23)

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This post exegetes Matthew 4:12-23, the RCL Gospel reading for 1/22/23. This exegesis draws on commentary from "The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament" by Craig Keener, "The New Bible Commentary" by RT France, and "The Bible Knowledge Commentary" by Louis Barbieri. "Jesus calls St. Peter and St. Andrew" by Tissot (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction In Matthew chapter 3, Jesus is baptized for all humanity, anointed by the Holy Spirit for ministry to all humanity, and approved (accredited) by the Father as his Son who is given authority over all humanity. Now in chapter 4, Jesus is led by the Spirit to be tested in the desert, further preparing him for his ministry and further accrediting him as Messiah. Then at the end of chapter 4, Jesus is launched in the power of the Spirit into public ministry. His first task is to call his first disciples. Let’s walk with him. Jesus moves to Galilee (vv12-16) 12 When Jesus heard that

Remember your calling (preaching resource for January 15, 22, and 29, 2023)

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This post exegetes 1 Cor. 1:1-31, providing context for the RCL Epistles readings for Jan. 15, 22 & 29, 2023. This exegesis draws on multiple resources including commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and Bruce Winter ("New Bible Commentary"). Ruins of Corinth with Acrocorinth in the background (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction   Paul sent the letter we know as 1 Corinthians to the church gathered in the city of Corinth in Southern Greece. Corinth was the seat of government for the Roman province of Achaia and an important center of culture and trade. Its population included freed slaves working as laborers and tradesmen, as well as many highly-educated, upper-class folk. In general, the citizens of Corinth were known for their immorality—fomented by temple prostitutes who plied their “religious wares” out of the temple to Aphrodite that sat atop the nearby mountain known as Acrocorinth (see the picture).  Before sending

The radical advance of a radical gospel (preaching resource for 1/8/23)

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This post exegetes Acts 9:32-11:18 providing context for one of the RCL readings for 1/8/23. This exegesis draws on multiple resources including commentary from John Stott and F.F. Bruce. "St. Peter and Cornelius the Centurian" by Cavalino (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction In the pericope that spans Acts 9:32-11:18, Luke tells the story of the radical advance of a radical gospel—good news for all people, including Gentiles. To the Jewish Christians led by Peter, this was a radical concept indeed. And Luke chooses to tell the story from Peter’s perspective—for indeed, the Holy Spirit used Peter to open the door of the gospel to the Gentile world—an opening that came through a Roman Centurian names Cornelius and his family.  In examining this pericope, we remember that Jesus had given Peter 'the keys of the kingdom' (Mt.16:19). Peter had already been used by the Holy Spirit to open the kingdom to Jews on the Day of Pentecost and then to Samaritans soon