Archives For Theology

Today I take a brief look at the doctrine of the church. This is commonly known as “ecclesiology.” I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith. That statement reads:

The Church. Article #7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Church

Photo Credit: Russ Harlan

I. JUSTIFICATION, GRACE, AND FAITH

A. Justification Continue Reading…

Today’s post looks at a few elements of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This area of theology is often called “pneumatology” considered under the topic of Trinitarianism. I’m basing my blog post off of the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith:

The Holy Spirit. Article #6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. 

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Holy SpiritPhoto Credit: “Waiting for the Word” 

I. HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFIES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

The Holy Spirit helps us to “know Christ” (Phil 3:8), and it is through the Holy Spirit that we are “in Christ” (Eph 1:3, 4, 7; Rom 6:5; 8:1; 2 Cor 5:17). In this way, the Spirit’s role is not to magnify himself, but to bring glory to Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). He brings glory to Christ through the regeneration and adoption of sinful unbelievers.

Continue Reading…

Today I’m sharing some material about the doctrine of the work of Jesus Christ. This blog post is based on the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Statement of Faith which reads:

The Work of Christ. Article #5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ

Lippo Memmi (1291-1356)

I. JESUS AS OUR “REPRESENTATIVE” AND “SUBSTITUTE” Continue Reading…

Today’s post looks at theology based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. While this post is a brief summary, I hope that this post can be a starting point when looking at the doctrines of trinitarianism and soteriology. 

Jesus Christ. Article #4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. (This statement is from the Evangelical Free Church of America)

A Summary of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ

Interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Venice) – Jesus Christ bearing the Cross

I. THE HYPOSTATIC UNION OF JESUS CHRIST
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Today’s blog post is a brief explanation of the doctrines of anthropology and harmatology. This brief survey is based on the the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith which reads:

The Human Condition. Article #3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Human Condition, The Holy Scriptures in Picture and Story by William Foster

Photo Credit: “The Holy Scriptures in Picture and Story” by William Foster

I. ADAM AND EVE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

"The Fall of Man" by Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1638)

“The Fall of Man” by Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1638)

Adam and Eve were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27); therefore they were like God and represented God (Pss 8:3-8). The presence of God’s image is show by the facts that humans have

  • a mind/will/personality,
  • the capacity to rule (Gen 1:26, 28; 2:19; Pss 8; Gen 22:5),
  • spiritual/moral qualities (Gen 2:16-17; 3:22; Lev 11:45-46; Matt 5:48; Luke 3:38),
  • capacity for relationships (Gen 1:26; 2:20-23; 3:8),
  • personal social distinction, and
  • an image that will be improved and made perfect (Col 3:10; Eph 2:14; 1 Cor 15:49; 1 John 3:2).

Continue Reading…

Today I continue my summer summary series. In this blog post I look at the doctrine of the Bible (also known as “bibliology”) using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide.

The EFCA statement of faith on the Bible reads:

The Bible. Article #2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

I. KEY TERMS 

A. General Revelation and Special Revelation

God has shown himself and his truth by both general revelation and special revelation.

1. General Revelation Continue Reading…

This blog post is the first of my Summer Summary Series. In these blog posts I am providing an examination of the ten articles of the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (the organization which I hope to receive my ministry license through).

The EFCA statement of faith on God reads:

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

A Summary of the Doctrine of God

“The Adoration of the Holy Trinity” by Johann Heinrich Schonfeld (1609-1684)

I. GOD IS CREATOR

The Bible is absolutely and solemnly clear that God is the one who created the world and the universe (Gen 1:1; 14:19, 22; Exod 20:11; Neh 9:6; Pss 146:6; Acts 4:24; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11; 14:7). God created this world out of nothing—ex nihiloin seven literal days with the appearance of age. Before the world was created only God existed with himself (John 1:1-3; Rom 4:17). Therefore, the world and universe which we live in should not be worshipped; God should be the only object of our worship. God also created heaven and those who live there (Neh 9:6; Pss 103:21; 148:2-5; Acts 4:24; Col 1:16; Rev 10:6).

II. BROAD EXPLANATION OF GOD Continue Reading…

When I moved to Texas I had to learn all about the “big three” schools. Places such as “Lubbock” and “College Station” and “Austin” were legendary cities because of the large schools located there. These were the cities of the “big three” colleges in Texas: Texas A&M (College Station), University of Texas (Austin), and Texas Tech (Lubbock). While Texas might have it’s “big three,” Paul writes about the “big three” in the lives of believers in Philippians 3:9-11.

First is justification. This is the teaching that we have righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. He writes, “and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Phil 3:9, NLT). The basis and grounds for Christians be counted as righteousness depends on faith.

Second is sanctification. Once a person has placed his faith in Jesus Christ and committed to follow Him, the next step is sanctification. Sanctification is the daily act of becoming more like Jesus. “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,” (Phil 3:10, NLT). The Christian life is not always warm and happy. Here Paul reminds his readers that if they are to become more like Jesus, then they are going to suffer along the way. This suffering was predicted in the book of Acts, “And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16, NLT). That suffering was lived out as Paul has shared, “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him” (Phil 1:29, NLT) and “through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Cor 4:10, NLT). Sanctification includes joy as well, but suffering seems to be a big theme of sanctification for Paul. 

Third is glorification. After a person has experienced justification and participated in sanctification, there will be a glorification for all believers at the end of their lives in heaven. “So that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Phil 3:11, NLT).

While it is easy to get caught up into the worldly view of things (as I learned about the big three in Texas), we should be reminded of the “big three” that Paul describes for believers: (1) justification, (2) sanctification, and (3) glorification.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 8:1-5

“1When the Lamb opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2Then I saw seven angels who had been standing in front of the throne and they were given seven trumpets. 3Then another angel came and stood near the altar holding a golden censer and a large amount of incense was given to him so that he can give the prayers of the many saints on the golden altar. 4Then the smoke of the incense from the prayers of the saints ascended up out of the hand of the angel in front of God’s throne. 5Next the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire from the altar and threw it on the earth. Then there was thunder, noise, lightening, and an earthquake.” (Rev 8:1-5) 1

The Lamb Breaks the Seventh Seal (Rev 8:1-5)

Matthias Gerung: “The Opening of the Seventh Seal and the First Four Sounding Trumpets, Revelation 8:1-13”

II. OPENING SILENCE (8:1-2)

A. The Seventh Seal’s Silence (v. 1)

Καὶ ὅταν ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν ἑβδόμην, ἐγένετο σιγὴ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὡς ἡμιώριον.

“When the Lamb opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” (Rev 8:1)

1. The Sound of Silence Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. The Greek text is from NA28.

If you are like me you become sad when you see homes take down their Christmas lights, remove Christmas decorations, and toss the Christmas tree out to the road for the garbage man to pick up. However, the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ’s birth—is about much more than the one month of celebration during December. It is about the things Christ did for us through his life and death. There are five things that I like to use to describe what Christ did on the cross. Continue Reading…