In A.D. 451 a large church council was convened to solve the problems raised in the controversies over the debate on the person of Christ. They met in the city of Chalcedon and a product of their meeting was the Chalcedonian Definition. This statement is considered the standard orthodox definition of the biblical teaching on the person of Christ by the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox communions. It is brief enough to be stated here:
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us. (Schaff, Creed of Christendom 2:62-63; Grudem, Systematic, p 556)
The Chalcedonian Definition was important fighting against heresies of the day (Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, etc) and allowed the church to grow closer in unity in doctrine and practice. (more…)
I was listening to a podcast on genocide in Scripture recently. The question will sooner or later come across our ears, by someone outside the church and most certainly from those within the church. Text such as these:
Death of the Firstborn – “So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’” (Exodus 11:4–7 ESV)
women, child, and infant – “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”” (1 Samuel 15:1–3 ESV)
There are others but the idea is obvious, God has either commanded or sent out the execution of death upon those people that were hostile to him and Israel. The people he sent judgment against were not exclusively soldiers but included women, children, and infants. (more…)
The idea that God changes or doesn’t change has significant impact not only on our theology but in our life and discipleship. Scripture speaks of God’s Law as being fixed rooted in the God of Scripture, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The universe is sustained and fixed in a law of order and uniformity that makes science possible and intelligible. Scripture doesn’t speak of God as being capricious, arbitrary, or creating a world of chaos. Rather God brings order to chaos and order needs consistency and uniformity.
There is a theology (Process Theology) which claims that God changes over time. The Scripture of God is true during the time it was written but as the culture and science changes we are all changing. Therefore the church must change. This theology paints a picture of everything in motion and then points the finger at the conservative line of the church as now being out of sync with the world around them and more importantly, God. Process Theologians, in my view, have abandoned the authority of Scripture, perhaps not all together, but their position allows them to dismiss any parts that they believe are contrary to their claims. I will be the first to admit I have not read much of the theologians who align themselves with Process Theology. Frankly it sounds like nonsense as soon as I begin reading, listening to podcasts, watching their videos, etc. But I have gathered, what I believe, is the essence that I’ve briefly described above. That being said, If I’ve stated something false, I’m free to be corrected because I would not want to misrepresent a position. On the other hand if I’m correct I’d ask to have my questions responded to. (more…)
I remember the first time I was going to visit a person in the hospital. I had no idea what I would say, I barely knew the person, I had no idea where I was going, and I didn’t know what to do with the Bible that I carried in. It was stressful because I had seen the senior pastor do hospital visits. Every time he did them they were effortless and he brought joy to the room when he entered. It was like someone they had been hoping to see finally arrived. I felt like I was clumsy and about to bring awkwardness. Not only was I unexpected but I was unknown since I was new. I had to stop and pray before I continued. On one hand I knew this was something I had to do as a pastor. I needed to go in and try my best and then come out and learn from it. Additionally, I honestly believed the person in the hospital needed this as well. So this was for them and me. We both needed this. So I prayed.
I then googled some potential Bible verses on my phone and in the process ran across some articles. It appeared I wasn’t the first pastor to run across this type of uncertainty. I don’t recall if I read this on an article online or if it was something I read in a book, but I know I didn’t come up with this realization. That I was a doctor of the soul. And I was there to minister to their soul. With this new found “revelation” in my heart I was renewed in my motivation and encouraged in what I could say and what I could do. This is now my mindset when I visit a person in the hospital. They have doctors to care for their bodies. But I’m a doctor of the soul and that’s why I’m there. (more…)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is the very first verse in Scripture. If you start reading the Bible and never finish that is one truth of the Faith you will walk away knowing. Scripture begins with a monotheistic presumption. The apologetic is not to establish God’s existence but his identity. Throughout history God reveals his identity. The national cry of Israel, the Shema in Dt 6:4, would remind them of God’s oneness, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Progressively God reveals more of his identity as the mysteries of Scripture unveil him. Understand that when God gives a new revelation, it does not contradict a previous revelation. Revelation shows more clearly, what has already been revealed. (more…)
This is a helpful article that lists 13 errors to avoid when discussing, learning about, and teaching Eschatology.
Here is the article:
I appreciate the quote from one of the greatest preachers in the last 100 years:
“The great doctrine of the second advent has in a sense fallen into disrepute because of . . . this tendency on the part of some to be more interested in the how and the when of the second coming rather than in the fact of the second coming.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Calvin’s 1542 Genevan Catechism included a series of prayers. Prayers were meant to serve as models of prayers to be said. They were for training our minds and encouraging our souls to pray daily. Some prayers could be memorized others were longer and were inspirational because of the language taken from Scripture (mostly the Psalter). Here are some sample prayers:
When waking up:
My God, my Father, and my Savior, since you have been pleased to give me the grace to bring me through the night to the present day, may you also now grant me the gift of spending this day entirely in your service, so that I may not think, or say, or do anything except to please you and obey your good will, so that in this all my works be done to the glory of your name and to the edification of my neighbors. And just as you are pleased to make your sun shine on the earth to give us bodily light, so illuminate my understanding and my heart through the light of your Spirit, to guide me along the straight paths of your justice. Thus, whatever my undertaking, may my main goal and intention always be to walk in the fear of you, to serve and honor you, expecting that all good and prosperity comes to me from your blessing alone, so that I do not attempt anything that is not pleasing to you. Furthermore, while I work hard for the sake of my body and for the present life, may I always cast my gaze further, namely, toward the heavenly life that you have promised to your children. Yet may it please you to be the protector of both my body and my soul, strengthening me against all the devil’s temptations, and delivering me from all the earthly dangers that may threaten me. And because a good beginning is worthless without perseverance, please guide me onto your holy paths, not only for today but for my whole life, daily continuing and increasing your grace in me, until you bring me to full unity with your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the true Sun of our souls, shining endlessly and perpetually day and night. And in order that I may obtain these graces from you, please forget my previous faults, forgiving me for them according to your endless mercy, as you have promised to all those who wholeheartedly ask this of you. (more…)