I've recently been studying theology as part of my major at Liberty University Online. I'm currently taking Theology 201 and let's just say, it's been an uh, interesting time. To me, when it comes to religion I've always been very inclusionary. Especially when I hear discussions about doctrinal issues in churches that actually drive people away from God, or make people not want to come to church. That's one of the reasons I've always like apologetics more than theology. It seems that apologetics is about bringing people together to reason about the things of faith, but theology is about arguing the minutiae about what "[f]or in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" exactly means.
The reason I bring that particular verse is the subject in theology class for the last two weeks has been Christology. I won't go into the details, because I'm sure many of you don't care, but even though the class has interesting things to teach me, I don't really like the divisiveness of theology in general. Take Christology for an example. It is vitally important to accept that Jesus Christ is God and man, called hypostatic union. Now, how
Christ did so, is called kenosis (
κένωσις) that relates to "pouring out" from Philippians 2. Now, as an amateur philosopher, these ideas pose some interesting problems. How can two completely different things occupy the same exact space at the same time? Obviously, nothing is to difficult for God, as Mary was told when she questioned the impossibility of her giving birth. But, as Prof Kreeft taught in one of his lectures on the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, God is the God of logic and we shouldn't claim God breaks the laws of logic (even though I've thought that way before).
Now, maybe it's just a problem of teaching. Because as much as I don't like to bash the college from which I'm seeking a degree, I don't feel like there's anyone to explain why these theological puzzles are the way they are. On that topic of Christology, there was a section in the textbook about the wrong views of kenosis. One of them said something to the effect of Christ set aside His attributes of deity when He was born on earth as our Savior. However, according to the text, the "right" view is that Christ "veiled" His attributes of deity. As I'm reading this section, I couldn't help but think that there's such a fine line there and does it really
make a difference? It's obvious from various parts of the Gospel accounts Jesus is limited. Like, He doesn't know various facts that an omniscient God would know. In fact He specifically says,
that He doesn't know (Matt 24:36). So, obviously Jesus didn't have His attribute of omniscience. But wait, He did have knowledge that no mere man could have. In several places it's said of Jesus that He knew what was in their hearts or a similar phrase.
All these doubts can be explained in the simple fact that God is omnipotent and nothing is too difficult for Him, as was noted before. But, that makes this a mysterious concept and I distrust anyone who claims complete knowledge of any detail of these high-level theological questions. I really
have a problem with people who not only claim to have the truth but also reject those that partially disagree with their view. I talk about this all the time, though I don't see any past entries about this... I really dislike any teaching or theology that drives people away from Christ.
Now, don't get me wrong, theology is
important, and it's important to make sure we have definitions that match the teachings found in the Bible. But, as my dad always liked to say, "let's keep the main thing the main thing." As part of my studies I think it's important in my life to draw a line in the sand theologically speaking. Here's an important thing to remember though, while I hold the following list to be true and in accordance with God's Word as revealed in the Bible. If there's a mistake or a misunderstanding in the following list I can
revise it without feeling I've betrayed myself somehow. Everyone makes mistakes, I could be misunderstanding something and that's okay.
God the Father:
Almighty maker of Heaven and Earth infinite, holy and actively working in the world today.
God the Son:
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second person in the trinity, coequal with God the Father and Holy Spirit who came to earth as a man.
God the Holy Spirit:
The third member of the Trinity who is always working to convict of sins, persuade unbelievers, and comfort the saints.
God's inerrant Word, His Truths written by men as they were carried along in the Spirit that we might hide in our hearts that we might not sin against God.
The Depravity of Mankind:
All have sinned and no one can save oneself from sin's hold.
Salvation is not by works but only through the saving work of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection.
Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Jesus Christ bodily rose from the dead on the third day, and it is through that work that sin and death are defeated.
Return of Jesus Christ:
Jesus Christ could return at any moment and His followers should live with that in mind.
Resurrection of the Dead:
Just as Christ rose from the grave and rules in Heaven, believers and all the dead in Christ shall someday join Him in everlasting peace and joy in Heaven.
As followers of Christ we need to be happily and actively involved in a local community of believers.
I've purposely left certain dividing terminology out, e.g. "Total Depravity." I've recently had a long discussion with my theologian/friend +James Hooks
and he makes a powerful argument for Calvinism/Reformed Theology. But, I still don't see eye to eye with all the views in Calvinism. Mainly because how it is apparently irreconcilable with the concept of free will. I'm sure the answer there lies in some different definition of freedom and will, but that still doesn't work with the way I view free will and choice. I'll save that for a future entry.
This same list is now on a separate tab as I'd like to join with other believers that agree with these statements to join me in sharing through this site. I've put out the call several times, but apparently no one is interested in sharing. The invitation still stands, if you agree with these statements of faith, and would like to share your thoughts on my blog I welcome you. That doesn't mean that I won't host people that disagree with these statements, as I've hosted several entries in the past even from people that I don't really know, including the regular Faith and Philosophy Blog Carnival. What I mean to say, is that if you would like to partner with me in this blog you'll have to agree with this statement of faith, but if you have something you'd like to share, as long as it doesn't contain any ad hominem attacks or illogical/irrational statements, I'd still welcome dissenting entries. As the (current) sole administrator of this blog I reserve the right to refuse any entries. Though I commit to fairly assess any entries and give my response with reasons for acceptance or denial of any entry.