Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

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Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:18 pm

Can you explain what liberalism is? (p.179)

http://www.theopedia.com/theological-liberalism


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Re: Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 pm

If we know God is constant and he is present in the Scriptures he inspired, why isn’t there consistency of terms or even different writing styles? Why involve each author’s personal voice or writing style?

We don't necessarily know why God chose to involve the author's personality in writing scripture; we just know that he did. God seems to enjoy involving us in his work, having us be more than just robots. He is able to be constant and present even though he is working through human authors. That gives me hope for the work that God does through me. I don't have to put on some unnatural style; God can do his supernatural work through my own public speaking style, etc.

Some people have used Christ's incarnation as a model of how God inspired scripture. Just as Jesus was truly God and truly human, so scripture is truly the word of God yet also truly the words of real people.


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Re: Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:39 pm

From an Arminian perspective, what is the role of special revelation? Bird seems to support special revelation as being effectual in drawing those to Christ, but I am interested - would Arminians say God reveals himself at all? To some? Why?

Arminians and Calvinists are actually more alike than they are different. Both groups believe that God has revealed himself through general revelation, and both emphasize the importance of special revelation. All Calvinists believe in the necessity of special revelation for salvation, and the vast majority of Arminians would agree. Both agree that people are so lost in sin that they will not seek God unless God gives them the desire.

Where they differ is whether or not people have a real choice in salvation. Calvinists believe that God unilaterally acts to save people, overriding their sinful nature and compelling them to be saved. Arminians believe that God extends an initial gift of grace that frees us to be able to choose for or against God.

So (in general), Arminians would say special revelation is necessary for salvation. It doesn't force people to be saved, but it does provide the genuine opportunity to be saved. Apart from God's grace and revelation, no one would choose God because of our fallen nature. But Arminians disagree over the extent of God's revelation. Has he provided a genuine opportunity for salvation to all? Some say yes. Some say no.

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Re: Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

Post by Admin on Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:30 pm

If the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus in special revelation, why are we called to “Reach the Nations” and tell people about Jesus? (If the HS is the one who enlightens us, why does God need us to go preach?)

Scripture does not give a clear explanation for why God has chosen to act this way, it simply declares that he does. People need the enlightening of the Spirit in order to come to faith, but God has chosen to work through the "foolish" approach of preaching a crucified savior (1 Corinthians 1). It certainly falls in line with God's usual MO: he called Adam to be a co-ruler over creation, he chose Abraham's family to bless the world, he chose Israel to be his light to the nations, he commissioned his church to preach the gospel, etc. Rather than act unilaterally, God's normal methodology is to work in and through his chosen people. We can simple say, God was pleased to take this approach.

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Re: Responding to Theology Questions from Nov 8

Post by Admin on Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:01 pm

If someone worships God through natural revelation, when does it become “true worship” as the realities of God are introduced? At what point does it become worshipping the “true God”? Was the former worship idolatry? Even if they intended to worship the same God?

We should probably say that only God can answer this with exact precision. But there is a consistent theme in scripture of correlation between revelation and responsibility. That is to say, people are held to a greater standard when they have greater understanding. Paul's sermon in Acts 17 is one primary example.

Paul acknowledged that the Athenians were very religious, trying to truly worship. But he seems to have ruled their worship out as insufficient. “For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” (v23)  Still, he also seems to imply that their worship wasn’t completely misdirected. To use Jesus’ categories from John 4, perhaps the Athenians were worshipping in spirit but not truth.

Paul went on to say: “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (vv.29-31)  

From this we can conclude that, yes, their former worship was still idolatry, and needed to be repented of. But God wasn’t holding them to the same standard of responsibility that they now faced. God had overlooked such behavior, but now they are summoned to believe in Christ. And if they persist in their false worship, they will certainly answer for it.

Two thought-provoking books you could read on the subject:
Eternity in the Hearts by Don Richardson. He examines how the gospel has spread into various cultures, discovering that God was already at work preparing people to receive his saving message. Lots of great missionary stories here.
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis is the final book in the Narnia series. Lewis presents a controversial take on your question. I’ll let you read it to find out what he says. Lewis always makes you think, whether you agree with him or not.

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