A word that has shaped my understanding of theology is the word paradox. Paradox is the allowance for there to be “both/and” arguments where it is biblically permissible. Some examples of this is that the Bible is wholly God’s word and a literary work by mankind, God is transcendent not constrained by time yet inside time and present with us in the universe, the trinity emphasizes the unity of the one Godhead and three separate co-equal individuals, Jesus Christ is both God and man who lived a holy sinless life yet took on sin for the redemption of mankind, believers are fully a new creation and still affected by the sinful reality we live in, and the Church is both the invisible universal body of believers and the local body of believers who gather to fellowship and worship God together. Under each section I have included links to articles I have written that are more extensive to answer any questions.
I. The Bible
The Bible is God’s fully verbally inspired and revealed word to humanity through those chosen by the Holy Spirit to convey history, natural concepts, and theological truths through their knowledge, experience, personality, cultural context, and God’s special revelation. With this understanding, the Bible is completely true in everything that it affirms. Some thoughts on infallibility. The canon of the Scripture contains the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is now complete and closed. The Bible is a product of its time and timeless in its prescriptions for all generations and cultures. It is our only and final authority for what we are to believe and for the way we are to live
(2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21, Revelation 22:18-19).
II. Theology Proper (Doctrine of God)
There is one God in three persons, each person is fully God (Gen. 1:1-2; Deut. 6:4; John 1:1). We find in God the perfection of personal relationship as is mirrored in the self-revelation of the Father in the Son and through the power of the Spirit each possessing all of the divine attributes (1 John 4:13-16).
III. Jesus Christ
Jesus became human at the conception in the Virgin Mary. Paradoxically, the fact that Jesus is both man and God does not change the fact that he exists as one God-man in perfect unity (Jn. 1). All the work that Jesus did in his earthly ministry was commanded by the Father and empowered by the Spirit (Matt 12). He led a perfect life, was crucified, dead and buried but rose on the third day just like He said He would (1 Cor. 15:3-4); now fully in a glorified body as a result of defeating death in his resurrection (Luke 24). He will come again for all of the saints and to judge the world (Rev 20:12-15). After all judgment has passed he will dwell with believers in the New Jerusalem and everything will be restored to perfection (Revelation 21-22). Discussion on Jesus’ humanity and divinity.
IV. The Holy Spirit
He is the Author and Interpreter of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21; John 16:8; 1 Peter 4:10). The Holy Spirit illuminates the truth in the Bible to the natural human mind so that believers can achieve a mental and spiritual understanding of God’s revelation. The unregenerate are not able to fully grasp the depth and importance of the biblical text without being illuminated to what it means (Eph. 1:17-18; 3:18-19; 2 Cor. 3:14-16; 4:6)
The Holy Spirit’s role in the world is to convict people of sin. In the church the Holy Spirit unites and empower believers through spiritual gifts to be the hands and feet of Christ for the edification of believers and witness of Christ and the power of the gospel to unbelievers. Tasks of the Holy Spirit.
V.Doctrine of humanity & sin
After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after his own image (Gen 1:27). I believe that when Scripture refers to “soul and spirit” it is used interchangeably referring to the immaterial part of mankind.
While God did not create evil nor has he ever committed an evil act in, He has allowed for it to exist and to damage the cosmos because he made creatures with the ability to make personal decisions not to be in perfect communion with him and so He will be glorified through his acts of redemption.
Original sin of man can be traced back to the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command from Satan’s temptation and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3). The Fall of man brought total human depravity. This means that although humans are able to discern right from wrong because we were created with a conscience, we are sinners from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5), we do not initially choose morally right things without God’s common grace, and we cannot justify ourselves before God with these choices.
Satan (also called the Devil) is a living being, a fallen angel, who leads the demons (other fallen angels) in opposition to all that has to do with God, His purposes, and His people.
Two more articles concerning humanity:
I believe, that in spite of man’s sin and rebellion against God, God has continued to love all men and women, throughout every generation and in every part of the world. Because of this love, God has provided for the salvation of man through Jesus Christ. He has made atonement for the whole world (1 John 2:2) and is the only way to salvation and to God the Father through faith (John 14:6). Salvation which God has provided for us is by grace, through faith alone in Christ, utterly apart from any human merit or work which man might do (Ephesians 2:8-9). A person must come in repentance and faith, assent, believe in Christ (Romans 10:9-10). The Holy Spirit starts the regenerate working in us and we become a new creation (John 3:3,7; 2 Cor. 5:17). Sanctification is a lifelong process of all believers. In sanctification the believer is confronted by the Holy Spirit to be conformed into the worshipper God desires him or her to be. This is through maintaining integrity, purity, and holiness in all aspects of their lifestyle (Eph. 4:22-24; 1 Tim. 4:12). Regarding assurance of salvation, all who are truly born again through trusting in Christ will persevere to the end (John 6:38-40; John 10:27-29). Have you decided to follow Jesus?
VII. The Church
Universal: Is made up of people whom God has saved. This includes true believers from all times, generations, and cultures (Hebrews 11:4-12:1; Romans11:25-28; Ephesians 2). It is the church who will be the members of the Kingdom of God in the age to come and we will reign with Christ during the Millennium. (Rev 20:4)
Local: The expression of the body of Christ committed to ministering to believers and unbelievers in their designated community. Their purpose is to build up servant leaders for local and global ministry (Acts 13:1-3; Ephesians 4:11-13).
I believe that the sacraments are most appropriately administered in the church and are holy signs instituted by God. They confirm our identity in Christ and become a visible distinction between the world and the people of God. Jesus acknowledged two sacraments; that is Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29, 28:19; Lk. 23:43). More on Baptism and Communion. I view the church as the whole of God’s people who are in a covenant relationship with Christ, similar to marriage. We are one body. There should be unity amongst all groups of people which make up the body of Christ. Examples of these groups that make up the body of Christ are men and women, different ethnicities, and people who are in different life-stages of development. Not all are called to be teachers in a formal church ministry context as pastors or other roles. Passages of Scripture seem very clear to me that the role of elder is being fulfilled by men in Paul’s time, as it should be (1 Tim. 3). Discussion on men, women, and spiritual gifts.
VII. Eschatology (The Last Things)
Eschatology is the study of the last things or end times. When Christ conquered sin and death through his resurrection, his kingdom began. He then ascended into heaven to rule his kingdom at the right hand of God the father (Ps. 110:1). Therefore, the kingdom is here, and not here fully without the presence of the king. I believe in a premillennial tribulation, rapture and return of Christ. The millennium is clearly marked with the resurrection of the dead in Christ which has not yet happened. It also involves the total Reign of Christ and the binding of Satan (Rev 21:1-7) which does not appear to have occurred yet. His arrival will be visible by all (Rev. 1:7).
It is not exactly clear what order the tribulation and rapture will occur. However, the times shortly before the return of Christ will be marked with increased judgment and suffering on the earth from Satan through an anti-Christ world power system.
Christian suffering has always been associated with the times of the many tribulations of the Church age. When the final days of history do unravel, God will judge those who persecute and kill his saints (Rev. 6:9-11). There will be a final day of judgment in which the Devil, demons, and wicked will be cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Gen 3; 2 Cor 4:3-4; Eph 2:2, 6:10-11; Matt 25:41; John 16:11; Rev 12:12, 20:10-15, Matt 25:31-46).
When judgment comes, not all will have been saved. Salvation through Christ is required in order to be saved from the eternal, conscious punishment in Hell that we deserve because of our sin (1 Cor. 6:11; John 10:27-30; Romans 3:23-24). A believer’s reward will be living in unity with God and others in a completely restored body in the new heavens and earth that contains no flaw or hint of sin (Rev 21-22). God will be honored, Jesus will reign, and the Holy Spirit will complete the process of glorification.