Series - Theology Thursday

Theology Thursday - "My Words Shall Not Pass Away" (Mt 24:35)

If Jesus promised His Words would never pass away, what are the implications for the doctrine of preservation? Did God’s Words ever pass away? Were they lost for centuries in the sands of Egypt? Could they have been? How can prophesy even be meaningful if the very words of God were lost for a time, or may be lost in the future?

In this excerpt from a book he edited, entitled Thou Shalt Keep Them, Kent Brandenburg explains what Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:35 means for the doctrine of preservation.

In Matthew 24:35, the Lord Jesus Christ makes the significant prophesy, “Heaven and earth shall not pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ Although in its context the prophesy relates to His Second Coming, it also directly concerns the future of heaven and earth and God’s Words.1

Brandenburg briefly explains some of the context surrounding the great prophesy from Matthew 24: 2

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Theology Thursday - "Entire Sanctification" & the Christian Life

John Wesley

What is “sinless perfection?” What do the so-called “holiness churches” believe about growth in Christ and sanctification? Is there really a difference between, say, a Nazarene church and a Baptist congregation about the Holy Spirit’s work in a believer’s life? Today, we allow a Nazarene theologian, H. Orton Wiley, to explain for himself.  

In this excerpt, Wiley explains what “Christian perfection” means:1

Christian perfection in the critical sense, represents the more positive aspect of the one experience, known theologically either as entire sanctification or Christian perfection. Entire sanctification, however, is a term which applies more to the aspect of a cleansing from sin, or the making holy; while Christian perfection emphasizes especially the standard of privilege secured to the believer by the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

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Theology Thursday . . . on Friday: The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy (Part 3)

This is the last portion of the “Exposition” section from the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. It gets right to the heart of the issue about inerrancy. For some recent media resources about the inerrancy issue, see the 2015 Shepherd’s Conference and Ligonier’s 2015 Winter Conference.

Infallibility, Inerrancy, Interpretation

Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called infallible and inerrant. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.

lnfallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

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Theology Thursday - 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (Part 2)

What follows is the first part of the “Exposition” section from the 1978 Chicago Statement. The original text is available here. For some helpful backkground, see this interview with R.C. Sproul.

Exposition

Our understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy must be set in the context of the broader teachings of the Scripture concerning itself. This exposition gives an account of the outline of doctrine from which our summary statement and articles are drawn.

Creation, Revelation and Inspiration

The Triune God, who formed all things by his creative utterances and governs all things by His Word of decree, made mankind in His own image for a life of communion with Himself, on the model of the eternal fellowship of loving communication within the Godhead. As God’s image-bearer, man was to hear God’s Word addressed to him and to respond in the joy of adoring obedience. Over and above God’s self-disclosure in the created order and the sequence of events within it, human beings from Adam on have received verbal messages from Him, either directly, as stated in Scripture, or indirectly in the form of part or all of Scripture itself.

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Theology Thursday - Continuity or Discontinuity Between the Covenants?

What’s All of the Fuss?1

“Evangelicals agree that God has spoken and that the Bible is His word. But, God has not revealed all of His word at once. How are we to relate what He has said through the prophets of old to what has been revealed through His apostles? Without an answer to this question it is difficult to know how to use both Testaments in formulating either doctrine of practice.

“An example of a doctrinal issue that hinges on this question is one’s understanding of the church. Are Christian to formulate their concept of the church on the basis of both Testaments, claiming so much continuity between the people of God that one may see the church in the OT? Or is there such discontinuity between Israel and the church that one’s understanding of the church must be formed solely on the basis of the NT?  …

“Such questions cannot be answered adequately without first addressing the more fundamental issue of how the Testaments relate.

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Theology Thursday - Luther on Baptism

The Book of Concord

This is an excerpt from Luther’s Large Catechism, in the Book of Concord.

“Comprehend the difference, then, that Baptism is quite another thing than all other water; not on account of the natural quality but because something more noble is here added; for God Himself stakes His honor, His power and might on it. Therefore it is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and in whatever other terms we can praise it, all on account of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, that no one can sufficiently extol, for it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do (since it has all the virtue and power of God comprised in it).

“Hence also it derives its essence as a Sacrament, as St. Augustine also taught. That is, when the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament, that is, a holy and divine matter and sign.

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Theology Thursday - Tetzel the Salesman

Would you trust this man?

Albert of Brandenburg was deeply in debt, after purchasing two church offices. Pope Leo X, desperate to raise funds for the construction of St. Peter’s, agreed to allow Albert to sell indulgences to both repay his own debt and help finance St. Peter’s. Thus, Tetzel came upon the scene.

A Bit About Tetzel from an Observer1

“At that time a Dominican monk named Johann Tetzel was the great mouthpiece, commissioner, and preacher of indulgence in Germany. His preaching sent enormous amounts of money which were sent to Rome. This was particularly the case in the new mining town St. Annaberg, where I, Friedrich Myconius, listened to him for over two years.

“The claims of this uneducated and shameful monk were unbelievable. Thus he said that even if someone had slept with Christ’s dear Mother, the Pope had power in heaven and on earth to forgive as long as money was put into the indulgence coffer. And if the Pope would forgive, God also had power to forgive. He furthermore said if they would put money quickly into the coffer to obtain grace and indulgence, all the mountains near St Annaberg would turn into pure silver. He claimed that in the very moment the coin rang in the coffer, the soul rose up to heaven. Such a marvelous thing was his indulgence!

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Theology Thursday - Albert of Brandenburg Needs Some Cash

Albert is unhappy . . .

This article gives some brief background to the circumstances leading up to Albert’s selling of indulgences near Wittenburg in 1517. This is a catalyst which led to Luther writing his 95 theses.

Albert and His Money Troubles1

“Archbishop Albert of Mainz was a prince aged twenty-seven, brother of the Elector of Brandenburg. He was also Archbishop of Magdeburg (in which diocese lay Wittenburg) and administrator of the see of Halberstadt.

To combine these high offices he needed dispensations from Rome. The fees for dispensation on this gargantuan scale being vast, Albert borrowed money from the great banking house of Germany, the Fugger of Augsburg.

As security for the debt, he undertook to arrange the proclamation through Germany of the Indulgence which the Pope had recently declared for the purpose of building St. Peter’s at Rome. The money from the sale of this Indulgence (or phrased less crudely, from the gifts of the faithful seeking the remission of pains in purgatory) went in part to the Pope’s building and in part to the bankers in payment of Albert’s debt.

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