Bibliology

General Revelation (Part 5)

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The unsaved do not know God

The NT seems to say that the unsaved person does not know God. We see this in several places. Let us begin with Galatians 4:

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:8-9)

We are told that the Galatians once did not know God, and because of that they served false gods. But now they are known by God and therefore know God. Here Paul is plainly saying that there is a difference between those who know God, the saints, and those that do not know God, the lost or unregenerate.

Here is Ephesians 2:

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)

Paul says that the Gentiles, by which he means the pagan world, were once “without God in the world.” If they were without God it is hard to claim that they knew Him. This is Paul’s view also in 1 Thessalonians 4:5 (“like the Gentiles who do not know God”; cf. 2 Thess. 1:8).

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The Primacy of Revelation, Part 3

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In our present “postmodern” ethos, laden as it is with deconstructionism and hermeneutical suspicion, Christians have to ask how the primacy of biblical revelation does in such an environment. Does it struggle for air or does it flourish? Maybe it is better to ask, can it flourish as an idea among ideas?

The biblical outlook has set against it three formidable foes. These enemies of God’s Word are constantly at work chipping away at the foundations upon which Christian theology, and therefore Christian truth, rests. Often working surreptitiously, these three foes are well-known.

  • First – the system of anti-Christian thought that pervades any society; the cosmos as John calls it or the world.
  • Second – the unregenerate heart and mind; the sin nature of the individual
  • Third – the god of this age and his cohorts

In biblical shorthand they are the world, the flesh, and the devil.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:16)

Any theology worth its salt will constantly engage these powers, correcting and seeking to undermine their challenges and influence. True theology is a corrective to false ideas wherever it is found.

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 4

Read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

The greatest advantage of the Nouthetic approach is that it truly attempts to exalt the sufficiency of Scripture. Further, it rejects mainstream, integrated, and Christian psychology. However, there are some significant disadvantages: Nouthetic is imbalanced, in that all counseling is considered to be admonishment; it is very behavioristic and sin focused; it abandons the discipline of psychology altogether; it is rooted in the B+t of contemporary Reformed or Covenant theology. Each of these concerns is significant enough to warrant discussion here.

Problem #1: Admonishment ≠ All Counseling

In a Venn diagram illustrating this assertion, the two circles would be completely overlapping (Diagram A.), but this doesn’t square with the Biblical data. There are eleven NT instances of νουθετέω/νουθεσία. Five are descriptive.106 Six of these instances are prescriptive,107 and in several of these νουθετέω/νουθεσία is considered with other verbs, so there is no exegetical warrant for asserting that all counseling is simply nouthetic.

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Case Study: Applications of Extra-Biblical Resources in Psychology and Counseling

Paul encourages transformative learning in several contexts in 1 Thessalonians. In 2:11-12 he describes “exhorting (parakalountes), encouraging (paramuthoumenoi), and imploring (marturomenoi)” believers to walk appropriately. These three are modes of communication for facilitating transformation through mental processes that effect the spirit, engage the will, and are manifested in conduct—the believer’s walk. In 5:14-15 Paul exhorts (parakaloumen)80 believers to engage with one another in several particular ways: admonish (noutheteite) the unruly, encourage (paramutheisthe) the fainthearted, help (antechesthe) the weak, be patient (makrothumeite) with all, see (orate) that no one repays evil for evil, and pursue (diokete) good for one another and for all.

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The Primacy of Revelation, Part 2

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The Importance of a Prolegomena, and the Importance of Having a Christian Philosophy

There are all kinds of philosophies which the Christian should avoid. The Apostle warns,

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col. 2:8)

The reference here is probably generic, referring to the various ideas floating around in Asia Minor in the day: eclecticism, syncretism, idolatry, superstition, and neo-platonic moralism. In the midst of it all there was and is a true Christian philosophy. In fact, anyone who is a lover of real sophia (wisdom), is going to love the philosophy of Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, the one who discloses God par excellence. Mature Christians become such, in part, by thinking biblically.

In one of his earlier books Francis Schaeffer made this pertinent remark about the reticence of Christians to think with their theology:

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 1

Presented August 1, 2018 to the Bible Faculty Summit, Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina.

Abstract

Paul affirmed to Timothy the authority, capacity, and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the adequacy of the believer.1 In similar fashion Jesus applied the sufficiency of Scripture in responding to His testing by Satan. Yet in close proximity to both instances we observe the employment of extra-Biblical resources in complementing the situation. In Paul’s case, even as he exhorts Timothy to faithfulness in the word, he acknowledges value in Timothy’s attentiveness to not only what Paul taught and wrote, but to his experiences as well.2 In Jesus’ case, He acknowledges there is a place for bread, though it ought not be viewed as the sole source of life.3 Likewise, after His testing He was the beneficiary of angelic ministry.4

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The Primacy of Revelation, Part 1

I thought I would adapt some of my lecture notes on Systematic Theology for my blog. I am continuing to work on my book of biblical theology and thought it would do me good to change things up a bit. The first group of posts will be on the Doctrine of Revelation.

That God has spoken is the most important thing that can be said by a human being in this world. Ontologically speaking, God must come first, and God must have priority. God is before all things, even before the Scriptures, which are given in time as a disclosure of God to man—not a full disclosure, but a sufficient one.

There are all kinds of epistemological—that is, knowledge-based—questions that arise when we deal with God’s disclosing of Himself, about the world, and about ourselves. This epistemological triad comes to us from two sources: Nature and Scripture.

If we’re going to take a truly biblical approach to knowledge, we must understand the ramifications of stating the fact that God has spoken to us, and that therefore, there are ways of operating, ways of thinking, ways of conducting ourselves, ways of doing theology, that are either commensurate with that great fact or in opposition to it.

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