Posts Tagged ‘ Doctrine ’

Give Me 5: The Five Solas

Yep. I missed last week. We had family in town, and I never had a long enough, quiet enough stretch of time by myself to record a video. Here is a new one, though! Here is the new Give Me 5:

Out of the Reformation of the 1500’s came what we call “The Five Solas or Solae”, but what do they mean?

The Five Solas

The Reformation started as a call to return to a simple faith not dogged down by man-made or superfluous rules and dogmas. (This is not the time for a debate about Catholic versus Protestant and denominational separation.)

It does lead to our first sola: Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Basically, this means that all of our traditions and understanding about God, Jesus, and humanity should be based on what the Bible says. There is value in traditions, the various councils, and books/teachings, but they must conform with what Scripture – as a whole – teaches.

This includes the matter of salvation, covered in the next solar: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria – By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

This was summarized by Paul in Ephesians chapter two, when he said,

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(vv. 4-9, ESV)

We still need to confess our sins – primarily to God, but also to each other (James 5:16).

We still do works – but as an act of obedience and love for the One who saves us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

But it is only by grace through faith in the work Christ to the the glory of the Father as revealed in Scripture that we are saved.

Now, this is only a brief overview. We can continue to discuss this in the comments or through e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even on our Facebook page, a simple man of God. I am sure more videos and articles will be made discussing these.

VerseD: 1 John 2:6

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:6, ESV

How did Jesus walk?

He was a servant, was a teacher and defender of God’s Word, and gave sacrificially to the point of death, and all through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.

How are we to live?

The same way.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – My Hymns & Songs – 11/18/2018 – Joy of the Creed

We are back at it looking at songs and hymns that made an impact on my spiritual life! I took last week off from posting songs.  Part of it was not being able to get access to the songs I wanted to use in a usable format (because the band broke up just as YouTube was becoming a thing, and I currently only have access to ripped copies of the CD’s now stored on the cloud.) Part of it was being Veterans Day. Also, as many of you probably understand all to well, there was stress and issues to deal with in life away from the blog.

But this week’s song is a biggie (you know … to me, at least.) It helped me realize the importance of the historical church. Also, when a modern ascetic Christian who made great music thinks it is important, I think it is good to pay attention!

Creed

Lyrics

I believe in god the father
Almighty maker of heaven
and maker of earth
And in Jesus Christ his only begotten son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

[Chorus]
And I believe what I believe
is what makes me what I am
I did not make it,
no it is making me
It is the very truth of god
and not the invention of any man

I believe that he who suffered
was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and
on the third day, rose again
He ascended into heaven
where he sits at God’s mighty right hand
I believe that he’s returning
To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men

[Chorus]

I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it

I believe in god the father
Almighty maker of heaven
and maker of earth
And in Jesus Christ his only
begotten son, our Lord
I believe in the holy spirit
One holy church
The communion of saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
I did not make it, no it is making me
I said I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of god and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it

A few thoughts …

Some do not care for the old creeds. “No creed but Christ,” many of them say. The irony of that credo is … well … as I just said, it is a creed.

What many may fail to realize is that the creeds are not meant to replace Scripture, but they help to clarify what we believe God has revealed to us through Scripture. The creeds help to dispel heresy, false teachings, and misunderstandings.

Rich Mullins based this song off of The Apostles Creed, an ancient, early creed of the Church.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

You probably see the similarities. This song is a strong reminder not to “move the ancient boundaries.” (Proverbs 23:10)  Too many people these days are so quick to forget the past with the intention of focusing on loving people. But to ignore the creeds and 2000 years of church history is not the answer. This leads to various problems, as evidenced by the vast number of individuals, groups, churches, and denominations that are abandoning Scriptural truth for modern, “enlightened” teachings.

Instead, we should focus on the sound doctrines and teachings found in the Bible and illuminated by the Church throughout history. These illuminations and teachings should always be measured by the text of Scripture to ensure it is not being twisted. (This is a great definition of “Sola Scriptura” – Scripture Alone.)

VerseD: 1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 1:10, ESV

When we are focused on Christ, everything else becomes relatively unimportant. We may disagree on some things, but we should agree on the foundational beliefs of Christ.

“They will know you by your love for one another.”

Trinitarian Elements of Doctor Who!

Find wisdom in unlikely places, such as through the thoughts of a rag-tag group of pastors, lay-leaders, and a young woman at Proverbial Thought!

If you have followed by blog for a reasonable amount of time, you may have learned I am a Whovian, a fan of the British sci-fi television show Doctor Who. The Doctor is a time-travelling alien who looks human, but he is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He is able to escape death by regenerating (all Time Lords can do this), but this has the side-effect of changing his appearance and personality while still being in essence himself.

The topic at hand, however, is one of his companions. He picks up companions frequently, usually from Earth but not always. For the show, companions act as a sort-of stand-in for the audience to ask the questions we might ask … or to simply help move the plot along.

Before I continue, however, I must warn of possible spoilers, specifically about an episode from Spring of 2013, The Name of the Doctor. If you do not wish to have anything spoiled as you watch through the series, you may wish to stop reading now!

How the Trinity Works Its Way into Doctor Who

In the above mentioned episode Clara Oswald helps the Doctor in a big way.

It must first be known that she is called “The Impossible Girl” because she was first seen earlier in the season in an episode in humanity’s future in which she saved the Doctor and his companions. In that season’s Christmas special, she saved the Doctor in Earth’s past.

This is the episode in which we find out how she could have existed hundreds or thousands of years in the past or future and exist in the present.

Clara “Oswin” Oswald, to save the Doctor from being torn from Time/Space by an enemy, jumps into the Doctor’s personal Time-stream. In doing so, copies of her are seeded throughout his lifetime to help him at important junctures in life and thus help him retain his Time-memory and not cease to exist. (Yes, it is very complicated. Just know that she was able to help him in every regeneration the Doctor has had.)

Recently, I have read some articles critiquing newer episodes, especially in connection with Clara’s personality and memory of these other events.

A friend and I noticed how religious some fans get over this show, and how like Christians they act over “dogma” and ideas they have but do not fully understand about the show and its characters.

How Clara Is Like the Trinity

In this similarity, Christians do not understand things such as the Trinity, and this misunderstanding throws off other elements of their theology.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is simply that God exists as three distinct Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) yet is a single Being. The word “trinity” never appears in Scripture, but it has been deduced from Scripture (e.g. see Matthew 3:16-17 which has all three Persons present simultaneously).

Clara helps demonstrate this (and, please remember from here on out that nothing can adequately explain/compare to the concept of the Trinity. Our finite brains will always struggle with this concept) in that while she was interjected into various points along the Doctor’s timeline, each “incarnation” experienced birth, life, and death in each context. Therefore, while each and every “Clara” is, was, and will be Clara, they are never exactly the Clara who is the current companion of the Doctor.

In a sense, she is one being who has been many persons in the Doctor’s life.

It is no wonder, then, that so many people, many of whom are not necessarily Christians if not agnostics/atheists, struggle with this concept of Clara.

If Christians have been arguing about this concept for two thousand years, why should we expect anyone to grasp a fictional adaptation (that was not intended as such by the writers of the show)?

A Simple Look at the Trinity

Look at the wisdom available at Proverbial Thought!

There is an objection to Christianity, or even within Christianity, which may be raised: the Doctrine of the Trinity.

There are various sources of this argument: Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarians, Muslims, Jews, and many other sources including some people from church who may have doubts.

The biggest reason is that the word “Trinity” is not used in the Bible. The Trinity is the belief that God is one Being with three distinct Persons (not simply personalities): God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.

This is true, but there are many things that are believed by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and various cults and belief systems that are not found in scriptures. They are inferred from readings. (One example could be “falling in love with Jesus”. Not in the Bible, but the phrase conveys the need to discover the truth, grace, and love of God that can change your life.)

However, the title says this is a simple look at the Trinity. Therefore, I will merely give a mental exercise which can also be used as a form of apologetics:

To the objection that there is no Trinity and Christians worship three gods:

Look at this man (any man, really). He is a father. There is his child. Do you dispute he is a father?

Look at this same man. Here is his father. Is this man also a son? How can he be two different people.

Look at this same man. He has a license to heal the sick and prescribe medicine. Is this man also a doctor? How can he be three different people.

Obviously I must be talking about three different men, right?

Please remember, there is no perfect analogy for describing/explaining God. This is not me trying to say I understand God. This is merely a tool to help us understand a little better how God can be three and one at the same time.

It is my prayer that this may help you in understanding your faith in a better way or in sharing your faith with others.

If you are not a Christian as you read this, I pray you may understand better what Christians truly believe. Naturally, I hope you would also come to believe as I do in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world!

Bad Teacher

First of all, do not forget to get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Today’s post is not about a movie starring Cameron Diaz. Rather, true to this blog, today’s post is about theology.

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience(and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:5-7

To tell you the truth, this passage scares me.

I am a big believer in God speaking through dreams (but not all dreams). I am big believer in God speaking through visions. I believe prophecy still happens.

I have had dreams and visions in which I speak to a large audience (perhaps blogging will be that realization?). I have had others (both Christians and non-Christians) say or speak over me (either specifically as prophetic or “in passing”) that they see me one day leading ministries and/or a congregation (or congregations) or speaking to large groups.

This scares me simply because I know my past and how I have treated theology and teaching. What if God eventually calls me to be a pastor/priest over First Church of Hometown, USA?

I hate to break it to you (tongue-in-cheek), but there are many teachers and preachers today who simply should not be. These are men and women who replace love of God and/or people with a love of money, power, influence, or popularity. These are men and women who either do not have or have lost a pure heart and good conscience. These are men and women may or may not have a sincere faith, but the question becomes where that sincerity or where that faith truly lies.

I may step on some toes and perhaps offend here, but here are some examples of things people teach and confidently affirm without really knowing what they are talking about:

  • God wants you happy and financially rich in this life. There is never a biblical guarantee that all godly people will have both or either of these in this life. In fact, there are promises of the opposite for the believer in Christ.
  • There is no Trinity. Quite frankly, Christianity falls apart without the Trinity. My Catholic brother Richard has begun covering this over at CatholicBoyRichard.
  • Women have no place in ministry. Let me just say that people who believe this are complete idiots. They may be very intelligent, but they really stupid.
  • Jesus sinned. The faith falls apart if this is true. I cannot express enough how important this is and how false and straight from the pits of Hell this is.
  • God hates ... This one is taken specifically from Westboro Baptist Church, the people who say “God hates fags” along with many other people. It is this kind of “christian” (not just those who blatantly call for the destruction of others, but also those who promote hatred through favoritism, indifference, and bigotry [misunderstanding mixed with fear]) who gives the Church the bad name we seem to see and hear about today.

There is a long, long list, and I know I have been guilty of at least all of these at one time or another. Paul listed a few others to Timothy:

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:3-11

How can we – how can I – know we are staying true to good teaching? How can we know our teachers and preachers are staying true to good teaching?

The simple answer:

We must continue studying together. We must not give up on the traditions from Church history (and before some complain, where do you think our Bible and even most of our liturgy, keeping in mind I currently attend and serve in a non-denominational church, came from? Why do we know many of the facts we know about the early Church? From what did Christianity arise?). We must always strive to express the love of God to all people.