Tag Archives: doctrine

Hell, Freedom, and the Predestinating Gospel

This has given me new angles on troubling questions, questions I have guessed were less about God and more about neo-Calvinistas in the U.S.A. I posed several of those questions in a previous post, “A Question About Christian Theology.”

Eclectic Orthodoxy

But what about HELL? This is always the first question posed when confronted with Robert W. Jenson’s understanding of the gospel as unconditional promise. If the Church is authorized to speak the Kingdom to all comers, does this not imply universal salvation? In his youthful systematics, Story and Promise, Jenson refuses to answer yay or nay:

What is the point of the traditional language about damnation? Two points only. First, damnation is not part of the gospel. The gospel is not a carrot and a stick: it is unconditional promise. Damnation is a possibility I pose to myself when I hear the gospel and instead of believing it begin to speculate about it—which we all regularly do. Therefore, this book, which tries to explain the gospel, has talked only about Fulfillment and will continue to do so. Second, damnation would be that we were finally successful in self-alienation from our…

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I always thought Meister Eckhart was a heretic

But apparently, he wasn’t.

The Eckhart Society has posted a page which tells the story of his relationship to the doctrinal authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, from his times to our times. Recent attempts to rehabilitate Eckhart have been considered unnecessary because only a small part of Eckhart’s writings were officially censured. Catholic authorities never ruled Eckhart to be a heretic.

Here’s a interesting quotation from Eckhart, which is posted on a page of the man’s quotations:

“Do not imagine that your reason can grow to the knowledge of God.”

Audio resources for clergy

Mars Hill Audio has a page devoted to resources for clergy. Click here to visit the page.

If you are unfamiliar with Mars Hill Audio, spend some time navigating the Web site. The regular audio journal and Mars Hills’ other recorded projects are very worthwhile.

Questions about the adequacy of Nicene faith; is a creedal faith sufficient grounds for the work of God?

So let me get this straight — the believers who fully agree with the Nicene Creed do not have an adequate faith?

I am frustrated.

Who establishes a believer’s salvation? The Trinitarian God.

Who begins the work of God in the believer? The Trinitarian God.

Who completes it according to Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Philippians? The Trinitarian God.

Does God fail at anything He decides to do? No.

Now, if the individual believer has not been taught a particular view of grace, a particular view of justification, or a particular view of atonement, yet fully believes the Nicene Creed, is not that confidence in the statements of the Nicene Creed due solely to the work of the Trinitarian God?

Is an individual’s absolute certainty regarding the statements of the Nicene Creed adequate to bring him into the House of the Trinitarian God?

If certitude regarding the statements of the Nicene Creed can only come from the work of the Trinitarian God, and that certitude is adequate to bring the believer into the House of God, then will not God complete the work He has begun in the individual believer?

If a minister does not preach particular views of grace, justification, and atonement, will the Trinitarian God fail to fulfill his promise to complete the work He began in the individual believer?

If the work of the Trinitarian God in the individual believer depends upon a minister’s teaching of particular views, does not the individual believer’s spiritual growth depend upon men?

If Nicene faith is adequate for God to complete the work He began in an individual believer, then would particular views of grace, justification, and atonement be then secondary and non-essential?

Once an individual, by God’s grace, has accepted the statements of the Nicene Creed wholeheartedly, must that individual have a full understanding of particular views on particular doctrines before the work of God is activated within him?

In his Institutes, John Calvin wrote:

We are said to be clothed with him, to be one with him, that we may live, because he himself lives. The doctrine is often repeated, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). He who believes in him is said to have passed from death unto life (John 5:24).

The passage in which this appears addresses the believer’s assurance of belonging to God through Christ. I’m not an expert on Calvin, and yet it seems fairly clear that Calvin’s formula for salvation is simply acknowledging the work of God that was done on our behalf through Christ. Calvin exhorts the believer to look to Christ. If a believer gets only as far as that, and does not get any further into Calvin’s or any other of the diverse views of atonement, justification, and grace, will God fail to continue the work He began?

Please comment.

The Bible Today

David Manes over at PoliticalCartel.com makes some interesting points about the Bible in this post. Manes’ comments fit with some things I’ve been thinking through about systematizing ideas versus living in the “negative capability” of John Keats (read Keats’ full letter here). A good book that could take this discussion further is The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Daniel Taylor.
Please comment!

Bishop N.T. Wright on The Colbert Report

Must see!

Wesleyan College professor writes about images of God’s body in works of art

Charles C. Twombly, a Wesleyan college professor and author of the most popular article at LiturgicalCredo.com, has contributed yet another provocative look at iconography and images of God in the context of Western monotheism generally and Christian theology specifically.

Read “To See or Not to See: God’s Body in the Byzantine Picture Controversy.” It includes a link to his previous, highly popular article.