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My Systematic Theology

Purpose

DEFINITION: a form of theology in which the aim is to arrange religious truths in a self-consistent whole.

This paper is a thoughtful record of the things I believe concerning what the Bible says. The intention behind this excercise is to provide myself with a better method of self-examination and measuring of the consistency of my beliefs for a living a more perfect life and for administering a more perfect ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If this article is of any benefit to others, let it primarily be an encouragement for your own careful and prayerful consideration of the whole of God's Word and your own responses to it.

Outline

Church Organization and Administration

  • Necessity of Elders Ephesians 4:7-16

  • QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS: personal, doctrinal John 17:3; Leviticus 18:5; Hebrews 5:11-14

  • NECESSITY OF DOCTRINAL KNOWLEDGE IN ELDERS John 21:15-17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Timothy 6:12-14

  • The Biblical Priesthood (include comment on the pope)

  • "Spiritual Authority on Earth and Church Government and Organization"

  • Necessity of Elders Ephesians 4:7-16

  • QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS: personal, doctrinal John 17:3; Leviticus 18:5; Hebrews 5:11-14

  • NECESSITY OF DOCTRINAL KNOWLEDGE IN ELDERS John 21:15-17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Timothy 6:12-14

  • roles in church of women.

Grace of God

and Providence

Common Grace Grace: undeserved blessing Common: non-saving Examples Creation is an act of grace (Mere existence is an expression of grace) Probation – Man in the garden an expression of grace Promise of salvation: when we deserved destruction (Genesis 3:14-19) Prior expressions of grace mixed with curse

  1. Preservation of the world (rainbow)
  2. Provision of common grace: rain, sun, food (Matt. 5:44-48)
  3. Restraint of wickedness (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8) Common grace is indiscriminate Common grace: God loves all men in some ways Election: God loves some men in all ways Common grace ends at consummation of history: final judgment Misconceptions
  4. Common grace is not really gracious due to temporary nature
  5. Unbeliever is enabled to do good
  6. Blurs line between righteous and unrighteous 2 Peter 3:9 – Common grace serves the purpose of saving grace Miracles Defined: A supernatural act in the created realm in which God manifests Himself as Lord and inspires wonder. Four historical views (with answers)
  7. Exception to natural law: floating ax head (What is natural law?)
  8. Caused by immediate power of God without intervening factors (all of God’s acts are immediate)
  9. Powerful signs and wonders (Subjective – one man’s wonder is normal to another
  10. Redemptive event revealing God’s gracious purpose (Not all miracles are redemptive) Requirements for a miracle: Extraordinary – not in normal realm of events Powerful – beyond human capacity Wonderful – cannot be accounted for 8 God’s Government and the Preservation of the World Nothing is excluded from God’s government Colossians 1:17 Hebrews 1:3 Ephesians 1:11 Nehemiah 9:6 Psalm 36:6 He governs through the agency of men and angels

Scriptures

  • OUR STANDARD OF KNOWLEDGE: Sufficiency, Authority, Philosophies and Traditions of Men

2 timothy 3:16;2 peter 1:20

  • "The Sufficiency and Authority of Scripture"
    • "SOLA SCRIPTURA" < Reformers (1 of 5 Solas)
    • "Both the Bible and sacred Roman Catholic tradition are equally binding upon the Christian." < R.C. Church

God

  • There is one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • God and God alone is to be worshipped. To worship the thing created is an act of rebellion and idolatry against the Creator.
  • God is a spirit. (John 4:24) God is invisible and is not of the this world. God has made all things and all things exist within Him. No physical representation is to be made of the Invisible God. Because the ten commandments forbid the making of a graven image of God. Because God is sovereignly invisible and man has no control regarding the visibility of God (Deut. 4:12,15,23). Because God is the Living God and any idol made would deprive God of His absolute personality (Isaiah 40:18-21; Psalm 115:7; Psalm 135:15-21). Because any graven image of God would pervert the truth that God made man in His own image (Genesis 1:26,27). God’s overwhelming greatness and glory cannot be adequately represented with anything created (Exodus 33:17-23).
  • God is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3) He is infinite and past finding out and yet God is knowable as He chooses to reveal Himself to man. God has revealed Himself in His name. (Matthew 11:27; Isaiah 52:6).
  • God is perfect, does all things well and there is no fault in Him at all.
  • God has a people and He is a jealoous over His people. God desires a true spiritual relationship with His people. God has made covenants with His people. (Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14)
  • God never lies and always keeps His promises.
  • God's name is holy. God's name is treated as Himself and God's name is not to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7; Joshua 9:9; Exodus 9:16; Psalm 22:22; Psalm 9:2; Isaiah 52:6). His name carries His authority (John 5:43). Revelation 3:8 – Denial of His name = denial of Him. Acts 4:12 – No other name. Make no mention of names of other gods (Psalm 16:4; Exodus 23:13; Hosea 2:16-17. I AM THAT I AM (YVHW) (Exodus 3:13-15). The memorial name endures forever (Psalm 135:13). God's name expresses Covenant faithfulness. (Exdus 6:1-8 El Shaddai to YVHW; Malach 3:6) God's name is essential to salvation (Exodus 34:5-7).
  • God is eternal I AM THAT I AM (YVHW) (Exodus 3:13-15). Eternality – imperfect tense in Hebrew connotes a sense of eternity. (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6 – First and last)
  • God acts Sovereigntly and as He wills in salvation. God will be gracious to whom He would be gracious (Exodus 33:17-19; Exodus 34:5-7)

“God is a Spirit in and of Himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness and perfection, all sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, He is everywhere present, all mighty, all knowing, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering in abundance of truth.”

Psalm 113:4 – His glory is above the heavens 1 Timothy 6:15 – Blessed and only God Matthew 5:48 – Perfect John 5:26 – Life in Himself, in need of nothing Psalm 90:2 – Eternal Malachi 3:10 – Unchangeable Psalm 145:3 – Incomprehensible Psalm 139:7-10 – Omnipresent Luke 1:37 – Almighty Hebrews 4:13 – Omniscient Romans 16:27 – Most wise Isaiah 6:3 – Most holy Deuteronomy 32:4 – Most just Exodus 34:6 – Abounding in truth Controversial Considerations of God’s Attributes God exists outside of time – inadequate description Mixes spatial and temporal categories Philosophical implication: history is an illusion Result: undermines redemptive history Does God change His mind? Jeremiah 18:7-10 Anthropomorphic description of God’s government in history He changes His mind from our perspective of history 7 Can God do anything? No, He can do everything he wills to do God cannot lie, sin, etc. Does God know all the future? To know the future is to say the truth about it Knowledge is a justified true belief He knows all things because He plans all things

The Privilege and Personal Nature of the Knowledge of God John 17:3 Jeremiah 9:23-24 Hosea 6:6 – God’s desire for us to know Him The Effect of the Knowledge of God on Your Mind Humbles your mind Edifies your mind Expands your mind (enlarge your thoughts) Consoles your mind Sanctifies your mind Strengthens your mind Gives wisdom to your mind Emboldens your mind Gives contentment to your mind Produces a zealous mind Three Prerequisites for Healthy Spiritual Knowledge Personal knowledge of God Pursuit of the knowledge of God with right motives Meditation upon God leading to prayer and praise to Him The Fruit of a Personal Knowledge of God Titus 2:10 – lives that adorn the doctrine 1 Peter 2:9 – lives that show forth His excellencies

The Unity of God

The Trinity: the indispensable mystery at the heart of the Christian faith (3 in 1) Detraction of the Doctrine of the Trinity Jews and Moslems accuse the church of departure from monotheism Early church heresies: wrong attempts to explain mystery of unity of God

Two forms of modalism: Noetus – Son and Spirit are roles the Father assumes Sabellius – All three are masks which God assumes (persona) Patrapassianism: the Father suffered on the cross Dynamic monarchianism: no personal distinctions (Jesus not fully God, but given a portion of the divine nature) All modern pseudo-Christian cults deviate on doctrine of the Trinity (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, etc.) Definition Of The Trinity (adapted from Westminster Confession) “There is but one only living and true God, there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and these three are one true eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, although distinguished by their personal properties, the Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Spirit are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship that are proper to God only.” The Trinity in Scripture Deuteronomy 6:4 – Shema – “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one” Matthew 28:19 – “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy spirit” 1 Corinthians 8:6 – “there is only one God” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 – “Now the Lord is the spirit” 1 Peter 1:2 – the Father’s foreknowledge, the spirit sanctifies, the son atones Acts 5:3-4 – ascribes the name of God to the Holy spirit 1 Corinthians 2:10 – ascribes attribute of omniscience to the Holy Spirit Genesis 1:2 – ascribes work of creation to the Holy Spirit 2 Corinthians 13:14 – ascribes worship to the Holy Spirit (benediction) Westminster – “In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity.” Essential unity / functional distinctions Heretical analogies: Egg – shell, yolk, and white (1 egg/ 3 parts) Water – ice, water, steam (1 substance/ 3 modes) There is no completely accurate natural analogy for God’s essential being Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity The Old Testament begins to teach the doctrine of the Trinity Genesis 1:1-3 – God, spirit of God, Word of God Genesis 1:26 – plurality: “Let us” Genesis 18:1 – God visits Abraham Genesis 32:24-30 – The angel of the Lord is God and is sent by God Psalm 33:6 – the heavens were made by the Word of the Lord Proverbs 8 – wisdom is personified Isaiah 48:16 – The Lord, the One sent, and the spirit The Trinity is revealed in the Old Testament more in deed than in word Defense of the Doctrine of the Trinity Inherent rational: God is love, God is eternally unchanging, God has always loved, the object of God’s love prior to first creative act was Himself Inference – the doctrine is inferred from the overall revelation of the Scripture Direct Testimony – specific language from proof texts The One and the many – two ultimates resolved in God Himself

Jesus

  • "The Person of Jesus Christ"
  1. Ebionitism: natural son of Joseph and Mary, Christ at baptism until the cross
  2. Adoptionism: man Jesus became divine by conferral of divine qualities
  3. Doceticism: Jesus was divine being who only appeared human (1 John 4:2, 3)
  4. Sabellianism: God appeared as son for a time (Modalism)
  5. Arianism: Jesus divine in secondary sense, 1st & greatest created being (Nicea)
  6. Apollinarianism: fully divine/partial human nature (no human mind or soul)
  7. Nestorianism: Jesus was two persons (unity of wills, not natures)
  8. Eutychianism: Jesus had 1 mingled human & divine nature (Monophysitism)
  9. Kenosis: Jesus emptied Himself of deity at incarnation (later 19th century) Four categories of the nine major heresies
  10. Jesus was essentially man (#1 & #2)
  11. Jesus was an appearance only (#3 & #4)
  12. Jesus’ full human nature denied (#5 & #6)
  13. Jesus’ two natures separated or mingled (#7 & #8)

Importance of Jesus as God’s exact image Hebrews 1;3 2 Corinthians 4:4 John 14:9 – “He who has seen me has seen the Father”

Holy Ghost

  • "Gifts and Manifestations of the Holy Ghost"

Salvation, Redemption, Justification

  • "Regeneration/Being Born Again"

Humanity: The Nature of Man

Angels

Christian Bahavior

habits, code of behavior

General Therefore – Romans 12:1 Ethics: bringing our implicit code of behavior out in the open by considering our conduct Ethics analyzes that code in the context of God’s standard Ethics considers the presuppositions and implications of our code of behavior Ethics leads to the discovery of what makes a good life and the production of that life Definition Ethics is bring God’s Word to bear upon men to deepen their covenantal relationship with Him by asking what the whole Bible has to say about the subject in view as a means of determining which of each person’s acts and attitudes receive God’s blessing through obedience, and which ones receive God’s judgment through disobedience. Distinctives of the Ethical Point of View

  1. Prescriptive – not descriptive: what should we do (what should be – not what is)
  2. Principle – not power: might does not make right
  3. Unchanging perspective not alterable by decision
  4. Not arbitrary or trivial: social conventions (e.g., table manners) Scope of Ethics All encompassing Everything has an ethical dimension: do all to the glory of God 38 Pattern of Ethical Reasoning All ethical reasoning follows a certain pattern General rule (value, criterion) +Statement of Fact (or observation) Inference: particular judgment Three common ethical mistakes: Mistake of rules Mistake of facts Mistake of inference Ethical Pitfalls Traditionalism: parental, cultural, national, etc. Unteachability: arrogance bred from superior knowledge Complacent arbitrariness: unwillingness to reconsider Mere emotional appeals Narrow Simplistic Reasoning Rationalization: there must be some reason that I’m right (mind already made up) Qualification to the point of tautology: ever-changing argument which simply restates itself Criteria of Good Works What makes a good work good? The problem of the virtuous pagan Three different kinds of criteria of good works God requires all three criteria to be met
  5. Right purpose: 1 Corinthians 10:31 – God’s glory
  6. Right motive: Romans 14:23 – faith 1 Corinthians 13 – love
  7. Right standard: 1 John 3:4 – the Law of God Each of the three criteria is sufficient unto itself: The right understanding of one will lead to the other two Three independent perspectives all leading to the same conclusion The Goal of Ethics To glorify God and enjoy Him forever In seeking His glory we find our own good Our goal as people should conform to God’s goal for us Legitimate situational ethic: knowing the culture and people we are applying the Word to Ethical Factors in every situation: God – His presence and will God’s Word to that situation Direction of History – concluding with the Day of Judgment Human condition – the nature of man Sin God’s redemptive purpose Historical distortions of ethical goal:
  8. Doctrine of two-fold end – Asceticism (creates two categories of believers) Correction – God’s creation purpose in the natural world Moderation – the right use of the things of this world 39
  9. Tragic moral choice – our only choices are sin (hiding Jews and lying to Nazis) Never the case: God’s sovereignty insures a righteous option (1 Cor. 10:13) Nature of sin: the choice to displease God rather than do what pleases Him Examples: Egyptian midwives, Rahab, Samuel, Micaiah The Right Motive In Ethics Becoming the right kind of people will produce the right motives Factors in producing the right kind of people: Scripture Prayer Sacraments Trials Motive: inward disposition that is the effective cause of our behavior Love of God and neighbor is right motive External righteousness only is not sufficient motive of heart at issue White Sepulchers – Pharaseeism (inward defilement) Right motive in Scripture Love – 1 Corinthians 13 Faith – Hebrews 11;6 Repentance Fear of God Hope – 1 John 3:1-3 Models of right motives in the N.T. Temples Body of Christ Bride of Christ Jesus Soldiers Servants of God New man The Right Standard in Ethics The Christian Ethic is more than only the Law, but never less than it Danger of Antinomianism Spiritual Antinomianism: we are led by the Spirit and don’t need a written code Dispensational Antinomianism: there is a different standard for N.T. believers Right N.T. use of the Law Different uses of the term “law” Positive: Romans 7 – the law is holy, righteous, good Negative: Galatians 2:9 – died to the law Resolution: 1 Tim 1:8 – the law is good if one uses it lawfully Unlawful use: legalism – self-merit through the law (Rom 10:3) Lawful use: instructive and convicting (Galatians 2:19) Ephesians 2:12 – Mosaic covenant was always a covenant of promise, not legalism Grace in the Law Hebrews 3:18-19 – they lacked obedience and faith Galatians 3:21 – the Law is not pitted against the promises of God Romans 9:31-32 – Israel’s wrong pursuit of righteousness Law as schoolmaster (tutor) – ceremonial aspects of the Law 40 41 Gospel doesn’t replace Law – supersedes ceremonial administration in types and shadows The continuing validity of the moral injunctions of the Law 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – all Scripture Matthew 4:4 – every word Matthew 5:18 – every jot and title Right application of Law in N.T. Cultural factor Parapet around roof (apply according to original intent) Social Application of Law The Law is not geographic, but universal Romans 2:14-15 Deuteronomy 4:5-8 – the O.T. influence of the Law on the Gentile nations Israel intended to be a model of righteousness to nations (a city set on a hill) Premosaic application of the Law by God: the Flood, Sodom and Gommorah Romans 3:19 – that all the world may be brought to judgment Isaiah 24:5 Political Application of Law in N.T. Revelation 13 – the Beast requiring forehead and hand mark (contrast Deuteronomy 6:8) 1 Tim. 1:8-10 – lawful use of Law in restraining evil Romans 13 – magistrate as executor of God’s wrath against sin Psalm 2 – the Law of God as fetters and cords restraining the nations What about penal sanctions of O.T.? Matthew 15:4 – Jesus upholds death penalty for incorrigible children Acts 25:11 Romans 1 and 13 Hebrews 2:2

Heaven

Hell

Christian Treament of Others

  • "Interacting with Others"

  • "Do not suffer a witch to live"

  • The value and importance of a soul

  • Those viewed as "unbelievers"

  • Those viewed as "beleivers"

  • apparent heresy, "witchcraft" colonial america lessons with Puritans and John Proctor (first man hung during Salem witch trials), the COVER UP (first large scale government cover up) Witch hunt writing banned. Salem Mass

  • REAL PUBLIC PERSECTION

The Civil War Among Bible Believers

THEME: Lessons we can learn from our history as Bible Believers of our treatment of other Bible Believers.

  • Calvin's heavy handedness
  • Zwingli drowning of baptists?

Persecutions by the PURITANS

  • Roger Williams perseucation in New England

  • John Clark, Obadiah Holmes PURITANS busted down the door during service and took them to a puritan church service, jail and court [John Clark defends Believer's baptism], beat Obadiah Holmes "slashes to his back", "You have whipped me as with roses"

  • Doing God's service when putting to death

  • Roger Wiliam's "a bloody tenant yet more bloody"

  • John Leeland

  • Isaac Backus

  • Dress/Uniforms

  • There was a 'Calvinist Mode of Dress"

  • hair, men - women

  • Ministry Wrongs

  • abuse of power

-- Doctrinal Distinctions

  • Roman Catholism

    • The authority of the Pope.
    • infant Baptism
  • Anglican Church

    • Henry VIII
  • Calvinism: "Church of England was too Roman Catholic"

    • Puritans : CALVANISTS who "Reform or Purify the Church of England"
    • Separatists: CALVANISTS who "Separate from the Church of England" (i.e.,The Pilgrims who landed in 1620)

Evangelism

  • "Spreading the Gospel"

Knowledge of the Future

  1. God’s redemptive historical plan God has reserved His full revelation for the final day 1 Corinthians 13:12 1 John 3:1-3

Faith

This is a call for help to the Preachers in my Beloved State of Maine. The spiritual heritage of Maine is far greater than what we are producing right now. We are embracing things that are splintering and weakening us and plainly are inconsistent with our values. Protect your flocks from this "sow a seed in faith" teaching (and can go by a dozen other names).

I'm troubled by a false teaching popular right now in my home state. It is not new, but it does come in waves. It's victims are sincere and hungry Christians and takes advantage of their vulnerability for earthly gain of others. There is a twisted application being made of "sow a seed in faith" that results in more victims than overcomers. There is a misconstrueing of the spiritual principles taught in Scripture of sowing and reaping that is in its nature a great con (confidence game). Widows, poor and large hearted people are being channeled into descisions too their own hurt by this con and this is NOT THE GOSPEL.

Faith is not a force of my will, my own words in themselves are not creative or destructive in a spiritual sense. My words are not the greatest force in the world. Faith is a gift of God, faith is also a fruit of the Holy Ghost working in me and it works by love. Faith does not demand of God, but echoes what God has already said. Faith is not a declaration of my will, but is an embracing of God's will. There is no gaurantee made in Scripture that if I give money to a ministry that God is going to return it or double it or respond in any way of the like.

Consider especially, if these ministries are so out of order (we find scant similarities between them and New Testament examples of Gospel ministry) how could the precious Holy Ghost bless them or your personal investment into them?

In your services this week, defend the vulnerable among us. Stand between them and these conartists and take spiritual leadership. Be the pastor has called you to be, declare what God's Word says without apology as the final authority in all matters, expose the wolves and love God's church --- at the end of the day we are laborers in God's own vineyard and will answer to him for the fruit we produce. I feel with all my heart, we are created for much better things than these.

Examples of "We Believe" / "Creeds"

Our beliefs: The entire Bible is inspired by God, without error and the authority on which we base our faith, conduct, and doctrine. We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to this earth as Savior of the world. Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again. That the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, Teacher and guide. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of all the Biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believe in water baptism as a symbol of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the regular taking of communion as an act of remembrance of what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross. Every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by obeying God’s Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ. As child of God, we are overcomer's and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us. --https://newbeginningschristianchurch.net/about