Doctrine and Maturity2015 Mar 5
A friend once told me about a study he was in at church. It covered Christian doctrine; and, he said, "it was good for growing in faith".
The implication of his statement is that the study of doctrine is a way to become mature in faith. However, this is not directly true!
Commandments: Old and New2015 Mar 1
Jesus came preaching the good news of his new kingdom. This is a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36, Matthew 6:9-10) that exists in parallel to earthly kingdoms. The whole of law in this spiritual kingdom is one, the command of love.
Commands that don't remain
In the context of when Jesus lived there already were some commandments. Most notable of these is the 10 Commandments of the Jews. All of them have meaning only for a kingdom that is of this world. The last 9 talk about physical things (which are only applicable for this physical world). And (with respect to the 1st) only in this material world could people imagine or pursue multiple gods; that is not a mistake we can make once we pass from this world. So the 10 commandments are completely obsolete after this world.
What is the Value of Doctrine?2015 Feb 5
Theology is the study by humans of things relating to God, and doctrine is the accepted beliefs that we hold in this topic. So, first we need to talk about theology.
Some parts of theology come from rich and clear information from our primary sources (the Bible and related historical documents). However other parts of theology come from very sparse sketches of information. The theology that we need for living a good Christian life is only a part of this panorama.
What is the purpose of the rest of the body of theological teaching, that which is beyond what we need to know for living?
God Never Tricks Us2015 Feb 1
All through time, people have been saved by trusting in a loving and merciful God. They have been brought into right relationship with him by trusting in this (mercy) aspect of his love.
Can We Know Theology?2015 Jan 4
Theology is the study by humans of things relating to God. Doctrine is the accepted beliefs that we hold on this topic.
When we humans study a subject, we do our research. Then we assemble all the facts as we know them into a mental model that fits everything together. We check the model by seeing if it matches to what we observe and if it explains well what we know from our sources. And then we make adjustments to our mental model to make it better as we learn and understand more.
God tells us about himself through what he has made, through what he has done, and through his direct communications to humans. These sources provide facts that we interpret, and try to consolidate into a cohesive picture. However the difference between God and humans is very large and so this presents challenges for our understanding. We need to use our imagination to extend our thinking in the parts where God is unlike us.
It is from these processes that theology is constructed.