Standing On The shoulders Of The Fathers – 4
Theology is broken into two greek words, theos (God) and logos (Word). So then basically theology is the study of a “word about God” or God’s Word or God. You cannot separate the two. Many today will decry the study of doctrine or forming a belief system or knowledge about what and why one believes what they believe about God’s Word.
Claiming all you need are the red letters, or love, or the Bible is forgetting some important truths. Those same red letters, that same Bible says that because of love we should “be aware of false teachers.(Matthew 7:15, Romans 16:17-20, 1 Timothy 4:1-2)” Paul, told Timothy to study God’s Word, so that he would be a craftsmen (2 Timothy 2:15).
The writer of Hebrews challenged his readers to move beyond the, “milk of the Word. (Hebrews 5:11-6:4)” So, to say that doctrine is not necessary is to try to live this life, as though one is building a swingset with no instructions. Ask anyone who has tried such a thing, and they will point out how utterly futile such an effort is.
Yet, the Word of God says something else very powerful, it says that God has given us teachers in order that we might not be carried away with every wind of doctrine, (Ephesians 4:14, Hebrews 13:9). So, to say that we need no one to teach us God’s Word is bound to allow us to begin a slow decent into the land of heresy, off the path of solid truth that keeps us on the right road, taking us beyond the horizon.
Yet, how does one know that how one is interpreting God’s Word or how a particular teacher is interpreting God’s Word is right? One way is by looking back upon historical faith. Historical faith helps direct us toward knowing how to interpret the Bible, application and theological formation, allowing one to know not only how such beliefs one is holding to may have developed, thus helping one better postulate those beliefs.
Historical faith also reveals to us what is important about the faith and how Christ is building His church. It is these, the reason why World Prayr is bringing, “Standing On The shoulders Of The Fathers”. As, we travel through history we will be looking at what various teachers, pastors, writers have had to say through history about God’s Word.
We, pray you are encouraged and blessed by such insights, introductions and teachings.
Charles Hodge, 2 Corinthians, ed. Alister McGrath, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1995), 2 Co 5:10.
Charles Hodge (December 27, 1797 June 19, 1878) was an important Presbyterian theologian and principal of Princeton Theological Seminary between 1851 and 1878. He was a leading exponent of the Princeton theology, an orthodox Calvinist theological tradition in America during the 19th century. He argued strongly for the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. Many of his ideas were adopted in the 20th century by Fundamentalists and Evangelicals.
Whether good or bad. That is, whether he did good or evil. Each person will receive according to his deeds, whether good or bad. It is from passages such as this that some American theologians have inferred that the only benefit the believer receives from Christ is the forgiveness of sin, and that being pardoned he is dealt with according to the principles of justice.
Others, especially in Germany, have drawn from the same source the conclusion that the doctrine of Paul is that the merit of Christ cleanses only from the sins committed before conversion. If a Jew or Gentile became a Christian, his sins were blotted out, and then he was rewarded or punished, saved or lost, according to his works. The merit of Christ did not bring pardon for sin committed after conversion.
This is very much the ancient doctrine that there is no forgiveness for post-baptismal sins. The benefits of Christs work, according to many of the ancients, are conveyed to the soul in baptism, but if once forfeited by sin can never be reapplied.
This gloomy doctrine, which belonged to the transition period that preceded the full development of the theology of the papal church, has been revived by the Roman Catholics of the present day. But according to the Scriptures, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, whether committed before or after baptism or conversion.
It is a fountain to which we may come every day for cleansing. He is a priest who lives forever to make intercession for us and who always presents before God the merit of his sacrifice as a perpetual offering, typified by the morning and evening sacrifice under the law.
According to the anti-scriptural views mentioned above, when a person first comes to Christ his sins are forgiven, and he then begins afresh under the covenant of works and stands in the same relationship to God as Adam did before the fall. The condition of salvation is to him as it was to our first parent: Do this and live. Christ is of no use to him from now on. See Romans 6:14.
But in truth, because of the one offering of Christ, by which those who believe are sanctified forever (that is, they are atoned for), God does not impute the penitent believers sins to him and condemn him. He is not judged by the law or treated according to its principles, for then no one could be saved. But he is treated as someone for all whose sinspast, present, and futurean infinite satisfaction has been made and who has a perpetual claim to that satisfaction as long as he is united to Christ by faith and the indwelling of his Spirit.