Standing On The shoulders Of The Fathers – 8
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.
John Owen (1616 24 August 1683) was an English Nonconformist church leader, theologian, and academic administrator at the University of Oxford.He was briefly a member of parliament for the University, sitting in the First Protectorate Parliament of 1654 to 1655.
The Holy Spirit
Chapter 15:Sanctification a Lifelong Work
THE GROWTH OF HOLINESS IS MYSTERIOUS
The work of holiness is secret and mysterious (2 Corinthians: 4:16). As the outward man is slowly dying and we are not often aware of it, so it is with the growth of grace in the inward man. We should pray as David did, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ (Psalms. 139:23, 24). In other words, ‘Help me to know the true state of holiness in me.’
The Christian may be like a ship tossed in a storm. Nobody on board may be aware that the ship is making any headway at all. Yet it is sailing on at great speed.
Storms produce growth.
Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness. The storm loosens the earth round its roots so the tree is able to get its roots deeper into the earth where it receives fresh supplies of nourishment. But only much later will it be seen to bring forth better fruit.
So corruptions and temptations develop the roots of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for that grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness.
God cares for the new creation
God, who in infinite wisdom created the new creature, also cares for it. He cares for the life of grace wrought in us by his Spirit. He longs to see it grow healthy and strong. He knows exactly how to promote that growth, just as a good gardener knows exactly how to produce the best plants. But how God works to do this we may be unable to explain: at times we will be at a loss to know what he is doing with us.
In the early days of faith, the streams seem to flow in green pastures, and the new Christian seems always fresh and green in the ways of grace and holiness. But later in the Christian life, it seems good to God to turn the stream into another channel. He sees that the exercise of humility, godly sorrow, fear, diligent warring with temptations and all things that strike at the very root of faith and love, are now more needed.
So older, more experienced Christians often have greater troubles, temptations and difficulties in the world. God has new work for them to do. He now plans that all the graces they have be used in new and harder ways. They may not find their spiritual desires to be as strong as before, nor have such delight in spiritual duties as they had before. Because of this, they feel that grace has dried up in them.
No longer do they feel and enjoy the springs of holiness that once joyfully flowed in them. They do not know where they are or what they are. But in spite of all this, the real work of sanctification is still thriving in them and the Holy Spirit is still working it effectively in them. God is faithful. Therefore let us cling to our hope without wavering.