Theo 510 Spring 2017 DBs

Contents

Discussion Board Topic 1. 1

Discussion Board Topic 2. 2

Discussion Board Topic 3. 5

Discussion Board Topic 4. 7

 

 

Discussion Board Topic 1

 

Based upon your reading of chapter 1 in Enns’ text, how has the study of this chapter affected your understanding of what is biblical theology and its relationship to the other disciplines?  What would happen to a church or denomination that does not actively learn or apply biblical and systematic theology to its teaching ministry?  Has this happened to your church or denomination?

 

How has the study of this chapter affected your understanding of what is biblical theology and its relationship to the other disciplines?

The study in this chapter was an excellent reminder of the tenure of the information presented in both the NBST [New Testament Introduction], OBST [Old Testament Introduction] and Survey of the History of Christianity classes offered by Liberty University.  The diversity of theological constructs posited by theologians as documented in the “biblical theology movement” from Eichrodt to von Rad proffer possibilities for confusion and could lead to disbelief if an individual is not grounded in the truth of God’s word (Enns 2014, 23). The infusion of liberalism into biblical theology and the growth of neoorthodoxy fostered led by the historical method of examining Scripture denied the authority of Scripture (23-24). It is impossible to maintain a biblical base to Scripture when the authority of Scripture is the eliminated.

As a methodology, biblical theology posits a narrow focus of parts Scripture from a historical frame of reference and is exegetical in nature (24). Whereas and the extensive focus on systematic theology utilizes Scripture and sources outside of Scripture to unravel truths or doctrinal concerns of the whole Scripture (24-25).  Biblical theology presents theological constructs or doctrines from a specific theologian or biblical era; however,  systematic theology exegesis all scriptural references to the proffered doctrine or theological construct. The knowledge posited in chapter one of the text concerning the difference between the how, why, process, and progress of biblical theology when juxtaposed against the what, product and a viewpoint from the culmination of God’s revelation of systematic theology clarified the value of both forms of methods of exploring the truths of the Bible (27-28).

 

What would happen to a church or denomination that does not actively learn or apply biblical and systematic theology to its teaching ministry?

When a church or denomination negates active engagement in the biblical and systematic theology to its teaching ministry the ministry becomes stale in the presentation of Scripture to the membership. Examination of Scripture and the application of Scripture to a Christians life fosters personal growth as indicated by Acts 17:11 and practiced by the Bereans.  Negating the use of the above disciplines above prevents the growing of disciples who are equipped to grow other disciples. No pastor or denomination has a complete understanding of all Scripture.  The church universal received an admonishment from Peter to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior 2 Pet 3:18. 

Has this happened to your church or denomination? 

The staleness of doctrine and the riveted use of Scripture happened to the Worldwide Church of God. I attended the Worldwide Church of God from 1971 in London UK until 2002 when I left the Savannah, Georgia congregation. When the leadership of the church broadened its study of Scripture using both the biblical and systematic theology methods of studying the Bible the church when through significant doctrinal changes that led to a complete change of doctrine and beliefs.  Personally, when I began to use both methods to study Scripture my personal understanding of biblical truths changed because I used the writings of sources for reference that were not written by writers from my church.   I did not leave the church because of the doctrinal changes.  I left because of a personal problem, and the pastor was not equipped to proffer spiritual guidance.  Finally, studying God’s word from both standpoints proffers a more rounded understanding of theological constructs.

Bibliography

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised and Expanded ed. Chicago: Moody, 2014.

 

Discussion Board Topic 2

After reading Enns’ section on “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” (ch. 21), do you agree or disagree with his conclusion that select spiritual gifts ceased after the time of the Apostles and are no longer in use today?  Provide the needed scripture to substantiate your position.

“Gifts of the Holy Spirit” is a highly charged theological construct that has divided the Church of the Living God for centuries. Enns posited that the select spiritual gifts have ceased. Enns provided an explanation for spiritual gifts ” first, a spiritual gift to an individual is God’s enablement for personal spiritual service (1 Cor. 12:11). Second, a spiritual gift to the church is a person uniquely equipped for the church’s edification and maturation (Eph. 4:11–13)”.[1] The point of reference provided by Enns concerning the explanation for spiritual gifts defines one’s acceptance of cessation of the gifts.

Statement: As the church of the twenty-first century grows and functions and discontinuity of the spiritual gifts are evident this fledgling theologian affirms that the initial purpose of the spiritual gifts was a means of authenticating the work of the early church, but the display of the spiritual gifts is not normative of the church today. Within the confines of word count and the need to reduce this argument to a readable level the discussion below focuses on the gifts of apostles, prophets, the Holy Spirit, tongues, and healing.

 Apostles

Enns repeatedly pointed to the closure of the Canon of Scripture as evidentiary proof of the cessation of the gifts due to the inerrancy, and revelatory nature of the gifts.[2]  Historians and early church fathers iterated the closure of the canon; therefore, documentation of the glory of God, as evidenced by the spiritual gifts, and the inerrancy of Scripture no longer warranted authentication. Josephus declared the three divisions of the Old Testament (OT) and cited not only the names but also the number of the books contained in the OT.[3] Scholars such as Ryle detailed the three separate sections in the OT canon and offered the specific dates of recognition for each division of the Scripture.[4] Ryle proposed completion dates for each section. The “Law” around 432 BC; The “Prophets” an approximate authentication date of 200 B.C., lastly the “Writings” indicated a  completion date of before 100 BC but iterated that recognition did not occur until about AD 100.[5] Early church fathers such as Athanasius – who lived after the death of the last writer of a canonical book namely the Apostle John – also recognized the books of the OT canon and its divisions as well as the books of the New Testament (NT) and their apostolic nature of the writers in his Paschal letter.[6]

The apostle Paul addresses the foundations of the church as “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph 2:20 KJV).[7] Note that Paul iterated “the foundations of the church” not “the church” or “the continuation of the church.” The word of the apostle and prophets of the early church was without error (see Deut. 18:20, 22 for proofs of the role of the prophet).  Theologians – who believe in the supremacy of God and the fact that He cannot lie and the fact that Scripture is without error – cannot indicate a time during the Bible when prophetic utterances of the writings of the canon of Scripture produced a falsehood or were in error. This point is pivotal when it comes to the belief that scripture is inerrant. Therefore, with no apparent indication in the NT that the roles assigned to the persons chosen by the Lord as Apostles and or prophets continued after the death of John and the Apostle Paul. [8]Persons reference the two witnesses in Revelation 11:1-14 note God’s word calls then witnesses and not prophets.  John’s writings about the end times do not reference the use of any of the gifts referenced in chapter 21.

Holy Spirit
Concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter declared, “Repent and be baptized” then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:45. Peter brought to remembrance “the gift of the Holy Spirit” had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” [What language were they speaking or understanding? Scripture does not indicate that. Is it possible that Peter was hearing them speak in His tongue? Scripture again does not make this clear in this instance. The Scripture simply stated “[individuals heard] them speak with tongues and magnify God” (v.46). When “tongues” first appeared in Scripture, each person heard their “mother language” being spoken by someone who was not bi-lingual.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God (Acts 2: 1-11).

It is apparent that the language spoken by the persons in the initial appearance of the gift of tongues was understandable by the individuals in the audience even though the speaker uttered another language. Every person who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior receives the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.12:13). John 14:17 declares “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” It is apparent that every believer received this gift during John’s time and even today. Does the church need to hear a person speaking in a foreign language today for us to believe that they are a child of God? No! Scripture speaks of Christian no longer needing milk.  Having said that this Christian believes that it is possible for a person sitting in a congregation where the pastor is preaching in English to hear the Word of God in their language and accept Christ as their personal Savior. God’s timing is not man’s timing, and He will use whomever He needs to use to reach an unsaved person.

Healing

In this dispensation of the church, it is unnecessary to utilize the gift of healing as a show of God’s power. God does not need to work through a human being, and or an object to heal his people. James 5:13-15 declared, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Each believer has direct contact with God.  No believer needs to go to a particular person for “healing” today. Yes, we should be praying for God to intervene and cure a believer if that is within His will for them James 15:16).

Finally, today believers live by faith and not by sight. The need for the spiritual gifts ceased at the close of the canon and as the church matured. This topic will probably bring about many interesting responses.
Bibliography

Athanasius. Easter Letter AD 357 39. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed January 31, 2017. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204/Page_552html.

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised and Expanded ed. Chicago: Moody, 2014.

Josephus, Flavius. Against Apion 1. Accessed January 31, 2017. http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/josephus/apion-1.html.

Ryle, Herbert Edward. The Canon of the Old Testament: An Essay on the Gradual Growth and Formation of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture. Reprint. London: Macmillan and, 1909.

Notes

[1] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Revised and Expanded ed. (Chicago: Moody, 2014), 283.

[2] Ibid., 285-286.

[3] Flavius Josephus Against Apion 1, accessed October 14, 2016, http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/josephus/apion-1.html; Anthony Frost, “Tracing the Emergence of a Canon of Holy Scripture in Churches,” Anglican Historical Society Journal 57 (April 2014): 28-29, accessed September 12, 2016, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[4] Herbert Edward Ryle, The Canon of the Old Testament: An Essay on the Gradual Growth and Formation of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture, Reprint (London: Macmillan and, 1909), 93.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Athanasius. Easter Letter AD 357 39. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed September 29, 2016.https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204/Page_552.html.

[7] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version (Public Domain).  I use this sitehttps://www.biblegateway.com/
[8] See(Matt. 10:1–15; Acts 15:4, 6,22, 23; 2 Cor. 12:12; 1 Cor. 9:1–2; 15:5–8; Gal. 1:12; 1 Cor. 15:8).

Discussion Board Topic 3

 

After reading Enns’ section on “Reformation Soteriology,” critique and evaluate his assessment of Calvinism (Reformed) and Arminianism on the select topics of atonement and faith and works (Enns, ch. 30).  Would your church denomination be in agreement with the Reformed or Arminian or some modified position?

Calvinism and Arminianism: Atonement

According to Enns, Calvin taught atonement for a select group of people decided by the Godhead through the process of predestination – or the “elect” (Enns 2014, 483). Calvin’s concept of the atonement being applicable the elect coincides with the Calvinistic view of predestination (483). On the other hand, Arminian theology considers the death of Christ a “substitute for a penalty” that appeased the God’s judicial system (484). However, Scripture does not support either the Calvinism or Arminianism theology on atonement.  Act 2:40 chronicles the Apostle Peter’s plea with the people to “save yourself from this untoward generation” (Unless otherwise stated all scriptural references come from the public domain King James Version of the Bible KJV.) Election negates Peter’s declaration to the people if Christ’s death only applies to a select group of individuals. Peter iterated the same sentiment in 1 Pet 2:23 with no indication of Christ’s death applying to only an elect group of people. The words of the Lord in Matt 24:14 clearly indicates that the gospel is preached to all individuals in all the world. Köstenberger and O’Brien affirm the premise of the application of a substitutionary death for all individuals in all nations (Köstenberger and O’Brien 2001, 87-109).  Enns presented a brief view of the Calvinistic and Arminian view of atonement.  To facilitate a deeper understanding of the difference in the theological concept of the atonement from both theologians required Enns to extrapolate a richer discussion on the topic.

Calvinism and Arminianism Faith, and Works

Enns reported Calvin considered salvation unconditional and independent of any action on the part of the recipient (483).  Moreover, Enns stipulated that Calvin taught that men must shed their previous life and live righteous repentant lives while simultaneously believing the gospel. Calvin posited that justification requires acceptance before The Almighty through righteousness that comes through faith (485). Consequentially, justification is demonstrable as a declaration before individuals of the “righteousness of faith” (486). However, the contention then would be neither faith nor works are needed if the “elect” are predetermined and have access to the family of God as the sole purview of a few people.

In like manner, Enns discussed the Arminian “conditional election” view (486). Conditional election dictates God’s election of individuals He already “knows will believe in Christ”; however, Arminianism supports the applicability of Christ’s death to all of humanity (486). Subsequently, when the believer becomes sinful the conditions of election fall into place and the believer loses salvation (486). At this juncture, the core Christian beliefs of faith and works, as exemplified by Calvinism and Arminianism, required more extrapolation by Enns. Enns left too many questions unanswered in this presentation. Granted Enns offers a more detailed explanation in another section of the book but fails to cite the upcoming discourse; thus, leaving the reader wondering how the theologians could arrive at the shallow conclusion presented in chapter 30.

The Beliefs of My Church

The church believes that the Great Commission is an active part of every Christian’s life commanded by The Lord before His final ascension; therefore, evangelism is not the sole purview of an evangelist, neither is it a spiritual gift. The church believes that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35). The church believes that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished redemption for all of humanity through His death on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice and that our justification is made sure by His actual, physical resurrection from the dead (Earley and Wheeler 2014, 31-35; Terry 2013, 9-24; Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24). Fourth, the church believes that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our high priest, He fulfills the ministry of representative, intercessor, and advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2). Finally, the church believes that in an act of faith and trust in Jesus, the repentance of our sin leads transference from us to Him and His righteousness brings a justified relationship with God and facilitates life in Christ as a new creation.

Bibliography

Earley, Dave, and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2014, Kindle. 

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised and Expanded ed. Chicago: Moody, 2014, Google Books. 

Kostenberger, Andreas J., and Peter Thomas. O’Brien. Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission. Leicester, England: Apollos, 2001, Google Books. 

Terry, Justyn. “The Forgiveness of Sins and the Work of Christ: A Case for Substitutionary Atonement.” Anglican Theological Review 91, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 9-24. Accessed February 13, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

 Discussion Board Topic 4

Which of the contemporary theology topics researched by Enns would be considered the most relevant to the contemporary church? Explain why you believe this to be so. Based on cultural trends, what do you anticipate to be the next “major” issue the contemporary church will need to address?

Christianity stands on the edge of time in a manner that has never been realized by any religious group. Throughout the world, people are experiencing tyranny, suffering, hopelessness, and a sense of “godforsakeness” that they have never experienced before (Moltmann, A Broad Place, 31). The most relevant contemporary topic presented by Enns that opens the way to the cross for a broken and suffering world through the theology of evangelicalism (Enns 2014, 654-656). The general election of this nation proved to Americans that the need for religious teaching, lifestyle, and governance that is mainstream and sticks to Christian beliefs that maintains a “trunk” of the tree biblical context meets the needs of the populace.

Enns identifies why evangelicalism presents a Christian worldview to the public, and to people looking into the world of Christianity, that looks firm and solidly grounded in Scripture and the tenets of historical Christianity (654-656). The doctrinal affirmations of evangelicalism hold to the Nicene Creed [the doctrine the Trinity, the concept of verbal plenary inspiration, and the foundational doctrines of the reformed church (654; “Nicene Creed,”). The idea of universal sin and the redemption of humankind through the suffering of God on the cross “reconciles” humanity unto the creator, lies at the center of evangelical theology (Enns, 654). Moltmann describes the importance of the cross for Christians as he iterates

There is a medieval picture which shows Christ descending into hell and opening the gate for someone who points to himself as if he were saying, ‘And are you coming to me?’ That is how I have always felt. Jesus’ Godforsakenness [Godforsakenness is a term coined by Moltmann to describe the feeling the Lord when He cried out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).] as on the cross showed me where God is present — where He was in my experiences of death, and where He is going to be in whatever comes. Whenever I read the Bible again with the searching eyes of the Godforsaken prisoner I was, I am always assured of its divine truth” (Moltmann 2009, 31).

The evangelical gospel offers hope and the ability for broken people to be “reconciled to God” (Enns, 654; 2 Cor 5:19). Faith in Christ stands as the cornerstone of the doctrinal tenets of evangelicalism, not works alone (Ro 5:1). Evangelicals believe in sharing the message of the gospel and the process of evangelism (Enn, 655). The act of sharing the message of the good news translates the Scripture of loving one’s neighbor as themselves into active agape love. Sharing the gospel does so because the very act of evangelism demonstrate the ability to think of all of humanity the way that Christ thought of humanity when He sent the disciples out to share the good news with all people until the end comes. Stott proffers an apt definition of what evangelism means to Kingdom Mission “. . . .the Bible gives us the message for world evangelization. The Lausanne Covenant defined evangelism . . . . . Paragraph four begins:

To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. (Stott 2009, 22; Lausanne Covenant: The Nature of Evangelism as quoted by Stott).

Why is evangelicalism most relevant to the contemporary church?

Evangelism is most pertinent to the modern church because the world needs Christ. Moffett proposes that evangelism is only part of the mission of the church, but it opens a venue for sharing the gospel of the good news with people who are blind, oppressed, imprisoned, or poor (Moffett 2009, 598). To qualify his definition of evangelism Moffett declares “evangelism is not. . . . Christian action and protest against the world’s injustices” (Moffett, 599). Moffett explains that biblical evangelism ensures that a Christian’s vertical relationship with the Triune God comes first, and then a horizontal relationship with our neighbor is second to our relationship with God (599). Moffett has placed into contemporary language the dictates of the Shammah from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 repeated by The Lord in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” On this Scripture “or the Shammah” hangs all of the Old and New Testament theology of God’s Kingdom Mission that started with Abraham and ends with the return of the Lord. Love is an ageless construct. Love is a human need that stems from the very core of the God of love. An evangelical’s love for God and man is embodied in evangelical theology and powers all evangelicals to look first to the triune God as the source of all hope and love (Neal, 2009, 61). Then the evangelical’s love for God extends that hope out to their neighbor as they embrace the cross of Jesus Christ as the place where all hope begins (Neal, 2009, 61).

What is the next major issue that the contemporary church needs to address?

The next major issue that the present church needs to address is the reality and magnitude suffering people all over the world and the biblical answer to that suffering. As one views the news, at any time during the day, a graphic picture of the world fraught with turmoil, impoverishment, distrust – in politicians and the church, division, and mayhem present itself to Christian theology. How does one address the needs of these people as Christ did when He healed the sick, fed the poor and even cried over the emotional and-and spiritual state of Jerusalem, and for Lazarus’ family as they suffered?

We live in a world where 80% percentage of humanity is “living on less than $10.00 per day (Shah 2013, Poverty Facts and Stats). How do evangelicals make Christianity impactful or beneficial to people living lives fraught with suffering and impoverishment? How do evangelicals present a gospel and an eschatological hope as a present reality rather than a future promise of resolution of people’ current pain? What real hope, coupled with faith and the reality of the freedom engender in the promise of the cross, can Christianity offer to people who do not see an end to their suffering? The “Savior” presented as a solution to a suffering world cannot be radicalized socialism or the political aspirations of any political leader. The hope offered to the world must be centered on the reality of the cross (Moltmann 2015, 99). The presentation of the reality of the cross to the world as a whole, to young Christians, and to people who see no hope at the end of their daily struggles will determine the effectiveness of the gospel presentation. It will never negate the gospel of Jesus Christ neither can it prevent God’s Kingdom Mission, but it will change the nuclei from which the gospel is disseminated.

Bibliography

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised and Expanded ed. Chicago: Moody, 2014, Google Books.

Moffett, Hugh. “Evangelism: The Leading Partner.” In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, by Ralph D. Winter, Steven C. Hawthorne, Darrell R. Dorr, D. Bruce. Graham, and Bruce A. Koch, 598-99. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

Moltmann, Jurgen. A Broad Place: An Autobiography. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009, Google Books.

Moltmann, Jurgen. The Crucified God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015, Kindle.

Neal, Ryan A. Theology as Hope: On the Ground and Implications of Jurgen Moltmann’s Doctrine of Hope. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2009, Google Books.

“Nicene Creed.” Nicene Creed. Accessed February 26, 2017. https://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.html.

Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. January 1, 2013. Accessed February 26, 2017. http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.

Stott, John R. W. “The Bible in World Evangelization.” In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, by Ralph D. Winter, Steven C. Hawthorne, Darrell R. Dorr, D. Bruce. Graham, and Bruce A. Koch, 21-26. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

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