What I Read Online – 01/19/2013 (a.m.)

    • doctrinal atomism, defined as the ability to hold with sincerity individual points of theology without fitting them in to an overall doctrinal structure.
    • It is not that people who, say, deny the unity of the origin of the human race in Adam necessarily abandon an orthodox understanding of the gospel; it is rather that they ultimately have no stable basis for not abandoning or redefining the gospel
    • The situation is different, however, when we are talking about elders, churches as confessing bodies, and big organisations who have a significant teaching role.   Such entities have a responsibility to make sure that they are transmitting the gospel in a stable form from one generation to another.  To do that, there has to be an understanding of how any individual doctrine connects to other doctrines within the larger confessional structure.   Minimal doctrinal statements tend to doctrinal atomism and thus are vulnerable to the concern underlying P. T. Forsyth’s two generation rule: each generation needs to reflect on what its teaching or doctrinal formulations might lead to in two generation’s time.
    • To make this matter pointedly relevant, the answers to the key ethical question of the day (What is the nature of human gender and sexuality?) and the key question of all time (Who is Jesus Christ?) cannot stand apart from the answer to the key question of human origins: Who was Adam?     Those who wobble on the last one really have no grounds for not wobbling on the first two.  And those who shift on the issue of Adam need to reflect on how that impacts the rest of their theology.  When it comes to Adam, doctrinal atomism is not an option
    • The unity of the human race, as Scripture teaches, is …. finally, not a matter of indifference, as is sometimes claimed, but on the contrary of the utmost importance: it is the presupposition of religion and morality. The solidarity of the human race, original sin, the atonement in Christ, the universality of the kingdom of God, the catholicity of the church, and the love of neighbor–these all are grounded in the unity of humankind
    • So far is it from being of no concern to theology, therefore, that it would be truer to say that the whole doctrinal structure of the Bible account of redemption is founded on its assumption that the race of man is one organic whole, and may be dealt with as such. It is because all are one in Adam that in the matter of sin there is no difference, but all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:22 f.), and as well that in the new man there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). The unity of the old man in Adam is the postulate of the unity of the new man in Christ.
    • In conclusion, the question of Adam is arguably the biggest doctrinal question facing the current generation.  Further, mere agreement on ethical positions – for example, complementarianism – is really meaningless if there is no agreement on the conceptual theological foundations for such. Unity on ethics alone paves the way for a Christianity understood primarily in terms of cultural preferences.    That is not biblical Christianity.
    • This is not to say that the film is not great art. If you haven’t seen the film, take this criticism as an endorsement. But enjoy the film for what it is… a movie, a story. While it is natural for Christians to get excited about Gospel imagery in popular culture — and Les Mis has it in spades — we need to be aware of the limits of “redemptive” film, and preserve the category of entertainment. Unfortunately, much of the mania for redemptive cultural efforts (see this list of the Top Ten “Most Redeeming Films of 2012”), broadens the Christian concept of redemption to the point of which it is practically useless.

       

    • What I have written in this book about God’s sovereignty is not new to me. I have believed it for many years. The best preparation for suffering is to have good theology before the suffering begins. I am utterly convinced from the scriptures that God loves Diane and me, and that he is sovereign over all that happens to us. That doesn’t mean we understand “why” it occurred, but the sweep of the biblical story reminds us that the Lord will crush the serpent. We are in a great conflict and war. But I have been comforted all along the way, because I know God loves me and that he will use this to the glory and praise of his name. All that God brings into our lives helps us to see and know him better.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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