Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology 2
The Materials of Systematic Theology
First I want to discuss the source of ST. When discussing the source of ST it may be helpful to state in no uncertain terms what the Earnest Contender does not consider being sources for ST. Putting it a little stronger, exposing false sources of ST.
Some of the false sources of ST include:Natural Revelation (science)
which has to do with all of nature (see Rom 1: 18- 23), it is not general revelation which has to do with providence (Matt. 5: 44- 45). This is not the purpose of ST (i.e. the aim is different). Nature and science can be interpreted by the Bible, BUT
I don’t interpret the Bible by nature or science and I don’t recommend it either.Rationalism
makes the mind the authority over the Bible. We do need to use our minds in a proper way. It is proper and needful to think rationally, but not to replace revelation with our reason. We can and should ask God to open our understanding and it is all together appropriate to ask Him to help us in our thinking.
There are three proper uses of the mind and/or understanding, they are: to receive revelation
, to apply revelation
in our total being, and to communicate revelation
to others. With this in mind we can see that reason must be the servant to revelation NOT
the other way around because the mind is finite not infinite, the mind is impacted by sin revelation is not. Revelation doesn't minimize the incomprehensibility of God.Mysticism
is totally subjective and holds “...to the attainment of religious knowledge by direct communication from God, it goes beyond the mind and Scripture.” (Mystic Enthusiasts, Strong p. 32) Experience
is a good teacher but not a good interpreter.
Freeman said, “The man with the doctrine is at the mercy of the man with the experience.” This is especially true in my experience opening the Bible with charismatic friends. We are to arm our selves with the truth not experience (Eph. 6:14).History of doctrine, or
in other words tradition. Watch out for this one, the Earnest Contender Issues this warning to us here because, Romanism says, “Theology... accepts as the sources of its knowledge Holy Writ and Tradition.” (Ludwig). Neo-Evangelicals too, are concerned with what the intelligencia (scholarly opinion) are saying. Fundamentalist even (or perhaps especially) need to beware so that tradition and or history does not become a source of authority.
"Why?" you ask!
Tradition tends to deny:
...the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture,
...the priesthood of the believer, and
...the autonomy of the local church
"Tradition is a wonderful servant, but a horrible master." (Pettigrew, and perhaps others)Religious encounter
, or Neo-orthodoxy
says man is in time, God is not, but we can have encounters with God. This is not a good source for ST either because it relies on a very subjective basis.
The Question then remains, “What is the true source of systematic theology?”
Scripture is the source of ST. (2Tim. 3:16)
There is a systematic method at deriving at ST; Exegesis to Biblical Th. to Historical Th. to Systematic Th. to Practical Th. and each discipline affects the other.To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8: 20Next in our study of Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology, we will explore the limitations to the study of Theology.
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
Words & Music: William F. Sherwin
Tune: Click here
Sound the battle cry! See, the foe is nigh;
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armor on, stand firm every one;
Rest your cause upon His holy Word.RefrainRouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along;
Onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna!
Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.
Strong to meet the foe, marching on we go,
While our cause we know, must prevail;
Shield and banner bright, gleaming in the light,
Battling for the right we ne’er can fail.Refrain
O! Thou God of all, hear us when we call,
Help us one and all by Thy grace;
When the battle’s done, and the vict’ry’s won,
May we wear the crown before Thy face.Refrain
Today, I am going with a bus-load of people from several area churches to meet 2500 of our closest friends in northern Kentucky (near the Cincinnati International Airport). We will enjoy a preview tour of the Creation Museum
that promises to open Spring 2007. It is a three hour drive from Toledo. I left at 4:30 am today and will have Rosie publish this post for me. Rah! Rah!
Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology 1
The Aim of Theology
There is at least a threefold aim of Theology. The aim of Theology involves the discovering and understanding facts of God
: In relationship with us, and in relationship with the universe. The second is, the exhibiting and systematizing these facts
. Sunistano- putting it all together and organizing truth. The third is, in applying these truth to our lives.
Knowing the facts of God without knowing God is a sad condition to be in. Knowing God and remaining ignorant of the facts is also a sad condition to be in. The former is like knowing everything there is to know about someone else's inheritance, the later is like being an heir, but not knowing what you have inherited.The Possibility of Systematic Theology
What about the possibility of Systematic Theology?Unbelieving Scholarship
has no confidence in Scripture as a source for theology, or any other source then because in their view, Scripture contains contradictions, and many irreconcilable differences.
Others lay claim that NT Theology renders OT Theology obsolete. Their conclusion is that NT Systematic Theology is impossible; we must speak in terms of NT Systematic Theologies plural....there is a growing consensus even among New Testament scholars that any systematic theology that claims to summarize biblical truth is obsolete at best and perverse at worst. Any possibility of legitimate systematic theology presupposes that the discipline will look else where for its norms, or begin from some center smaller than or different from the Christian canon.
(D. A. Carson, “unity and diversity in the New Testament: The Possibility of Systematic Theology,” in Scripture and Truth, p. 65)
However, Conservative Biblicist theologians
accept the Scriptures as the true source of theology. This may be thought of as the Earnest Contender’s “Data Base”, “The Entire Bible Alone!” “Scriptures are the true source of Theology.” With this in mind I would like us to consider that there is such a thing as “progressive revelation.” Some examples of the kind of progression being refered to is like an acorn to oak tree, Old Testament to New Testament, Gospels to Epistles, the beginning of Acts to end of Acts.
We may also see this progression or growth in the writers of Scripture, for example look at the personal background of each writer. How did they mature in their relationship with God as indicated by their writings? Remember history is a part of the text too, (e.g. The OT is foundational to the NT) this is important information to tuck away for when we discuss interpretation a little later on.
Ultimately the possibility of systematic theology has a triad bases:a.) The existence of God who has relations with the universeand man.
b.) There is a capacity of the human mind for knowing God.
c.) God has revealed Himself to us.The Necessity of Systematic Theology
The necessity of Systematic Theology may seem an odd thing to mention, but it is quite relevant and pertinent since some of us do not like to use the term “system” and prefer to think of our ideas about God as purely relational. If you are born again, doing theology is
relational! Still normal minds automatically reconcile and/or correlate facts they receive
. That is, a much higher kind of knowledge is obtained by isolated facts alone (e.g. Sports, remember "The Love of the Game"? One can know facts, but how do they all work together?), and at the same time putting them together so it is NOT just knowing the facts alone. My contention is that ST is necessary for propagating doctrine and defending “the faith”
and ST helps unfold the meaning of Scripture
The contemporary necessity of ST is also threefold and here at The Earnest Contender this is an imperative.
a.) Systematic theology must be understandable.For the church at large we have few specialists who can teach through the mass media... Our best minds are siphoned off to seminaries where they are expected to write indigestible monographs for the half dozen men in the world who can understand what they are talking about. In the past doctors of the church wrote so that literate men could understand, and Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley are much easier to read than [many of] our contemporaries... The greatest battle is the battle of the mind, and it is won by words that are shot like bullets-- smooth, sharp, powerful, and dead on target.
b.) Systematic theology must be relevant
as it is tied to the great commission (Matt. 28: 19-20), BUT don’t throw away truth just because the relevance isn’t plain to see at the moment.
c.) Systematic theology must be personal.
(See, “Doing Theology in the Church”, by Robert Saucy, in The Necessity of Systematic Theology, edited by J. J. Davis)
Here are some sound reasons for Systematic Theology (and some $ 5.00 words, no charge)
1. Catechetical Root
: Acts 2:42; we who are saved want to know apostolic teaching.
2. Exegetical Root
: Developed because of deep commitment of the Word.
3. Homiletical Root
: As preachers taught and preached.
4. Polemical (Disputing/Argument/ Debate) Root
: As heresies arose and attacked.
5. Apologetic Root
: Challenges as when the Word is attacked.
6. Ethical Root
: A problem arose and had to be dealt with biblically.
7. Missionary Root
: As the gospel spread out different applications were made.Tuck it all away now. When we return to this study “Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology” (sometime next week) I will begin with a question; “What are the materials of Systematic Theology?”
Blogging on Prolegomenon
Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology
"What makes Christ glorious is an admirable conjunction of diverse Excellencies."
Jonathan Edwards "The Excellency of Christ," in… The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1--Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974--Page 680).
It was Vince Lambarty, head coach of the Green Bay Packers, I am told, who held up a football and said to his team of professional athletes, “This is a football.” For that team, football was more than a spectator sport, they lived it, and yet Coach Lambarty felt it was necessary to remind the team of some basics. Where did Coach start? “This is a football.” What does foot ball have to do with proleg- what-cha-ma-call-it? I hope to answer that and other questions as we proceed.
This is part of a study of systematic theology which I have compiled, and edited and taught in a Wednesday evening class at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding any part of these posts, I may not answer if I feel it is becoming redundant and/or futile, but don’t worry perhaps the more academic among us will field some questions too. I will do my best to bring readers into a fuller understanding of many theological terms and ideas. I hope the more scholarly readers will be patient with those who may be just getting their feet wet and still participate in this and upcoming posts.
Prolegomenon (The Love of the Game)
We will begin with an introduction to Systematic Theology (ST) often spoken of as Pro-le-gom-e’non. This component of our study (Prolegomenon) comes directly from the lecture and notes prepared by Dr. Larry D. Pettigrew, Th. D. when he was the Professor of Systematic Theology for Master level work at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Interestingly, my pastor Philip DeCourcy was one of his students at The Masters Seminary, Sun Valley, California.
In Football, as with most spots ones personal enjoyment has to do with ones knowledge of and involvement in or with the game. To understand Football better Coach Lambarty said to his team of professionals this is a “foot ball”. He started with some basics as building blocks to more complex “plays” in the game. So as we move on in our relationship with our Lord, I too make it my aim to lift and unfold from the Bible, building blocks to help us establish and become more grounded in that relationship through the knowledge of His Word.
This is a Bible. There is a great Bible program called http://www.e-sword.net/index.html e-Sword if you do not yet have it I recommend it you can get it http://www.e-sword.net/index.html here. Just click and follow the instructions. It is a free program and you may wish to have it for easy referencing.
We will begin by answering, “What is the meaning of systematic theology?” Hear what some prominent theologians have about this. If you don’t understand something don’t worry too much about that just yet, do your best to understand and remember to ask a question if you want to you can do this in the comment section. Here are some definitions of theologythey offer:
1. Strong: “Theology is the science of God and of the relations between God and the universe.”
2. Charles Hodge: “Theology, therefore, is the exhibition of the facts of Scripture in their proper order and relation, with the principles or general truths involved in the facts, themselves, and which pervade and harmonize the whole.”
3. Lewis Sperry Chafer: “Systematic Theology may be defined as the collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting and defending of all facts from any and every source concerning God and His works.”
4. W.G.T. Shedd: “Theology is a science that is concerned with both the Infinite end the Finite, with both God and the Universe. The material, therefore, which it includes, is vaster than that of any other science. It is also the most necessary of all the sciences.”
5. William Perkins “Golden Chain”: “The body of Scripture is a doctrine sufficient to live well. It comprehendeth many holy sciences, whereof one is principle, others are handmaids or retainers. The principle science is theology. Theology is the science of living blessedly for ever.”
6. William Ames, Medulla Sacrae Theologiae: “Theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi.”
7. Millard Erickson, Christian Theology p. 21: “...that discipline which strives to give a coherent statement of the doctrines of the Christian faith, based primarily upon the Scriptures, placed in the context of culture in general, worded in a contemporary idiom, and related to issues of life.”
8. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God p. 25: “...the application of Scripture to all areas of human life.”
9. J. Wendell Cole: “The fact that God has revealed Himself in creation, His Son, and Scripture makes theology a science and an art to aid us in building a stronger relationship with God. Systematic Theology is a system of study seeking to lift from the Bible all which God has to say on each doctrinal division in a logical and cohesive manner. It is both a science, in that it seeks the truth, and an art in that it offers a fuller (not complete) display of the beauty of our Creator.”The Etymology
(or the meaning and origin of the words) of “theology”
The word “theology” literally means God-Study, or God-Knowledge, Theos Logos. (This is practical for every Christian, Lit. “Knowing God”)
Luke 8: 21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Acts 7:38 “He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.”
(See the greater context Acts 6:1- 8: 8)
Rom. 3:1-2 “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.”
Heb. 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”
1Pet. 4:11 “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”In th next postour study, "Prolegomenon: Introduction to Systematic Theology", continues with, "The Aim of Theology".
Words: Walter C. Smith
, Hymns of Christ and the Christian Life, 1876.
Music: St. Denio, Welsh melody, from Canaidau y Cyssegr, by John Roberts
Tune: click here
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.
All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
I am at a stand still just now. I will take it as a time to be still and know God. What He does, and what He desires, and even more important who He is! In view of this I ask, "how I can best use my time to glorify and exalt Him?" He is so worthy of all we are.
This summer has been nice rest for me as far as preparing lessons for Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF). We had a team of financial experts come in and give a four week presentation How to Handle God’s Money. The team included Pastor Tom Benefiel
(our pastor of business and administration), Mr. Tom Gilsdorf
, and Mrs. Cookie Rockwell
. All are trained, certified, and practicing counselors in the area of financial freedom by Crown Financial Services, and we are blessed that they are also members of our local church.
Then we had some excellent teaching through the Book of Daniel presented by my colleague brother Bruce Snyder
We have just completed a video presentation on A Biblical Portrait of Marriage, by Bruce Wilkinson
, and will be lead in discussion this week by one of my mentors, a true friend, and brother, Mr. Bill Everett
(afore mentioned) has agreed to do some tag team teaching on various biblical topics to get us through the rest of the summer so that we will not go without hearing from God’s Word. I will be leading in the topic of the “one another’s of the Bible”, while I prepare lessons for the fall semester.
Q. What will I be preparing to teach?
A. I will let have to let know as I have not yet completely made up my mind. I will say this, “It will launch from the Old Testament”! I have narrowed it down to three ideas, Old Testament Survey, The Book of Isaiah, and Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament.
Q. What about here, at the Earnest Contender?
A. My passion is to discuss eschatology (the study of the end times), but I feel there are some basic concepts that need to be covered, some theological roots that need to take hold, and some doctrinal foundations that must be established before we work through this task. So…
My Conclusion of the Spiritual Gifts Posts
Bible believers are encouraged to recognize spiritual gifts in others and themselves. To recognize and develop the gifts God has given and to use it in His service, to make the most of the gifts for the glory of God. This should help us to become more mature and loving toward one another as we build the church of the living God together.
This is how we grow up in the faith. It is not my design, it is God's. May we learn to bless Him for each of our imperfect brothers and sisters in Christ, and respect one another too as we disagree and learn; as we are challenged and blessed. Amen.
Words: Frances R. Havergal
, February 1874
for my favorite tune arranged from Wolfgang A. Mozart
for the tune I grew up knowing and loving, by Henri A. C. Malan
, 1827; harmony by Lowell Mason
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
Examples of Spiritual Gifts in the Church (Part 2)
Here are just a few examples from Blogdom:Joe
is a unique and dear brother in Christ. His humor, wit and genuine love for the brethren are displayed through his biblical teaching, gentle rebukes, and more often than not - his kind words to and for others. He also carries a load of responsibility in his local church along with a Christian radio station. I am not sure what he would say about it, but I have a hunch he has a manifold gifts including the gifts of teaching
, and administration
. If you want to see another practical way that our gifts work together for God’s glory see his post on Director of What?
. Let us know what you think.Rose
desires nothing more than to have reasonable fellowship in blogdom. Among her other gifts, one that is most evident is mercy. Rose’s Reasonings
is a great place to express your ideas back to this very busy mom of three [?].Jeremy
loves the study of God’s Holy Book and is concerned about communicating the glory of God. I don’t think he can help but make comments on the Word that our Lord has entrusted to our stewardship in this dispensation. I don’t know what other gifts he possesses (I’ll bet its not tongues) but the gifts of teacher
seem apparent to me. Explore his blog at Doxoblogy
loves the opportunities God gives him to tell others the gospel of God’s love and His grace. My guess is, if your not saved, Matthew wishes you were - and he would love to tell you how to become a child of God today. If you are saved, he might encourage you to tell the good news too! Matthew's
gifts include evangelist
and perhaps discernment.
See what you think when you visit his blog at Dyspraxic Fundamentalist
is a teacher.
See if you can catch him at Devoted Life
. Go prepared with an open mind and you will come away having learned more about our relationship with God.Jodie
is a teacher with the gift of mercy -
read Hungry Six
Just so you'll know, KC
has the gift of helps.
He's a good teacher, too. Click over to his blog here
has the gift of pastor/teacher -
he is at Anvil and Fire
is a teacher/exhorter
with a passion for the lost. Though he is often misunderstood, he has a lot of content - he can be read here
My bluecollar friend, Mark,
IMHO is an exhorter.
I may not always agree with his admonitions, but I am not ashamed to say he is my friend, no matter what! More importantly, he is my brother in Christ. You will find him at BlueCollar
at Anti-Itch Meditation
, if I am not mistaken, is a discerning pastor/teacher
. He has written a book that is free for the taking (it's a gift). I've read it with much enjoyment and I recommend it to you.Brian
was last seen Leaving Oz for Yeshua
and would like us all to grow For Love of God
. He is a discerner
; am I wrong? If I am, he will let me know.Loren
is a brother in Christ who has the gift of pastor/teacher,
beyond a doubt, in my mind, because he is a shepherd who is sensitive to the leading of our blessed Lord and offers a gentle answer to any one who asks for the reason of his hope. He has another gift too. It may surprise some that I feel this way. Although many say they recognize the gift of prophet
, semantically, I would say he has the gift of exhortation.
You should read his parable on The Sheep-dog
I don’t know the Ibex Scribe
, Angie, well enough to say what I think her gift/s are. Perhaps someone else can say.
Here are a few more. Can you identify their gift/s*
, From the Head of the MoorDoug
, He KnowsJim
, Faith ClassicsJeff
, Think SinkNate
, Freezing Cold TheologyTodd
, Heavenly HeartburnJohn
, The Cutting Edge
I have been personally blessed and touched ... and at times challenged ... but feel I have grown because of these brothers and sisters in Christ and many, many others in Blogdom. This is
how we grow up in the faith ... is it not? It is not my design; it is God's design. May we learn to praise Him for each of our imperfect brothers and sisters in Christ, and respect one another too as we disagree and learn - as we are challenged, stretched and blessed. Amen.Other Examples:
this is your turn to mention some. There are many others who I have not mentioned. Would you identify some for us too? Don't forget to link us to their site.There will be one more post in conclusion of spiritual gifts.*
for a guide to some gifts descriptions.
Some Examples of Spiritual Gifts in the Church
Some examples of spiritual gifts in my local Church include:Stan
, who has the gift of administration. God placed him in a position where he was blessed in dealing with governmental red tape for ABWE mostly in the Philippines.Jean
has the gift of exhortation. She uses her gift in a multi-faceted way. She encourages Bible study and memorization. This is a great gift for a teacher to have and does she ever teach! All her students agree and I have not met one exception. She also has the gift of teacher.
At the drop of a hat, Steve
will go anywhere to help anyone with anything. He does it with cheer and care. His gift can be confused with mercy, and helps, but I think the main gift he has is diakonia (ministering). Steve is a blessing to everyone he serves.
Organizing is agonizing for me, but my wife Rose
can even straighten that out and she does so with mercy. Her gifts include administration and mercy.
I know someone who can spot something that’s out of place, or just not exactly right. He also comes along side to offer constructive criticism in a pleasant non-offensive manner his name is Jeff
. He has the gift of discernment and his wife Mary
imparts her gift to him because they love to encourage the saints together. She has the gift of helps.
When I was a babe in Christ (and a young single adult at that time) Charley
exercised his gift of faith and asked me to care for his house and property while he and his wife did some extensive traveling. He had “faith” in me to be a good steward.Philip
would be content to spend his days in the study except that he has a passion to share what he’s learned with others and to bring them along. Have you guessed? He is a pastor/teacher.Do you have saints serving together that you would like to tell us about?Part 2 of Some Examples of Spiritual Gifts in the Church we will look at fellow bloggers.
What’s the Use?
What’s the use of spiritual gifts?
Here are two more examples of the purpose of spiritual gifts from the Bible…
Rom. 12:9 LOVE!
1Cor. 13 LOVE!
One may ask at this point, “What is biblical love?” read what Peter and Paul say,
Eph. 4:15.... Love is “…speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…”
1Pet. 4: 8...... Love in action is “…above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Tell me what your spiritual gift is and/or how you see this in the lives of others.
All I Have for Him (Purpose of My Spiritual Gift/s)
In Ephesians 4:11-14 we find the purpose of spiritual gifts,…He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
There are biblical reasons God chose to save us and give us spiritual gifts. One reason is to demonstrate the unity of the faith. What is meant by “…the unity of the faith…”? The faith is that body of doctrine laid out by the Apostles and Prophets written down in the Scriptures. Therefore, spiritual gifts when used properly will promote unity and conformity to this body of doctrine. This is one of God's intentions for His church. However, one should beware that there are those who claim special gifts, and claim unity but do not hold to “...the faith which was once delivered unto the saints…” (Jude 3).
There are many groups that think that because they are in the same room speaking gibber jabber that they have reached unity. This is true they have attained unity, but not biblical unity
. Their unity is not grounded in “the faith”. They may be unified in emotional experience and outburst, but not by means of biblical teaching! This could also be said of those who feel that love, unity, and salvation can be achieved through an aggressive social program.
In his book, Pilgrimage from Rome; Bartholomew F. Brewer unites these thoughts. He writes, “The teaching that the Holy Spirit dispels doctrinal differences between Protestants and Catholics, or Mormons and Methodists, or Christian Scientists and Baptists, is simply contrary to Scripture. It is like saying that the Holy Spirit bridges the gap between false teachings and Scripture.” (p. 111) And elsewhere in his book he notes, “The Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations, especially those in the World Council of Churches, have found the charismatic movement well suited to their needs for promoting a worldwide super-church. The “one brotherhood of love” sounds very reasonable and even holy. But the unity of churches that dissent from the Bible cannot be approved by God.” (p. 114)
Another reason we have spirituals gifts is so that we may come to a better and better knowledge of the Son of God.
“…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
”…we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1John 5:20)
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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.” (John 14:16-17)
A third reason we have spirituals gifts is so that we will grow in our maturity in Christ.
Eph. 4:13; James 1:4; Phil. 3: 15; 1Cor. 14:20; Heb. 6:1; Col. 4:12; Heb. 5:14How are you using the gift/s God gave you?
Words: Isaac Watts
Watts wrote this hymn in conjunction with a sermon he was giving on 1 Corinthians 16:13; "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong". For a different arrangement, see When the Battle’s Over
Music: Thomas A. Arne
; Arranged by Ralph Harrison
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye
When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through skies,
The glory shall be Thine.
Part 3 All He Has for Me (Discovering my Spiritual Gift/s) All Believers Have All of God.
We will not get any more love, or any more of the Holy Spirit, or any more of the gifts than we now possess. There is no need to seek a second blessing from God. Salvation is impossible apart from Spiritual baptism, and that occurs once, at the time of salvation (1Cor. 12:13). However, contrasting being drunk, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:13 check out 4137 in Thayer’s*). This is a matter of who is controlling you.
May I remind us that, we are responsible as stewards of all that we do have, and in Christ alone we have a lot! We have already seen, and we emphasize that, once we discover our gift then we can begin to develop and use our gift and experience more fully the potential of its use for the Lord and we will glorify God and benefit others.
1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
1a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
1a1) I abound, I am liberally supplied
2) to render full, i.e. to complete
2a) to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
2b) to consummate: a number
2b1) to make complete in every particular, to render perfect
2b2) to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
2c) to carry into effect, bring to [realization], [realize]
2c1) of matters of duty: to perform, execute
2c2) of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish
2c3) to [fulfill], i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive [fulfillment]
Part of Speech: verb Have you discovered your gift/s yet?
Part 2 All He Has for Me (Discovering my Spiritual Gift/s) The Best Gifts
The Bible indicates that there are gifts that are best for you and me (1Cor. 12: 31).
What is the best (KJV) or the greater (NIV, and NASB) gift is it apostleship? NO. Is it prophecy? No. Is it teacher? Not necessarily. The word employed is kreitton (2909) it means stronger, more powerful, superior or better. Thayer’s says, “…more useful, more serviceable”The Neon in my driveway is better than that Corvette in the showroom!!!
Because I have the key to the Neon! It’s mine! I can drive away in it! It serves the purpose it is intended to serve, the Corvette, while being a nice car to look at, for me and my life it serves no purpose. It does not belong to me.
Here is the point of this post; the better or best gift for you is the one God gave you to use for Him. Therefore, make the most of it, discover what it is (or what they are) learn about it (or them), and throw yourself into developing that gift in you by using it to the fullest (the best of your ability).Have you discovered your gift/s yet?What is your gift/s?
Words & Music:Charles H. Gabriel
, in Great Revival Hymns, No. 2, byHomer Rodeheaver
(Chicago, Illinois: The Rodeheaver Company, 1912)
Lord, as of old, at Pentecost,
Thou didst Thy power display,
With cleansing, purifying flame,
Descend on us today.
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
Thy floodgates of blessing, on us throw open wide!
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
That sinners be converted and Thy Name glorified!
For mighty works for Thee, prepare
And strengthen every heart;
Come, take possession of Thine own,
And never more depart.
All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, our faith renew!
Speak, Lord! before Thy throne we wait,
Thy promise we believe,
And will not let Thee go until
The blessing we receive.