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Archive for the ‘Theology and Doctrine’ Category

Jesus came from the Father; that is true in an Eternal sense, but not in the same way that my phsyical children here on earth came from me.  Anyone who acknowledges that God is infinite must also acknowledge that there are some aspects of God which are unknown and beyond full explanation (unless they also claim to have infinite knowledge).  But there is an outline – a light seen as through a veil – of who He is revealed to us by Scripture.

Consider what John says about Jesus:

John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Notice that “All things were made by him”.  Compare that to Genesis.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

John says Jesus – the Word of God – made everything.  Moses says God made everything.  Are they in disagreement?

When God appeared to Abraham to tell him of the child Sara would bear, how many men appeared to Abraham?  There were three.  I offer this point not as a proof, but as an aside, something to consider.

Another similar event is Christ’s baptism.

Matthew 3:16-17 – And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

For the sake of this discussion, consider the Spirit of God descending on Christ.  If the Holy Spirit is in fact merely a different “mode” or “manifestation” of Christ, was Christ truly the Son before the baptism?  Or was he just another man that became “possessed” (please forgive the connotation of the term) by the Spirit of God?

We all know, “the LORD is One”.  The word “One” in the Hebrew signifies a “composite” one; for example “one people”.

Consider:

Genesis 1:26 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Then balance that with:

Colossians 2:9 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

So, what do we have?  We know that all things that were made were made by the Word of God.  We know that God made all things.  We know that God has at several times revealed Himself and spoken of Himself in the plural.  Yet we also know that, according to Colossians, Christ is the physical manifestation of the Godhead.

Also consider this concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:

John 6:46 – Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

John 14:9 – Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26 – But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:7 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:13-16 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.  A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

So…

* God made all things.
* Christ made all things.
* The Father is God.
* No one has seen the Father except Christ.
* If we have seen Christ we have seen the Father.
* Christ goes to the Father.
* Christ sends the Spirit from the Father.
* The Father sends the Spirit.
* The Spirit “shall hear” and “he shall not speak of himself”.
* When the Spirit comes, we will see Christ.
* Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father.
* The Holy Spirit is with us now.
* Christ is with us until the end of the age.

These are seeming paradoxes when you line them up like this but a paradox to our finite minds does not mean that it is not true.  As a slight digression, allow an example.  If you are familiar with physics, you are familiar with the concept of photons.  Scientists attempted over a century ago to determine whether the photon was a particle or a wave.  The answer, after many experiments, was determined to be “yes”; a photon is definitively both a particle and a wave, even capable of interacting with itself.  Intuitively it makes no sense.  But it is still true.

Jesus IS God.  The Spirit IS God.  The Father IS God.  They are distinct, but they are not separate.  “They” are One Being: Almighty God.

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For those of you that know me, you know that I am marrying the most amazing woman this upcoming Saturday.  For those of you with whom I discuss our Faith, you also know that I am a Trinitarian Pentecostal, while my wife is a Oneness Pentecostal.  And for those of you who understand the difference, a painfully obvious question arises: how can you both walk in unison?

Through much prayer and meditation and study, I have come to the following conclusion: the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Scriptures, any more than the doctrine of Oneness.  Yet I am an unashamed subscriber to the doctrine of the Trinity.

This is not to say that I believe the doctrine of the Trinity is unbiblical.  Rather, the Trinity doctrine is a framework, based on Scripture, which allows us to logically make sense of what the Scriptures reveal to us regarding the nature of our God.  And while this might cause some contention with those who consider themselves Apostolic in their doctrine, I feel that the doctrine of the Trinity is a far better framework for understanding God than the Apostolic doctrine.

With that said, I also feel that any human explanation of who God truly is will without fail fall short of the greatness of His Glory.  “We see through a glass darkly.”  I am most certainly willing to be corrected by Scripture should I be incorrect or misled in any aspect of my faith or my walk, and I pray that God would help me to do so.  I can agree with Origen, one of the early church fathers, and one of the early theologians that helped develop the doctrine of the Trinity, when he said in Book II, Chapter 6 of On First Principles:

These are the ideas that were able to make their way into our minds as we took up these very difficult questions about the incarnation and the deity of Christ.  If someone comes up with better ideas and can confirm what he says with plainer assertions from the Holy Scriptures, let them be accepted instead of what we have written.

Even so, to anyone who puts their trust in Christ alone for their salvation, to anyone who from their heart calls Christ Lord, to anyone who believes that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and that Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh: you are my brother or sister.  I will not let some high-minded, self-righteous philosophy on either side of the debate separate me from the Family of God.  “What God has called clean, let no man call unclean.”

If I understand all mysteries but have not love, it is worth nothing.

And to my wife Cheri: I thank God for you, and may God use us and shine through us as an example to those who, willingly or unwillingly, have come to love contention.

“Father, may they be one, even as We are One.”

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Gah… I hate dating. I just want a normal, healthy marriage. Is that really so much to ask?

Long story short: Romeo and Juliet spoke in tongues. Really!! It’s the tale of 2 star-crossed lovers, one is Assemblies of God, one is UPCI, both terribly in love with each other, yet held apart by differences in doctrine. Yet they are both Pentecostal… are they really so different? How will it end?

One can only hope it doesn’t end in the tragic melancholia of Shakespeare. (relax… it’s just a metaphor).

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I am currently going through a bit of a personal renaissance. Well, to be fair, it’s not exactly a recent phenomenon for me. It first started several years ago prior during a brief stint of unemployment, but then a new job and a bitter divorce pushed that aside for a while. As anyone who has gone through a less-than-friendly separation, especially when kids are involved, can tell you, it can take some time for the waves from the storm to die down and for you to get your head screwed back on straight. But I’m back…

In any case, aside from my online gaming addiction (no, not gambling), I have this intense hunger to learn and read and do more now. And, as life permits, I am doing just that. Of course the Word and God’s Spirit quickening me is how I define myself and that directs my focus. But at the same time, my intellectual curiosities lead me to explore a million different paths, a million different ideas, a million different worlds.

That is definitely not to say that I am in the least bit swayed in my faith because of it. Just because I read the Enuma Elish does not mean that I am going to suddenly begin worshipping Ea. Furthermore, I am not afraid of or discouraged by the fact that some scholars find parallels between the Babylonian creation story and the Creation story found in Genesis. Is it possible that both accounts share a common root? Does that suggestion, as some fellow fundamentalists fret over, cast a shadow of doubt over the Inspired nature of the Genesis Creation account? What if (and I know that this is a crazy thought) the Genesis account is true? (I’m not getting into the whole literal six days versus day-age; that’s for another day.) Is it possible that tales of God’s Creation of man had indeed been passed down verbally throughout the generations, and that Mount Sinai was the start of God setting the record straight? Yeah, I could go on for a while on that thought…

So why is it that people are so afraid to expand their minds? I recently purchased an English translation of the Bhagavad Gita. So someone might not have a problem with my reading the Enuma Elish, because everyone knows now that Ea and Tiamat and Apsu are not real. But there are plenty who believe that Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva are real, so by reading that I might be deceived, or so the reasoning goes, and so I’ve been cautioned.

What’s more – and forgive me for it, friends – I also enjoy reading fiction, including science fiction and ::gasp:: fantasy. After my current batch of contraband, I intend on reading some of the classic fictional works (Christian and secular) and philosophy. I’ve also got some modern historical works on the early church in the bullpen. Can someone please tell me where indulging in things that expand our understanding, our ability to reason, and fire our God given imagination are forbidden in Scripture?

As followers and disciples of Christ, we have His Spirit that bears witness that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As believers, we believe that He is the Word made flesh, the absolute Truth, the Beginning and the End. Likewise, we are called to be in the world, but not of it. We are called to study to show ourselves approved. We are called to be all things to all men so that by all means we might save some. Can we really accomplish that if we stick our heads in the sand and censor everything that does not align itself with our dogma? Do we really believe in Christ and His Scriptures, or do we only believe because it’s all we’ve been taught, or even because we refuse to consider the world around us? Have we caught only the slightest glimpse of His Glory, and then said “it is enough” and blinded ourselves from that point forward? If someone would come up to your average church-going Southern Baptist and challenge them about Babylonian and Egyptian influences in Judaism, or about supposed pagan origins for the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, Resurrection, and Trinity, how would they answer?

The Truth has nothing to hide.

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I was reading about Solomon’s dedication of the temple today, and this came to me.  Solomon was a type of Christ, in regards to the Kingdom.  This question: where does governmental authority come from?  Practically, it comes from the people, in what they give their authority, strength, and loyalty to.  Government is not happenstance (actually, anarchy is).  Government is organization of authority established by intelligence.

Solomon asked for wisdom, and God never took that Wisdom away from him.  With Wisdom Solomon was able to establish the physical nation of Israel.  That was part of God’s Plan.  (The righteous leave an inheritance to their children’s children.)  Minus Solomon’s sin, the Will of God was established.

Now prosperity is God’s Will (2 Cor 8:9, etc.), even in the New Covenant.  I also believe that God’s Will is the same for both Nations and individuals.  (What is a Nation except a group of individuals, and what is an individual unless he is part of a Nation?)  It is His Will to prosper the Sheep Nations.  It is His Will to establish those Nations.  But God’s Kingdom is not of this world (that is, it’s not physical / natural.  He rebuked the Jews for believing such.)

What is it then?  We are God’s Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is here, among us.  We are the New Jerusalem, the true Israel.  Prosperity comes to individuals who follow God’s precepts (Solomon did in this manner).  Governments and Nations are only groups of people.  Therefore, National prosperity and righteousness is the most practical manifestation of the “grass-roots” spread of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God cannot be forced, it must be received.

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Christ is King.  His Kingdom is here.  Some would say that it is not, but it is our job to enforce what already is.  Rebellion in an area does not transfer ownership.  That area is just in rebellion, but the area nonetheless still belongs to the King.  We are to bring order to His Kingdom.

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