Posts tagged ‘Theology’

March 30, 2012

Unbelievable? The Conference: Giving a Skeptical World Reasons to Believe

by Max Andrews

Most of my blog followers are from North America but I do have several followers in the UK.  I want to promote this conference coming up hosted by Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable? hosted by Justin Brierly and partnering with Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe.

We live in a sceptical world. Atheism has taken on an evangelistic tone in the UK. Secularists claim to have a monopoly on reason. So how should the Church respond?

Premier Christian Radio presents an apologetics day conference aimed at equipping everyday Christians with reasons for the truth of their faith. The conference will also focus on how to share these truths in a fruitful and engaging way.

This year’s Conference partner is Reasons To Believe – a Christian apologetics teaching and research organisation with the mission to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research consistently uphold, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible.

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March 29, 2012

Theology Thursday: John Chrysostom

by Max Andrews

The name “John the Golden-mouthed” was given him over a century after his death.  Of the great preachers of the fourth century, which included Ambrose and Gregory Nazianzen, none was greater than John Chrysostom.  Yet great as his oratorical skills were, greater still was his personal integrity and boldness in confronting the rich and powerful of his day. Chrysostom was born in Antioch. His mother, Anthusa, became a widow at age twenty when John was an infant. She refused to remarry, instead devoting herself to her son.  John received training in rhetoric and was being groomed for a profession in law by the most famous orator of the day, Libanius. In fact, when asked who should succeed him, Libanius answered: “John, but the Christians have laid claim on him.” In keeping with his mother’s wish, John entered upon his catechumenate at the age of twenty, and three years later was baptized by Bishop Meletius of Antioch.

John studied theology under Diodore of Taursus, leader of the Antiochene School. Early on he felt called to the monastic life, but put off entry into a monastery so long as his mother was alive so that he could care for her.  Shortly after her death in 373 he joined a monastery in the Syrian mountains, living as a hermit for two years. So great were his austerities that he did lasting damage to his health.

He was ordained deacon in 381, serving in Antioch under bishop Flavian. Flavian also ordained him presbyter in 386 and, in view of his gifts, appointed him to devote special attention to preaching.  While at Antioch, John achieved fame for preaching that sought to instruct and reform those who were only nominally Christian.

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March 2, 2012

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos, Beards, and Blood?

by Max Andrews

Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28.  These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood.  Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses.  Are we allowed to have tattoos today?  Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos.  Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards?  Should we let them grow out?  Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it?  I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.

__________

Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus.  At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus.[1]  Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26).[2]  The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  [3]  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].[4]

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March 1, 2012

Theology Thursday: Constantine

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Constantine (AD 227-337)

General summary of Constantine and his theology: *I’m aware that Constantine isn’t a theologian per se but does have a huge impact on early church history and theology, which is worth noting.* From the time that his father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain.  Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor:  He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects.  He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses  He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.

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February 29, 2012

An Outline of the Book of Genesis

by Max Andrews

The following is very brief outline of the book of Genesis.

Genesis:  The beginnings (This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord made the heavens and the earth.  Gen. 2:4 NASB)

Theme Verse(s)In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1, 10b (NASB)

Author:  Moses (Pentateuch Authorship:  Ex. 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num. 33:1-2; Deut. 31:9)

Date, Place, and Type of Writing:  1450-1410 BC, General Middle East, Historical

Outline:

*A.  Theological Significances  B.  Practical Applications C.  Major Events  —Multiple or None Major

1.  The Creation—1-2

A.  The Creator creates everything (anything not created is God—cosmological argument—c.f. John 1:3).

  • There are supposed contradictory Creation accounts between chapters 1 & 2.  Chapter 2 is another account in supplementation to the first account by adding details (i.e. we are told that God created man (a generic term here) male and female (v 27), but this does not mean that the first creature was a male-female combination.  The details of that creation of the male Adam and the female Eve are given in 2:18-23.  Likewise, verse 5 adds details about the creation of vegetation on the third day.
  •  Creation was good, untainted by sin (1:10b).
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February 29, 2012

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

by Max Andrews

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

GROUP

TIME

HUMAN NATURE

DIVINE NATURE

CHURCH COUNCIL

Docetism

1st Century

Denied—only an appearance of humanity

Affirmed

Ebionism

2nd Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was natural son of Joseph and Mary

Arianism

4th Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was not eternal; similar to, but not same as God Condemned by Nicea, 325

Apollinarianism

4th Century

Divine Logos replaced human spirit

Affirmed

Condemned by Constantinople, 680

Nestorianism

5th Century

Christ was two Persons

Condemned by Ephesus, 431

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February 23, 2012

Theology Thursday: St. Ambrose of Milan

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)

General summary of Ambrose and his theology: St. Ambrose is one of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin church along with St. Jerome (345-420), St. Augustine (354-430), and St. Gregory the Great (530-604). Ambrose was born into the increasingly prevalent Christian minority of the aristocracy. His father was Praetorian prefect of Gaul.  His father died not long after he was born, leaving his mother and sister to raise him.  His training was in law, and included a knowledge of Greek.  He followed his father into the imperial administration and, after practicing in Roman law courts, was appointed governor of Aemilia-Liguria, ca. 370, the seat of which was Milan.

There was a situation in Milan in 373.  The earlier orthodox bishop had been exiled by the Arian emperor, Constantius, in 343.  An Arian bishop, Auxentius, had been installed in his place, by Gregory, the intruded bishop of Alexandria (Athanasius’s supplanter).  Now, after thirty long years of Arian rule, Auxentius was dead, and both sides wanted control of the see.  Because the possibility of civil disorder was great, Ambrose, who was by this time governor, attended the election. 

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February 22, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Reduplicated Predication in Christology

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Reduplicated Predication

Definition: A means of understanding the relationship between the natures of Jesus Christ.  When Scripture attributes human qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his human nature.  Likewise, when Scripture attributes divine qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his divine nature.

More about the term:  With this notion, we may be able to solve the issue of predicates to the Person.  The predicate property of the person is with respect to one nature (i.e. ignorance with humanity and omniscience with divinity—hunger and fatigue with humanity, necessity with divinity).

But now there is a problem.  Once we apply this to Jesus, such predicates like omniscience and ignorance, and impeccability and humanity seem to be incompatible.  It poses a problem with limitations.  Is this irremediable?  I don’t believe so.

Further qualification—We may postulate that divine aspects of Jesus were largely subliminal during humiliation (ministry before death).

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February 21, 2012

100,000th Visitor to the Blog Wins a Free Book

by Max Andrews

The blog has recently passed over 50,000 views and increases by thousands in less than a week.  The 100,00th visitor will receive a free book from I will send to their house.  You’ll have the option of a theology, philosophy, or science book (actual options soon to come). If you already possess the books I’ll list then you can certainly pick a book within a reasonable price range and I’ll order it for you.

In order to win you must take a screenshot of your computer screen that includes the date and time and the 100,000th visitor stat midway down the right side of the screen of the blog.

In the comment section please list any books you’d be interested in me offering for the prize.

February 17, 2012

First Century Manuscript of Mark?–A Word of Caution

by Max Andrews

I’ve seen Dr. Dan Wallace’s article on a possible copy of Mark dating back to the first century float around the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter.

These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.

Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

This is certainly exciting for Christians but I want to give a word of caution.  Many people may have quickly read this sentence in the article: “How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year… [continues on about what we can know now]” There are certain things we can derive from this manuscript but let’s not get overconfident about this.  We need to let this be reviewed over and over. We need to let the scholars write papers, review the work, and debate these things.  New information, especially like this, need to be reviewed and go through the process.  Let’s use what we can know from it but we need to allow the process to take place before we go wild about it.