Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Trinity

 

I believe in the Trinitarian view of God.[1] I affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is crucial and it concerns who God is and whom we should worship and to whom we should pray. I believe that God eternally exists as three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God and there is one God.[2] I affirm that the Father is not the Son and the Father is not the Holy Spirit but they are distinct persons. Scripture is absolutely clear that there is one and only one God. The three different persons of the Trinity are one not only in purpose and in agreement on what they think but they are one,, in essence, one in their essential nature. I believe that the Trinity is eternal and there have always been three. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and all of them have always been divine. The function of one member of the Trinity may, for a time, be subordinate to one or both of the other members of the Trinity but that does not mean he is in any way inferior in essence.

All allegories we may adopt to explain the Trinity have its own shortcomings. I affirm that the Trinity is incomprehensible and we cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. We can try to explain the Trinity using many allegories but nothing will be able to fully represent the reality of this doctrine in its fullness. I believe that New Testament is Trinitarian in character, and there is no explicit development of the doctrine of the Trinity in its pages. The theologians of the early church were faithful to the biblical witness when they embarked on the difficult task of formulating a coherent Trinitarian doctrine.[3]



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 346.

[2] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 226.

[3] Gerald Bray, The Doctrine of God: Contours of Christian Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1993), 151.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Immanence and Transcendence of God

I believe that God is both immanent and transcendent. By this, I affirm that God is both present and active within His creation but superior to and independent of anything that He has created.[1] By divine immanence, we understand God’s presence and activity within nature, human nature, and history. 

    Jeremiah 23:24 emphasizes God’s presence throughout the whole universe. I believe that God is not limited to working directly to accomplish his purposes. God can use persons and organizations that may not be avowedly Christian to accomplish his purpose.[2] I believe that the implications of transcendence mean that there is something higher than humans and God can never be completely captured in human concepts. 

    Our salvation is not our achievement and there will always be differences between God and humans. In our relationship with God, there should be reverence.



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 327.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 338.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Goodness of God

 The goodness of God can be found in all of His relationships with His creatures. He has attributes of goodness which can be found in moral purity, integrity, and love.[1] By moral purity, I believe that God is absolutely free from anything wicked or evil. He is a holy God who is unique and separate from all His creations. Another aspect of God’s holiness is His absolute purity or goodness which means that He is untouched and unstained by the evil in the world. God’s holiness is emphasized throughout the whole Bible. Another dimension of God’s moral purity is His righteousness. It is God’s holiness applied to his relationships with other beings. I believe that the righteousness of God means that the law of God is a true expression of His nature. The righteousness of God also means that his actions are in accord with the law that He himself established. God’s justice means that He himself acts in conformity with His law and He also administers His kingdom in accordance with it. He requires that others also conform to the law and He administers His law fairly, not showing favoritism or partiality.

            God’s attribute of integrity relates to the matter of truth. I believe that God’s genuineness means that He is real and is not fabricated or constructed or imitated. I also believe in divine veracity which means that God represents things as they really are. God does not and will not lie and He cannot lie since lying is contrary to His very nature. I believe that the omniscience of God combines with His veracity to guarantee the truth of everything He tells us. God is also faithful and He keeps us all His promises. He has unlimited power and He can do everything He says that He will do. I believe that benevolence is a basic dimension of God’s love which means that He has a concern for the welfare of those whom He loves. God’s love is unselfish and self-giving. God deals with His people not on the basis of their merit or worthiness but he deals with them on the basis of His goodness and generosity according to their needs. This is the attribute of the grace of God. Another aspect of God’s love is His mercy which sees people with compassion. God is also persistent with people which results in his patience when dealing with His people.




[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 309.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Greatness of God

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of all things, visible and invisible. Regarding the greatness of God, I believe that God is spirit, and He is not composed of matter and does not possess a physical nature.[1] He does not have the limitations involved with a physical body. I base this belief based on what Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is spirit and his worshippers must worship him in spirit and in truth.” I also believe that He is not destructible since He is not of material nature. I believe that He is not restricted by geographical location, and He cannot be contained or controlled by human beings. Regarding His personality, I believe that God is personal and is an individual being with self-consciousness and capable of feeling, choosing, and having a reciprocal relationship with other personal and social beings. God is to be treated as a being and not an object or force to be used or manipulated. God is an end in himself and not a means to an end. I also believe that God is characterized by life as it is affirmed in Scripture in several different ways. His very name, “I am” (Exodus 3:14), indicates that He is a living God. Scripture does not argue for His existence but affirms it or merely assumes it. I also believe that God’s life is different from other living beings. While all other beings have their life in God, He does not derive his life from any external source. The continuation of his existence does not depend on anything outside of himself.

I believe that God is uncaused and not self-caused. I affirm that God is infinite, which means God is unlimited, but He is unlimitable. The infinity of God refers to his immensity and omnipresence. I also believe that God is infinite in relation to time, and He was before time began.[2] He is timeless, and, He does not grow or develop, and there are no variations in His nature at different points within His existence. I also believe that His understanding is immeasurable, and we are completely transparent before God, and He sees and knows completely. His infinity also refers to his attribute of omnipotence. By this, I believe that God is able to do all things that are proper objects of his power.

I also believe that God is constant and unchanging. This means that there is no quantitative change in God, and He cannot increase in anything because He is already perfection. He cannot decrease because that would cause Him to change His nature. I also believe that there is no qualitative change happening in God. The character of God never undergoes modification, and He does not change His mind.


[1] Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998), 289.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 300. 

Doctrine of God

I believe that there is a creator God who made everything out of nothing. Psalms 19 says that “the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.”  Psalms 24:1 says that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it”. 

The Bible talks about the acts or the work of God and also about the attributes of God. It is important to understand the various aspects of God to be sure that He exists. First of all, people have an inner sense of God and there is evidence that can be found in scripture and in nature. 

In the next few posts, I will be adding more about the doctrine of God.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Social Dimension of Sin



I believe that social sin is prevalent in our society along with individual sin. Persons who oppose personal sin may be drawn into the cooperate nature of sin through evil acts of government, economic structures, or some kind of group. Individual sin has always been the focus among evangelical Christians and we have ignored or addressed this issue inadequately.  Sin and salvation have to do with individual human beings, but at the same time, the Bible also talks about a group or collective sin.[1] 

Recognizing the social sin can become difficult as we are not inclined to regard matters in which we do not have a very active role or choice. If someone else is in charge or leader then we may ignore the issue completely. Sometimes our membership in a group can be so conditioned that our very perception of reality is colored by it. We may also not recognize group selfishness because it may actually involve individual unselfishness. At times when we are part of a group, we may display attitudes of superiority towards it. Being removed from actual evil can also make it seem less evil.

I believe that the world is under Satan’s control and it is an organized system of spiritual force. The world being evil can corrupt whatever it touches. I also believe that corporate personality plays a role in transmitting evil in the world. As a strategy to overcome social sin, I believe that regeneration is important since individual human hearts and personalities are corrupted and only it can bring a lasting change. 

There are also structures of evil in the world that transcends individual human will and sometimes reformation may work out. We should be careful about how we are trying to bring this reformation. I do not agree with revolution as a solution since the basic principles of revolution contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ many times. We cannot justify it on the basis of some important teachings of the Bible and hence I do not think that it should be used.[2]



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 658.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 674.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Magnitude of Sin


I believe that sin is universal and the Bible affirms the depth and breadth of sin in all humans. So sin is not isolated to a few individuals or a majority of the human race, but all are sinners without exception (Rom.3:9).[1] The command to repent is for all people. All people are subject to the penalty of sin which is death. The Bible teaches that all have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). 

I believe in the doctrine of total depravity. This means that the seat of sin is not merely one aspect of the person, such as the body or the reason.[2] Sin is a matter of the entire person and an unregenerate person’s altruism always contains an element of improper motive. Sinners are completely unable to extricate themselves from their sinful condition.

 Regarding the theories of original sin, I do not agree with Pelagianism.  I believe that Adam’s sin has an effect on all human beings. I agree with the Arminian and Calvinist views that God imputes corrupted nature. About the imputation of guilt, I do not think I have an answer yet as so many other issues are raised with both these views. If guilt is imputed in the sense of culpability then what happens to small children who die is a difficult question to deal with.  The concept that we become responsible and guilty when we accept or approve of our corrupt nature again raises a question as to when does a person really becomes responsible.[3]


[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 638.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 645.

[3] Erickson, Christian Theology, 656.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Results of Sin


I believe that sin has very serious consequences when it comes to the relationship between the sinner and God.
[1] Sin is a very serious matter both to God and to humanity. 

I also believe that sin has far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. It affects our relationship with God and it resulted in divine disfavor. As a result of sin, there is guilt and liability to God’s punishment. Another result of sin is death which has to do with physical death, spiritual death, and eternal death. Sin has its effect on the sinner in a way that he or she becomes enslaved and there is an unwillingness to face reality. It also results in denial of sin and insensitivity to God’s warning and condemnations.[2]   

In regard to man’s relationship with other humans, I believe that sin results in competition, the inability to empathize and love one another.[3]


[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 618.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 634.

[3] Erickson, Christian Theology, 636.

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Source of Sin

I believe sin is not caused by God. 

"No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone." (James 1:13, CSB)

Humans have certain desires which are not wrong or bad. When these desires are twisted towards wrong or prohibited things then it becomes a source of sin. I believe that God has imputed certain needs in each person and satisfaction of those needs is important and they can also bring enjoyment.[1]  People have a desire to obtain things. They also have the desire to do things and achieve things in life. They are not wrong, but when used in a wrong way it becomes the source of sin. 

I believe that various views regarding the source of sin like animal nature, the anxiety of finiteness, existential estrangement, economic struggle, individualism, and competitiveness does not fully align with the teachings of the Bible. The problem lies in the fact that human beings are sinful by nature and live in a world in which powerful forces seek to induce them to sin.



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 614.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

THE NATURE OF SIN

I believe that sin is any evil action or evil motive that is in opposition to God. Sin is the failure to let God be God and placing something or someone in God’s rightful place of supremacy.[1] I also believe that the doctrine of sin is very important as it influences all other doctrines. It is also a difficult subject to discuss as people do not want to accept or acknowledge that they are sinners.

    Many people are unable to grasp the concept of sin as an inner force, an inherent condition, or a controlling power. [2] I believe that terms that emphasize the cause of sin are ignorance, error, and inattention.[3] The terms which emphasize the character of sin are missing the mark, irreligion, transgression, inequality or lack of integrity, rebellion, treachery, perversion, and abomination. The results of sin are emphasized by terms such as agitation or restlessness, evil or badness, guilt, and trouble. All of these terms emphasize somewhat different aspects. I believe that sin is basically the displacement of God from our life.



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 579.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 582.

[3] Erickson, Christian Theology, 586.

 

Monday, April 11, 2022

THE UNIVERSALITY OF HUMANITY

I believe that God has regard for all people irrespective of race, gender, economic status, and age. I affirm that all races are included in God’s human family and thus are objects of his love.[1] There is no distinction between people based on race regarding justification and hence there should not be a distinction of race. I also believe that both sexes should be treated in the same way even though God has given each different responsibilities in regard to how they function as a family. The difference in functions should not result in discrimination. In Bible, we see many women whom God used for his glory. We should keep the differences in mind but that should not end up with one person seen as superior to other.

            I also believe that there should not be discrimination between married and unmarried people. The Bible talks about unmarried people and it never condemns them. I believe that in the sight of God, all humans are equal. The distinctions of race, social status, and sex are of no significance to him. This should result in Christians showing the same impartial concern and interest for all humans, regardless of incidentals of lives. [2]



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 559.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 575.

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

THE CONSTITUTIONAL NATURE OF HUMAN

I believe that humans are to be treated as unities and their spiritual condition cannot be dealt with independently of their physical and psychological condition. A human is a complex being and its nature is not reducible to a single principle.[1] 

I believe that human nature is not inconsistent with the scriptural teaching of a personal conscious existence between death and resurrection. The different aspects of human nature are all to be attended to and respected. I believe that gospel is an appeal to the whole person.  On the basis of different scriptures dealing with human beings, I can agree with the concept of dichotomy. 

I believe that there is spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23).   Based on the arguments presented by Erickson regarding the meaning of words used in the original language[2], I agree that there is a possibility of conditional unity.  Robinson’s[3] argument is that the Hebrews had a unitary view of human nature. I do not believe in trichotomism or monism.



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 557.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 547.

[3] Erickson, Christian Theology, 547.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THE HUMAN


I believe God created man in his own image and likeness (Gen.1:26-17).  This distinguishes people from all the other creatures. The image of God is what makes humans human.[1] I believe that the image of God is universal within the human race. It is not evident in only a portion of the human race but it is evident in all people. I also believe that this image is not lost as a result of sin or the fall. I do not believe that there is a difference in the degree of the image of God present in different people. This image cannot be correlated with the relationship one has with God. The image is in the very nature of humans in the way in which they were made. I believe that it refers to something a human is rather than something a human has or does.[2] I also believe that image refers to the elements in human makeup that enable the fulfillment of human destiny. The image helps or makes people capable of interacting with other persons, thinking and reflecting, and being willing freely.

            I believe that this doctrine has a big implication as it helps us to understand that we belong to God. Jesus was the complete revelation of God and we should pattern ourselves after him. The relationship with God is important as we will experience full humanity only when we are properly related to God.  This also leads to the conclusion that humans are valuable and we should be careful not to treat people differently based on some criteria. Every person deserves dignity as they are in the image of God.


[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 518.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 532.

Monday, April 4, 2022

THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY

I believe that Adam and Eve were actual historical persons and the events in the biblical account took place within space and time. God created Adam and later He created Eve. The humans are created means and they have no independent existence. God willed that they should exist and God acted to bring them into being and preserve them. Humans are part of God’s creation and they are different from God’s other created beings. I believe that they also have a unique place in the creation and there is a brotherhood among humans. 

There are definite limitations upon humanity. Humans are creatures, not God, and have the limitations that go with being finite. Only the creator is infinite and humans do not and cannot know everything. It also means that there are practical limitations to all our accomplishments.[1] I believe that a proper adjustment to life can be achieved only on the basis of acceptance of one’s own finiteness. I do not believe in naturalistic evolution or theistic evolution. I believe that the greatness of human beings is based on the fact that God has created them and they are different from all his other creations.



[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 514.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

THE DOCTRINE OF HUMANITY

The doctrine of man is important because of its relationship to other major Christian doctrines. I believe that human is the highest of God’s earthly creatures and they are the only one said to be created in the image and likeness of God.[1] The subject of humanity is particularly significant during our day because of the large amount of attention given to humanity by the various intellectual disciplines. There is a crisis in human self-understanding, so it is very important to understand this doctrine. I also believe that this doctrine of man affects how we minister to other people. It helps us to see other people in the way God sees them and it will affect our conception of human beings and their destiny.

            I believe that a human being is a creature of God made in the image of God which means that humanity is to be understood as having originated not through a chance process of evaluation but through a conscious purposeful act of God. I believe that the reason for human existence lies in the intention of the Supreme Being. The image of God is intrinsic and indispensable to humanity and we can observe that humans are set apart from the rest of creation. They alone are capable of having a conscious personal relationship with the creator and they can respond to him. They can know God and understand what He desires of them. They can love worship and obey their maker.[2] I do not believe that the human image is that of an animal, a sexual being, an economic being, or a pawn of the universe.


[1] Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998), 480.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 494.

Friday, April 1, 2022

ANTHROPOLOGY - DOCTRINE OF MAN


In the context of Christian theology, anthropology refers to the study of the human as it relates to God. It is different from the social science of anthropology, which primarily deals with the comparative study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity across times and places.  In the Christian view of humanity, the human being is a creature of God made in the image of God (Gen.1:27).

In the next few posts, I will share about different topics under Anthropology in simple terms.



Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Spiritual growth in an efficiency-focused world



Currently, there is a lot of focus on improving productivity and efficiency. There is an endless race for transformation that will increase efficiency and maximize profits. Digital and customer experience is an essential factor, and a lot of money is spent on it. As new technologies bring improvements in many areas of life, it has resulted in a continuous flow of information and engagement. It has resulted in information overload and has made people busier and hurried in general. There is a lot of stress and anxiety, resulting in strained family relations and complacency in spiritual life.

 

"Complacency is easy, and it is a deadly foe of spiritual growth." - A. W. Tozer

 

Many try to apply efficiency principles to spiritual growth, and it has not worked the way people expected. In general, shortcuts taken to bring spiritual growth have not yielded desired results, which has resulted in many people not pursuing personal spiritual growth as an essential matter. Lack of character transformation is no more seen as a serious issue. When moral and ethical standards mentioned in the Bible are violated or ignored, nowadays, we see a growing tendency to move on with no regret, thought, or action.   

  

At times people hide under what they do for God to cover the failure to become what God desires from them. According to Dallas Willard, "The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it's who you become. That's what you will take into eternity." We can be so busy for God that we do not have time to spend with Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us. Have we reached a point in our spiritual life where we have quietly said to ourselves that, "I am like this, and I will remain like this? I do not think God can transform me internally."  

Paul talks about a Christian becoming mature in the Lord and measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Are we willing to pursue spiritual disciplines in our life which will help us become more like Christ?

 

We should not neglect our daily devotion time of prayer and Bible reading. We should not form a habit of neglecting our devotions by thinking that we will do once we are done with all the other pressing needs of daily life. We must give it a top priority and have a set time and place for it. We should look at adding spiritual disciplines that will help us grow in our devotional life and challenge us to be intentional with our activities.

 

When it comes to our spiritual life, we must be intentional that we do not become a Consumer Christian. 

"Consumer Christianity is now normative. The consumer Christian is one who utilizes the grace of God for forgiveness and the services of the church for special occasions, but does not give his or her life and innermost thoughts, feelings, and intentions over to the kingdom of the heavens. Such Christians are not inwardly transformed and not committed to it." - Dallas Willard.

 

A statement from John Ortberg has challenged me a lot. He says that "Spiritual growth doesn't mean a life of doing what I should do instead of what I want to do. It means coming to want to do what I should do." Are we committed to genuine spiritual growth, which will transform our character in this efficiency-focused world? If we invest time, we will reap rewards that will last for eternity.

 

The Trinity

  I believe in the Trinitarian view of God. [1] I affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is crucial and it concerns who God is and whom we...