Posted by David Bosshard on March 28, 2010
Posted by David Bosshard on March 22, 2010
By Edmund Chan
The Architecture of Theology
Theology is a vast and rigorous discipline. The historicity and complexity of Christian theology as a discipline is captured by J. I. Packer’s succinct statement:
For eighteen centuries Christian thinkers have pursued a discipline – variously called first principles (so Origen), wisdom (so Augustine), theology (so Thomas Aquinas), Christian philosophy and doctrine (so Calvin), dogmatics (so Reformational and Catholic teachers since the seventeenth century), and systematic theology (so American protestant teachers since the nineteenth century) – that seeks a full and integrated account of all Christian truth. Books developing this discipline have borne a variety of titles – enchiridion (handbook), ekdosis (exposition), sententiae (opinions), summa (full statements), commentarius (survey), loci communes (topics of shared concerns), institutio (basic instruction), medulla (marrow, as in bones), syntagma (arrangement), and synopsis (overview), among others – and have been put together in many different ways.1
Posted by Pastor Pat on March 15, 2010
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Paul continues to show the immeasurable nature of God’s redeeming grace by noting the context in which it took place. It is as if he provides the reader with a snapshot or summary of the whole story from beginning to end. It is because we were dead in our trespasses that God would have to forgive us by means of redeeming us from sin’s debt (1:7). Verses 2 and 3 describe the state of what all once were prior to their adoption as sons and daughters (1:5).
Verses 1 through 3 do not distinguish between male or female, Jew or Gentile, bond or free. All are in the same dead state brought on by trespass and sin. Paul highlights the enemies of grace: the world, the devil, and the flesh. All three work to overthrow and undercut the provision of God for the inability of man. Verse 4 acts as a sharp contrast to the initial three verses. It functions as an explosion of hope. In contrast to all that we are, here stands God who is rich in mercy and great in love. He does not allow us to continue as we were but sets us on a path of life and light. Because of who God is in essence, all His actions are inseparably linked to and flowing from this abundant resource.
Posted by Pastor Pat on March 3, 2010
Read Ephesians 1:3-14
Throughout this short letter, Paul speaks of God’s superabundant activities flowing from Himself to His people. Such words as “rich, lavish, surpassing greatness, surpassing riches, unfathomable riches, surpasses knowledge and far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (1:7, 8, 18, 19; 2:4, 7; 3:8, 16, 18, 19, 20) are employed in an attempt to capture the magnitude of God’s person and work to redeem His people from sin’s debt and to adopt them as sons. All of this was written by Him into His story (1:4, 5, 9, 11, 21; 2:7, 10; 3:11).
Paul’s opening sentence reaches from verse 3 to verse 14. Here is an avalanche of descriptive words that unveil what God did in the securing of His people for Himself. Here we read of God as a tri-unity working (energy) to secure for Himself worshipping sons and daughters. Our passage speaks of God the Father blessing (v. 3), choosing (v. 4) and adopting (vv. 5, 6) trespassers into His family. We can equally note the activity of the Son to redeem slaves by forgiving debt by means of His own substitutionary and voluntary death (vv. 7, 8). It is the Son who makes known to us the mystery of their eternal purpose (vv. 9, 10), how from rebellion, division, and damnation He brings peace, harmony, and life. It is through Him and in Him all things created find the object that silences the rage from within and the loneliness that robs and destroys. What is the outcome, the inheritance of His activity? Through Him, the alienated are adopted, the rebel is restored, the indebted are pardoned and the forsaken are chosen.