Good question from my class...

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Hey BBers,

    As some of you know I have begun my study in Systematic Theology. As an aside, if you ever get a chance to study Systematic Theology I highly recommend it. In this course there are questions at the end of each lesson and I wanted to share one with the BB. It doesn't require one to have listened to the lecture:

    What say ye?
     
  2. Thinkingstuff

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    I don't think I can know God better by reading or studing Karl Barth. :smilewinkgrin:

    However, I've read Anselm lately and he makes a good point about what can God give to Jesus in compensation for sacrificing himself for all mankind? A people who live rightly both ourselves and our right acts. Again another good reason to life rightly in God's sight.

    I've also been inspired by Thomas Aquinas' Summa of The Summa Theologica. In every case there has been a call to right living.

    Reading the ECF really emphasised to me the reality of the resurection of the Dead and the encouragement and the joy contained there in. As always CS Lewis inspires me on several levels that I can't not summerize here.

    Is that what you're looking for?
     
  3. annsni

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    As I've studied theology, I've seen more and more the truth of Scripture and the majesty and power of God. It's like seeing a puzzle with more pieces in it and really beginning to see the big picture. While I'll never see it all in this life, what I see is just amazing and awe inspiring. It makes my worship of God more full and my trust in Him much easier.
     
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    Well, the goal of either Systematic Theology or Biblical Theology (and there is a distinction that is made) is to know God. So the question is as we have grown in our knowledge of God, how has that impacted your relationship with God?
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    My relationship with God was significantly impacted when my knowledge of God’s sovereignty in salvation increased. This came about first from studying the Scriptures and then later through a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon on election. The impact this has had on my relationship with God has led to a greater reverence of God. This reverence has caused me to give praise and thanksgiving to God for who He is as a Sovereign.

    The doctrine of election has increased my desire to walk holy and uprightly before Him. This teaching has humbled me. A true understanding of the doctrine of election brought me into a proper understanding of my creatureliness. It has served to empty my mind of any notion that I have anything that I did not receive. The doctrine of election, like the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, has caused praise and thanksgiving to spring from my heart. It has also increased my desire for godly and holy living in order to walk worthy of the calling that I have been called by.

    Finally, the doctrine of election and the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God emboldened my zeal for evangelism and gave me an abiding confidence in God to save sinners. Before I understood these doctrines I would often worry about my presentation or style as being either the cause for or against a person’s acceptance of Jesus. While I am still careful about how I treat others in a witnessing opportunity, I am much more at peace in such circumstances.
     
  6. SBCPreacher

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    The more I learn about God - His perfection and holiness, grace and mercy, (and on and on and on) the more I realize I 'm not what I should be. The more I learn about Him the closer I get to Him, and the more imperfections I see in my own life.

    The more I realize my imperfection (sin), the more I know I need Him. It causes me to become more dependent on Him and less on myself.

    Does that make sense?
     
  7. webdog

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    The more I learn about God, the more I detest sin and can't wait for the day when my body will be freed from this filth.

    Also, the more I learn about God's love for us, it is amazing the sovereign God of the universe calls me His friend. Wow.
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Makes perfect sense.
     
  9. nunatak

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    What follows is my testimony delivered to PBC on June 22 of this year (the same day I was baptized.) This is how I would answer the OP.

    I was raised in a church by parents that believe in the false doctrine known as oneness Pentecostalism. During my life in this heresy, I considered myself a faithful member. I would even say I was zealous for God, but now I realize that it was zeal without knowledge. I even attended one of their Bible colleges. There I met my wife, also a oneness Pentecostal. We believed this heresy, as both of our families still do.

    One of the reasons I call what I believed heresy is that it stressed a works based salvation. The question, “What must I do to be saved?” would be followed up with their plan of salvation, and then live a godly life or you would lose your chance of salvation. Over the years, as I tried to maintain this so called godly lifestyle, I began to realize that I could never be good enough to merit eternal life. And as I realized that, I began to tell myself that if I was saved, it would not be due to any effort on my part. The light of Scripture was beginning to shine through.

    The Lord used various events to cause us to finally break from this heresy. Through asking many questions, reading the Bible, and researching answers on the internet, my wife, kids, and me were delivered last year in March. To God belongs all the glory! As we searched the scriptures, we were amazed to learn of Biblical doctrines for the very first time, such as the doctrines of Grace and Justification. We learned that man is not saved by his works, his choice, or his effort, but that salvation is based wholly on God who chooses to have mercy. We were stunned. We had never heard of Grace on this measure.

    Consider the doctrine of justification. This states that when a believer puts their faith in Christ alone, God imputes the gracious gift of RIGHTEOUSNESS to that believer. We could hardly believe what we were reading in scripture. We learned that we are not judged by our righteousness, goodness, or effort. We are only judged by what Christ accomplished on the cross, and his righteousness. Period! We were overwhelmed.

    We learned also that salvation is not only possible, but that it is assured! Never before could I believe this. Throughout my life, my greatest desire was to know my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We learned we had this assurance, on account of Jesus Christ. Oh, happy day! Never again would I have to wonder if God accepted me, now I know that I am!

    As we began our journey out of darkness into His marvelous light, the Lord brought different resources and different people to us to help us. One was a DVD titled Amazing Grace, which is a series of lessons teaching salvation. Man is totally depraved, and he is dead in trespasses and sin. As such, it is impossible that he can save himself. Salvation is completely based on God’s grace, and is because of Christ’s work on the cross.

    He also led us to a teacher at a different church. This teacher taught that we could not out sin God’s grace. And he taught that our end goal was not eternal life! What then is it? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God is most satisfied in us when we are most satisfied in him.

    This brings me to the present day. God led us to this church, where for the first time in our lives we heard the gospel preached. The gospel that states that Christ died according to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures and that whoever believes in him shall be saved. So therefore, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. To God belongs the glory!
     
  10. 4His_glory

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    The more I have studied theology, both biblical and systematic, the smaller and more insignificant I feel; and greater and more precious God becomes and I find myself worshiping before His feet. In short- I enjoy God more when I study God more.
     
  11. 4His_glory

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    Same thing happened to me. The more I came to understand God´s intervention in the salvation of sinners, the more passionate I became about sharing the Gospel. If I didn´t believe that it was God that convinces the sinner and opens his mind to the Gospel so that he might believe, I would become greatly discouraged with my efforts.
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    Is it me or are some posts not showing up? ahh..I had to reply for them to appear. Weird.
     
  13. Aaron

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    As my knowledge of God grows, the more I abhor myself.
     
  14. StefanM

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    Don't abhor yourself; abhor your sin. You are a child of the Father.
     
  15. Aaron

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    Get thee behind me.
     
  16. StefanM

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    Did Christ die for us in order for us to loath ourselves? I think not.

    I hate my sin, but why should I hate myself, a person created in the image of God, for whom Christ died and whom he redeemed with his blood?
     
  17. TCGreek

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    RB,

    Great question. I make it a habit to collect systematic theologies. Right now I'm reading Ryrie's Basic Theology.

    Yes, my discovery of the Grace and Sovereignty of God has changed everything for me.
     
  18. Jim1999

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    The Bible is the random garden of God's truth, whilst systematic theology is the orderly garden of God's truth. From the first, we must search for the growth, and it is possible to develop incorrectly. Theology, being the orderly garden, we succesfully pluck the plants of truth in an orderly fashion.

    The study of theology leads me faithfully down the path of truth and into His holy knowledge. This knowledge of necessity humbles me in His presence and guides me in every step along the way to eternity.

    The importance of Barth, and other theologions, is knowing where they have come from and the direction they are heading. For example, Barth came out of German rationalism and made great strides towards theological credence. Surely he missed the mark along the way, but still a long ways from German rationalism. Many theologians along the way from the first century followed similar inadequate paths into truth, but we take the good points and take mind of the faulty thinking.

    Reading the Bible is like getting a garment; studying theology is like putting it on.

    Cheers, and bless,

    Jim
     
  19. Jerome

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    "Teeth are needlessly broken over the grit of systematic theology, while souls are famishing. To turn stones into bread was a temptation of our Master; but how many of His servants yield readily to the far worse temptation to turn bread into stone! Go thy way, metaphysical divine, to the stone-yard, and break granite for McAdam, but stand not in the way of loving spirits who would feed the family of God with living bread. The inspired Word is to us spirit and life, and we cannot afford to have it hardened into a huge monolith or a spiritual Stonehenge --- sublime but cold, majestic but lifeless; far ratherwould we have it as our own household book, our bosom companion, the poor man's counselor and friend."
    -Spurgeon, Feathers for Arrows

    "Sometimes expressions which are mistakes in logic may be more accurate descriptions than the best arranged sentences. The expression which looks to be a contradiction may better express the truth than that which is verbally accurate. Scripture is infallible, and yet it uses none of the red tape of systematic theology."
    -Spurgeon, The Gift Unspeakable

    "[John Gill is] run away with by imagination . . . when he falls upon a text which is not congenial with his creed, and hacks and hews terribly to bring the word of God into a more systematic shape."
    -Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    Going by quotes in order.

    1. The first part of the quote says, "Petrarch's works are said to have laid so long in the roof of St. Mark's, at Venice, that they became turned into stone; by what process deponent sayeth not. To many men it might well seem that the Word of God had become petrified, for they recieve it as a hard, lifeless creed, a stone upon which to sharpen the daggers of controversy, a stumbling-block for young beginniners, a millstone with which to break opponents' heads, after the manner experienced by Ambimelech at Thebez. A man must have a stout digestion to feed upon some men's theology; no sap, no sweetness, no life, but all stern accuracy, and fleshless definition. Proclaimed without tenderness, and argued without affection, the gospel from such men rather resembles a missile from a catapult than bread from a Father's table."

    Seems to me he is describing a particular kind of systemtic theology and theologian.

    2. In context Spurgeon is expounding upon God's unspeakable gift. His text was 2 Cor 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." he writes, "Theology can speak on many themes, and she hath much to say on this, but her voice fails to speak the whole. From the pulpit when occupied by a gracious man the confession freely comes, that the heralds of the cross are not able to tell out all that is hidden in Christ Jesus." And a little further along, "It may be true that Scripture only speaks after the manner of men, but then it is as a man that I understand it; and it does seem to me to reveal not only a living God, but a feeling God. Is God glorified by being petrified? Read Paul's words to the Ephesian elders when he speaks of "the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). The blood of God--is not that a mistake? Certainly not, since inspiration thus speaks. Sometimes expressions which are mistakes in logic may be more accurate descriptions than the best arranged sentences. The expression which looks to be a contradiction may better express the truth than that which is verbally accurate. Scripture is infallible, and yet it uses none of the red tape of systematic theology. We swim in mysteries when we speak of the Father and the Son. How, then, God could give the Son to die, he being one with himself--shall any man explain it?

    Seems to me Spurgeon is setting forth the full depths of God's gift of Christ as beyond anyone from explaining fully.

    3. Because of Spurgeon's work on commentaries I was introduced to many great authors and preachers, including Dr. Gill. At the beginnng of Spurgeon's work on commentaries, he said: "In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility. It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others."

    Concerning John Gill he wrote,

    It was actually this assessment of Gill which provoked me to purchase his exposition on the Old and New Testaments. I still regard it as my best commentary set in my library.

    RB
     

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