“While some of our habits are acquired by choosing to engage in certain practices (e.g., signing up for drivers’ ed. or registering for piano lessons), many are acquired without our knowing it. And this might happen especially when we are unaware of it. If we are inattentive to the formative role of practices, or if we treat some practices as thin when they are thick, then we will be inattentive to all the ways that such practices unwittingly and unintentionally become automated. We will fail to recognize that they are forming in us habits and desires, oriented to particular ends that function to draw us toward those ends at an affective, unconscious level such that we become certain kinds of people without even being aware of it.
Category: Theology (Page 1 of 63)
I recently had a good discussion with a friend about some of the reasons I left a Dispensational church. I previously documented a number of reasons here in my journey from Dispensationalism to Reformed Presbyterianism, but I also wanted to look up resources that speak to the issue and found a few articles and sites that are worth perusing. It’s interesting to note that the major founders of Dispensationalism left Presbyterianism in particular.
Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard
The doctrine that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority was the “Formal Principle” of the Reformation. In 1521 at the historic interrogation of Luther at the Diet of Worms, he declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God saying, “Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons — for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another — I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God’s Word.” Similarly, the Belgic Confession stated, “We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein…Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God… Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule” (VII).
With this year being the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation (though there were quite a number of precursors leading up to that point), there are a number of great resources that are celebrating what God has done in history in recovering the gospel, while expressing the urgent need for ongoing reformation in our present day in the church (universally).
“The covenant of grace, with respect to us, consists of the absolute promises of God, in which the mediator, the life to be obtained by him, the faith by which we may be made partakers of him, the benefits purchased by him, and the perseverance in that faith, in a word, the whole of salvation, and all the requisites to it, are absolutely promised.”
Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man
Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. – Isaiah 52:13
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. – Isaiah 53:12
In His lovingkindness toward us, before the foundation of the world, Christ purposed to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. In time, He descended to our level, put on this body of flesh, living and fulfilling all righteousness before the Father from our side, in our place, and suffering a sinner’s death, the very death we deserved for our wickedness against the rights of our Creator.
“[Calvin] was more pastor than theologian, that, to be exact, he was a theologian in order to be a better pastor.” – John T. McNeill
Of all the things I’ve learned in the past couple of years, it hasn’t simply been more aspects of systematic theology, or a deeper, broader understanding of covenant theology, or getting a deeper sense of the larger, redemptive view of scripture given in biblical theology, or seeing the truth of and studying deeper on the sacraments as means of grace that has done my heart the most good, though it all certainly has in abundant ways. The deepest impact that has been made on me personally, in my own relationship with Christ, has been practical theology or what could even be called affectional theology. How does all of that theology meet real life? And how can it all be made accessible?