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Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 “Roads Not Taken” – Part 2

Image result for jesus as perfect man

 

Some interesting conversations today as we finished Chapter 2 of The Groaning of Creation as we discussed whether or not Genesis advocates vegetarianism, whether Jesus was the apex of human evolution or humanity itself, and if the doctrine of the Fall is a necessary and viable concept given the discoveries of science.

Here are our essays.

 

 

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A Look at Christmas – Some Different Viewpoints

 

Image result for christmas pictures of baby jesus in the manger

Merry Christmas everyone!

Around the world, people (Christians and non-Christians alike) are celebrating this perennial winter holiday.

Here are some interesting articles I recently came upon that explores what the Bible says about the Virgin Birth (really technically the “Virgin Conception”) and the genre of the gospels as well.

The Not-So Virgin Birth of God” and “Six Problems with the Virgin Birth: Biblical and Historical Perspective“.

And an interesting article on how the date of December 25 came to be celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.

Here are our group’s personal reflections on Christmas and the Virgin birth as well from earlier in the year.

Some things to chew on for this Christmas season.

 

 

“Confessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 7 – 12

A clip from the movie “Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine.” Bishop Ambrose is depicted here embracing Augustine and later baptizing him.

 

This week, we will finish the rest of Book VIII – chapters 7 – 12 of Augustine’s Confessions.

In these final chapters, we encounter the monumental moment when Augustine finally devotes himself to the Christian faith as he recounts in great detail in these writings.

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“Confessions” Book VII – Chapters 11 – 21

Plotinus with his disciples. Looks like an early Christian relief doesn't it?

Plotinus with his disciples.

 

We will finish Book VIIChapters: 11 – 21 for this week.

Please read an outline of Neoplatonic philosophy here and some of the videos here on the impact of neoplatonic thought on Augustine.

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UPDATE: Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II: Doctrine of Hell in 20th century and the Orthodox Church after the Soviet Union

Russian church

Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a resurgence since the end of atheist Soviet Communist rule in 1991. (Reuters)

This will be our next to last submissions on MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years: two essays on the relevancy of the doctrine of hell in churches today and how the Orthodox Church has changed after the collapse of communism in Russia after 1991.

In our last entry for this series, coming next month, we will reflect on how a knowledge of Church history has impacted our understanding of the Christian faith.

What Does it Mean to be “Saved?”

 

 

When you ask your average Christian or evangelical what salvation means, more likely than not, he or she will respond with, “Jesus Christ died for your sins so that you will enter heaven after death, escape from the fires of hell, and instead spend eternity with Him.”  And normally, they would equate that statement to be the basic meaning of the gospel.

 

However, that seems to be a very parochial understanding of the term ‘salvation’.

 

What did the Bible writers, especially the author of the Gospel of Luke, mean by the term ‘salvation’ or what it means to be ‘saved’?

 

Here’s an essay about the term ‘salvation’ here.

 

 

John Calvin – Video Lecture by Prof. Tony Lane – Part 1

 

 

Video lecture by Prof. Tony Lane, Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology on John Calvin.

 

Presented by St. John’s Nottingham.

 

 

A Critical Assessment of the Reformed Doctrines of Original Sin and Solus Christus (Salvation in Christ Alone)

 

 

So yesterday, we had an interesting discussion on the doctrines of Solus Christus (Salvation in Christ Alone) and Original Sin.

 

I just want to make this clear that these critical assessments of these core Reformed doctrines are in no way to undermine or question the validity of the Christian faith.  We raise these issues and challenges to strengthen the faith and understand what Christians actually believe in.

 

However, I understand how emotionally involved persons who have adopted these traditions and doctrines to heart are and who take this personally.  And I’m fully aware how nasty debates can become, even between faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.  We do it because we take the truth seriously.  We don’t want to engage in polemics attacking or pushing someone to adopt or reject another point of view.  Its purpose is to raise thoughtful questions and engage and spur others to think things through.

 

We live in a complex and interconnected world today and many worldviews will come into contact with one another.  It is important to take other viewpoints into consideration and call out those that do not make sense, are flatly wrong, or seem antiquated.

 

We raise questions, not to cause people to doubt their faith, but more so to realize that an unexamined faith is not worth believing in (to modify Socrates’ famous quote that “An unexamined life is not worth living”).

 

We welcome thoughtful discussion and disagreements with the ideas and viewpoints we present here, so please do comment if you wish.

 

This is theology in action – faith seeking understanding.

 

 

 

 

Views on Propitiation and Universal vs. Limited Atonement

 

sacrificial lamb propitiation

 

Some views on the Reformed theology of propitiation and questions about whether or not there are biblical justifications for universalism (i.e. that all will be saved).

 

Submitted by Michael.

 

 

Predestination/Election – A Biblical Perspective

 

predestination 266x300 Predestination and salvation

What does this mean? Is this interpretation even in the Bible?

 

Since the group will be encountering John Calvin very soon in MacCulloch’s book, I thought I’d get a head start and write about one of the most famous and also controversial doctrines of the Protestant/Reformed theology – predestination or election.

 

It’s definitely a hot potato topic and if you want to rile up a bunch of Christians and see some heated conversations, just introduce the topic of predestination, sit back, enjoy, and watch the sparks fly.

 

Well, here’s my entry into this eternal theological boxing ring for all its worth.

 

Also, as you’ll see, it’s listed on a new sub-menu called “Reformed Theology” under “Theology” at the top menu bar.

 

Though I know what I present won’t be a novel position by any means, it did give me pause to think when I first read it in Eugene Boring and Fred Cradock’s The People’s New Testament Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004).

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic as well, so please do share if you have any.