Difficult Theological Issues


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Dealing With Difficult Theological Issues

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Difficult Theological Issues

  1. 2. Dealing with Difficult Issues in your Encouragement Letters
  2. 3. Rev. Arthur J. Van Wolde <ul><li>Husband of Amy </li></ul><ul><li>Father of Lydia, Maria, Anna & Andrew </li></ul><ul><li>Lead Pastor of Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Master of Arts In Missions and Church Growth – 1993 </li></ul><ul><li>Master of Divinity – 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Involved with CBI since 1996 </li></ul>Rev. Arthur J. Van Wolde
  4. 6. Difficult Issues <ul><li>Assurance of Salvation </li></ul><ul><li>Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>The Bible </li></ul><ul><li>Denominations </li></ul><ul><li>TULIP </li></ul><ul><li>Theodicy </li></ul>
  5. 7. Assurance of Salvation <ul><li>When people ask Christ to come into their lives, they can rest assured that Christ has indeed come into their lives. One of the nasty tricks of the evil one is to tempt people to believe that they can lose their faith or their profession was not sincere. </li></ul>
  6. 8. Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation <ul><li>John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  8. 10. <ul><li>John 6:51 “ I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  9. 11. <ul><li>John 10:27-29 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  10. 12. <ul><li>John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  11. 13. <ul><li>Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  12. 14. <ul><li>Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  13. 15. <ul><li>I John 5:11-13 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. </li></ul>Biblical Support for Assurance of Salvation
  14. 16. Assurance of Salvation <ul><li>Most new Christians make the mistake of basing assurance of salvation on their feelings. This is a misstep. The evil one loves to make us feel that we are not saved. But the truth of Scripture is that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you are saved. </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>Fact “engine” of scripture </li></ul><ul><li>The “coal car” of our faith </li></ul><ul><li>The “caboose” of our feelings </li></ul><ul><li>From The Four Spiritual Laws by William Bright ©1965. </li></ul>Assurance of Salvation
  16. 18. <ul><li>Assurance of Salvation is: </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus Christ has indeed come into my life. </li></ul><ul><li>That all sins- past, present and future – have been forgiven. </li></ul><ul><li>That the person is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. </li></ul><ul><li>The person now has a new relationship with God. He or she is His son or daughter. </li></ul><ul><li>Never again will he or she be separated from God! </li></ul>Assurance of Salvation
  17. 19. The Trinity <ul><li>We believe in one God because this is what the Bible tells us. </li></ul><ul><li>Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” </li></ul>
  18. 20. The Trinity <ul><li>We believe in one God because this is what the Bible tells us. </li></ul><ul><li>I Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” </li></ul>
  19. 21. <ul><li>There is a document called the Belgic Confession which teaches us there is one God. </li></ul><ul><li>Belgic Confession Article #1 “The Only God: We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God-- eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good.” </li></ul>The Trinity
  20. 22. <ul><li>But God reveals Himself to us in three persons: </li></ul><ul><li>The Father – I Corinthians 8:6a “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live” </li></ul>The Trinity
  21. 23. But God reveals Himself to us in three persons: The Son – John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The Trinity
  22. 24. <ul><li>The Holy Spirit – Acts 5:33-34 “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.’ ” </li></ul>The Trinity
  23. 25. <ul><li>The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit </li></ul><ul><li>Matthew 28:18-20 “ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” </li></ul>The Trinity
  24. 26. <ul><li>Possible Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Belgic Confession Article # 8 & 9 </li></ul><ul><li>The Athanasian Creed </li></ul><ul><li>The Apostles’ Creed </li></ul><ul><li>I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. </li></ul>The Trinity
  25. 27. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The Trinity
  26. 28. The Trinity The Apostles Creed The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
  27. 29. The Trinity The Apostles Creed I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
  28. 30. The Bible <ul><li>What is the Bible? </li></ul><ul><li>The Bible: It is the story of God’s interaction with us humans. It is the account of how God created you and me and then saved us from our sins. The Bible is God showing himself to humanity and telling us what he likes and dislikes. </li></ul>
  29. 31. <ul><li>Why the Bible? The Bible tells us about God who loves us so much that he would send his Son to die for our sins. </li></ul><ul><li>John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” </li></ul>The Bible
  30. 32. <ul><li>Is the Bible Reliable? </li></ul><ul><li>II Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” </li></ul>The Bible
  31. 33. <ul><li>Is the Bible Reliable? </li></ul><ul><li>I Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” </li></ul>The Bible
  32. 34. <ul><li>Using the Bible </li></ul><ul><li>Pray for God to help you understand the Bible. </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus is the center of the Bible. </li></ul><ul><li>The Bible is a whole document Old and New Testament. </li></ul>The Bible
  33. 35. <ul><li>Using the Bible </li></ul><ul><li>4. There is a variety of genres in the Bible: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Narrative History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poetry Prophecy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hymns Letters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Laws </li></ul></ul></ul>The Bible
  34. 36. <ul><li>The Bible is a moral book. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the best tools you can own is a study Bible. A good study Bible to own is a NIV study Bible. </li></ul>The Bible
  35. 37. 7. Remember, the Bible judges us, not us the Bible. It’s God’s word! 8. Remember the ‘Word Hand” when studying the Bible. The &quot;Word Hand&quot; shows five very important methods of learning from the Bible. The Bible
  36. 38. <ul><li>Used with permission The Personal Growth Series , The Navigators ©1976. </li></ul>
  37. 39. Denominations <ul><li>Question: Why are there so many denominations? If God says that it is pleasant for brothers and sisters to live together in unity, why is the Christian church so splintered? </li></ul>
  38. 40. <ul><li>To answer this question, you must first differentiate between: </li></ul><ul><li>Denominations within the body of Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Christian cults and false religions. </li></ul><ul><li>The way you differentiate is by using the Apostles’ Creed. If the group adheres to the teaching of the creed, they are Christian. If not, they are a cult or a false religion. </li></ul>Denominations
  39. 41. <ul><li>In 1054 AD, a split occurred between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. This division remains in effect today. The 1054 split, also known as the Great East-West Schism marks an important date in church history because it designates the very first major division in Christianity and the beginning of denominations. </li></ul>Denominations
  40. 42. <ul><li>The next major division occurred in the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was ignited in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. The Reformation marked the beginning of denominationalism as we see it today. Out of the Reformation grew four major divisions or traditions of Protestantism: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican. From these four, other denominations grew over the centuries. </li></ul>Denominations
  41. 43. <ul><li>One must remember the truth of Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” This sinful nature has affected Christ’s church and the way people approach God’s word. Unfortunately our sinful nature gets in the way of God’s ideal of unity and new denominations form. </li></ul>Denominations
  42. 44. <ul><li>We must remember the irenic motto of St. Augustine: “In the essentials, unity; in the nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” </li></ul>Denominations
  43. 45. T ULIP Total Depravity: Calvinism teaches that because of the fall, humanity is unable to believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God and his heart is totally corrupt and in bondage to evil. Because of this, it takes regeneration by the Holy Spirit in a humans heart to bring spiritual life, the gift of God’s salvation to the sinner. (Romans 3:1-23, Ephesians 2:1-3)
  44. 46. <ul><li>Total Depravity: </li></ul><ul><li>Arminianism teaches that although human nature was affected by the fall in great ways, humanity has not been left in a state of spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but does not interfere with man’s freedom. Man's freedom consists in his ability to choose good or evil in spiritual things, but his will is not enslaved to the sinful nature. Humans have the free will to cooperate with God and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. </li></ul>T ULIP
  45. 47. T U LIP <ul><li>Unconditional Election: </li></ul><ul><li>Calvinism teaches that God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation rest solely in the hands of God. God gives faith and repentance to each individual he has chosen. God’s choice is not based on any foreseen response or obedience of the person’s part. God’s choice therefore is not based on any virtuous quality of man. God choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of God is the source of salvation. (Ephesians 1:3-5) </li></ul>
  46. 48. <ul><li>Conditional Election: </li></ul><ul><li>Arminianism teaches that God’s choice of individuals for salvation was based on his foreseeing that they would respond to his call. God’s choice then is conditioned by what the person will do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which is based his choice was not given to the sinner by God, but resulted from man’s free will in cooperation with the God. God chose those whom he knew would chose him and therefore election is conditional. </li></ul>T U LIP
  47. 49. TU L IP <ul><li>Limited Atonement </li></ul><ul><li>Christ’s salvation work was intended to save the elect only and secure for them salvation based on what Christ has done. Christ redeeming work secures everything necessary for the elect’s salvation including the faith that enables them to believe. The gift of faith is part of the believer’s salvation. (Romans 8:28-30) </li></ul>
  48. 50. <ul><li>General Atonement </li></ul><ul><li>Christ redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved, but actually did not secure the salvation of anyone. Only those who believe will be saved. Christ’s salvation only becomes effective if a person chooses to believe it. </li></ul>TU L IP
  49. 51. <ul><li>Irresistible Grace </li></ul><ul><li>God through the power of the Holy Spirit extends to the elect an inward call that can’t be resisted and will bring the person to salvation. God will draw the sinner to his grace. God’s grace therefore is invincible and will never fail to save those whom God has chosen. (Acts 9:1-18) </li></ul>TU L IP
  50. 52. TUL I P <ul><li>Resistible Grace </li></ul><ul><li>Humanity has free will and can successfully resist the gospel call given by God. The Spirit can’t regenerate a person’s heart until the sinner believes by faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can draw to Christ only those who allow him to do so. Because of this, God’s grace is not invincible. It can be resisted by humanity. </li></ul>
  51. 53. TULI P <ul><li>Perseverance of the Saints </li></ul><ul><li>All who are chosen by God are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the all powerful hand of an almighty God. Because of God’s almighty power the believer perseveres to the end. (Romans 835-39; I Corinthians 1:8) </li></ul>
  52. 54. <ul><li>Fall from Grace </li></ul><ul><li>Those who believe in Jesus Christ and are truly saved, can loose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith and living in godly ways. </li></ul>TULI P
  53. 55. Theodicy <ul><li>Definition: A defense of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil. </li></ul><ul><li>Why do bad things happen to good people? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does the innocent child have to suffer when she gets hit by the car driven by a drunk driver, who proceeds to walk away without a scratch? </li></ul><ul><li>If God is good, why does God allow bad things to happen? </li></ul>
  54. 56. Theodicy <ul><li>Definition: A defense of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil. </li></ul><ul><li>If God cannot prevent them, God is not all-powerful and we are left adrift in a sea of uncertainty. </li></ul><ul><li>If God can prevent evil but chooses not to, then perhaps God is not good. </li></ul><ul><li>If evil springs forth from our free will, did that catch God by surprise? If so, God is not omniscient, “all-knowing.” </li></ul>
  55. 57. <ul><li>The struggle of the unbeliever’s or new Christian’s view of God and the existence of evil. </li></ul><ul><li>1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving. </li></ul><ul><li>2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>4. But evil still exists. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Therefore, the Christian God does not exist 1 </li></ul><ul><li>THE PROBLEM OF EVIL , Vincent Cheung, Copyright 2004. </li></ul>Theodicy
  56. 58. <ul><li>One possible solution: </li></ul><ul><li>1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving. </li></ul><ul><li>2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>4. But evil still exists. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Therefore, God has a good purpose for evil. 2 </li></ul><ul><li>2 THE PROBLEM OF EVIL , Vincent Cheung, Copyright 2004. </li></ul>Theodicy
  57. 59. <ul><li>Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer # 26 </li></ul><ul><li>Q. What do you believe when you say, &quot;I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth&quot;? </li></ul><ul><li>A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ his Son. </li></ul>Theodicy
  58. 60. Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer # 26 I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world. He is able to do this because he is almighty God; he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father. Theodicy
  59. 61. <ul><li>Another Possible Solution: </li></ul><ul><li>1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving. </li></ul><ul><li>2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil. </li></ul><ul><li>4. But evil still exists. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Therefore, God will eventually destroy evil. 3 </li></ul><ul><li>3 THE PROBLEM OF EVIL , Vincent Cheung, Copyright 2004. </li></ul>Theodicy
  60. 62. Another Possible Solution: I Corinthians 15:55-57“ Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Theodicy