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Sovereignty of God
- God is in charge
- Good news, not a mean God who won't leave us alone:
- All humans, at every moment of our lives, are in relationship to the living God (Rogers)
Sovereignty of God - biblical references
- Genesis 1 - creation
- Isaiah - The Sovereign, the Lord of Hosts
- Acts 4:24 - "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth"
Sovereignty of God - Confessions
Westminster - God ordained all that comes to pass, except sin
- One God in three persons lives and works in three different ways at the same time.
- Father, Son, and Spirit are each personal manifestations of one God.
Trinity - biblical references
- Matt. 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
- Matt. 1:23 - Emmanuel, God with us
- John 10:30 - The Father and I are one
God came to us in human form
Incarnation - biblical references
John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, and the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.
Incarnation - confessions
Nicene Creed - for us and our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and virgin Mary
Justification (by grace through faith)
- Central thought of the Reformation.
- We are saved by God's grace alone through faith alone.
- Faith is trust, not a work.
- It is acknowledgment that we are saved.
Justification (by grace through faith) - biblical references
- Romans 3:23-24 - since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 9-11 - reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles as communities, not just as individuals
- 2 Cor. 5:19 - In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself.
- aka - Obedience (to the Word of God, which directs us to work for justice in the transformation of society)
- In a sentence:By the Holy Spirit God works in us, helping to leave our sin behind and start a radically new life.
- Justification tells us God is for us, sanctification tells us that by Holy Spirit God works in us.
Sanctification - theologians
- Calvin - Christ not only delivers us from death, but enables us to live in holiness
- We glorify God by living lives of obedient activity
Sanctification - biblical references
- James 2 - faith without works is dead
- Ephesians 4:3-16 - becoming Christian is to be maturing, growing
In a sentence - Scripture is the unique authoritative witness to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Scripture - the final authority for salvation and the life of faith.
Scripture - biblical references
2 Timothy 3:16-4:1 - All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
- In a sentence - God offeres grace before we do anything to deserve it.
- Election is the Reformed way of saying grace alone.
- Close link to Sovereignty of God "who desires everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4)
Election - biblical references
- Matt. 22:4 - For many are called, but few are chosen
- Romans 11:32 - God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all
- 2 Peter 3 - The Lord is patient, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
Election - confessions
- Second Helvetic - Though God knows who are his and there may be a small number of elect, yet we must hope well of all.
- Westminster - Some men and angels predestined by everlasting life, others fore-ordained to everlasting death.
- C3 CONFESSION, CONSTITUTION, CONNECTION
- In a sentence - Centered in Christ, God established community between God and us and that creates a community among us.
Covenant - biblical references
Romans 12:5 - So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
Covenant - PC(USA) key points
- Presbyterians are a covenant people by Confession, Constitution, & Connection
- - Confession: people of doctrine, all centered on person & work of Jesus
- - Constitution: a people of order, with Book of Order; we believe in corporate decision making
- - Connection: we act out faith connectionally, in mission and sharing the good news on a world scale.
Stewardship - (see also Obedience)
In a sentence - We are saved to serve. We are creatures with a special job as servants to care for all that God has made.
Stewardship - biblical references
- Genesis 2 (the doctrine of creation is Gen. 1 and sin is Gen. 3)
- 1 Peter 4:10 - Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
Stewardship - for Reformed Christians
- Stewardship is an attitude toward life:
- WE ARE SAVED TO SERVE: Grace motivates us to live in gratitude; redemption calls us to respond in thankfulness by caring for all of God's creation and all of God's creatures.
Sin (of idolatry)
In a sentence: Sin of idolatry is giving our commitment to something in creation rather than to the Creator alone.
Sin of idolatry - biblical references
Exodus 20:3 - you shall have no other gods before me.
Sin (of Idolatry) - confessions
- Barmen - pointed to 4 forms of idolatry
- 1- political convictions
- 2- special leaders
- 3- the state
- 4- the Church
- Heidelberg - "imagine or possess soemthing in which to put one's trust in place of our beside the one true God who has revealed himself in his Word."
- Brief Statement - the Spirit gives us courage to unmask idolatries
In a sentence - Through the presence of Christ in human life, we are empowered to act in reconciling ways toward other people
Reconciliation - biblical references
- 2 Corinthians 5:19 - "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us."
- Matt 5:24 - "first be reconciled to your brother, then come offer your gift.
Providence (and the problem of evil)
In a sentence: The same loving, just and powerful God who first made heaven and earth continues to uphold, protect, rule over, take care of and provide for God's good creation and each one of us.
Providence - biblical references
Matt. 6:30 - But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith?
Romans 9:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
Providence - confessions
- God as 1st cause: God upholds and governs all creatures and actions (Westminster 6.024)
- God orders through 2nd causes - created agents - God is free to work without, above, and against all means (6.024)
- God is neither the author nor approver of sin but God orders the sins of all creation for good (6.027)
Providence - confessions
God allows temptation and corruption (sin) in order that people might "discover the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon" God (6.028)
Providence - confessions
God uses these same means (temptation, corruption, sin) which softened the hearts of the elect to harden the hearts of the wicked and ungodly (6.029)
Providence - theologians
Calvin - Three things are to be noted. 1st God's providence must be considerede with regard to the future as well as the past. 2nd it is the determinative principle of all things in such a way that sometimes it works through an intermediary, sometimes without an intermediary, sometimes contrary to every intermediary. Finally, it strives to the end that God may reveal God's concern for the whole human race, but especially God's vigilance in ruling the church, which God deigns to watch more closely"
In a sentence: The HS is the presence and work of the living God here and now in our individual lives, in the church, and in the world
Holy Spirit - theologian
- Calvin - Holy Spirit is the source of all truth.
- "Therefore, in order to minister to this weakness [in prayer], God gives us the Spirit as our teacher in prayer, to tell us what is right and temper our emotions."
Holy Spirit - biblical references
- John 14:15-17, 25-26 - "If you love me, you will keep my commandments, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, becasue it neither sees him nor knows him. You known him, becasue he abides with you, and he will be in you...the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I hae said to you."
- Romans 8:26 (Calvin quotes) - "For 'because we do not know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit comes to our help,' and 'intercedes for us with unspeakable groans'; not that [the Spirit] actually prays or groans but arouses in us assurance, desires, and sighs, to conceive which our natural powers would scarcely suffice" (Inst. 855).
In a sentence: Though we may have started out with the ability to follow God, humankind is forever corrupted and reliant on the grace of God alone.
Free will - biblical references
John 8:34 - Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
Free will - confessions
- Westminster - the will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.
- Second Helvetic - humans do evil by their own free will, yet God sometimes thwarts evil plans
In a sentence: Humans are incapable of doing good on our own
Total depravity - biblical references
- 2 Cor. 3:5 - Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God.
- John 8:34 - Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
Total depravity - confessions
- Westminster - humans lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation
- Second Helvetic - humans are not capable of good per se
Trinity - theologian
- Calvin - They cannot shake our conviction that 3 persons are spoken of, each is entirely God, yet there is not more than 1 God.
- Barth - Trinity as "3 modes of being" or "3 distinct ways of subsisting"
Trinity - other
- Works are indivisible.
- Perichoresis - way Trinity relates to each other
Trinity - confessions
- Nicene and Apostles
- Father - our creation
- Son - our redemption
- Holy Spirit - our sanctification (Heidelberg 24)