New Testing Phase

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Valley Of Vision: Self Deprecation


I came across this tonight, it is from The Valley Of Vision, A Collection Of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. Basically a Puritan prayer book. This prayer truly is my own tonight

Self-Deprecation

O Lord, My every sense, member, faculty, affection, is a snare to me,
I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below me.
I covet honour and riches of the mighty, and am proud and unmerciful to the rags of others;
If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain;
How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? what fuel for pride!
Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining!
Am I gifted? I lust after applause!
Am I unlearned? how I despise what I have not!
Am in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make will my law, exclude others' enjyments, serve my own interests and policy!
Am I inferior? how much I grudge others' pre-eminence!
Am I rich? how exalted I become!
Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions, and that my greatest snare is myself.
I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, my thoughts mean, my affections stupid, my expressions low, my life unbeseeming;
Yet what canst thou expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement?
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, but let me not forget my heavenly title, or the grace that can deal with every sin.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Terms and Phrases: The Meaning of Words

WORDS HAVE MEANINGS

I realise that Christianity in general and theology in particular has many technical terms which may seem like absolute Greek to anyone else listening in. Evangelical phrases can be both useful and harmful, especially when spoken to a non-Christian who either gets a fuller understanding about Christianity or as is usually the case, are left totally lost wondering ‘what on earth that crazy guy mean by…’ Evangelical lingo is for another day and another post, what concerns me here is the theological technical terms that I have used and will continue to use on this blog. I plan to update this post as time goes on and if you’re ever still not sure, ask in the ‘comment’ section.

Theology: broken up into the two Greek words from which it comes we have theos which means ‘God’ and logos which means word or study. Thus theology is the study of God. This means who He is, what He has done, what does He expect from us and a whole host of other questions. In the case of Christianity, where the bible which informs us as to what we believe about God, I would flesh out the definition to: The study of the doctrines of God. For the moment this will definition will be my working definition.

Doctrine: Dictionary.com defines doctrine in this way: ‘a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government.’ This seems to be an excellent definition. However to adapt it to Christianity, I would say that. Doctrine is a set of teachings taken from the bible that orders our understanding.

Scripture: The bible

Systematic Theology: Takes all the theological doctrines and puts them in a neat and proper order. This is to allow anyone to be able to give a good account of Christianity. Think of it like this. Life is a desk and theology is everything on it. Without Systematic Theology everything is in a big pile, but with Systematic theology, everything is neat and in order such that if you need something, it is easily to hand. Systematic Theology also refers to a branch of theology taught by theological schools and seminaries.

Orthodox: There are two meanings to this word, first Orthodox refers to a denomination within the Christian Church. They split from Roman Catholic Church in 1054, predating the Protestant Reformation but several hundred years. I will deal with their distinctives at another time. The second meaning is the one which I will use throughout this blog. Orthodox means ‘Right Doctrine’ The following is taken from Wikipedia. ‘The term “Orthodox” translates from the Greek to mean “correctly believing” or "correctly glorifying" (from the adjective orthos = correct, right and the verb dokein = seem (to be the case)’ In other words, if I say that you are Orthodox, that means you believe the right correct essential doctrines. Orthodoxy refers to the realm of orthodox. For example, if you believe a certain doctrine you are within orthodoxy (you are orthodox), if not, then you are outside orthodoxy (not orthodox).

Orthopraxis: This is means ‘right action’ or ‘right response’. The idea is that orthopraxis flows out of orthodoxy.

Heresy: A doctrine that, if believed, puts you outside of orthodoxy and thus not a Christian. We would call people who believe such doctrine heretics. Most Heretics claim to be Christian but because of the false teaching are in fact not. It is important to note that not all false teachings are heresy but all heresy is false teaching. Discerning between the two will be subject for later posts. For a working definition of heresy I use the following: A false doctrine that if believed, will lead that person to hell.


That’s all for now, many many more to follow

Saturday, 15 May 2010

To Be A Christian


"What is it to be a Christian?"

1. To be a Christian--is to depart from iniquity.
2. To be a Christian--is to deny yourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ.

- Samuel Davies, 'The Sacred Import of the Christian Name'"

Thursday, 13 May 2010

TULIP


I wrote out this summary for my own purposes a while ago, and thought you might find it useful:
TULIP

TULIP is an acronym used by Calvinists to represent the primary tenants of calvinistic theology, also known as the doctrines of Grace. Although it is not the be-all-end-all of this form of theology, nevertheless this is what makes calvinists distinct from Arminianism.

T - Total Depravity
U - Unconditional Election
L - Limited Atonement
I - Irrisistable Grace
P - Perseverance of the Saints

Total Depravity refers to our moral state before the Holy God. We are neither perfect nor good, nor even neutral, but totally depraved before God. In fact even our righteous deeds are described as filthy rags before God (Isa 64:6).
Unconditional Election refers to God's call on those who people He chooses to save. Because of our total depravity not one single person ever (except Jesus Christ) deserves any kind of favour from God, neither earned nor unearned. But, because of His grace, God calls some people to salvation. Not only that, but it isn't earned or kept on the basis of anything we do, but rather it is unconditional or based on grace.
Limited Atonement refers to Christ's death on the Cross. That work provided an attonement or payment for our sins. The important word in the previous sentence is OUR. Christ's death provided attonement only for Elected Saints as discribed above. When it is all said and done, not one tiny iota of this attonement will be wasted on sinners who refuse to repent and put their faith in Christ. To put it another way Christ died only for those that He elected by grace dispite their total depravity.
Irrisistable Grace - This refers to the fact that a person who is an elected saint of God, has no ability or desire ro resist that grace. To put it another way, Every person that God has elected, will come to repentance, in accordance with God's sovereign will and timing. No person who has been attoned for will not repent and no person who has no attonement, being left in Total Depravity, can or will repent.
Perseverance Of The Saints - refers to the fact that, because of the previous points, no person once they have been saved from Total Depravity, will return to that state. This is not the same as the doctrine called 'once saved, always saved' which is similar, but different enough for us to considder it false, but rather it says that if any person, elected by God to salvation, they will perseve in the faith. It also says, that those people who used to confess Christ, but don't now, what we commonly call backsliders, are in reality fakers, false converts, they never really slid forward in the first place. That means that they were never Christians even if they say they were. The elected saint, on the other hand, although he may stumble and fall, yet he never ever would leave the faith, but continue to persevere in the Lord

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Grace Gems

Surely the history of mankind must then appear like the annals of hell--or the biography of devils! Then the mask of deceit will be torn off--and men will appear in their true characters. Their hearts will be, as it were, turned outwards--and all their secrets exposed to full view! - Samuel Davies, "The Universal Judgment!"

Are You A Good Person

Are you a good person?