Archive for the ‘Original Sin’ Category

I recently had a very thought provoking class on the destiny of the unevangelized. It was our last class for Soteriology through Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. Have you ever been asked the question, “Is Jesus the only way to God?” “Is it necessary to believe in Christ to be saved”? “What about those who have never heard the Gospel of Christ? Can they make it to heaven?”  Now let me ask another question, have you really thought through the implications of your answer? The following will be an overview of what we covered in class. Is Christ necessary ontologically (what he did) and is Christ necessary epistemologically (knowledge of what he did)?

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Humanity and Sin (Session 1)

Posted: October 25, 2010 by Greg Burkheimer in Original Sin, Radical Depravity, Theology

Well, my H&S class begins next week through Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. I got a jump start today by looking at the first lesson.

Why Did God Create Man?
Session one covers a question that has been asked for a very long time. Why did God create man? It’s funny, before I went to study session one this afternoon, I posted this question on Facebook asking if anybody had any ideas as to why God created us. No one responded. No ideas! In this lesson the importance of the doctrine of humanity is discussed. What you believe about humanity affects your views in so many areas. Your theology, politics, sociology and how you view yourself are all areas that are affected.

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Willing to Believe (Part 2)

Posted: October 25, 2010 by Greg Burkheimer in Church History, Original Sin, Radical Depravity

In Chapters one and two of Willing to Believe we looked at the opposing views of Pelagius and Augustine. Pelagius believed that we are capable of obedience while Augustine said we were not. It all seemed to center around this issue of original sin and it’s affects on humanity.

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“Who Can Change the Leopard’s Spots?” – Phillip W. Mansfield.

I enjoyed this read. Thought you might too.

What a mighty God we serve…

Well, my H&S class begins next week through Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. I got a jump-start today by looking at the first lesson.

Why Did God Create Man?

Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man? Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. –Westminster Larger Catechism

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.–U.S. Declaration of Independence

Session one covers a question that has been asked for a very long time. Why did God create man? In this lesson the importance of the doctrine of humanity is discussed. What you believe about humanity affects your views in so many areas. It significantly affects every other doctrine of theology. It shapes your views on sociology, politics, and the family. It will affect your views on psychology. It will affect how you minister to both believers and non-believers. It will affect how you view yourself.

Wrong Views
In the lesson we discussed some wrong views:

1. God did not create man (naturalism).
2. Man is an eternal extension of who and what God is (pantheism/panentheism).
3. Man is eternal as God is eternal (pantheism/polytheism).
4. God needed help with his new creation
5. God was in need of a companion

Right Views
We then looked at what the Bible said and discovered that the Bible is somewhat clear and somewhat obscure when it comes to this question. Some right reasons we discussed were:

1. Because God is a creative God.
2. So that man would be able to glorify God.
3. So that God would be able to share His glory with others.
4. To accomplish His will unto whatever end.

Conclusion
This was a good place to start for this course. Why did God create man? It seems that if I can understand this question I can come closer to answering the question why did God create me?

In preparation for my upcoming Humanity and Sin class, I have started reading a book called “Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will” by R.C. Sproul. The book is an attempt to cover the free-will controversy from its beginning in the fifth century to the present. The book will look at the questions of what is the role of the will in believing the gospel and why has there been so much controversy over free-will in church history?

I personally can’t wait until we get into this in class! There is so much riding on this issue. How you answer the question about Original sin and free-will ultimately will shape so much of your theology. The book begins with a quote from J.I Packer and O.R. Johnston, “Here was the crucial issue: whether God is the author, not merely of justification, but also of faith”.

Pelagius and Augustine

“We, who have been instructed through the grace of Christ and born again to a better manhood…ought to be better than those who were before the law, and better also than those who were under the law.” (Pelagius) (more…)

johncalvinTwo selections from Calvin’s Institutes:

This corrupt procedure is admirably described by Paul, when he says, that “thinking to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22). He had previously said that “they became vain in their imaginations,” but lest any should suppose them blameless, he afterwards adds that they were deservedly blinded, because, not contented with sober inquiry, because, arrogating to themselves more than they have any title to do, they of their own accord court darkness, nay, bewitch themselves with perverse, empty show. Hence it is that their folly, the result not only of vain curiosity, but of licentious desire and overweening confidence in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, cannot be excused (Calvin, John: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. I, iv, 1).

Nothing being less accordant with the nature of God than to cast off the government of the world, leaving it to chance, and so to wink at the crimes of men that they may wanton with impunity in evil courses; it follows, that every man who indulges in security, after extinguishing all fear of divine Judgment, virtually denies that there is a God. As a just punishment of the wicked, after they have closed their own eyes, God makes their hearts dull and heavy, and hence, seeing, they see not (Calvin, John: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. I, iv, 2).

Calvin goes to great lengths to show that man, and man alone, is culpable before God. Man is the initiator in rebellion. God is not actively causing people to sin. Calvin’s testimony aligns with Scripture, and especially Paul in Romans 1, where he uses the phrase “God gave them over” three times to explain the depravity of man. God is therefore seen as the restrainer of evil within His grace, but where it is shunned and evil is desired, God relents and gives them over. Notice that God is removing His hand. Hardly the picture some attribute to Calvin of a God who is not removing His hand, but rather pushing people away to rebel.

God has only so much patience with OUR rebellion. It is ours entirely. Calvin warned against “omni-causality”, seeing God as a causal agent for every event. It is more nuanced and requires further explanation, but suffice it to say that this Calvinist does NOT believe that God is the causal agent for my rebellion. Rather, He permitted and allowed me to do what I wanted to do. It all accords within His providential rule, but He didn’t decree my sin as an active agent. James says that God neither tempts or is tempted. Calvin would lend a hearty “Amen” to the clear teaching of Scripture on this matter.