Theology Matters Jan/Feb - Nov/Dec 1995

Faithful Witness to the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ by Dr. Bryan D. Burton, PCUSA pastor and author.   Burton writes, "At the time when the Presbyterian Church (USA) is seeking to respond to the clarion call that 'theology matters,' one of the great tests of whether or not theology matters is the struggle to understand and bear witness to the church's creed  'Jesus is Lord' and its influence upon the church's life and ministry.  It is therefore not only a question as to whether theology matters, but also a question as to what kind of theology matters.  The challenge is to discover what it means to bear witness to Jesus Christ in an age of pluralism." p. 1

 

The Human Point of View by Dr. Leslie Zeigler, Professor Emeritus of Christian Theology, Bangor Theological Seminary, Bangor, ME.   Zeigler writes, "The basic element involved in the human point of view is that our human experience becomes our norm. theologically speaking, theology becomes anthropology."  God is not the Sovereign Lord of history--a Reality Who deals with us, and with Whom we must come to terms--but a human construct, fashioned to aid and support the realization of our view of a truly human existence.  Zeigler then examines how this human point of view contrasts with traditional Christian theology in two areas--the doctrine of God and the interpretation of Scripture.   Zeigler looks specifically at radical feminist theology as one example of how this human point of view re-imagines God and Scripture.  p. 1

Can't we all just get along?  by Frederica Mathewes-Green, syndicated columnist. Reprinted with permission from World magazine, July 15/22, 1995.  Mathewes-Green offers a brief but clear contrast between 'modernist' theology where "feelings trump truth" and historic Christian faith revealed in Scripture where "the objective events of a Friday and Sunday two thousand years ago are not projections of emotion."  p. 9

 

Doctrine and Ethics by Alister McGrath, professor of Christian doctrine and ethics at Oxford University, England.  Reprinted with permission from the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol 34, No. 2, June 1991.  McGrath writes, "A recovery of Christian doctrine is fundamental to a recovery of Christian ethics...Beliefs are important because they claim to describe the way things are.  they assert that they declare the truth about reality.  But beliefs are not just ideas that are absorbed by our minds and that have no further effect upon us.  They affect what we do and what we feel.  They influence our hopes and fears.  They determine the way we behave."  McGrath looks specifically at the doctrine of justification by faith and the doctrine of original sin.  p. 1

 

The Bible and the Practice of Homosexuality by Dr. James R, Edwards, professor of religion at Jamestown College, Jamestown, ND. p. 1    This article was reprinted in the Mar/Apr 1996 Theology Matters  Mar/Apr 1996 Theology Matters p. 10.    Edwards looks at each pertinent OT and NT text explains its interpretation, then some pro-homosexual  advocacy people's objections to the text and finally a response to their objections.  This is a careful exegesis of the Hebrew and Greek texts that deal with sexual expression.   Edwards then addresses some questions raised such as the cultural attitudes toward homosexuality in the Ancient Near East and Why are references to homosexuality relatively infrequent in the Bible.

 

Truth Creates Boundaries by Susan Cyre, Executive Director of Presbyterians for Faith, Family and Ministry.  Cyre writes "Objective truth had been trampled on university campuses by relativism promoted under the banner of tolerance, inclusivity and diversity. This problem of relativism, however, does not exist just in liberal academic corridors.  It exists in the culture and most disturbingly in the church even among Evangelicals... Objective truth is the plumb line which divides truth and falsehood creating a boundary.  Without that boundary, everything is believable."  p. 1

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter VI, "Scripture is Needed as Guide and Teacher for Anyone Who Would Come to God the Creator."  Reprinted with permission from the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, edited by John T. McNeil (Library of Christan classic Series).  Calvin addresses, 1. God bestows the actual knowledge of himself upon us only in the Scriptures; The Word of God as Holy Scripture; 3. Without Scripture we fall into error; 4. Scripture can communicate to us what the Revelation in the creation cannot.   Book I, Chapter VII, "Scripture Must Be Confirmed By the Witness of the Spirit.  Thus May It's Authority Be Established As Certain; and It Is a Wicked Falsehood That its Credibility Depends On the Judgment of the Church".  Calvin looks at 1. Scripture has its authority from God, not from the church; 2. The church is itself grounded upon Scripture and 5. Scripture bears its own authentication.  p. 6

 

Exchanging God for "No Gods": A Discussion of Female Language for God by Elizabeth Achtemeier, Adjunct Professor of Bible and Homiletics, Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA. Reprinted by permission from Speaking The Christian God, edited by Alvin F. Kimel, Jr., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, copyright, 1992.  Achtemeier explains that God has revealed himself using masculine language.  When people use female names for God, it  leads to pantheism in which creation is divine; it leads to a rejection of the Triune God; and it de-personalizes God.  May/Jun  2006 Theology Matters p. 1