CHURCH and STATE Separate and Mutually Influential

By Natalie Hardt | November 2019

THE CHURCH IS MEANT TO BE COUNTERCULTURAL!

Evidenced through church history, biblical scripture, and reputable theologians and scholars, church and state must remain separate with an understanding that they will influence each other. God in His amazing grace has made available a life book that is timeless and supernaturally powerful that gives direction for every situation, “…one could make the argument that health or economics is “very important,” but the Bible does not lay out a specific economic system or medical instructions. God does, however, give us what is sufficient for our salvation and Christian living” (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014, pp. 534).

It is important Christians heed the words of Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-2, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (NIV). At the same time notice Jesus’ words in Matthew and Mark of “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21 ESV), in which Jesus makes the point that everyone, including Caesar, is subject to the rule of God. Numerous passages in scripture (Ezra 7:26; Ecc 8:2; Prov 24:21; Matt 17:27; Titus 3:1; and more) speak to the importance of living as good law-abiding citizens. Jesus never protested the Roman government and given the situation in first century Palestine, He and His disciples had ample opportunities. As a matter of fact, Jesus taught faith in things eternal while living as peaceable citizens in a corrupt world.

Church vs. State

Protesting against the government usually leads to a crowd mentality that results in unrest, havoc and riots and goes against the very nature of God. What about situations of helping the oppressed and mistreated? There are actions the church can and does take in helping fellow citizens and suffering people around the world. There are outreach and legislative actions to change civil laws as opposed to protesting on behalf of an ‘offended group’, which at this juncture in American history are many (i.e. antifa, transgender, metoo). It is important to distinguish ‘protesting’ versus ‘refusing’ to do something that goes against the laws of God, as in a situation in which a Christian doctor is being forced to perform abortions. A Christian is expected to push back (peaceably) as Scripture clearly shows God in His sovereignty as the giver of life (under any and all circumstances). Whatever the consequences, true believers are prepared for Scripture clearly warns about suffering on behalf of the Word of God, no student is above their Master (Jesus) (Matt10:24; John 13:16; 15:20). In Acts, Peter and John were joyful after being flogged by the Sanhedrin (council of Jewish leaders having civil and religious jurisdiction), because they were preaching Jesus Christ crucified, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [Jesus Christ] (Acts 5:41 NIV). Jesus taught that to follow Him would result in suffering in a world that cannot live by truth, and in American society it is becoming more evident than before with its sects and cults (false religions) that have been creating and revising biblical truth to fit their desired lifestyles.

Regarding truth, Jesus responds to the disciples when they ask why He speaks in parables which not all will understand, “And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:10-11 ESV). This warrants another discussion; however, for the purpose here and to sum it up, those that use their human reason (i.e. scientists, educators, philosophers) above God’s truth are described by Jesus this way, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:18-10 ESV). For more on abortion and scripture, go to https://jesusforum.net/2019/11/11/abortion-in-a-separate-church-and-state/.

God and Secularism

Humility is the very essence of what it means to be a Christian, to be the light that reflects Jesus because “…special discipling relationships are formed within the community [where] there is no fixed hierarchy of status”, this is the very opposite of the world (Collinson, 2005). Having different natures, the church focuses on changing the internal man through his heart and mind, while the state focuses on changing man’s behavior through external means of rules and laws. Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant believes in duty for doing good without desire, want, or motivation, whereas God demands a changed heart expressed through love and humility (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014). Secular society believes in whatever truth one chooses to believe because the goal is self-love and making oneself happy. The world’s secularism goes back to the Roman Empire and is illustrated in that moment when Jesus is standing before Pontius Pilate concerning the ‘truth’ and says to Pilate, “…the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” and yet Pilate responds scoffing, “What is truth?” (John 38:37-38 NIV). This first century moment is applicable to modern America in which truth is whatever one wishes it to be, also referred to as moral relativism (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014). Opposite end of the spectrum is the church that holds truth as knowing the knowledge of God from His Word and not rely on human effort.

Church Derails and Rules Over the State

There is a lot to learn from church history, from the 1st century to the Reformation in the 16th century, and marks a confusing time for Christians. Horton (2008) put it this way, “It was against this confusion of Christ’s kingdom with Israel’s theocracy that Luther and Calvin (15th-16th centuries) launched their retrieval of Augustine’s ( 4th-5th centuries) position of heaven versus the world, this is known as Augustine’s “two kingdoms””… “love of God” versus “love of self” (Horton, 2008). To better understand the two kingdoms, church and state, we must first look at Israel’s history, the only nation set up as a theocracy and meant to be the example to the world as God’s people. Centuries later, in 1 Samuel 8, Israel will reject God as their King and demand to be like other nations that have a human king to rule over them. This, according to Foster (1988) is the moment Israel goes from a group of people with a prophet as the conduit between them and God, to individualism being given a human king (Foster, 1988). In summary, God’s form of rule (governing) is not like any world system government. Fast-forward centuries when Constantine (306-312AD) legalizes Christianity making it the national religion throughout the empire, Christians go from being an oppressed people to becoming the “establishment” living under a dual citizenship (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014, pp. 521). The Roman Catholic Church gained the world and lost its soul (Mark 8:36; Matthew 16:26). Regardless of what may have begun as good intentions has fallen to sin exhibiting authoritative behavior over others; in the words of Solomon, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV). This highlights the indecisive nature of humans and their inability to trust themselves; therefore, reliance on the Holy Spirit for guidance cannot be taken for granted. The Roman Catholic Church abused its power as it grew, organized, and became wealthy (land acquisition) and was identified by Luther as the Anti-Christ (McGrath, 2012). Later Calvin (1509-1564) describes the Roman Catholic Church as “contrived empire of Christendom” and describes church and state as having different natures; and Calvin like Augustine agree sin will always inhibit man from being a perfect society (Horton, 2008).

Conclusion

There will always be an inevitable mingling of both institutions; however, God is Creator and Sustainer, Sovereign above all. Said another way, nothing happens in this world, good or bad, without His approval; this does not mean He likes it. Let us not forget, Satan has dominion over the earth, but not over God’s children. The Book of Job illustrates this well the moment God allows Satan to test Job, “…all that he [Job] has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand” (Job 1:12 ESV). It can be challenging at times when our human limitations prevent us from knowing God’s plan and are taught to have faith in Christ Jesus.

References:
Collinson, S. W., (2005). Making Disciples and the Christian Faith. Evangelical Review of Theology, 29(3), 240–250. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=18750450&site=ehost-live&scope=site. 
Foster, R. J., (1988). Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. San Francisco, CA.
Horton, M., (2008). A Tale of Two Kingdoms. Tabletalk Magazine. Retrieved From URL: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/tale-two-kingdoms/.
McGrath, A. (2012). Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought.2nd edition. Retrieved from http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var2=750
McQuilkin, R., & Copan, P. (2014). An introduction to biblical ethics: Walking in the way of wisdom (3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN-13: 9780830828180.

Abortion in a Separate Church and State

By Natalie Hardt | November 2019

Abortion rights is going to be well received when under the guise of ‘pro-choice’ versus ‘pro-abortion’. Abortion is considered the most immoral crises in the United States because it is the most atrocious sin a nation can commit. This is another reflection of humanity’s inability to see and acknowledge its deficient state of pride as it justifies actions that deny, accept, project and repress acknowledgment of sin and its consequences (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014).

Abortions were meant to be rare, and yet today they have become common and a form of birth control especially among minority groups with African Americans among the highest number. All women deep down know abortion is killing at any stage of development, sadly she will likely experience suppression, denial, and projection as she tries to live with the notion that abortion is somehow okay. There are many unaware of the available resources provided by the church and other outreach organizations. For clarification, these organizations do not convince nor coerce anyone, but rather provide women with additional choices to abortion. Recently, I came across a woman that said the (pro-life) organizations “were pushing an agenda”. This hypocrisy is not just astounding, but also reflective of a secular society spiraling further into depravity and ignorance, “…you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin” (Romans 6:19 NIV). Abortion, as with many immoral laws, stir up sin even more. A recent example proving this point is clearly seen in America’s recent gender issue in which children are being given control of choosing their desired gender. If this continues, it will lead these generations into a state of confusion and self-destruction. Apostle Paul puts it this way, “…the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me.” (Romans 7: 10-11 NIV). This is because humans sinful nature uses what is good (God’s laws) and uses it against the believer, as “it [sin] uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.” (Romans 7:13 NIV). The evident distinction between a believer and non-believer is the latter is cognizant and in pursuit of living righteously; therefore, the more secular the society, the more visible signs of twisted truths, treating right as wrong and wrong as right.

Abortion Statistics

Data in 2011 shows 21% of pregnancies aborted, this amounts to 1.06 million abortions (Jones & Jerman, 2017). In the 1970s and 1980s when fetal alcohol syndrome was recognized, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) was considered a medical reason suggesting ATOD acceptable in terminating pregnancies (Roberts, Avalos, Sinkford & Foster, 2012); and yet only 1 out of 20 women claimed ATOD as the reason (Roberts, 2012). During this time, cautions surrounding alcohol consumption and its effects on pregnancy may have resulted in many women assuming something wrong with their baby after learning they were pregnant after having consumed alcohol (Roberts, 2012). Other and more recent data show “more than 1 in 8 U.S. women” living in poverty, and “76% of abortions occur[ing] among women at or below 200% of the federal poverty level” (Oberman, 2018, pp. 666). It is worthy to note an increase in contraception is likely responsible for the 13% decline of abortions from 2008 to 2011 (Jones & Jerman, 2017). Statistics show a very small percentage attributed to rape and incest; for instance, 2004 statistics show abortion as result due to it would “dramatically change my life” at 74%, as opposed to rape at 1%, and incest at <0.5% (Finer, Frohwirth, Dauphinee, Singh, & Moore, 2005, pp. 113).

Historical Scholars and Theologians

What do theologians, scholars and philosophers Tertullian, Augustine, Plato and Aristotle say on the subject? First, Plato believed in controlling the population and eugenics (breeding for improvement to humans), and Aristotle believed that unhealthy children (deformities) shall be disposed (Czachorowski, 2018). Jerome and Augustine could not distinguish when the fetus went from “formatus” to “informatus”, the ensoulment of the embryo. Tertullian believed body and soul happened simultaneously at conception, while Aristotle believed 40 days after conception is when the soul indwelled the embryo for males and 90 days for females (Czacorowski, 2018). Tertullian held the seed as the potential person with the seed as “…a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed” (Cazcorowski, 2014, pp. 569). Finally, Aquinas as cited in Czacorowski (2014) said “…the soul endowed with a mind was created by God at the moment of conception, and so at the moment of the first formation of the human embryo” (Czacorowski, 2014, pp. 569-570). Czacorowski (2014) goes on to note that while science cannot confirm the “sequential substantial changes” in the fetal stage, modern philosophy does subscribe to the natural sciences that the ovum, the first stage when sperm and egg come together, contains the genetic code” and “…directs the entire psycho-physical development of the human being” (Czacorowski, 2014, pp. 570).

Reason Confirms God is Truth

Non-believers cannot deny the world is not right, for believers it is clear this is the result of a fallen world and abortion is just one example of an upside-down culture that calls right wrong and wrong right. Human reason shows us the world was not created randomly or by chance; therefore, the human ‘cell’ did not just happen due to a big bang, unless of course God was behind it. The cell and its ability to regenerate is the deliberate result of a sovereign God for nothing happens without His ordainment, including the egg fertilization regardless of means (incest and rape). This is can be difficult to comprehend with the human finite mind. While humans cannot understand many things, there is a lot and enough we do know, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) and have been mandated to continue in spreading the pattern of God’s image throughout the earth. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God instructs them of their image bearing role, to have dominion and stewardship over the earth, “…fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature…” (Gen 2: 28 NIV). Genesis 1 and 2 record creation as “very good” 12 times that sets the stage in man living out a purposeful and meaningful life that brings glory to God.

God is Love, Love is Freedom, God is Freedom

God does not create robots, but rather creatures with a will to choose, including the ability to love or reject their Creator. The church (people, not building), also known as God’s kingdom on earth, can help to facilitate and support the necessary resources for women who seek another option to abortion. There are non-profit, non-funded establishments that do the opposite of abortion facilities. This gives women options, because as previously mentioned, economic reasons and avoiding responsibility are among the common reasons for having an abortion. Another solution can be adoption, although this may be asking too much from victims and is partly why this subject is met with such venom in the era of extreme feminism in a secular society.


References
Collinson, S. W., (2005). Making Disciples and the Christian Faith. Evangelical Review of Theology, 29(3), 240–250. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=18750450&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Czachorowski, M., (2018). Abortion in The Universal Encyclopedia of Philosophy, volume 7. Studia Gilsoniana 7, no. 4: pages 567-578. Retrieved From http://cejsh.icm.edu.pl/cejsh/element/bwmeta1.element.desklight-d3998022-9494-40a6-bb41-9232cc491178.

Finer LB, Frohwirth LF, Dauphinee LA, Singh S, & Moore AM. (2005). Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 37(3), 110–118. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=106545873&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Jones, R. K., & Jerman, J., (2017). Abortion Incidence and Service Availability In the United States, 2014. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 49(1), 17–27. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1363/psrh.12015.

McQuilkin, R., & Copan, P. (2014). An introduction to biblical ethics: Walking in the way of wisdom (3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN-13: 9780830828180.

Mihindukulasuriya, P. (2014). How Jesus Inaugurated the Kingdom on the Cross: a Kingdom Perspective of the Atonement. Evangelical Review of Theology, 38(3), 196–213. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rlh&AN=96993783&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Oberman, M. (2018). Motherhood, Abortion and the Medicalization of Poverty. The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 46: 665-671. doi: 10.1177/1073110518804221.

Roberts S., Avalos, L., Sinkford, D., Foster, D., (2012). Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use as Reasons for Abortion. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press Vol 47, No. 6, pp. 640-648. doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags095.

ORIGINAL SIN

SIN IS THE “PRIVATION OF THE GOOD”

                                                                                                                  (Stillwaggon, 2014, pp. 67)

The very reason humans cannot see their true state of depravity that leads to eternal suffering, death and destruction is because of their inability to understand and comprehend who God is, who they are, and the true destructiveness of sin.

*******

The Fall has left humanity depleted of grace; however, what remains is an innate ability and basic knowledge of good and evil (McQuilkin & Copan, 2014). There is an ‘ah ha’ moment and a revealing of sorts when a believer becomes cognizant and humbly aware of how blissfully Ignorant they have lived their life up to that point. The believer has been given ‘new’ eyes and ears.

A true believer cannot love God and the world (Matt 6), and will experience the following:

1. Battle between flesh (selfishness) and spirit (other-centered) as the flesh desires to have what it wants and what it wants is sinful pleasures all the time.

2. Heart and mind continually undergoes a process of transformation as they grow to become more Christ-like, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV).

3. Hold a Christian worldview that sees the world differently than before; truly for what it is, dark, unjust, unfair, cruel, idolatrous, and deceiving with its ruler, Satan (enemy, devil, prince of this world).

4. Expect to be rejected by friends and family; Jesus was hated, expect the same (John 15:18).

Original sin results in the chasm that separates the human race from God, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross bridges that gap so that believers may enter in relationship with God the Father. Good can only come from good; therefore, God being love, good, holy, and unique to anything that ever was, is, and will be, only creates goodness out of His goodness (Bird, 2013). In Matthew it is confirmed that “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7: 18 NIV). We can establish that the Creator God made Adam and Eve “good”, in addition to blessing them with some of God’s divine attributes (Bird, 2013). Additionally, God through His love bestows freedom on His creation. With freedom comes risk; consequently, it turns out that Adam and Eve’s freedom results in rebellion against God and in turn causes humanity and the world to spiral down in a state of depravation. The door of the knowledge of good and evil opens and affects not only Adam and Eve individually, but also humanity on a whole referred to as Original Sin (Highfield, 2008). Through the coercion of the serpent in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve desire to be more like God, “…when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4 NIV). The Old Testament clearly presents Original Sin and humanity’s propensity to sin, as Bird says, “there is a clear solidarity between Adam and his progeny so that what is true of the primal representative is true of those whom he represented” (Bird, 2013, p. 681). Examples of this are seen from sin going from eating the fruit, to Cain killing Able, to sacrificing of children to Baal, to the crucifixion of the Messiah.

This corrupt nature of man is not something added nor present in the beginning, but rather was something taken away and became unreachable within the being of the human. In Romans, Apostle Paul addresses the human essence by comparing how humanity was first “in Adam” and then has been redeemed by the “second Adam” in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12). It is through Jesus that God gifts to humanity the means of bringing His creation back to a state of goodness and holiness so that creation can have a relationship with Him again. The Gospel further illustrates how humanity can find its way from its depravation in mind, body and soul to becoming healthy again and fully human.

When studying the Old Testament and the New Testament, we learn that humans were meant to be healthy. In Psalm 8: 4-6, the psalmist refers to humans as lower than angels and yet were “crowned” with “glory and honor”; and in the New Testament, Hebrews goes on to specifically state that it is through Jesus of whom shared in our humanness while living on earth that shows humanity how to find their back to this state of glory and honor, “shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who hold the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV). Back in Genesis 3, it is evident the evil serpent knew exactly how to entice and appeal to Adam and Eve’s desirous nature located in the lower part of the soul (Berkhof). Again, it is because of what human beings lack that has sickened their nature. The New Testament is filled with numerous incidents where Jesus heals the physical, mental, and spiritual infirmities of people. As Matthew puts it, Jesus healed “those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:23-24 NIV).

Sin is the devil’s thoughts becoming our thoughts; what begins as a thought amounts to nothing until it takes root and becomes a stronghold . Biblical examples of how people overcome their sinfulness, include Moses, King David, Daniel, and Apostle Paul (Daniel 3, Psalm 3, Ephesians 5, 6). For instance, Moses was a murderer and had a temper that eventually resulted in not being allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:9-11).

Sin attacks in every way possible. Thomas Aquinas held that Adam and Eve had original justice until Genesis 3, “Desire as a fundamental aspect of material existence manifests itself in a more complex manner in Aquinas’ account of beings’ natural desire toward their teleological perfection” (Stillwaggon,2014, p. 65). This is essential in that it shows how desire was “guided by divine intellect, also known original justice” (Stillwaggon, 2014, p. 67); therefore, simply put, “original sin just is the due lack of original justice, the lack of justice that ought to be present by Adam’s will” (Houck, 2016, p. 77). Houck goes on to explain that because something is lacking in human nature, does not mean human beings are not responsible, but rather the responsibility rests on the human will (Houck, 2016). Through classical theology, we learn sin derives from humanity’s lower soul (Berkof). These are characteristics such as ‘self-centeredness’ as opposed to the Godly attribute of ‘other-centeredness’, and ‘enslavement’ as opposed to the Godly attribute of ‘freedom’ (Bird, 2013). As cited in Bird (2013), Kevin Vanhoozer says, “evangelicals need to recapture a passion for biblical formation: a desire to be formed, reformed and transformed by the truth and power of the gospel” (Bird, 2013, p. 31). Desire is not bad until it is rooted in sin; therefore, as written in Romans 8 and Galatians 5, and as Bird (2013) states, human beings can “live obediently to God, to deprive flesh and desire of their power in sin” (Bird, 2013, p.155).

God is the only God and the Creator of all things, as John shows with his words that tie back to Genesis, The Word (Jesus) was present during creation, “through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:3-4 NIV). The concept of humanity from its potential to actual can only be achieved through God of whom is “pure actual” (Highfield, 2008). When Apostle Paul states that through Adam, one man, sin came into the world (Romans 5:12) suggest that although human behavior, if left to our fallen nature, a result of the fall, “we are still agents with intentionality and continue to be referred beyond ourselves to something more wherein lies our final destiny and definitive identity” (Novello, 2009, P. 187). The fact that humans feel guilt is also indicative that our human nature is lacking (Novello, 2009). These feelings of guilt are necessary in that it shows human beings that they are not right by God (Novello, 2009). And we can see how this guilt is able to transform as Isaiah puts it when confronted with feelings of his guilt, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, see this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:6-7 NIV). Prior to that moment for Isaiah, in verse 5, he becomes aware of his fallen state as a human being and does not think himself worthy to live or even be in the presence of God. In the New Testament, Apostle Paul continually calls himself a “wretched man” (Romans 7:24, 25). Apostle Paul is a great example in the New Testament of being given grace and mercy, and only through Jesus Christ is being restored back to God. When Jesus was on earth, He spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven, and when that comes to its full realization, all of humanity that believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior will be redeemed.

God’s redemption is possible because of His grace, mercy, love, patience, and forgiveness. And the human body, consisting of mind, body and soul, was given by the Creator some of His divine intellect; and if not lost, would have continued in the nature of the human being (Stillwaggon, 2014). Apostle Paul also goes on to say Romans “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:20-22 NIV). As the result and according to John Calvin, all of creation is subject to God and thus according to God’s justice has been cursed (Lamoureux, 2009). God, through His love and omnipotence and omniscience immediately put His plan in motion with Jesus coming down to earth to teach humanity how to live. And when Jesus was set to depart from earth, He sent another Advocate, the Holy Spirit to be among humanity to comfort and guide. Jesus tells His disciples that when He leaves them, He “…will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. Bur you know him…” (John 14:16-17 NIV).

The Gospel is the good news found in Jesus Christ, where one finds salvation by the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of sin through Adam and Eve, all are sinners from birth, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of humanity had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5 NIV). Humanity goes from seeing sin when confronted with God’s Law in Exodus and Deuteronomy to gaining some understanding of the human beings’ purpose through Jesus. Guilt is part of the process in dealing with sin resulting in further knowledge of our need of a Savior. As Apostle Paul says, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do.” (Romans 7:14-15 NIV). Paul acknowledges that humanity lacks the essence of things Godly such as divine nature that is good and holy. Through the Holy Spirit, humanity has been given a path to regain the privation of the good that has been made hidden because of Original Sin (Bird, 2013). It is through our second Adam, Jesus Christ, that humanity has been given hope; therefore, humanity must cling to God through faith and be thankful for His grace and mercy. This then leads to repentance so as to cleanse our sinful human nature so that we may share in everlasting life with God.

References:
Bird, M. F., (2013). Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.  Retrieved from: http://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/harpercollins/2013/evangelical-theology_a-biblical-and-systematic-introduction_ebook_1e.php

Berkhof, L.. Man in the State of Sin in Part Two: The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God. Systematic Theology. Retrieved by: https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/berkhof/systematic_theology.html

Highfield, R. (2008). Great is the Lord: Theology for the praise of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved from: https://lc-ugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=http%3A%2F%2Fgcumedia.com%2Fdigital-resources%2Fwm-b-eerdmans-publishing-co%2F2008%2Fgreat-is-the-lord_theology-for-the-praise-of-god_ebook_1e.php

Houck, D. W. (2016). Natura Humana Relieta est Christo: Thomas Aquinas on the Effects of Original Sin. Archa Verbi, (13), 68-102. Retrieved from: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=123947781&site=eds-live&scope=site

Hybels, B., Mittelberg, M. (1994). Becoming a contagious Christian. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN-13: 9780310210085. Retrieved from http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/harpercollins/1996/becoming-a-contagious-christian_ebook_1e.php

Lamoureux, D. O. (2016). Beyond the Cosmic Fall and Natural Evil. Perspectives On Science & Christian Faith, 68(1), 44-59. Retrieved from: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=113835293&site=eds-live&scope=site

Novello, H. L. (2009). Lack of Personal, Social and Cosmic Integration: Original Sin from an Eschatological Perspective. Pacifica, 22(2), 171-197. Retrieved from: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=58618677&site=eds-live&scope=site

Stillwaggon, J. (2014). The Problem of Propagation: Original Sin as Inherited Discourse. Studies In Philosophy & Education, 33(1), 61-73. doi:10.1007/s11217-013-9362-7. Retrieved from: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93447361&site=eds-live&scope=site c

 

 

Virgin Mary Apparitions Are False!

By Natalie Hardt|2019

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The Roman Catholic Church has high-jacked and has manipulated the Gospel, making it a false pagan religion and worthy of being called a cult.

Disclaimer: before I proceed on this topic, I want to say that I am not trying to offend people, but rather call out the Roman Catholic Church for what it is. It is not loving others if one is more concerned about feelings or offending than speaking the truth especially concerning salvation; therefore, Catholics are the mission field and must learn the truth. 

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All people should be able to have direct access to the Word of God. When a peoples cannot read nor understand God’s Word, the more vulnerable they become to “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15-20), for scripture warns us “…false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24 ESV). Before I became a Christian, I wanted the cute stories I heard growing up about the Virgin Mary (Mary) appearances to be true; I am here to say, they are not from God. Catholic counterarguments have included “so many people have seen and heard from these apparitions, how can everyone be wrong?” My response is YES, they are wrong and so is the Roman Catholic Church.

Scripture clearly identifies Satan as an angel of light, an imitator of God:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness…” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 ESV).

Biblical scripture in no way shape or form supports the various titles and roles the Roman Catholic Church has attributed to Mary, such as “Queen of Heaven” and “Mother of God”; titles that go back to ancient civilization goddess worshipping peoples (MacArthur, 2015). Examples include Solomon, of whom turns from God to follow his foreign wives that worship false gods/goddesses.

“He [Solomon] followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5 NIV). To worship Molek and other gods like this involve infant sacrifice (Leviticus 20). The wisest man to ever live and son of King David of whose line will come Messiah, will turn his heart and mind from the living God to worship idols/fake gods (1 Kings 11:9), “He [Solomon] took the carved Asherah [goddess] pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever”” (2 Kings 21:7 NIV). Scripture warns against falling prey to false gods/teachings; therefore, be armed with the Word of God, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24 NIV; Ephesians 6:11). What happens when the elect – bishops and popes – corrupt either the Word of God and/or the interpretation of it? You get false religions like the Roman Catholic Church.

Vulgate
The Books of the Bible were already established by the time Saint Jerome (347-420AD) decided to translate the Bible in Latin, a language no longer spoken nor understood by the masses; this version of translation became known as the Vulgate. Jerome does get push back from colleagues; however, it will be the 15th and 16th centuries when Desiderius Erasmus identifies errors with the Vulgate translation, including passages surrounding Mary. Around the same time Erasmus was causing trouble for the Roman Catholic Church, Martin Luther was also making his stand against the church and pinned his 95 theses on the church doors in Wittenberg that launched the Reformation.

One of the most controversial translations concerning the Vulgate is the moment Angel Gabriel speaks to Mary, “hail one that is full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:28 NIV), as opposed to the previous interpretation of “one who has found favor”. The error concerning the Latin version is that the correct translation should have been “gratificata” which means doing favor versus “gratia plena” which means full of grace. Being full of grace signifies void of sin, which is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and evident throughout the Old and New Testaments. “…and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:7-8 ESV).

Worship of false gods and superstitious beliefs go back to ancient civilizations with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel to the Canaanites (worship Baal), Assyrians, Babylonians, to the Greeks and Romans. In this same vain, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates with parades and festivals that display costumes and pageantry worship for Lady of Fatima, Lady of Guadalupe, Lady of Pontmain, and many more, “The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven [Ishtar goddess]. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger” (Jeremiah 7:18 NIV); and “But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.” (Jeremiah 22:18 NIV).

Mary worship as if she is responsible or part and partial to one’s salvation is Presentation1blasphemous, a complete and utter false teaching that prevents people from knowing the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father! Popes and bishops today are reflective of first century Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) with their costumes, prestige and legalism. Jesus describes these corrupt religious leaders, the Pharisees like this, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 NIV). Satan infiltrates God’s plan through confusion that goes clear back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent subtly coerces Eve to doubt and question God. Satan works at taking as many souls with him because he knows his time is almost up, “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10 NIV).

Satan Sows Discourse
Satan does not waste any time weaving discourse and sowing confusion surrounding God’s Word. The Apostles were spreading the Gospel and planting churches, as well as defending the faith against heresies and the circulation of corrupt versions of scripture, “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV). The Roman Catholic Church may have its roots in Judaism and Christianity, but by the 3rd and 4th centuries it will change and compromise. Examples include combining the resurrection celebration with the celebration of pagan goddess Eostre/Ostara and renaming it ‘Easter’; adding the office and position of the papacy as head of the church; and fabricating ritualistic acts such as praying with a rosary, devotionals to the immaculate heart, and inventing purgatory as part of salvation. All of these are blasphemy! This begs the question, how can this happen?

A combination of popes and bishops/archbishops being among the few that could read and write and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476AD, popes and bishops gain power, prominence, and influence over emperors. Popes and other religious leaders are being called ‘father’, an abomination for that is reserved only for our Father in heaven. Moreover, there is no further need for the Levitical system (Jewish priesthood) because Jesus has filled the position of High Priest of whom intercedes on our behalf. Prior to the resurrection, the Jewish High Priest would make the once a year sacrificial atonement for the Nation of Israel by going into the section of the Tabernacle/Temple referred to as the Holy Holies (Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9). Scripture records the Jewish Temple’s veil being torn top to bottom the moment Jesus’ work on the cross is complete. This veil is more like a thick fabric and approximately 60 ft. high that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 17:51 NIV).

The Rosary
The ‘rosary’ and its use when praying is an example of manner that does not glorify Jesus Christ, but rather praying to a sinful human being, Mary (all people sin). Jesus specifically says, “But when you pray go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…”” (Matthew 6:6 ESV), not go seek out a priest or church leader and confess. Then there is the matter of repetitive chants, also unbiblical and blasphemous, as when the priest instructs to repent by saying 10 Hail Marys, “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7 KJV).

Recognizing False Doctrine
Reading Scripture is the best defense against false teachings; I can confirm the below statement from Lucia is inconsistent with Scripture and is NOT from God.

“Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces, before continuing: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary” (theotokos.org.uk).

The apparition says “to obtain such graces” which falls in-line with good works and is actually central to the Catholic religion and not to Scripture. Faith alone in Jesus ‘alone’ brings salvation, there is nothing a person can do to earn grace from God. Then there is the nonsensical statement inconsistent with scripture, “sins committed against the immaculate heart of Mary” that puts Mary on a level equal or even above God the Father, Jesus, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – the Trinity. Not only have Catholic leaders twisted the Word of God, they have led many down the wrong path that will be met with punishment; those given more responsibility, comes greater expectations, rewards, and punishments, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as they will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 ESV).

Purgatory
Purgatory is unbiblical, there is no pit-stop, some waiting room before being judged! This is complete and utterly false and another example of false biblical interpretation of the Gospel. The Catholic Church developed a system where one can apply merit, for a fee to loved ones in purgatory so they may complete their journey to heaven, this is completely erroneous and shameful. This is further evidence of how far from the true Gospel, the Roman Catholic Church has gone. As the church became church/state, it would have to behave like any government that protects itself from enemy forces. The Catholic Church had to come up with a way to justify war-ing via the crusades that eventually led to the buying and selling of salvation through what was known as indulgences. By the 4th century and well into the 11th century, the Roman Catholic Church is not being led by the Holy Spirit as it spirals further into decay as a result of preaching false doctrine.

Repentance
The incorrect Vulgate interpretation of Matthew 4:17, says “Then Jesus began to preach and say: “‘do penance, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near””; the correct translation is ‘repent, for the kingdom…’. Catholicism puts human effort as having a role in redemption, as if one can earn their way to heaven. Apostle Paul goes into detail about the result of good works due to deposited grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. God knows our true motivations and desires because He knows the hearts and minds of men (scripture), “…it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:9 ESV). Only the Holy Spirit has the power to transform from within – the hearts and minds of believers in Christ.

Other false teachings perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church include abstinence from marriage during the reign of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope Gregory VII, as late as the 11th century. There are unholy reasons for this including the church’s way to ensure no responsibility for a family when a pope dies (MacArthur, 2015). Scripture clearly teaches that it is by choice that one may choose to abstain from marriage, it is not a mandate. Scripture mentions Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law in Luke 4:38, and Apostle Paul’s choice to be celibate in 1 Corinthians 7.

Catholicism has moved far from its Judaism and Christian roots; however, the true Word of God remains. The Bible is referred to as ‘Canon’, a Greek word that means ‘rule’ because the Canon is the measuring stick. All the Books of the Bible are consistent divinely inspired writings by approximately 40 different authors on 3 different continents. The books were scrutinized for canonization that includes answering a set of questions: 1) was the book written by a prophet; 2) miracles authenticate writer, confirming his message; 3) does the writing tell the truth about God without contradictions; 4) does the writing have a divine capacity to transform lives; and 5) did the people it was written for accept it as God’s Word (McGrath, 2012). The Word of God is relevant today as it was more than 2,000 years ago with the Old Testament long established centuries prior. Jesus often quotes from the Septuagint (Greek translation of Hebrew text) in His teachings and when He debates the Pharisees. The New Testament books were written, circulated, and accepted long before the Vulgate, the councils reaffirmed which 26 books would make up the New Testament (i.e. Nicene, Constantinople). These writings were always meant to go directly to the people in a language they understood which is why Jerome’s translation in the Latin was met with much scrutiny.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3 NIV).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV).

Jesus gives the Great Commission to the 12 Apostles, “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” (Matthew 28: 18-20 NIV). When Jesus ascends to heaven, the church begins and so will Satan’s attempts to copy God and thwart His plan. First century church struggled in a pagan world much like today. Corinth struggled with immorality; Colossae had its mystics; Ephesus encountered false teachers; Thessalonica had end of time freaks; and Philippi were complainers (Muehlhoff, T., & Lewis, T. V. 2010). By the time we get to the Apostles to the Apostles, known as the Patristic Era (100-500AD), there are two schools of thought, Alexandria in Egypt (Alexander the Great established) that takes a philosophical approach (Greek), and the school of Antioch in Syria, where Apostle Paul and Barnabas plant the first church of believers that call themselves Christians.

The Humanness of Mary
We get another glimpse into Jesus’ family in Matthew “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:54-58 ESV). Jesus was known to have brothers and sisters, His brother James authored Book of James; moreover, Mary speaks of her Lord, “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49 ESV). Mary knows she is human and in need of a Savior, “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23 ESV). Finally, it does not go without escape how Jesus speaks to His mother, as in the Cana Wedding where He says, “Woman (Mary), why do you involve me?” and “…My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4 NIV). Then there is the moment Jesus is speaking to a group in a home and it says, “Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12: 47-50 ESV). Mary is a Bible heroine and one to be loved, just not in the way she is depicted by the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus must get all the glory – ALL.

“Surely there is not a righteous man [or woman] on earth who does good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV).

References:
CNS photo/Paul Haring. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/03/03/pope-francis-establishes-universal-feast-day-blessed-virgin-mary-mother-church
MacArthur, J. (2015). Exposing the Idolatry of Mary Worship parts 1-4. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/RbDn_KU7BqU
McGrath, A. (2012).
Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought.2nd edition. Retrieved from http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var2=750
Muehlhoff, T., & Lewis, T. V. (2010).
Authentic communication: Christian speech engaging culture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. Retrieved by: http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/intervarsity-press/2010/authentic-communication_christian-speech-engaging-culture_ebook_1e.php
Theotokos Catholic Book. Words spoken by Mary at Fatima. Retrieved from http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/approved/words/wordfati.ht

Faithful to the Word of God

      God is everything that is good and righteous, not some Master presiding over a set of strict rules. It is because of the Holy Spirit transformative work in the believer’s mind and heart that he lives differently. This results in motive and desire to live differently than before that effects how the believer views certain subjects (political) and view others and the world. God is unchanging, He is the same today and yesterday and Scripture becomes one’s guide, life book. Christian theology utilizes additional sources to Scripture, such as natural revelation, tradition, and experience (Bird, 2013). When looking at these loci, the theologian can reasonably make sense of the biblical message; many theologians believe “The ultimate and trustworthy proof for believers is the witness of their Holy Spirit and His ability to discern truth as taught by apostolic witnesses (Highfield, 2008).      

    According to Bird (2013), “theology is something that is learned, lived, sung, preached, and renewed through the dynamic interaction between God and his people” (Bird, 2013, p. 30). The “something” for the Evangelical theologian is the Gospel. The Gospel has been recorded in what is known as the Bible, a collection of God inspired writings known as Scripture (Bird, 2013). The persons responsible for these writings are Jesus’ apostles, as well as other disciples of whom have witnessed or were close to events in the days of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It was incumbent upon these first Evangelists to pass down to the world the news about Jesus, this began the Evangelical movement or theology, as well as the birth of the church. Through Scripture, these Evangelists present snapshots of God’s character including His mercy, grace, and His gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to those that believe in God’s Son Jesus Christ who is the Messiah, our Savior send down to earth to save mankind from death, “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 in Him” (John 3:16, NIV). Jesus is the good news, the promised Messiah according to the Old Testament. As Highfield puts it, “Historical study provides important assistance, and the witness of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate ground of our faith” (Highfield, 2008, p. 24-25).

     Through methodology, a systematic theology, methods also used by the fiends of science and philosophy, the church has developed criteria for measuring information (Bird, 2013). The Christian theologian believes in reasoning the data and information from various sources, “Reason is the instrument which the believer uses in examining the objects of faith by the scripture, as by the infallible norm of truth, but is not the rule itself of these objects of faith” (Highfield, 2008, p. 40). Followers of Jesus find Scripture trustworthy, “It is Scripture understood in the light of the regula fidei [rule of faith] that will enable us to bring together the Christian canon and the Christian community in a fruitful exchange” (Bird 2013, p.80). In addition to these written teachings that reveal God’s character, we also see who He is through general and specific revelation (Bird, 2013). Through our senses we can see what He has done in nature, the universe, the earth, and all living things, but more importantly, it through our experiences and witness of our Holy Spirit that we truly become a believer of Christ (Bird, 2013).

      Although many in the academia world do not view scripture as trustworthy, “Christian theology can be an academically respectable discipline” (Highfield, 2008, p.68). The Canon presents various “genres: law code, narrative, prophecy, proverbs, gospels, epistles, and an apocalypse” in which God reveals Himself to the world (Bird, 2013, p. 79). Scripture is trustworthy to the believer, it is “the ultimate norm for theology; that it, it establishes what is authoritative for Christian belief and practice” (Bird, 2013, p.64). It is through the tradition Jesus’ disciples that bring the Word to believers and is it the discernment of our Holy Spirit that we comprehend the Gospel of Jesus; it is historian “Thomas Aquinas speaks not of one, but of three forms of human wisdom cultivated in the pursuit of God” (White, 2014, p.1031). As presented in scripture, Apostle Paul writes, about the difference of the wisdom of men versus the wisdom of God, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate [taken from Isaiah in the Old Testament]” (1 Corinthians 1: 18-19 NIV).

      Theology is necessary because in learning about our Creator, we learn who we are and God’s purpose for our life, “theology is about engaging with the biblical script that Christians are to perform in their daily lives” (Bird, 2013, p.82). It is in Genesis 3 that sin entered and changed the world, “the path which moves from Creation to Covenant is described as a series of alienations and separations from God” (Och, 2001, p.340). Jesus came to save the world and deliver His message about the Kingdom of God that is both here now and will be complete in the future, at the end of the age (Mihindukulasuriya, 2014). The Christian faith hinges on the life of Jesus through His ministry on earth; the advent of the cross in which Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb on our behalf; and the resurrection in which Jesus conquered death. It is through faith in Jesus as taught in biblical Scripture, a collection of these trustworthy writings that help develop and grow the faith of the believer.

References
Bird, M. F., (2013). Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved by: http://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/harpercollins/2013/evangelical-theology_a-biblical-and-systematic-introduction_ebook_1e.php
Highfield, R. (2008). Great is the Lord: Theology for the praise of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. Retrieved by: https://lc-ugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=http%3A%2F%2Fgcumedia.com%2Fdigital-resources%2Fwm-b-eerdmans-publishing-co%2F2008%2Fgreat-is-the-lord_theology-for-the-praise-of-god_ebook_1e.php
Mihindukulasuriya, P. (2014). How Jesus Inaugurated the Kingdom on the Cross: a Kingdom Perspective of the Atonement. Evangelical Review Of Theology, 38(3), 196-213. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rlh&AN=96993783&site=eds-live&scope=site
Och, B. (1988). The Garden of Eden: From Re-Creation to Reconciliation. Judaism, 37(3), 340. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4881372&site=eds-live&scope=siteJudaism, 37(3), 340.
White, T. J. (2014). St. Thomas Aquinas and the Wisdom of the Cross. Nova Et Vetera (English Edition), 12(4), 1029-1043. Retrieved by: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=100914445&site=eds-live&scope=site

 

Ministerial Ethics

By Natalie Hardt | 2019

Why a code is helpful for spiritual leaders and those that serve as our examples

Genesis Compared to Other Creation Stories

By Natalie Hardt | 2019

Christian interpretation of Genesis 1 that acknowledges the Ancient Near Eastern context, and modern science