Reformed Doctrine

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    08Fall

    Reformed Doctrine: Explaining The Gospel and All Its Implications

    Robbie Schmidtberger

    Trinity Christian School

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Introduction:

    Terms: General and Special Revelation

    Where shall we start? Some theologians start with

    Scripture, others with God. Both waysor methods, have their benefits and

    both are good. We start with Scripture, as it tells us about God. I want to

    focus on this now. How do we know about God?

    Creation tells us about God (Romans 1, Psalm 19). This is called

    general revelation. We know that there is a creator by looking around

    at the world. Our own hearts moan for something greater, fulfillment

    perhaps. But these two things are inadequate to know this God fully.

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    Scripture tells us about God. It reveals who He is. He is a triune

    divine. There are three people, God the Father, the Son and the Holy

    Spirit. It tells that we are sick, something terrible gone amuck within

    ourselves. And informs us that Christ had a mission.

    We can know God most clearly in the Person of Jesus Christ, so much

    of our study will be spent on who He is and what He has done.

    1. Making Sense of This All: Why To Study Theology

    Key Terms: Orthodoxy, theology, unorthodoxy, heterodoxy

    Louis Berkhof, The Manual of Christian Doctrine, pg. 23-36

    What do you think of when you hear the word doctrine? How about

    Calvinism? Or to put it another way How important are your beliefs?

    Should debates over the question, how was I saved really happen?

    Everything we do is theological. If you do not realize this, you are not

    reflective upon your views of God, human nature, the world, etc. Theology

    and doctrine are absolutely crucial. We must delve deep into our theology to

    see what we believe. And we must conform to Scripture.

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    Why are you in this classroom? What do you hope to learn, achieve,

    become by Christmas of this year? Much of the things you learn in this box

    you call a classroom, many people think is worthless. Trash they call it, or

    rubbish depending which country they call home. So the question, Why

    Study Theology?Is a very important one.

    First, what is theology? A derivitive of two words, theos and

    logos. God-talk if you would. What you will be learning this semester is first

    and foremost about God. For the purposes of definition we will simply say it

    is the study of Gods word.

    Now that we are agreed on what theology is, or at least I hope

    we are. Why is this of any relevance to you? One reason we already

    mentioned in passing, knowing God. If you would recall, earlier I

    mentioned that people think theology is rubbish. Reality has it that theology

    transforms your heart. By December you will either love God more, or be

    more indifferent to him that this moment. To know God seizes you by the

    collar and demands your answer for our rebellion.

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    Another reason is to know ourselves. We, often, go our own way.

    Actually we always do. The Scriptures call us sheep, another analogy is that

    we are horses with blinders on. We do not know what is going on around us.

    We are spiritually blind, dead in our sins, corpses. The Scriptures properly

    orient who we are in the sight of God. And that is all that matters.

    I mentioned the transformative power of theology. Once you

    encounter Gods words you are made into the image of Christ, or hardened

    into the epitome of our rebellion against the true King.

    The reason why theological discussions often erupt into divisions and

    debates is because theological jargon, terminology, acts as signposts. If

    you know the meanings of the words theologians (those who study theology

    as a living) then you know what they say. This jargon helps you guard

    against heresy, against unorthodoxy beliefs that are outside the realm of

    Christianity.

    In saying all these things, it is my goal that you would be

    transformed by the end of the semester. Transformed meaning that you

    turned away from your sins and fell more in love with Christ. That is my

    prayer for myself. And as you will see, and learn, it is not an easy task, for

    while the power of sin is dead, the presence has not left us.

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    Also theology must be accurate, it must be sound. We will look

    at the truth, Scripture. It also must be theo-centric (centered on God),

    because everything orbits around him, and is about him. Thus making us,

    drawing us closer to him, in order to worship him. It is my hope that as a

    close you will come closer together in Christ.

    2. How to Study Theology: The Role of Scripture

    Key Terms: Authoritative, Inspiration, God's Word,

    Hermeneutics

    Barometer: Do the students know how to study the Word?

    Handouts: New Attitude 2008 on Hermeneutics

    Louis Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine, pg. 37-49

    Introduction: Movie clip from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Dead

    Man's Chest

    How do you read the Bible? I want to discuss how we are going to be

    studying theology. I want this to be extremely beneficial for you in your

    walk with God and reading of Scripture, for if you do not know how to

    apply Scripture, you do not truly understand the Scriptures. First

    what is the Bible? How do people see the Bible? What do they think it is?

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    It is just a book of moral stories (a guy commenting on a thread)

    It is man-made and people have just been adding on to the story

    for hundreds of years. (same thread, different guy)

    To me the bible is a compilation of books by different authors that

    range from 5 to 80 depending on what particular sect of Christianity

    or Judaism you belong to. Its a story that has some truths and

    some myths. Its helpful in the sense that it teaches us about what

    the people believed in the past (on a different thread)

    I think its an interesting collection of what are probably completely

    allegorical tales. (same thread, different person)

    The Bible is the account of God's action in the world and his

    purpose with all creation (the international bible society)

    These are just a sampling of peoples thoughts on the Bible on these two

    threads I visited. As you can see there is a lot of confusion surrounding the

    nature of scripture. Instead of conjecturing what we think Gods word is, let

    it speak for itself. So we are going to have it speak for itself. Please look up

    the following Scripture references:

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    Ex. 17:14, God says to Moses, Write this down. (the same with

    Ex. 34: 27, Num. 33:2, Is. 8:1, Jer. 25: 13, 30:2, Ezekiel 24:1)

    Hebrews 2:2, Since the message proved to be reliable

    What do all these things mean? How does this apply to your life?

    First It is clear that God is speaking to men, and telling them to write

    down His Wordsin order that others may read it and be passed down

    through generations as a memorial. Theologians explain this process as

    inspiration. (Berkhof handles this well). Inspiration is the supernatural,

    providential influence on the human authors, which caused them to

    write what God wished to be written for the communication of

    revealed truth to humanity.1

    When we read the Bible we are reading His word. Secondly, Hebrews

    tells us that it is reliable.

    1James Bibza, Grove City College, lecture on the inspiration of Scripture.Spring 2005

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    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed (the unity of

    Scripture, one must ask what is the extent of Scripture. This was a

    question that put the early church in an uproar. On one hand we

    depend on the Canon they produced we do not study the

    Apocrypha.)

    2 Peter 3:16 Peter affirms Pauls writings as Scripture (one of the

    inner three)

    John 14-16

    The Authority of Scripture

    What was Jesus view of the OT? (If Jesus was the King of kings

    then one must ask, what was his view of the OT? His Lordship has

    direct implications on our lives.

    Luke 24:27 (The Emmaus Road, all the writings [the OT]

    talked about Jesus)

    Summarized the OT as the psalms, law and prophets

    Matthew 5:17, 18 came to fulfill Scripture

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    John 5:38ff debating with the Pharisees (who come for

    information not transformation) and Jesus rebukes them.

    (The significance is that the Pharisees studied the bible and

    memorized it. Like saying to Michael Jordan you do not

    know Basketball. Because they did not recognize that

    Scripture is about Jesus.)

    The NT use of the OT How did the apostles understand the OT?

    As they were the disciples of Jesus (the very men he taught)

    Over 3000 quotes and allusions to the OT

    2 Peter 1:21-22 No prophecy produced by the will of men

    (speaking of the OT prophets, thus they are Gods words)

    Hebrews 1:1,2 God spoke to our fathers by prophets

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    How does one read Scripture? First one must understa