theology of the heart

A few years ago I sat in on a seminary class with one of my sons. The professor was one who taught me back in my days in grad school, Dr. Robert Bell. In this lecture he made a comment that I have often thought about since. He was discussing two opposing theological systems. Then he said something to this effect: “Most people have a theology of the head and a theology of the heart.”

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these are dangers?

A response to Kent Brandenburg’s post, “Why is the idea of the universal church dangerous?” Kent was responding to my question quoted below.

A few weeks ago now, I was asked, "Why is the idea of local church only so important? Or, to put it another way, why is the idea of the universal church dangerous?"  This post will answer that question.

ONE, the universal church as a teaching or belief eisegetes scripture or distorts the plain meaning of the text.

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Landmarkism in embryo form?

I think we can safely say that one of the marks of Landmarkism is the “local-only” view of the church. When we say that we are NOT saying that everyone who holds this view is a Landmarker, but those who hold to Landmark views would hold to a local-only view.

Would that be stating things correctly? Duncan’s article and Dr. Moritz’ article seem to bear this out.

I’d like to think about the historical record a bit more in this post.

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Landmarkism and Local Only

Number One Son has posted some notes on a connection between Landmarkism and the Local Church Only view.

I don’t think he is saying that the local only view is exclusive to Landmarkism, but that there is at least a connection.

Anyway, for those interested, thought you might like to see it.

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ek•kle•si•a (part 2)

In my earlier post I defended the notion of calling the body of Christ “the universal Church.” My point was based on the idea that the meaning of ekklesia, the Greek word for church, was advanced beyond its original simple meaning of ‘assembly’ (from secular Greek usage) to refer to any body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ whether they were in assembly at any given point in time or not.

From Eph 1.22-23, 1 Cor 12.13, and Heb 12.23, the data points to something more than a local body. I recognize that some will try to work these passages into a local-only view. I don’t agree with their conclusions but appreciate the valiant effort.

Today I want to contrast the two ideas and address a few other passages that require an additional term in the concept of the church as the body of Christ.

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ek•kle•si•a

I’ve been doing a little study on the term ekklesia recently. That’s the Greek term translated ‘church’ in the New Testament (at least most of the time). The word is important to Baptists because of the prominence of eccliesiology (the doctrine of the church) to the Baptist distinctives.

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an interesting verse for my Calvinist friends

NAU  Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

The word for purpose here is a very interesting word. Thayer defines it this way:

counsel, purpose … especially of the purpose of God respecting the salvation of men through Christ

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the fundamental evangelical problem

Amidst all the pressure to make nice with evangelicals, there are some key issues that are often overlooked. You can pick up these key issues occasionally in commentaries, less often in bold clearly stated articles or sermons. To put it in a nutshell, I think the issues I am talking about can all be summed up in one word: inerrancy.

  • Do we believe in inerrancy or not?
  • Do we believe the Bible is without error, or not.
  • Do we believe the Bible never utters an errant word in fact or principle from cover to cover, or not?

I would say most who call themselves fundamentalists would say “Yes” to inerrancy and many evangelicals would also. In fact, many evangelicals have gone so far as to sign an official statement on inerrancy, The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Search for it on the web and you will find many references to this document.

So far so good, but only so far.

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apostasy

In a recent exchange elsewhere, I was taken to task over my use of the word ‘apostasy’ with reference to the change in emphasis in another Christian ministry.

This leads me to some thinking on the term. What is ‘apostasy’ anyway? What is ‘the apostasy’ (the specific usage that was challenged)? Is it legitimate to use the term in connection with Christian brothers? So a little Bible study ensues…

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Everything in religion depends on the nature of the start

“Everything in religion depends on the nature of the start. You may start ‘out of faith’, from an utter abandonment to God, and an entire dependence on Him, and in this case a righteousness is possible which you will recognize as ‘righteousness of God’, God’s own gift and work in you; or you may start ‘out of works’, which really means in independence of God, and try to work out, without coming under obligation to God, a righteousness of your own, for which you may claim His approval, and in this case, like the Jews, all your efforts will be baffled. Your starting point is unreal, impossible; it is not truly ‘out of works’, but only ‘as out of works’; it is an idea of your own, not a truth on which life can be carried out, that you are in any sense independent of God. Such an idea, however, rooted in the mind, may effectually pervert and wreck the soul, by making the Divine way of attaining righteousness and life offensive to it; and this is what happened to the Jews.”

James Denney, “St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans,” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 668. Phrases like this, ‘in italics’ represent my translation from the Greek.

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