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Featured Evangelical Theology Confusion

Discussion in 'Denomination Specific Theology' started by VhiaLemon, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. VhiaLemon

    VhiaLemon New Member

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    Hi there, my name is Victoria, and I am currently in Bible college and one of my current classes is Christian Theology and I am really confused. I am reading a book called Evangelical Theology written by Karl Barth, and I am just overall confused, what is theology? What is the point to theology?

    Theology currently does not make any sense to me, is there any way that someone would be able to explain theology to me in a way that would make sense to me and help me understand what is going on. I have to read a bunch of the book, and tomorrow I have a quiz on a different theology book from the same class. I just do not know what to do as theology is seeming to make no sense to me. Thanks!
     
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  2. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    Not the book I would have chosen, but never mind.

    Theology is the systematic study of God. It's what you go to Bible College to study.

    I'm not sure how to help. Probably you need to read some kind of simpler theology book before you start on Barth. Here's one that's online: Summary of Christian Doctrine
     
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  3. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Today, it is to take your faith away, to shred it and make it of no use.

    For many have testified of this for the last 100 years almost.


     
  4. rockytopva

    rockytopva Love to pray! :) Supporter

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    The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

    Here is s a story about a young man who overly complicated his religion, to the point where God could not get a spiritual blessing in there edgewise for all the intellectual web... And he needed someone to make things easily understood....

    Here is a story about a boy from Georgia who made salvation too complicated and all he needed was someone to simplify the process...

    After the team had been fed and we had been to supper we put the mules to the wagon, filled it with chairs and we were off to the meeting. When we reached the locality it was about dark and the people were assembling. Their horses and wagons filled up the cleared spaces and the singing was already in progress. My uncle and his family went well up toward the front, but I dropped into a seat well to the rear. It was an old-fashioned Church, ancient in appearance, oblong in shape and unpretentious. It was situated in a grove about one hundred yards from the road. It was lighted with old tallow-dip candles furnished by the neighbors. It was not a prepossessing-looking place, but it was soon crowded and evidently there was a great deal of interest. A cadaverous-looking man stood up in front with a tuning fork and raised and led the songs. There were a few prayers and the minister came in with his saddlebags and entered the pulpit. He was the Rev. W. H. Heath, the circuit rider. His prayer impressed me with his earnestness and there were many amens to it in the audience. I do not remember his text, but it was a typical revival sermon, full of unction and power.

    At its close he invited penitents to the altar and a great many young people flocked to it and bowed for prayer. Many of them became very much affected and they cried out distressingly for mercy. It had a strange effect on me. It made me nervous and I wanted to retire. Directly my uncle came back to me, put his arm around my shoulder and asked me if I did not want to be religious. I told him that I had always had that desire, that mother had brought me up that way, and really I did not know anything else. Then he wanted to know if I had ever professed religion. I hardly understood what he meant and did not answer him. He changed his question and asked me if I had ever been to the altar for prayer, and I answered him in the negative. Then he earnestly besought me to let him take me up to the altar and join the others in being prayed for. It really embarrassed me and I hardly knew what to say to him. He spoke to me of my mother and said that when she was a little girl she went to the altar and that Christ accepted her and she had been a good Christian all these years. That touched me in a tender spot, for mother always did do what was right; and then I was far away from her and wanted to see her. Oh, if she were there to tell me what to do!

    By and by I yielded to his entreaty and he led forward to the altar. The minister took me by the hand and spoke tenderly to me as I knelt at the altar. I had gone more out of sympathy than conviction, and I did not know what to do after I bowed there. The others were praying aloud and now and then one would rise shoutingly happy and make the old building ring with his glad praise. It was a novel experience to me. I did not know what to pray for, neither did I know what to expect if I did pray. I spent the most of the hour wondering why I was there and what it all meant. No one explained anything to me. Once in awhile some good old brother or sister would pass my way, strike me on the back and tell me to look up and believe and the blessing would come. But that was not encouraging to me. In fact, it sounded like nonsense and the noise was distracting me. Even in my crude way of thinking I had an idea that religion was a sensible thing and that people ought to become religious intelligently and without all that hurrah. I presume that my ideas were the result of the Presbyterian training given to me by old grandfather. By and by my knees grew tired and the skin was nearly rubbed off my elbows. I thought the service never would close, and when it did conclude with the benediction I heaved a sigh of relief. That was my first experience at the mourner's bench.

    As we drove home I did not have much to say, but I listened attentively to the conversation between my uncle and his wife. They were greatly impressed with the meeting, and they spoke first of this one and that one who had "come through" and what a change it would make in the community, as many of them were bad boys. As we were putting up the team my uncle spoke very encouragingly to me; he was delighted with the step I had taken and he pleaded with me not to turn back, but to press on until I found the pearl of great price. He knew my mother would be very happy over the start I had made. Before going to sleep I fell into a train of thought, though I was tired and exhausted. I wondered why I had gone to that altar and what I had gained by it. I felt no special conviction and had received no special impression, but then if my mother had started that way there must be something in it, for she always did what was right. I silently lifted my heart to God in prayer for conviction and guidance. I knew how to pray, for I had come up through prayer, but not the mourner's bench sort. So I determined to continue to attend the meeting and keep on going to the altar until I got religion.

    Early the next morning I was up and in a serious frame of mind. I went with the other hands to the cottonfield and at noon I slipped off in the barn and prayed. But the more I thought of the way those young people were moved in the meeting and with what glad hearts they had shouted their praises to God the more it puzzled and confused me. I could not feel the conviction that they had and my heart did not feel melted and tender. I was callous and unmoved in feeling and my distress on account of sin was nothing like theirs. I did not understand my own state of mind and heart. It troubled me, for by this time I really wanted to have an experience like theirs.

    When evening came I was ready for Church service and was glad to go. It required no urging. Another large crowd was present and the preacher was as earnest as ever. I did not give much heed to the sermon. In fact, I do not recall a word of it. I was anxious for him to conclude and give me a chance to go to the altar. I had gotten it into my head that there was some real virtue in the mourner's bench; and when the time came I was one of the first to prostrate myself before the altar in prayer. Many others did likewise. Two or three good people at intervals knelt by me and spoke encouragingly to me, but they did not help me. Their talks were mere exhortations to earnestness and faith, but there was no explanation of faith, neither was there any light thrown upon my mind and heart. I wrought myself up into tears and cries for help, but the whole situation was dark and I hardly knew why I cried, or what was the trouble with me. Now and then others would arise from the altar in an ecstasy of joy, but there was no joy for me. When the service closed I was discouraged and felt that maybe I was too hardhearted and the good Spirit could do nothing for me.

    After we went home I tossed on the bed before going to sleep and wondered why God did not do for me what he had done for mother and what he was doing in that meeting for those young people at the altar. I could not understand it. But I resolved to keep on trying, and so dropped off to sleep. The next day I had about the same experience and at night saw no change in my condition. And so for several nights I repeated the same distressing experience. The meeting took on such interest that a day service was adopted along with the night exercises, and we attended that also. And one morning while I bowed at the altar in a very disturbed state of mind Brother Tyson, a good local preacher and the father of Rev. J. F. Tyson, now of the Central Conference, sat down by me and, putting his hand on my shoulder, said to me: "Now I want you to sit up awhile and let's talk this matter over quietly. I am sure that you are in earnest, for you have been coming to this altar night after night for several days. I want to ask you a few simple questions." And the following questions were asked and answered:

    "My son, do you not love God?"

    "I cannot remember when I did not love him."

    "Do you believe on his Son, Jesus Christ?"

    "I have always believed on Christ. My mother taught me that from my earliest recollection."

    "Do you accept him as your Savior?"

    "I certainly do, and have always done so."

    "Can you think of any sin that is between you and the Savior?"

    "No, sir; for I have never committed any bad sins."

    "Do you love everybody?"

    "Well, I love nearly everybody, but I have no ill-will toward any one. An old man did me a wrong not long ago and I acted ugly toward him, but I do not care to injure him."

    "Can you forgive him?"

    "Yes, if he wanted me to."

    "But, down in your heart, can you wish him well?"

    "Yes, sir; I can do that."

    "Well, now let me say to you that if you love God, if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin and if you love your fellowmen and intend by God's help to lead a religious life, that's all there is to religion. In fact, that is all I know about it."

    Then he repeated several passages of Scriptures to me proving his assertions. I thought a moment and said to him: "But I do not feel like these young people who have been getting religion night after night. I cannot get happy like them. I do not feel like shouting."

    The good man looked at me and smiled and said: "Ah, that's your trouble. You have been trying to feel like them. Now you are not them; you are yourself. You have your own quiet disposition and you are not turned like them. They are excitable and blustery like they are. They give way to their feelings. That's all right, but feeling is not religion. Religion is faith and life. If you have violent feeling with it, all good and well, but if you have faith and not much feeling, why the feeling will take care of itself. To love God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, turning away from all sin, and living a godly life, is the substance of true religion."

    That was new to me, yet it had been my state of mind from childhood. For I remembered that away back in my early life, when the old preacher held services in my grandmother's house one day and opened the door of the Church, I went forward and gave him my hand. He was to receive me into full membership at the end of six months' probation, but he let it pass out of his mind and failed to attend to it.

    As I sat there that morning listening to the earnest exhortation of the good man my tears ceased, my distress left me, light broke in upon my mind, my heart grew joyous, and before I knew just what I was doing I was going all around shaking hands with everybody, and my confusion and darkness disappeared and a great burden rolled off my spirit. I felt exactly like I did when I was a little boy around my mother's knee when she told of Jesus and God and Heaven. It made my heart thrill then, and the same old experience returned to me in that old country Church that beautiful September morning down in old North Georgia.

    As we returned home the sun shone brighter, the birds sang sweeter and the autumn-time looked richer than ever before. My heart was light and my spirit buoyant. I had anchored my soul in the haven of rest, and there was not a ripple upon the current of my joy. That night there was no service and after supper I walked out under the great old pine trees and held communion with God. I thought of mother, and home, and Heaven.

    I at once gave my name to the preacher for membership in the Church, and the following Sunday morning, along with many others, he received me into full membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It was one of the most delightful days in my recollection. It was the third Sunday in September, 1866, and those Church vows became a living principle in my heart and life. During these forty-five long years, with their alternations of sunshine and shadow, daylight and darkness, success and failure, rejoicing and weeping, fears within and fightings without, I have never ceased to thank God for that autumnal day in the long ago when my name was registered in the Lamb's Book of Life. - The Life of George Clark Rankin
     
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  5. Unofficial Reverand Alex

    Unofficial Reverand Alex Look up Jason Evert on YouTube; he changed my life Supporter

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    I just consulted my friends Merriam and Webster, and they had a good answer to your question:

    Theology: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world

    Evangelical theology would be more specific; my uneducated guess says that it's about the study of God & the Christian Church, from the perspective of the Evangelicals, a denomination of Christianity.

    Theology is a fascinating study, and I'm looking into transferring to a Catholic college to major in it, to teach it. Enjoy what you read!
     
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  6. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Victoria, time is short so I will just say that theology is the study of the things of God. Obviously that is somewhat different from just learning the Bible, although they are of course related.
     
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  7. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Thanks that’s pretty good and on line.

    I found John MacArthur’s Biblical Doctrine he hands out to Masters students a good resource.

    Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth

    Ping to @VhiaLemon
     
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  8. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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  9. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    Yes, that's a good definition.
     
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  10. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I suspect Barth was not using 'evangelical' in the same sense contemporary American evangelicals would use the term. Barth was Swiss, and could best (maybe) be described as a prime mover of something called neo-orthodoxy. I don't think he would fit in very well with contemporary American evangelicals.

    Hans Kung wrote one decent book in his life, and that was 'Justification: The Doctrine of Karl Bart and a Catholic Reflection'. It's the only book by Kung I will allow in my house. In it, Kung described how Barth's view of justification was essentially Catholic. Barth seemed surprised and amused by the book.

    Barth was a bit of fresh air after the liberalism of so many in the theology profession, but I'd never call him an evangelical in the American sense. Oh, a Lutheran flavored atheist I once worked with on a summer job gushed over Barth. He was going into seminary to become a Lutheran pastor despite his atheism. I never did get what he saw in Barth. At least he was clearer than Rahner.
     
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  11. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Theology is defined as religious philosophy. Philosophy is basically confusing the obvious then making a fresh opinion. Taking for instance what Jesus taught and making it into a new religion better suited to the philosophies of man limited to worldly thinking than to the otherworldy will of God.

    Theology confuses. Scripture clarifies.

    The outcome? The blind write books to lead the blind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  12. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    That's completely unhelpful.
     
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  13. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    This is worth pointing out to the OP: that "Evangelical" in Barth's book does not mean "Evangelical" as in American usage.

    Closer to being the opposite, actually.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  14. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    I'm kind of curious as to (1) why you're in Bible college, (2) which Bible college you're at, and (3) whether the Bible college you're at is meeting your needs.
     
  15. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Depends on whether the perspective is from the will of man or alternately, the will of God. God already has His scriptures. Man likes to give his own opinion, perhaps even putting man's will before God's as is the nature of mankind.

    Let me clarify. Those of the Kingdom have no problem with the Gospel of the Kingdom the way it is. Those still of the world think God works in strange ways and tries to make the will of God work in their world. They see scripture through fleshy eyes and philosophize accordingly, missing the separation of Kingdom and world of man.
     
  16. Radagast

    Radagast is a Trinitarian Christian Supporter

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    Now you're giving me your theology. I don't agree with it.
     
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  17. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    This. Barth represents a third prong in modern Protestants thought that sought something deeper than the Enlightenment fueled liberalism and the reactionary fundamentalism that had dominated Protestant thought in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Evangelical here means something different than American Evangelicalism.
     
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  18. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    I haven't made a religion out of it.

    Kids, from the time they are born, are taught the ways of man and not of God. As they become adults they often find they have to forget a lot of what they were taught in order to rethink things. Man's thinking likes to create division with others and impress their side upon of the kids. The same applies to Christianity. How much of man's theology based on the will of man has to be ignored in order to clearly see the scriptures, to think with an open mind uncluttered. The history of Christianity has long looked down upon those who wish to think for themselves and let the HS do it's job. God encourages those who seek Him. The church used to burn them.
     
  19. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Helping the OP? Is your idea of help encouraging someone to think for themselves or get put in a box to learn the teachings and expectations of that box. A lifelong friend of mine teaches scriptural studies at a prestigious university in Canada and is continually blown away by the garbage he has to clean out of minds filled as children about Jesus.

    What I do is promote the Gospel of the Kingdom and let the scriptures speak for themselves. Pointing out how the Gospel conflicts with the world of man or how man's world attempts to influence mankind to keep them it's own, is not theology but intended to get people to seek the truth for themselves in scripture. I have no truth. I have no agenda, I have nothing to gain at another's expense. I have the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    If you think I am wrong please enlighten me using the Gospel of the Kingdom.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  20. ☦Marius☦

    ☦Marius☦ Orthodox Hillbilly Supporter

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    This is your opinion, and completely unnecessary in regard's to OP's topic. She didn't ask for a sermon on the morality of theology or different peoples opinions on what God thinks of theology. Preach less, answer more.
     
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