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A Defense of Christian Theology


A Defense of Christian Theology APLA John Oakes 1/17/10 Course Outline Existence of God Jesus Messianic Prophecies Claims of Jesus Miracles of Jesus Resurrection of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Defense of Christian Theology

A Defense of Christian Theology
  • APLA
  • John Oakes
  • 1/17/10

Course Outline
  • Existence of God
  • Jesus
  • Messianic Prophecies
  • Claims of Jesus
  • Miracles of Jesus
  • Resurrection of Jesus
  • The Bible
  • Inspiration and Inerrancy
  • How We Got the Bible, Canon
  • Contradictions?
  • History, Archaeology and the Bible
  • Science and Christianity
  • Christian and Other World Views
  • Defense of Christian Theology
  • Problem of Pain, Suffering and Evil
  • Free Will/Predestination
  • The Problem of Hell

Augustine on Evil
  • When accordingly it is inquired, whence is evil,
    it must first be inquired what is evil, which is
    nothing else than corruption, either of the
    measure, or the form or the order, that belong to
    nature. Nature therefore which has been
    corrupted, is called evil, for assuredly when
    incorrupt it is good but even when corrupt, so
    far as it is nature, it is good, so far as it is
    corrupted it is evil.
  • Sin is not the striving after an evil nature, but
    the desertion of a better, and so the deed itself
    is evil, not the nature which the sinner uses
    amiss. For it is evil to use amiss that which is

Intro to the History of Christian Theology
  • Trinity and the nature of God
  • Christology
  • Nature of sin, grace and redemption

Early Motivations to Christian Theologians
  • Apologetics Response to Greek philosophical
    criticism (Celsus)
  • Logos theology of Justin Martyr
  • Heresy Orthodox response to heterodox theology

Origen of Alexandria AD 185-254
  • Adoptionism (God adopted the man Jesus at his
  • Ebionites (Jesus a mere man)
  • Modalism (Jesus and Holy Spirit modes of God)
  • Gnosticism
  • Cerinthus, Valentinus
  • Docetism (Jesus only appeared to be human)
  • Arianism (Jesus was not divinehe was created)

The Orthodox Response
  • Use of Greek terms, modes of argument
  • Polemical Writings
  • Against Heresies Irenaeus
  • Appeal to apostolic (later church) authority
  • Creeds
  • Councils

Doctrine of the Trinity
  • Tertullian AD 160-220
  • The Father and the Son are different not in
    condition, but in degree not in substance, but
    in form not in power, but in aspect

  • A second century Roman creed (said at baptism)
  • I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
    and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our
    Lord, and in the Holy Ghost, the holy church and
    the resurrection of the flesh.

Church Councils
  • Nicaea AD 325
  • Arianism Jesus homoousios With the Father
  • Constantinople AD 381
  • Nicene Creed Holy Spirit also homoousious
  • Ephesus AD 431
  • Nestorianism condemned, Pelagius anathematized.
  • Calchedon AD 451
  • Define the two natures of Jesus
  • Constantinople II AD 553
  • Monophysitism
  • Constantinople III AD 680
  • Monothelitism
  • Nicaea II AD 787

Nicene Creed We believe in one God, the Father
Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all
things visible and invisible. And in one Lord
Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father before all worlds God of
God, Light of Light, very God of very God
begotten, not made, being of one substance
(homoousios, of the same substance,
consubstantial as opposed to homoiousios) with
the Father, by whom all things were made. Who,
for us men and for our salvation, came down from
heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of
the virgin Mary, and was made man and was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate He
suffered and was buried and the third day He
rose again, according to the Scriptures and
ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand
of the Father and He shall come again, with
glory, to judge the quick and the dead whose
kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the
Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life who
proceeds from the Father and the Son who with
the Father and the Son together is worshipped and
glorified who spoke by the prophets. And I
believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I
acknowledge one baptism for the remission of
sins and I look for the resurrection of the
dead, and the life of the world to come.
Amen. Is this what we believe?
Chalcedon AD 451
  • In agreement with the holy fathers we all
    unanimously teach that we should confess that our
    Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same Son the
    same perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in
    manhood, truly God and truly man, the same of a
    rational soul and body consubstantial with the
    Father in Godhead and the same consubstantial
    with us in manhood like us in all things except
    sin begotten of the Father before all ages as
    regards his Godhead and in the last days the
    same, for us and for our salvation, begotten of
    the Virgin Mary, the theotokos (as opposed to the
    Christotokos of the Nestorians) (the God-bearer,
    the mother of God) as regards his manhood one
    and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten,
    made known in two natures without confusion,
    without change, without division, without

Chalcedon (cont.) Without confusion and without
change to oppose monophysitism/Coptic
Christianity Monophysite one nature Without
division, without separation to oppose
Nestorianism Q Are we splitting hairs here?
Sin, Redemption, Salvation
  • Augustine!!!!!
  • The City of God Soveriegnty
  • Total depravity
  • Monoergism (only God)
  • Predestination
  • Original Sin
  • Infant baptism required for salvation
  • Sacramentalism
  • Transubstantiation
  • City and State
  • Opposed Donatists

Augustine of Hippo (from 6th century)
Augustine Evil and Free Will
  • About Augustine Evil arises from the
    corruption of a nature which is essentially good.
    What is called evil is good corrupted if it
    were not corrupted it would be wholly good but
    even when it is corrupted, it is good in so far
    as it remains a natural thing, and bad only in so
    far as it is corrupted.
  • A mans free will avails for nothing except to

Pelagius AD c. 354-430
Works Salvation? Affirmed the existence of free
will. Evil is not born with us, and we are
procreated without fault. Rejected infant
baptism. Taught that we become holy through our
own effort?
  • Q What is the nature of the Fall of mankind?
    What happened in the garden?
  • Puritans In Adams fall we sinned all.
  • Romans 512-19 What death is this in v. 12

Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274 Aristotle Revelation by
reason Scholasticism Arguments for existence of
God Natural Theology Summa Theologica
Thomas Aquinas God, therefore, is the first
cause, who moves causes both natural and
voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes
He does not prevent their actions from being
natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does
not deprive their actions of being voluntary but
rather is He the cause of this very thing in
them, for He operates in each thing according to
his own nature. In other words, Aquinas
believed in free will and not a strict monergism.
Question Do you believe in Predestination?
History of the Doctrine of Predestination
  • Augustine of Hippo AD 354-430 The City of God
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546) an Augustinian monk.
  • Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) Reformed Theology.
  • John Calvin (1509-1564) Institutes of the
    Christian Religion
  • The key A profound belief in the sovereignty of
  • Double Predestination and TULIP

Martin Luther 1483-1541 Augustinian Monk Faith
Alone Grace Alone Scripture Alone Predestination
Martin Luther Away with James His authority is
not great enough to cause me to abandon the
doctrine of faith alone and to deviate from the
authority of the other apostles and the entire
Scripture. St. James epistle is really an
epistle of straw, compared to these others
(Romans, Galatians, John) for it has nothing of
the nature of the gospel about it.
Ulrich Zwingli 1484-1531 Opposed baptismal
regeneration Double Predestination Reformed
Theology Those individuals who end up damned
forever in hell are also eternally determined by
God for that fate.
The Radical Reformation
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Opposed strict predestination
  • Opposed infant baptism
  • Believed in baptismal regeneration

Menno Simmons
John Calvin 1509-1564 Institutes of Christian
Religion His emphasis the sovereignty of
  • Total depravity
  • Unconditional election
  • Limited atonement
  • Irresistable grace
  • Perseverence of the saint (once saved, always

Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) Opposed Reformed
idea of predestination. Are we Arminians?
  • Q Scriptures which appear to support the
    doctrine of predestination?
  • Q Scriptures which prove free will and refute

Jonathan Edwards A Sinner in the Hands of an
Angry God. How do we know we are of the elect?
1800s America Predestination LightOnce Saved,
Always Saved
  • Preservation of the Saints
  • Believers Prayer.
  • Once God saves you, in is impossible to lose your
    salvation, no matter what.

  • Romans 828-30
  • Romans 831-39 Nothing can separate us (except
    we ourselves because we

  • have free will)
  • John 1027-29 No one can snatch them out of my
  • Romans 910-21 (read v. 14-18)

Hebrews and Falling Away
  • They shall never enter my rest 311, 45
  • We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly
    to the end the confidence we had at first. 314
  • They were not able to enter because of their
    unbelief 319
  • Be careful not to be found to have fallen short
    of it. 41
  • Some did not go in because of their obedience
  • Let us make every effort to enter that rest so
    that no one will fall by following their example
    of disobedience 411
  • Do you get the point?

Hebrews 64-6 Who is he talking to?
  • a. been enlightened (NT church enlightened
  • b. tasted the heavenly gift (salvation?)
  • c. shared in the Holy Spirit
  • d. tasted the goodness of the word
  • e. tasted the coming age (saved)
  • Yes, you can fall away! Conclusion You had
    better move on toward maturity in Christ.

Hebrews 64-8
  • It is impossible if they fall away, to be
    brought back to repentance.
  • They are crucifying the Son of God all over
  • Land that produces thorns will be burned.

Falling Away Hebrews 1026-31
  • Crucifying the Son of God all over again.
  • Subjecting Jesus to public disgrace
  • Trampling the Son of God under foot. (Heb 1029)
  • Insulted the Holy Spirit (Heb 1029)
  • Blasphemed (spoken against) the Holy Spirit (Matt
  • Committed the unforgivable sin (1 John 516 )
  • What is the unforgivable sin? To willfully,
    deliberately continue in sin. (Hebrews 1026)
  • Also Hebrews 1214-17, 1225 you will not
    escape if you turn away

Gods Assurance Hebrews 69-20
Two unchangeable things Gods Word Gods Oath
(Genesis 2216-18) Jesus, your anchor, is behind
the veil with the Father
Gods Assurance Hebrews 1019-23
We have confidence to enter the Most Holy
Place Let us draw near to God in full assurance
of faith. For he who promised is
faithful. Hebrews 1035-36 Do not throw away
your confidence it will be richly rewarded. You
will receive what he has promised.
  • Correct theology (God, Jesus, salvation) is
    harder to find than you think.
  • Do not fall into the trap of relying on human
    reason too heavily.
  • Always protect the mystery.
  • Trinity
  • Jesus
  • Faith, Works and Grace

The Problem of Hell
  • The most difficult questions
  • Problem of Evil, Problem of Suffering
  • Trinity
  • Violence for God in OT
  • Problem of Hell

Attributes of God
  • Eternal
  • Omnipresent
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipotent
  • Righteous, Holy
  • Love
  • Justice
  • God is not merely loving, he is love

Love and Justice
  • For God so loved the world
  • The wages of sin is death Rom 623
  • The law of sin and death Rom 82
  • We like Gods love, but we are not so fired up
    about his justice.
  • When we reach heaven, we will understand and
    fully appreciate, on an emotional level, Gods
    justice. Rev 1117-18 Rev 165-6 The elders
    are thankful that Gods judgement has finally
    come. You are just, O God.
  • Psalm 941-3 David How long, O Lord

Here is the Good News
  • Gods love met Gods justice at the cross. As
    far as we are concerned, love won.
  • Romans 321-26

Here is the Bad News Hell
  • Romans 310f There is no one righteous, not
    even one.
  • Revelation 2015 If anyones name was not found
    written in the book of life, he was thrown into
    the lake of fire. Rev 218 the fiery lake of
    burning sulfur. This is the second death. Rev
    2010 They will be tormented day and night for
    even and ever.
  • Does God choose to send us to hell? No! We
    choose hell and God, in his justice, accepts our
  • Is suffering in hell literally eternal? Is joy
    in heaven literally eternal?

The Problem of Pain and Suffering (and The
Problem of Evil)
  • John Oakes
  • Davao
  • January 15, 2009

The Problem of Pain and Suffering
  • An apologetic/intellectual problem
  • A human problem

Pain and Suffering An Apologetic Problem
  • Agnostic
  • God of the Bible is completely good and loving.
  • God of the Bible is all-knowing and all-powerful.
  • Conclusion Given all the pain and suffering in
    the world, the God of the Bible is not real.

Examples of Suffering
  • Are they truly bad/evil?
  • Are they Gods fault?

Kinds of Suffering
  • Physical pain acute and chronic
  • Disease acute and chronic
  • Broken relationships
  • Poverty, hunger, etc.
  • Violence terrorism, genocide, violent crime,
  • Chronic fear (rape, natural disasters, abuse,
  • Disappointment, feelings of failure, loss of hope
  • Death of a loved one, mourning

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Bottom line, there is a lot of pain and suffering
in the world. Question Is this because God
does not care, or is this because he is not
sufficiently powerful to prevent human suffering
and evil in the world? Caution There is no
simple answer.
Causes of Suffering
  • Free Will
  • Sin
  • Natural Disasters
  • Stupidity

Free Will God Gives Us a Choice
  • Deuteronomy 3015-20
  • Joshua 2415
  • John 717
  • Question What is the alternative?
  • Question Is this a sign that God does not love
  • God took a huge risk

Free Will, An Illustration The Prodigal Son
Cause of Human Suffering and Evil SIN
  • The great majority (but not all) of suffering is
    the result of sin
  • Addiction, lack of self-control
  • Sexual immorality, perversion and abuse
  • Anger, violence
  • Greed
  • Pride, arrogance, jealousy, desire for control
  • Selfishness

Gods Moral Law is Simple Sin Produces Suffering
  • Exodus 205-6 You shall not bow down to them (the
    idols you have made) or worship them for I, the
    Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the
    children for the sin of the fathers to the third
    and fourth generation of those who hate me, but
    showing love to thousands who love me and keep my
  • God is love and God is just.
  • Bear in mind Ezekiel 1819-20

Is Sin the Cause of All Suffering?
  • Job Why did he suffer?
  • John 9
  • Is AIDS Gods punishment for homosexuality? No!

Tsunami off Sumatra in 2004 Whose sin was this
a punishment for?
Causes of Suffering 3 Natural Causes
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Weather
  • Bacteria
  • These are all very good things.

A Question Is Pain Evil?
  • Touch a burner on the stove
  • Broken Bone
  • Overeating
  • Emotional Pain
  • Pain is Good. Pain is from God
  • But Not all pain is explained so easily.

A Question Is Death Evil?
  • For plants and animals, death is a positive good.
  • Isaiah 572
  • Philippians 121
  • For humans, death is a transition, not an end.
  • If the atheist is right, then maybe death is
    evil, but if the atheist is right, there is no

Question Is Suffering Evil?
  • Psalm 305 For Humans, without suffering there
    is no joy.
  • John 91-3 Suffering, if received correctly,
    glorifies God.
  • Romans 828 All kinds of suffering can be used
    for good (but be careful how you use this
  • Romans 53, James 12-3 Suffering produces good
    character. No pain, no gain.
  • 1 Peter 220-22, 2 Tim 312. Suffering is the
    natural result of doing good.
  • Coll 124-29, 1 Pet 412-17 Suffering is how we
    come to know Christ and to fill up his suffering.
  • Through shared suffering is how we become close
    to one another.

Suffering and Evil The Apologetic ProblemA
  • Most suffering is the result of free will and our
    choice to sin. It is because God loves us, not
    because he does not care or is not powerful
    enough to stop us from suffering.
  • Pain is not evil, death is not evil, suffering is
    not evil. All of these are gifts from a loving

The Problem of Pain and Suffering Part IIThe
Human Problem
  • Our response to suffering depends on our world
  • What is the Hindu world view?
  • What is the Buddhist world view?
  • What is the world view of Islam?
  • What is the world view of the atheist/naturalist?

The Christian World View
  • The physical world is real.
  • The physical world is good, not evil. (Gen 131)
  • Pain and suffering are very real, but they are
    not the problem the human problem is sin and
  • The Christian response Compassion! Micah 68,
    James 127

God Understands (and so should we)
  • God is ready and willing to hear our complaints.
  • Habakkuk 12-4, Jeremiah 121
  • Even Jesus cried out in his suffering. My God,
    my God
  • Jesus can relate fully to our suffering.
  • Hebrews 217-18, Hebrews 415.
  • This ought to affect our response to others
    suffering. 2 Cor 514-15
  • Look at Jesus response to suffering John 1135
    Jesus wept. Matthew 2337 O Jerusalem,
    Jerusalem Compassion.

What Should We Do?
  • Live with integrity, like Job.
  • Use your suffering as an opportunity to show
  • Alleviate suffering, not because it is evil, but
    because that is how God responds to suffering
  • Show compassion. Matthew 936-38
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