1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 27, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

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.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

In the previous section of this letter, Paul discussed division and how all believers in Jesus Christ should be unified around the cross of Christ. We all share that commonality in our faith – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to provide salvation for the world. In this section, Paul continues talking about the power of the cross and relates that to wisdom.

While Paul was focused on unity among believers in the previous section, here he shows the distinction between believers and unbelievers. He shows that distinction relating to the power of the cross in verse 18: “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.” Paul recognizes that the cross of Jesus does not have the same effect on every person. For those who have faith, the cross is powerful! But for those with no faith, the cross seems foolish and pointless.

Paul begins to relate the cross to wisdom when he quotes Isaiah 29:14 in verse 19. But it is important to not only look at the verse Paul quotes but the context surrounding it, particularly the verse before it. Isaiah 29:13 says, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.’” This verse explains the unbeliever – or more accurately, it explains someone who may be a Christian in name only.

If someone appears to honor God with their mouth but that is not what’s in their heart, they are not truly a believer in Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is foolish to that person, and they do not have the wisdom that only God can give them. If a person only has the knowledge that Jesus Christ died on the cross but no true faith in Jesus, that cannot save them; they cannot be saved by their wisdom or their intelligence.

Paul shows in verses 20-21 that God’s wisdom makes even the most learned and wise people look like fools. Even those who were considered to be wise in matters of the church don’t necessarily have true faith. The wisdom of this world cannot truly know and understand God, nor can this wisdom give a person the faith that can save them. But the message of the cross appears to be foolish to this world, and that is what truly can save us! God’s good purpose of the salvation of all mankind is fulfilled in what appears foolish to this world, not in what appears to be wise.

Verses 22-24 address some of the differences between the Jews and the Greeks, or the Jews and the Gentiles. The culture to which this was written was primarily made up of Jews and Greeks, though Gentile is a term that refers to anyone who is not a Jew. While that language of nationality may seem divisive, Paul actually uses it to unify the Church as a whole. The Jews were a nation that was looking for the Messiah; they were a religious people by nature, so they were more focused on spiritual things. The Greeks, however, were more focused on knowledge, so they were not as keen to notice spiritual happenings. But those differences are irrelevant when the most important thing is preached – Christ crucified!

Paul says that the crucifixion of Jesus is “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (verse 23). The Jews were waiting for the promised Messiah, but they did not see what they wanted the Messiah to be. While spiritual in nature, they were also expecting a political messiah to save them from their Roman oppressors. Their own preconceived notions were their stumbling block, their obstacle, to believing in Jesus as the Messiah. For the Gentiles, the fact that the death of this one man (who was also fully God) could pay for the sins of all humanity did not make logical sense. They could not reason that out with their minds, so it was foolishness to them.

But, no matter the nationality of those who have faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus is God’s power and wisdom in their lives! When a person comes to faith in Christ, their whole outlook is turned around. No longer do they stumble or think the cross of Christ to be foolish, but rather they now realize that they possess the power and wisdom of God in their lives!

But just because we possess God’s power and wisdom does not mean we are equal to God. Paul shares in verse 25 how even the foolishness of God is greater than the wisest human, and the weakness of God is stronger than humans. That is not to say that God is at all foolish or weak, but Paul simply uses that comparison to show the greatness of the power and wisdom that God alone possesses. God is in complete control over everything, and all power and wisdom truly are His! We are blessed to even receive a tiny portion of that, and we only receive that through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

The ways of God do not make sense in the eyes of the world, and that is the foolishness of the cross. The ways of Christians should also be seen as foolish in the eyes of the world, because we follow Christ and are held to a different standard. But those who follow Jesus know that the cross of Christ brings salvation, power, and wisdom into our lives, and that is so much better than having the world understand or approve of us!

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Systematic Theology 8: Soteriology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 24, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Soteriology is the study of salvation. This has been one of the hot debate points of 500 years of theology: predestination or free will. Are we saved because Jesus chose us and basically dragged us to salvation, or are we saved because we heard the Gospel and we chose to respond to it? I am not going to answer that here. I am only going to say that wherever you stand, you need two things: you need God being sovereign over all things, and you need man being responsible for his choices. You must have both. I personally see these two as parallel pillars in the same way that we have God’s government (His law, wrath, and justice) and God’s grace (His mercy, grace, and patience) operating at the same time without ever contradicting.

There is one thing I despise in the salvation debate and that is ultimately the “minimalist approach.” It comes in the form of “Do I need to believe that to be saved?” When it comes to topics like origins, baptism, end times, angels, etc., does belief in a certain position on this topic merit or lose salvation? I again question what people understand salvation is when they do this. They will say, “All you need to do is believe in Jesus.” However, what does that mean and what does that entail? It’s especially seen in Reformed circles, in the academics, where “salvation” and “doctrine” are ultimately a pure academic study. My own church has come out of a season of over-emphasis on doctrine and missing genuine salvation, and I am so grateful to my pastor for his approach on this because it’s pulled me back from going so far against one ditch that I get trapped in the other on the other side of the road.

Salvation does require belief in certain doctrines, but it’s more than that. It’s really believing Jesus. Not merely believing “in” Jesus, but actually believing Him. I have heard one person tell me when debating origins, “If God said it, I believe it.” I immediate asked him about whether God said “six days” or not and he never gave a clear answer. He professes belief in Jesus, and if he had never said anything about origins, I’d think he was a generally solid Christian because he checks off the doctrine boxes. Yet, a red flag keeps warning me about this issue. It’s not that he is an “old earther” because there are old earthers that I can tell are simply wrong on Genesis but genuinely love their Savior, but really how he has justified his position. The ones who genuinely love Jesus and show it also show very little knowledge about old earth ideas and also put very little weight to such ideas. I will say this: if the earth truly is billions of years old, then NO ONE is saved because there is nothing to be saved from.

People talk about salvation as being “saved from my sins” and “saved from Hell,” but that is as far as it goes. While those statements are true, that can easily become a weak knowledge of salvation if there is a weak view of sin. If you get your doctrines of sin wrong, you get the doctrines of salvation wrong, and with that, you will also have Jesus wrong. These are all intertwined; messing around in one area is going to greatly impact the others. If Jesus died for your sins but your view of sin is that it’s just imperfections within you that are no big deal, then what really was the point of his dying? The Progressive Christians have an extremely erroneous view of sin because they think they are “part God” or are “little gods” and thus are inherently good. And to their credit, they are consistent with this because they then ask, “Why did Jesus have to die?” They have to argue Jesus’ death from something other than being required to satisfy the wrath and justice of God, so their view of salvation is purely academic and rather Gnostic in their approach. It’s salvation via knowledge and the salvation is from ignorance. The Christian view, however, is that salvation is salvation from sin, salvation from ourselves, salvation from God’s wrath, and even more than that.

But salvation is not just salvation from something but salvation to something. God did not rescue Israel from slavery just to free them, but so that they would be a people to serve Him. Salvation for the Christian is not to get out from sin alone, but also so that we would be the Bride of Christ, a people who would serve, worship, and enjoy God forever. Under the Biblical view of Adam’s sin, the paradise was lost. Adam was in paradise. He was not only in a perfect world but in an ideal relationship with God. He’d talk with Him, walk with Him, and enjoy Him. But then he decided to eat from that tree, disobeying God. Adam chose to live another life and do his own thing, and it was a deadly decision. Yet, despite that, God still offered hope and salvation. Upon confronting Adam about his sin, God showed how He would bring salvation. He killed an animal to use its skins as clothing, shedding innocent blood as a substitute for sin. Why didn’t Adam die that very day? Because an animal died in his place. And thus, the first mention of the Gospel message was established.

Salvation is shown in many images throughout the Bible. I mentioned this earlier in the series, but Paul directly connects the regeneration process, the process of being born again, to creation. As God spoke light into existence, so He gives man light to see the truth. While I believe man is responsible to how he responds to the light given to him, it is God who illuminates man to begin with and gives him the chance to see his need for salvation. If man does not see his need for salvation, he won’t seek an answer for that need. That is why the Progressive Christians are so opposed to the Gospel; they don’t see their need to be saved, because they don’t see their sin to be an actual problem.

When it comes to origins, the wrong view of origins will drastically affect one’s view on the need for salvation. If the earth is millions of years old, salvation is not possible. Again, salvation is from sin and its effects. According to old earth beliefs, when taken to their logical conclusion, there is no need to be saved because sin never did anything. If Adam and Eve existed, they were just among a population that lived and operated as we do today – short life spans of no more than 80 years, got sick, hurt, died, etc. for hundreds of thousands of years. What did sin do in such a scenario? The Old Earthers who are better at theology would say it separates man from God, but what was the relationship between man and God prior to Adam if they weren’t the first and ONLY humans? What you will find is that they actually take the YEC theology on such issues and claim it as their own. But their entire theology that remotely sounds good doesn’t come from OEC ideas carried out. And as God is in the business of restoration, what does the old earther have to look forward to? We’ll cover this more on the study of end times, but if salvation is being saved to something, and that something is a restoration of what was originally planned, then what does salvation to an old earther actually look like? They actually don’t have answer because their models don’t have sin doing anything, and thus salvation truly doesn’t do anything either. Again, there are many OEC out there who have sound doctrine otherwise, but there are many more OEC out there who have much less.

Before we argue about how salvation is done, we need to have a clear picture of what salvation is. To do that, we need to know what things were like prior to sin, what sin is, what sin does, and why there is a need for salvation to begin with. We need to stop throwing out our Christianese vocabulary around and treat it as we have been. We need to get back to taking it seriously.

Next week, we’ll look at ecclesiology: the study of the church.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 20, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

With this section of the letter to the church at Corinth, Paul begins to address the primary issue: division within the congregation. While this letter was written to a first-century church, you may be able to tell that things are not much better today on this topic!

In verse 10, Paul first starts with a positive appeal of what the believers should do. While telling people not to do something negative is important, it’s also important to focus on the positive, which is how Paul starts this section. He appeals to them on the authority of Jesus Christ – the highest authority possible, whom they all should worship in a unified manner.

The word for divisions in Greek has the idea of tears or cracks, which implies even a small division should not exist among the believers. Any kind of crack can begin to tear something apart, so even the smallest crack should not exist among them or they will not be united as a body of believers.

He makes sure to explain to them what that means: “perfectly united in mind and thought.” Today, we may find that to be quite a lofty goal! With the hundreds of Christian denominations that exist today and the variety of beliefs even within some of those denominations, we cannot imagine being perfectly united in mind and thought with other believers. It may even be hard for you to come up with one person who you are “perfectly” united with on all topics! But that is the goal for the body of Christ in the church – perfect unity in all things.

Paul received word of these divisions from people in Chloe’s household (verse 11). It is not clear from the Greek if this was a household as referring to immediate family members or whether they were her friends or even her slaves. We do not know anything else about Chloe other than this verse. But it is important for Paul to tell the believers where he got his information, as they would have likely been familiar with Chloe and her household.

Verse 12 indicates that there were at least 4 different groups among the Corinthian Christians – those who follow Paul, Apollos, Cephas (aka Simon Peter), and Christ. Paul, Apollos, and Cephas were all prominent leaders in the early church. Paul, of course, is the author of this letter to the Corinthians and many other letters to other churches. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria in Egypt who spoke boldly about Jesus in the Jewish synagogues. In Acts 18:26, we see that he didn’t quite have his theology correct, however, as Priscilla and Aquila gave him some further instruction on God. Cephas was the Aramaic name of Simon Peter, who was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Christ, of course, refers to Jesus Christ, but this particular group within the church was believed to claim some special relationship to Jesus, or that they placed more emphasis on Jesus than the other teachers did.

Paul gets to his point in verse 13, pointing out that Christ is not divided, therefore there should be no division among His followers. If we strive to imitate Christ, who has no division within Him, then we should also not be divided. Paul also reminds them that there is no comparison between following Jesus and following men who teach about Jesus. Paul’s name is nowhere near as authoritative as the name of Jesus Christ! Paul brings up Jesus’ crucifixion and baptism, and how Paul is nowhere near as worthy as Jesus.

In verses 14-16, Paul explains more on the topic of baptism. Paul lists off the few people that he remembered baptizing – Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas – as a way to make his point that he is not in the same league as the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one they should look to for salvation, not Paul. Crispus was the leader of the Corinthian synagogue (Acts 18:8), Gaius was Paul’s hospitable host mentioned in Romans 16:23, and Stephanas and his household were called the first converts in Achaia and then became great servants in the early church (1 Corinthians 16:15-17).

Paul makes his purpose clear in verse 17: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” While baptism is important, preaching the gospel is significantly more important. Paul’s main focus was preaching; baptisms could be done by other leaders in that congregation. When Paul states that he is not called to preach with wisdom and eloquence, he doesn’t mean that he intended to preach unwise things in a manner that’s not understandable. Rather, he meant that he was not trying to make the people believe through clever arguments. The message of the cross is what is important, and the manner in which that message is shared is of much less consequence than the message itself. It is all about the cross of Christ!

In our modern world today, we face constant divisions, even within the Church. We tend to get caught up in little details that really don’t matter, rather than focusing on the one thing that unites us all as believers: the cross of Jesus Christ! Christ is not divided, and the gospel message is not divided. Therefore, as followers of Jesus and adherents to the gospel, we should not be divided either. We are called to be unified in our minds and thoughts around that one central message – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

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Systematic Theology 7: Hamartiology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 17, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Please do not fear or dread these high-level academic vocabulary terms, but hamartiology simply means the study of sin. What is sin? What does it do? How does it affect us? What are the consequences of sin? All of that falls into the system of hamartiology, the study of sin.

Unfortunately, sin is really treated extremely superfluously today. We hear the term so much that it no longer has its sting. Even worse, it is so poorly and infrequently defined, often intentionally, that the solution seems like no big deal. Some of the biggest names that “represent” (and I use that term loosely) the faith boast on TV that they do not and will not preach about sin; they don’t want to talk about the “negative” stuff. They just want people to be happy and smile and go about their day, while giving up their paychecks to them.

There are many people who aren’t afraid to say the word “sin,” but they definitely don’t define it or describe it as the Bible does. When the Prosperity preachers or the Progressive preachers speak about sin, it is not in context of Biblical language, but as a mere “barrier to your blessings.” While it is true that sin will block us from being able to receive God’s blessings, the blessings are not the primary issue. There are others who know that sin is doing something wrong, but they try to soften the blow to call it mere “mistakes” or “imperfections.” Sometimes they will go further and say it is merely “something God doesn’t like.” The whole idea is that it takes the weight of sin off man for his choices or at least reduces it. It does several things. It reduces man’s responsibility for his choices because “I was born that way” or “Nobody’s perfect.” It also can give the unintentional effect of painting God as a petty figure. Many scoffers have objected to such notions. They object to why God should send any of them to Hell because as far as they are concerned, they are not bad people, and God is holding them responsible for things that are quite trivial. The people doing this are not intentionally being heretical, but they are not giving a correct diagnosis to the problem and thus they are giving the wrong medicine for the problem.

So, what is sin? We actually cannot get a proper understanding of it without going to Genesis. Just like we can’t define man properly without Genesis, we also cannot define sin without Genesis. Not only does Genesis give us the entrance of sin and death into the world but it also gives us the description of death. The term “hamartiology” comes from the Greek word hamartia that can mean sin in general or it can mean to “miss the mark” as in archery. Last year I wrote a full 20+ post series about sin and what it is, so I’m not going to regurgitate all that here. The key is that when we “miss the mark,” it’s not merely just getting a low score. It means missing the cut, you aren’t good enough, and you are out!

Why does God require such high standards of absolute perfection? No one can do that – and that’s the point. We cannot do it because man was never meant to be able to do it on his own. Man was created to depend upon God, and this was where the first sin came into the picture. God gave Adam specific instructions to work the garden and permission to eat from any tree in the garden. But there was one prohibition: don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because to do so would cause death. Note that God did not punish Adam for eating fruit; God punished Adam for directly and defiantly disobeying Him. The fruit itself was not the problem, it was the commandment of God that was the issue. Adam did not trust God and believed a lie instead. Then knowing what God said and knowing in his conscious that it was wrong, he disobeyed anyway.

This is what sin truly is. It’s not merely missing a target and “meaning well.” It’s intentional defiance and seditious treason against the thrice-holy God. God is not just holy; He is pure, righteous, and just. He cannot allow sin to be in His presence because of these attributes. He will destroy that sin and anyone or anything attached to that sin. This is why the punishment for sin is death. It’s not God being petty or overreacting. But if any person or being is found with sin, that being must end up in the one place where any intimate communion with God or even God’s presence will not be experienced: Hell. Every person in Hell is not going to experience God’s love and tenderness but rather His anger and wrath. And because sin is against the infinite God, the punishment for sin is also going to be infinite.

Adam’s sin wasn’t just on Adam himself but upon all mankind. While many scoffers object to this, it is actually a glorious reality. Adam is our federal head; he represents each person. He not only was our original father, but his choice to sin carries both forensic and legal consequences to us today. We all not only have our own inclination to sin, but we have all sinned individually. All this plays a vital role in our salvation, which will be discussed next week.

But what happens when one teaches the earth is billions of years old? All this teaching about what sin is suddenly disappears. Why? Because everything behind a universe that old all depends upon calculations of processes that happen today, which are part of a sin-cursed universe, not part of the original creation that God made which was “very good.” Also, with every teaching about old earth geology, there are fossils of dead things within those rock layers. By teaching an old earth, what comes with it are teachings of millions of years of death within those layers. The old earth crowd will argue that because the Bible does not explicitly state that “animals did not die before sin,” therefore their arguments of animal death are perfectly valid. The problem is that they openly admit that if humans died before sin, then that undermines the Gospel. Well, we find human fossils in antiquity, too. Skull 1470 is just one such example dated to 1.8 million years old, in a layer that was revised twice to match the Evolutionary story. Prior to the finding of that skull, the KBS Tuffs were dated to 2.7 million years by hundreds of dating methods, and prior to that they were dated to 270 million years, all changing when they found things inside the layers that mess up the Evolutionary story. See this video from Ian Juby where he traced this history. I still question why people think those methods are reliable when they throw them out at will when they mess up their Evolutionary story but praise them when they support it. Deep Time puts human death long before any view of Adam. That puts death before sin and thus makes death not the due penalty for sin and that nullifies the cross.

You can only have a correct view of sin by having a correct view of origins. Yes, there are preachers who have held to old earth beliefs and taught sin correctly, but if you listen to them, all their teaches on the topic were as though the Bible’s history was correct, not as though the secular models about the age of the earth were correct. In those people, you will not find teachings that carry Deep Time ideas through their logical conclusions, because those theologians never did think it through. Always test what you hear with Scripture. That is why Bibliology is so important.

Next week, we’ll look at soteriology, the study of salvation.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 13, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge — God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Last week, we looked at the very beginning of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, including the context of Paul writing this letter. While the first 3 verses were Paul’s introductory greeting to the church at Corinth, in today’s section of verses, we see some more introductory remarks by Paul.

The key theme of this section is thanksgiving and encouragement. Paul often begins his letters this way, first thanking God for the people in the churches to whom he is writing (see Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:3-4, and Philippians 1:3 for example). The Greek verb used for “I always thank” is eucharisto, which implies a habit of being thankful rather than just a one-time or occasional thing. It’s also the word from which we derive the word Eucharist, also known as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.

Paul is truly thankful – not to the people but to God! He makes a habit of being thankful for the grace of God through Jesus Christ, which is given to him and also to the believers at the church in Corinth. Paul is thankful that there are more believers who have experienced that free gift of God and now join him as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This grace of God has truly enriched all of their lives in every way. It is important to note how Paul calls out “with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge” in verse 5. Corinth was a city in Greece, and the Greeks were known for their strong emphasis on knowledge – knowing facts, knowing how things work, etc. The idea of “all” knowledge would have been very important to the Corinthians based on their surrounding culture. But the idea of “all kinds of speech” brings in a spiritual aspect, more than just intellectual knowledge. The word translated as “speech” is logos, the Greek word that also means “word.” In John 1:1, Jesus is referred to as the logos. Jesus is the word, and the Corinthians have been enriched with all of the Word!

What is the result of all this enrichment? Verse 6 tells us: “God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.” The gospel had been previously shared with the people at Corinth, and they had heard Paul’s personal testimony as well. God confirmed the believers’ work there by showing Paul that they are true believers in Jesus Christ. Paul sees the evidence of faith in Jesus Christ in the people of Corinth.

Because of their faith, Paul encourages them in their walk as believers. In verse 7, he reminds them that they “do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” This seems to be a foreshadowing of all that Paul will write to them on spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14. While each individual believer is not expected to have every spiritual gift, that’s why the body of Christ is important – together, they have all the gifts of the Spirit. They have exactly what they need in order to do God’s work as they wait for Jesus to be revealed.

This mention of Jesus being revealed is likely pointing to the second coming of Christ. The believers knew that it had only been a couple of decades since Jesus physically walked the earth and then went up into heaven, but they believed He would come again very soon, likely in their lifetimes! They were eagerly waiting for this revealing of the next coming of Christ.

Since they were waiting, Paul encourages them in that in verse 8. Their faith in Jesus will keep them strong to the end, whenever that “end” may come. In Greek, it is the same word in verse 6 for “confirming” (as in God confirming their testimony) as here for keeping them “firm.” In both occurrences, it is God doing the action to confirm or strengthen them. They need to rely on Him and only Him for this; their own human nature will fail them if they try to rely on it to stay strong until Jesus comes again. God will keep them strong and blameless because of the blood of Jesus for the day when Jesus comes again.

Paul ends this section of thanksgiving and encouragement with a reminder of God’s faithful character in verse 9. God is the one who brought them to faith in Jesus Christ, God is the one who has given them His grace, and God will continue to be faithful in all things in their lives.

There are many principles in this text that apply to us as Christians today also. We, too, have received God’s grace in our lives if we are believers in Jesus! Because of that, our lives are enriched by His Word and by the knowledge that only God can give us. It is our faith in Jesus that allows us to understand the Bible and apply it to our lives.

Each believer in Jesus has a testimony, a story about how God has worked in our lives. Those stories are powerful, just as Paul’s was in sharing the good news about Jesus to those early believers. Our testimony is confirmed as we live out our faith in our daily lives and other people see God working in and through us.

Just as the people of the Corinthian church were waiting for Jesus to come again, we are still waiting for that today, nearly 2000 years later! But we know that God is faithful. As we wait for Jesus to come again, every day we are given allows for more opportunity to share our testimony and the grace of God with more people here on this earth, so that we all may wait expectantly for the day when Christ comes again.

In our self-focused society, we easily get caught up in all that we can (or should) do or say. But note that God is the focus of all of the actions in this passage; it’s all about what God has done or what God will do. Our part is to receive His grace and live that out in our lives, taking whatever part in God’s action that He asks us to do. God uses His people to bring about His Kingdom on this earth, and we are called to simply be obedient to all that God is doing, always giving thanks to God for what He has done and what He will do.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Systematic Theology 6: Anthropology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 10, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Anthropology is the study of man. In a mainstream academic study, this is studying of mankind and his history. But in theology, it goes much deeper. The doctrines of anthropology begin in Genesis when God makes man in His image. We are meant to be a physical reflection, a picture, an image of what God is like and how He operates. However, when Adam sinned against God, that image was marred by the corruption that sin does to anything it touches. Man is well aware that he does not function as he ought, and that this world is not functioning as it ought. That is why he is always trying to fix things and do things better. There is always a seeking of something higher and better, like something was lost that is not there – a utopia that is known but cannot be grasped. Anthropology is the Biblical study of who man is and why he is here.

One of the huge debate points about origins is on the nature of man. This is why origins cannot be a scientific study because science cannot define man. That is a worldview issue that far supersedes science. It answers one of the most fundamental questions of all time: Who am I?

What is man? Is man a special creation that bears the image of God, the only physical moral agent in existence, and the subject the epic story that is history which we are playing a role in? Or is man the descendant of an ape-like creature, a mere product of evolutionary mutations? There really aren’t any other options. Several of the old earth models say that God selected “Adam and Eve” out of a population of animal-like “homo sapiens” and breathed in them the “breath of life” and became “homo sapiens divinus.” But this is the same as the pure evolutionary story just with God decorated over it cosmetically.

Note that no scientific study will ever or can ever answer this question of man’s identity. Any scientific study that could be done will already have the answer decided before it starts. If the scientist believes in a special creation, he will not seek a connection between apes and humans other than the common designs of the Creator. But if the scientist is an evolutionist, he’ll already presume that apes and humans had a common ancestor, look for connections, and make them even if they’re not there. Darwin didn’t come up with universal common ancestry. He was already well versed in the “Great Chain of Being” which is the “tree of life” that had been taught by the pagan cultures for centuries. He just gave it scientific jargon.

This is not small debate point. So much rides on man’s identity and position and yet because the church has been so focused on just the cross that they have lost the battle over truth and the authority of Scripture. (Note that Paul made the cross his central point, not his only point, and every point pointed to and revealed the cross.) So many who have compromised on Genesis will say, “It doesn’t matter about Genesis, just worry about Jesus.” But if we have a wrong view of man in regard to Genesis, then we’ll have a wrong or at least an inconsistent view of what Jesus was able to do on that cross.

This ties into the study of Christology. Jesus came and lived on this earth as a man, not as a highly evolved animal. Only man is redeemable. The angels who sinned against God were never given a chance for redemption, only man was. And man’s origin says a lot about that. The Evolutionist may be able to make their arguments for how man and apes split genetically, but they never could explain the non-material distinctions such as language and morality. Apes have no moral code or standard. They grunt but do not have a language like we do. But if we had a common ancestor with apes, then how is man responsible for sin? The doctrines of sin also play a role here, and I’ll emphasize that more as this series progresses.

While God has used animals for His work, it is man that is the center of all attention. Man’s life is extremely brief and yet extremely valuable. We come and go like the wind, a vapor, a blade of grass, and yet the same God who keeps watch over the sparrows treats us far more valuable than any other part of His creation. The psalmist was right to ask, “Who is man that You would consider him?” This is the wisdom of God. We are the epitome of God’s creation, but we aren’t the biggest, fastest, or strongest creatures. If animal kind were to truly turn on us, they’d crush us rather quickly. Many sci-fi movies and books contemplate that scenario. Yet God gave man dominion over the animals, and after the Flood, He gave animals fear of man. Why? Because now animals would be available for food. Prior to the flood, the animals would never be skittish of men. This is all related.

The secular community knows that man has dominion over the creation. But unlike the Christian, they believe man has “evolved” into the “God-position.” While we are the epitome, the crown of God’s creation, sinful man has taken that notion and make himself like God, just as the serpent suggested we do. But man also sinned and brought all the corruption to the world that is here today. Sinful man acknowledges this in his corrupt way. Just watch your standard sci-fi disaster movie. Man is the problem, and man is the solution. Yet the Bible teaches us that man is the problem and Jesus Christ is the solution. Man is so hopelessly lost in his sin that he needs a savior.

I hope you get a picture of how critical this issue is. If we are to understand man correctly, we have to understand how God defines man, not how man defines himself. Man may be made in the image of God originally, but sin has greatly marred that image, and Satan is doing whatever he can to disfigure and make a mockery of that image. Please hear this: all this transgender and gender fluidity ideology is a satanic attack on the identify of man. The sexual identity issues are all attempts, and good ones now, to destroy how God has defined man and the relationships man is supposed to have with each other and with the rest of creation. Why has the world been so successful in attacking in this area? Because the church quit fighting over origins and let the world take over that battlefield. Yet all the identity battles we fight today – the marriage issues, the family structure issues, all of it – can be answered by having a right view of origins and how God defines man.

Next week, I’ll address hamartiology, the doctrine of sin.

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1 Corinthians – Introduction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 6, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

After writing about the kings of the divided nation of Israel for the last 7 months, it’s time for something different. Starting today, and potentially for almost the next 2 years, I’ll be writing through the two letters of Paul to the Corinthians. You may be wondering, why Corinthians? To which I reply, why not?

While Romans is generally considered to be the most doctrine-filled book of the Bible, 1 and 2 Corinthians are sort of like the next step. These two letters address questions of doctrine that had arisen in the early church, instructions on worship services, and how to live a Christian life, among other things. It is important to remember that these two letters were written to a specific congregation in a specific city at a specific time in history. While many of the principles still apply today, we must always keep those specifics in mind as we interpret this letter for us in our modern setting today.

The city of Corinth, the location of the Corinthian church, was an important ancient city. Geographically, it controlled access to the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea, so it was a strategic city for commerce and a defense point for the military. It was a key point on trade routes in the area. Due to all of this, Corinth was considered a wealthy city. It is believed to have had a population of around 200,000 in the first century AD, not counting the 500,000 or so slaves.

Paul likely came to Corinth after preaching to the people of Athens around the year 50 AD. Some of Paul’s initial time in Corinth was recorded in Acts 18. The Corinthian church was made up of both Jews and Gentiles, as evidenced by the names we see in this letter being both Jewish and Latin. There was a Jewish synagogue in Corinth, so there was already some religion and belief in God there. But the city also had multiple temples and shrines to false gods, including the temple of Apollo.

Scholars believe that there is a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth prior to 1 Corinthians (referenced in 1 Corinthians 5:9), but it has been lost. Paul heard of how the church did not understand that previous letter, plus he heard reports of disorder in the church there (1 Corinthians 1:11). He likely received specific questions from the church, most likely after he visited Corinth in person and while he was in Ephesus (Acts 19). This resulted in his writing this letter, which we now know as 1 Corinthians. This letter was likely written during Paul’s third missionary journey, in roughly 55-56 AD.

As is typical for Paul’s letters, he begins by identifying who he is and stating his position as an apostle of Jesus Christ. While Paul was not one of the disciples who lived and ministered with Jesus while He walked the earth, he makes it clear that he was an apostle “by the will of God.” This references Paul’s conversion story (back when he went by the name Saul), which is found in Acts 9. He was appointed to be an apostle directly by Jesus through that incident on the road to Damascus.

In 1 Corinthians 1:1, Paul specifically mentions “our brother Sosthenes.” The name Sosthenes was common in Greek, so it’s hard to identify who this person was and why he was significant. He may have been a close friend of Paul’s, and we can presume that Sosthenes was known by the church in Corinth. He may have been a leader of the synagogue in Corinth who then helped Paul in his ministry.

In verse 2, Paul addresses this letter to “the church of God.” The Greek word used there for “church” also means an assembly of people. That same word was also used in a secular context to refer to a gathering of people to discuss matters of public interest. But it is clear that Paul uses that word here to refer to a spiritual gathering; it is the gathering of the people of God. They are called to be God’s holy people; they are set apart for God’s purposes.

The people of the Corinthian church are unified with all the other believers in Jesus Christ everywhere because of this holy calling and because of the God that they worship. We see this unity in the second half of verse 2: “Together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” While Christians have different lifestyles, preferences, geographic locations, ages, races, etc. and have lived across the centuries, this one fact unifies all of us: we all call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. That fact is how we today are linked to the early church in Corinth; we all worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Because of that, the content that Paul wrote in this letter applies to us today as well, though we do need to account for the differences in our context and the context of the letter as mentioned earlier.

Verse 3 is a pretty standard greeting for Paul when he begins letters to churches. It is identical to Romans 1:7b, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, and Philemon 1:3. Paul wishes “grace and peace” to the people from God. While this is a type of greeting, it also refers to the redemption that we have in Jesus. We are all saved by grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, which brings us peace with God since we now have a right standing with Him. This grace and peace have a divine origin; they are from God, not from this world.

While this letter from Paul is specifically written to the people of the first-century church in Corinth, we know it applies to us today as well since we share in that faith and redemption through Jesus Christ. Now that we have established some context of this letter, starting next week, we’ll dig into it one passage at a time and see how we as people living in the 21st-century church may grow in our faith today through these words.

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Systematic Theology 5: Pneumatology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 3, 2023 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The fourth category of doctrines we will examine is called Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who is either the least discussed or is over-emphasized to a very unhealthy level. There is a reason why the Holy Spirit is often not spoken about much: because one of His primary jobs is to reveal Christ. So, unlike the Father and Christ, the Holy Spirit never points to Himself. Be careful about churches that over emphasize the Holy Spirit. I am not saying never talk about Him, but if the general trend is to talk about the Holy Spirit and NOT talk about what the Holy Spirit does, then you must be careful because something is not right.

One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to reveal Christ as mentioned above. He will showcase who the true Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible is, and one of the ways He does this is by illuminating Scripture. In my previous series, I wrote about how to read and understand the Bible. Above all I wrote in that series, it is the Holy Spirit who makes the Scriptures come alive. It’s not just understanding what the Bible states that gives it power; it is the active work of the Holy Spirit that gives it power. Spurgeon said that he would never think about trying to defend the Bible, because it would be like trying to defend a lion. Why would you? Just turn the lion loose and he’ll defend himself. Likewise, while apologists do make a strong effort to try to defend the Bible and the faith, I have been convicted that this is the totally wrong approach. We don’t need to defend the Bible intellectually. We instead need to turn it loose because the Bible, when used as the weapon of the Holy Spirit, will strike down the false teachings and demonic ideas and forces we face. For too long, I’ve merely relied on my intellect, rather than actually submitting to the Holy Spirit and letting Him do the battle.

One of the other jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of its sin. One thing you can state for sure: if a pastor or ministry refuses to deal with sin, and especially if they boast about not dealing with sin, you can mark that pastor or ministry as having nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. If they refuse to deal with sin, the Holy Spirit will, and they are at war with each other. I am not saying that every sermon has to only be about sin, however, when it shows up (which will be often) it does need to be addressed.

In this series, I am showcasing how each system of theology has to deal with origins, let us examine what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit regarding origins. The Holy Spirit is the second person of the Trinity mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis 1:2, God had created the primitive form of the earth, which was primarily just water and the Holy Spirit hovered over them. The term is more likened to “brooding” than mere “hovering.” And it was in this moment that the creation truly began and the Father said, “Let there be light.”

The Apostle Paul makes a connection between this passage of Genesis 1:1-3 and salvation. In Genesis 1:1-3, God creates the seed form of the earth that was incomplete, and the Holy Spirit “brooded” over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and the creation process began in greater detail. Then Paul states how in the same way God commanded light to come into existence, He also shines light upon our hearts. When God saves someone, we see the same process. The “seed” is planted, the Holy Spirit “broods” over that seed, and then God grants salvation. So even in the first three verses of Genesis, we have the process of salvation in its seed form.

The Holy Spirit didn’t merely enter the picture 2000 years ago at Pentecost. He was there from the start and had an active role in Creation. He was the agent who used the prophets to speak about future events and to reveal what was going on or what needed to happen. He is the one who does the work in plowing, sowing, planting, watering, making the seed grow, and then producing the harvest. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts man of sin, teaches man right from wrong, corrects and trains man in his journey of sanctification, and then protects and preserves man in salvation.

So, this concludes the three big systematic theology categories of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but there are six more to come. We will also be looking at anthropology (the study of man), hamartiology (the study of sin), soteriology (the study of salvation), ecclesiology (the study of the church), angelology (the study of the angelic/demonic), and eschatology (the study of end times). I am still baffled that cosmology (the study of origins) is not an explicit category here; a misunderstanding of origins will lead to a misunderstanding of each of these categories. So even though the study of origins is not formally in the list, I will argue that you don’t have a proper view of the rest of the systems without a proper view of origins. Stay tuned for next week on anthropology.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.