Yes! God Has Indeed Said

Yes! God Has Indeed Said

Social media is a fact of life in our day.  But what is expressed thereby is often not a result of careful thought. In communication via instant tweets and memes on our screen devices, sound (healthy, as in 2 Tim.1:6) theology, is frequently not the foundation. Of course, unsound theology is and has been written by hand and in print form via letters, tracts, and books long before the internet was even a glimmer in man’s imagination.  Christ’s apostles, after all, wrote letters which addressed unsound theology; think of I John’s warning against antichrist deceivers (I John 2:26), and their false teachings were likely also circulated in written form. And certainly, the unsound theology of Arius and the Donatists, and the Nestorians, and the Pelagians,  promoted in the early centuries of the Christians church, were in written form, as were their refutations by the church fathers, like Irenaeus, Tertullian, Justin Martyr  and by creed -writing church councils, like Nicea and Chalcedon.  Unsound theology in written form and in church practice, undermining the health of the visible Christian church, was the reason a battle cry of the 16th century reformation of the church was “sola Scriptura” (along with the other four solas, remember them?)

But in our day of much “screen” time, much “clicking,” and posting videos, theology is a harder sell because it demands careful, discerning thought and time-consuming effort and mind-renewing devotion to God. As we are professing Christians, our “clicking” should reflect our calling of “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”(2 Cor.10:5b), which goes right along with Christ’s apostle Paul also beseeching the called of Jesus Christ, those who have received His mercies:  “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  (Rom 12:2). Because, by God’s mercies, we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. It is by God’s mercies in Christ Jesus and His indwelling Spirit alone that any us sinners are enabled to walk no longer in the futility of a mind whose understanding is darkened (Eph 4:17-18). It is by God’s mercies alone that our minds are set no longer on the flesh (Rom.8) as characterizes the world to which we Christians are not to be conformed. 

We Christians, by God’s mercies, have the faith that repents of our natural fleshly mindset, that is, we have had a change of mind from ungodly ways of thinking to new, godly ways of thinking. But to no longer be conforming to, molded, according to the world’s mindset, we need to continue to have our minds renewed, so our spiritual, no longer fleshly, mind-set translates into godly conduct (see, for instance, Rom.12-16) The only way to renew our minds, to replace the world’s sinful, futile, way of thinking, is to replace it with the Truth. 

That’s what theology is all about. Theology is the study of the triune God who is our Creator and Lord, and Who is thus the source and standard of all knowledge and truth (Prov.1:7, Is.46:8-10, Rom. 11:33-36). All human beings, created in God’s image, are to know God, but as we Christians are those who have been given eternal life in Christ Jesus, knowing God is our highest calling (John 17:3). Knowing God is the object of theology. As Herman Bavinck wrote in his Reformed Dogmatics: “Dogmatics [theology] is always called upon to ponder and describe God and God alone…it is the knowledge of him alone that dogmatics must put on display.”

Theology is not just an abstract concept suitable only for academic intellectuals; theology, knowing God, is to be the pursuit of every Christian. And theology is to be useful, to be applied to every area of life. Theology renews the mind for the sake of presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. (Rom 12:1). The source and foundation for sound, proper theology is God’s all-sufficient revelation of Himself, His Holy Scriptures. Sound theology “thinks God’s thoughts after Him” as theologian Cornelius Van Til put it in his “Christian Theory of Knowledge.”  Sound theology is reflecting faithfully on the whole of Scripture, so as to direct our whole lives, including our presence on the web, as living sacrifices in response to his mercies.  

The thoughts that God wants us, whom He has redeemed for his glory, to think after Him, are the objective truths His Word teaches us. As theologian B.B. Warfield put it: “Theology…is that science which treats of God in himself and in his relations.” Those “relations” encompass the ontological and economic Trinity, God’s providential rule over His creation, the institutions for family and society, His redemption of sinners by Christ Jesus, His fellowship with His covenant people, His shepherding, (not an exhaustive list), as well as the eschatological consummation of these “relations.”  Sound theology reflects on the whole of God’s Word both systematically and on its historically progressive revelation of God and His “relations,” culminating in the historical incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and promising his return to take His church to glory. 

God has said all of this in his Word and sound theology has summarized it by the creeds we confess. God has said
it, and our minds need ongoing renewal on this side of glory so the truth we by faith believe translates into a thankful, fruitful, witnessing life of faith in the God of mercies through Christ Jesus and His Spirit. 

The greatest danger to sound, applied theology is the doubt of God’s Word that the devil is always trying to instigate in our minds so as to destroy the church’s witness to her Savior and Lord Christ Jesus. We remind ourselves of the Devil’s words to Eve in the garden: “Has God indeed said? Those words do strike at the core of the Christian faith; at the core of sound theology. 

In our day of instant communication, unsound theologies based on doubting His Word, and their resultant application to life, spread quickly and often pervasively even within the professing Christian church.

Has God indeed said, as sound theology affirms, that Christ Jesus is the incarnate eternally begotten Son of God? Indeed, as we know perhaps most familiarly from John 3:16, but also, for instance, John 1:1,2,14,18, Phil 2:6, I John 4:9, and did we not memorize that Word of God truth by way of the Heidelberg Catechism LD #6,13?

God has indeed said, but the 2020 Ligonier “State of Theology” poll found that of the 96% of self-identified evangelicals who agreed (in accordance with sound theology) that “There is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit”, yet 30% of those affirmed that “Jesus was a great teacher, but was not God” and 65% agreed that “Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God.” Unsound theology, a lack of mind-renewal, expressed in contradiction to what God has said and Christ’s church has affirmed by creeds for the last 1700 years.

Has God indeed said that there is male and female? Yes: Gen. 1:27. Is that sound theological truth consistently affirmed by those claiming to be Christians?

Has God indeed said Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man? Yes: I Tim 2:5-6. So proclamations of alternative ways to be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ are unsound theology.

God has spoken, given us His thoughts, on proper worship, proper church leadership, proper marriage, proper civil government, and proper conduct of mankind created in His own image, especially His redeemed, His church, the body of Christ.

May our minds continue to be renewed by what God has indeed said, so that we might offer ourselves, in all aspects of life, as living sacrifices to the God who has been graciously merciful to us in Christ Jesus.

George Horner
Westminster, CO

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