Category Archives: Theology

“Theology” in the most simple terms means “the study of God”. For the Christian, God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible. Therefore, in our pursuit of a sound knowledge of God and His ways, we look to what He has told us about Himself. Throughout the centuries, men and women have gone about this practice in various ways.

One way is Biblical Theology. This discipline involves many facets. For example, a theologian may delve deep into the writings of one particular author. From this we get phrases like “Pauline,” “Luke-Acts,” or “Johannine theology”. Or perhaps the theologian will take a common term, such as “repentance,” “redemption,” or “seed” and trace its usage from Genesis to Revelation to see how new themes develop as God reveals a little more about it at a time through what is called “Progressive Revelation”. Another example of how Biblical Theology plays out is the study of how the covenants in Scripture relate to one another and where the church fits into God’s grand plan of redemption.

Through Biblical Theology, the theologian will approach the study of any text with the passage’s position in the big picture in the back of their mind. They will look backwards to see what God has already taught about certain themes and vocabulary therein, as well as look ahead to see what else God chose to wait to reveal at a later time.

Another way Christians will study the Bible is called “Systematic Theology”. This discipline seeks to study the Bible topically. Rather than starting with a passage of Scripture and digging up all of the doctrines therein, this discipline takes all of the passages on any given topic and develops a sound understanding of it. We can then neatly bring all of the vast teachings of the Bible together to formulate a clear system of belief.

Traditionally the systematic theologian will break up the Bible into the following themes (give or take a couple):

Theology Proper – What does the Bible say about God the Father
Bibliology – …the Bible
Christology – …the Person of Jesus Christ (God the Son)
Pneumatology – …the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit)
Angelology – …angels
Anthropology – …mankind
Hamartiology – …sin
Soteriology – …salvation (the Work of Jesus Christ)
Ecclesiology – …the church
Eschatology– …the last things (future, return of Christ, eternity)

Through Systematic Theology, the student of the Bible will examine a passage in light of the Bible as a whole. They will access the most helpful study tool, the Bible itself, drawing clues from “the analogy of faith”. They will “interpret the unclear with the clear,” using unambiguous passages to aid his or her understanding of more difficult ones. They will seek out every other passage that talks about the same subject. In the end, the believer will have a plethora of cross references and the ability to synthesize all of the data in a well-defined statement of faith.

Having blessed our minds with theology, we now let it flow to our hearts and pour out to others through the way we live our lives. This discipline is known as Practical Theology. Here the Christian allows his convictions to change his attitudes, actions, and worship. After concluding the meaning of a passage, the student asks, “What then shall I do?” He or she will no longer study the Bible as dry facts like any old history book, but will see the ancient words as applicable to their everyday situations.

In this portion of our blog we hope to bless you in your pursuit of studying God. We will continually point you back to His self-revealing Word rather than promoting our own wisdom and opinions. It is our goal to aid you along the way as you develop your own statement of faith, while keeping the big picture of redemption history always before your eyes. We also hope to aid you in living out what you learn and promote Christlikeness in every area of you life.

Enjoy!

A Loving Father Crushes an Obedient Son: How Penal Substitution Is Not Child Abuse

Years ago two liberal theologians coined the phrase cosmic child abuse.1 They used this term to express their disgust at the traditional doctrine of Penal Substitution. Those who oppose this motif of the cross see the notion of the Father crushing the Son (Isaiah 53:10) as barbaric. They see Jesus as a victim to the Father’s uncontrollable rage. However, a close look at the facts show that such was not the case. At the cross, a loving heavenly Father crushed an obedient, willing Son. Continue reading A Loving Father Crushes an Obedient Son: How Penal Substitution Is Not Child Abuse

The gospel demonstrates God's justice

4 Questions About the Justice of God in the Gospel

  • Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
  • Proverbs 24:24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him.
  • Isaiah 5:22-23 Woe to those…Who justify the wicked for a bribe…
  • Exodus 23:7 …I will not acquit the guilty.

These Scriptures teach that it is wrong to declare a guilty person, “Not guilty.” Yet in the evangelical gospel we see God doing exactly that! He is a God who “justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5).

How can we explain this dilemma? Is God loving us at the expense of His justice? Continue reading 4 Questions About the Justice of God in the Gospel

What God Saves Us From

Sermons by Joshua Chipchase
Faith Baptist Church, Oxford, OH
July 2 & 9, 2017
Titus 2:11-14

Continue reading What God Saves Us From

Jesus’ View of Scripture

Sermon by Joshua Chipchase

Preached on June 25, 2017
Various Texts

Continue reading Jesus’ View of Scripture

What did Peter mean when he said that Paul's letters contain things that are hard to understand​?

Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16

There is a famous go-to verse in Second Peter for those trying to say that Paul’s letters are confusing and hard to understand. Peter’s words are frequently taken to mean that we cannot properly interpret many of the theological discourses in Paul. His statement has often been used as a cop-out in (losing) debates over a Pauline text. But is this really what Peter meant? Is he really telling his audience that they should throw in the towel and give up on Pauline exegesis? I encourage you to read the entire context in which the verse is found (see passage below), and then we will get into reasons why we can still understand Paul, and why this verse does not teach that we cannot: Continue reading Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16

The Shack: A Sub-Christian Explanation for Evil

The Shack, written by William P. Young and adapted to film in 2017 by Lionsgate media, tells the story of a man named Mackenzie who loses his daughter to a brutal murderer. In his grief, he is later summoned to the shack in which his daughter died by the Holy Trinity manifesting themselves as a black woman, a mid-eastern man, and an Asian woman. The film attempts to provide a Christian understanding of how human suffering and evil can exist when an all-powerful beneficent God exists. However, it ultimately fails to provide either a Biblical or comprehensive solution to the problem it addresses.

Continue reading The Shack: A Sub-Christian Explanation for Evil

baptism as a potential sacrament finds middle ground between three views of baptism

Baptism: A Potential Sacrament

The doctrine and practice of baptism is one of the cornerstones of Christian ecclesiology. In the Great Commission, Jesus tells his church to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). Jesus could have prescribed any number of things in his final charge to his disciples, but He included baptism. This places baptism high on the Christian’s priority list. Despite its significance, the church at large has not come to an agreement on what precisely baptism is and how precisely we are to perform it.

“What is baptism?”
“What are the key differences between major denominations in their views of baptism?”
“Is there a possibility of denominations coming together in agreement on this doctrine?”

Such questions are at the heart of this study. I wish to navigate between three different positions on baptism (Memorial Sign, Regenerative Sacrament, and Covenantal Sacrament), and show how baptism is both a sign and sacrament.  Continue reading Baptism: A Potential Sacrament

Did the Fall Ruin God’s Plan? Sin, Suffering, and the Sovereignty of God

“God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.”-John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (3:23:7)The above sentiment is not popular today. If I say, “The fall was part of God’s plan the whole time!” or, “This world of sin and suffering was Plan A,” then immediately people will retort that such a view removes free will from the picture, and accuse me of making Adam a robot. Continue reading Did the Fall Ruin God’s Plan? Sin, Suffering, and the Sovereignty of God

He rescues us from this present age

Jesus Delivered Himself to Deliver Us (Galatians 1:4)

“[Jesus] gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of God our Father.”

The statement is at the introduction of Paul’s letter and seems to simply be an outburst of doxology. He is overwhelmed at the tremendous mercy of Christ. However, from verse 6 of this chapter we can glean that Paul is not merely rejoicing in this faith. Rather, he is strategically stating the true gospel right out of the gate. You see, the very next thing Paul mentions after this work of Christ is that the Galatians are falling into a different gospel. Thus his statement in verse 4 is that real, saving gospel from which the Galatians are deviating. They had lost focus of the cross. Continue reading Jesus Delivered Himself to Deliver Us (Galatians 1:4)

How the cross carries us down the chain of Salvation

The Cross and the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:31-34)

In our original post on the Golden Chain of Salvation we looked at Romans 8:30 as our key verse. There we examined each stage in the process (predestination, calling, justification, and glorification) and concluded that, by God’s power, the links of the chain cannot be broken. If one part of the chain applies to somebody, we know the rest will too.

Now we will continue on in Romans 8 where Paul elaborates upon and solidifies what he has already said about the golden chain. Bringing up Christ’s death and resurrection Paul shows how our security is rooted in God’s justice (vv. 31-34), and in His love (vv. 35-39). Christians are hammered with opposition and trials in this life, but because Jesus died for us we can rest assured that nothing can “unlink” us from the chain of salvation. Continue reading The Cross and the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:31-34)