Theology 2 Master of Christian Studies Union University Dr. Kendell Easley
What Is Systematic Theology Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today?” about any given topic.
Why Should Christians Study Theology? • The Basic Reason: Jesus Commanded It! • The Benefits to Our Lives • Objections to the Study • The Conclusions Are “Too Neat” to Be True • The Choice of Topics Dictates the Conclusions
Easley’s Thinking about Systematic Theology • Need to distinguish between first-level, second-level, and third level doctrines • First-level: doctrines that define orthodoxy (RAISED FIST) • To deny a first-level doctrine is to be in heresy and likely to be outside of Christ and the gospel • The Ancient Creeds and the Pillars of the Reformation serve as reliable guidelines • Example: the bodily resurrection of Jesus
Easley’s Thinking about Systematic Theology • Second-level: doctrines that define denominations (OUTTHRUST PALM) • To deny a second-level doctrine is to be in error • Those disagreeing here may have difficulty sharing church membership, but not Christian fellowship • Example: the proper candidates for baptism • Third-level: doctrines that express personal preference and about which there is much question (OPEN PALM) • Persons of all preferences are welcome • Example: questions about the nature of the tribulation
Systematic TheologyPart 4 The Doctrines of Christ and the Holy Spirit
The Person of Christ How Is Jesus Fully God and Fully Man, Yet One Person?
The Humanity of Christ (1) • Virgin Birth • Shows that salvation ultimately must come from the God • Made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person • Made possible Christ’s true humanity with out inherited sin • Human Weaknesses and Limitations • Jesus had a human body • Jesus had a human mind • Jesus had a human soul and human emotions • People near Jesus saw him only as a man
Sinlessness Could Jesus have sinned? “Peccability” = Jesus was able not to sin “Impeccability” = Jesus was not able to sin Why was Jesus’ full humanity necessary? For representative obedience To be a substitute sacrifice To be the one Mediator between God and man To fulfill God’s original purpose for man to rule over creation To be our example and pattern in life To be the pattern for our redeemed body To sympathize as a high priest Jesus will be a man forever The Humanity of Christ (2)
The Deity of Christ (1) • Direct Scriptural Claims • The word God (Theos) used of Christ • The word Lord (Kyrios) used of Christ • Other strong claims to deity • Evidence that Jesus Possessed Attributes of Deity • Omnipotence • Eternity • Omniscience • Omnipresence • Sovereignty • Immortality • Worthy of worship
The Deity of Christ (2) • Did Jesus Give Up Some of His Divine Attributes While on Earth? • Conclusion: Jesus Is Fully Divine • Is the Doctrine of the Incarnation “Unintelligible” Today? • Why Was Jesus’ Deity Necessary?
The Incarnation (1) • Inadequate Views of the Person of Christ • Apollinarianism (Human Body + Divine Mind) • Nestorianism (Human Person + Divine Person) • Monophysitism or Eutychianism (Human and Divine in One Nature) • The Solution: Chalcedonian Christology of A.D. 451 • “Of one substance with the Father according to the Godhead, of one substance with us according to the Manhood....Two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably....The property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person.” • The “Hypostatic Union” = Human Nature + Divine Nature = One Person
The Incarnation (2) • Only Chacedonian Christology Explains Specific Biblical Texts on Christ’s Deity and Humanity • Summary: “Remaining what he was, he became what he was not.” • Conclusion: This is the most profound miracle and mystery in the universe
The Atonement Was It Necessary for Christ to Die?Did Christ’s Entire Earthly Life Earn Any Saving Benefits for Us?What Is the Cause and Nature of the Atonement?Did Christ Descend into Hell?
The atonement is the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation. • The Cause of the Atonement • The Love of God (John 3:16) • The Justice of God (Romans 3:25) • The Necessity of the Atonement • In one sense, it was not necessary for God to save anyone at all. • Yet, the atonement was the only way for God to save us, one he chose to save.
The Nature of the Atonement (1) • Christ’s Obedience for Us (“Active Obedience”) = A Lifetime of Perfect Obedience to God • Christ’s Sufferings for Us (“Passive Obedience”) • Suffering for his whole life • The pain of the cross • Physical pain and death • The pain of bearing sin • Abandonment • Bearing the wrath of God (“propitiation”)
The Nature of the Atonement (2) • Further Understanding of the Death of Christ • The penalty was inflicted by God the Father • Not eternal suffering but complete payment • Meaning of the “blood” of Christ • Outward evidence that he gave up his life as a sacrifice to pay for salvation) • Christ’s death as a “penal substitution” (= vicarious atonement)
The Nature of the Atonement (3) • New Testament Terms Describing Different Aspects of the Atonement • Sacrifice • Propitiation • Reconciliation • Redemption • Inadequate Views of the Atonement • Ransom to Satan Theory (Origen) • Moral Influence Theory (Abelard) • Example Theory (Socinius) • Governmental Theory (Grotius)
Did Christ Descend into Hell? • Origin of the phrase, “he descended into hell” in the Apostles’ Creed • Possible biblical support for a descent into hell • Biblical opposition to a descent into hell • Conclusion: Scripture does not seem to support Christ’s descent into hell
The Extent of the Atonement (1) • Did Christ’s death pay for the sins of every individual (universal atonement) or did his death pay for the sins of those he knew would be saved (particular atonement)? • Scripture Passages Used to Support Particular Atonement (reformed view) • Scripture Passages Used to Support Universal Atonement (non-reformed view)
The Extent of the Atonement (2) • Points of Agreement • Not everyone will be saved • A free offer of the gospel can rightly be made to every person • Christ’s death has infinite merit and is sufficient for every human sin • Points of Caution • We should ask the right question: Did Christ pay for the sins of all unbelievers who will be eternally condemned fully on the cross? • Both “Christ died for his people only” and “Christ died for all people” are in some sense true. • Pastorally, there are certain implications for either view
Resurrection and Ascension What Was Christ’s Resurrection Body Like?What Is the Significance for Us?What Happened to Christ When He Ascended into Heaven?What Is Meant by the States of Jesus Christ?
Resurrection • New Testament Evidence • The Nature of Christ’s Resurrection • Both the Father and the Son Participated in the Resurrection • Doctrinal Significance of the Resurrection • Insures our regeneration • Insures our justification • Insures that we will receive perfect resurrection bodies as well • Ethical Significance of the Resurrection • Keep obeying God in this life • Focus on our future heavenly reward • Stop yielding to sin
Ascension into Heaven • Christ Ascended to a Place • Christ Received Glory and Honor that Had Not Been His Before as the God-Man • Christ Was Seated at God’s Right Hand (Christ’s Session) • Christ’s Ascension Has Doctrinal Significance for Our Lives • We are united with Christ • We have assurance of our final heavenly home • We already share (in part) Christ’s authority
States of Jesus Christ • Humiliation • Incarnation • Suffering • Death • Burial • Exaltation • Resurrection • Ascension • Session • Return
The Offices of Christ How Is Christ Prophet, Priest, and King?
Christ as Prophet He reveals God to us and speaks God’s words to us. • He is greater than any other prophet and unlike any other prophet • He is the one about whom the Old Testament prophets spoke • He is not only the messenger of divine revelation, but is the source of revelation
Christ as Priest He offers a sacrifice to God on our behalf and is himself the sacrifice that is offered. • He offered a perfect sacrifice for sin • He continually brings us near to God • He continually prays for us
Christ as King He rules over the church and over the universe as well. Our Roles as Prophets, Priests, and Kings
The Work of the Holy Spirit What Are the Distinctive Activities of the Holy Spirit Throughout the History of the Bible?
The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the church. • The Holy Spirit Empowers • He Gives Life • He Gives Power for Service • Old Testament • New Testament • In the ministry of Jesus • In enabling Jesus’ disciples to minister • In giving spiritual gifts • In empowering people to overcome temptations
The Work of the Holy Spirit (2) • The Holy Spirit Purifies • The Holy Spirit Reveals • Revelation to Prophets and Apostles • He Gives Evidence of God’s Presence • He Guides and Directs God’s people • He Provides a Godlike Atmosphere When He Manifests His Presence • He Gives Us Assurance • He Teaches and Illumines
The Work of the Holy Spirit (3) • The Holy Spirit Unifies • The Holy Spirit Gives Stronger or Weaker Evidence of the Presence and Blessing of God According to Our Response to Him • He can be resisted and grieved • He can be outraged and blasphemed • Therefore we should be careful to live according to the Spirit’s guidance