Final Doctrinal Statement on God

Recently, I posted a few blog posts on a synthetic definition of God that included a doctrinal belief on the trinity, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Spirit (Holy Spirit). After posting that, I realized there was a couple of items that were left out that I wanted to include. Instead of posting very similar posts all over again, I thought it best just to publish the whole doctrinal statement (aka synthetic definition) on God. The changes are minimal but will hopefully add a little more definition and clarity on the different Persons of the Trinity.

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT OF GOD

I believe in the Holy Trinity. I believe in one true God, that eternally exists as three Persons –Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that these three are one God.[1] I believe that God is one in essence, three in Person each fully God and equally God each equal in nature, attributes and glory, and worthy of worship and obedience.[2] I believe the three Persons of the Trinity to be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.[3] I believe that none is greater or less than the other but all equal and united.[4] I believe that the primary names[5] of God are Adonai[6], Elohim[7] and Yahweh[8] as revealed in the inspired Scriptures for His creation to call Him.[9] I believe that the Triune God is perfect[10], immutable[11], eternal[12], omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.[13] In God being very God, He is true, holy, just, good, faithful, loving, merciful and gracious.[14] God is beyond all human comprehension.[15]

I believe in one God, the Father[16], the all-powerful Lord and Master, the Glorious and Majestic God of all. I believe that God is the Creator and Maker of heaven and earth, and all that is seen and unseen.[17] He is the only God, the Creator and Sustainer, the Most High One, the Lord.[18] The Father is completely self-existent, self-sufficient and free.[19] I believe the Father is the Divine Source[20], Sovereign Ruler[21], Lord Chief Justice[22], Compassionate Reconciler[23], Him to Whom All Things Return[24], and the Father of the Son.[25]

I believe in the One and Only Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, eternally begotten of God the Father, being God from God and of the same Being as the Father, not created.[26] I believe that through Him all things were created and are sustained.[27] I believe that Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, became incarnate[28] and received a sinless human nature.[29] I believe that He was at the same time truly God[30] and truly man[31], being at once in two natures fully human and fully God with the essences of each being preserved.[32] I believe that the eternal Son of God came into this world fulfilling Scriptures that He might manifest God and redeem fallen humanity as a ransom for all.[33] I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Sacrificial Lamb that atoned the sin of the world saving all those who believe in Him from the righteous judgments that God must execute to satisfy His wrath.[34] I believe Jesus was crucified, dead and buried and on third day rose from the grave in accordance with Scripture; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.[35] I believe that He is the Christians’ Mediator to God and will come again to judge all mankind.[36]

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, and that He is of God the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.[37] I believe that He is to be worshiped and glorified just as the Father and Son.[38] I believe that He is the promised Counselor indwelling every believer according to the divine promise and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body.[39] I believe the Holy Spirit is a divine Person evidenced by His intelligence, volition, and emotions;[40] yet functions as the personal presence of God in the world.[41] He spoke through the prophets to produce the inspired Scriptures.[42] I believe the Spirit is active in the world today helping unbelievers come to know Christ, empowering the church, and leading believers into holiness to exemplify Christ.[43] I believe that that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgiveable sin.[44]

[1] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 20. “…[S]ince ‘God is spirit,’ ‘Holy Spirit’ can be predicated of the whole Trinity; the Father and Son both being ‘spirit,’ and both ‘holy’… But the Holy Spirit, as a proper name in the Trinity, is relative to the Father and the Son, since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son.” – Augustine, De Trinitate 5.12, in Henry Bettenson, ed., The Later Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great, trans. H. Bettenson (London: Oxford Univ. 1970) 231. Deut 6:4-5; Matt 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 14:6-17; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 13:14; Col 1:13-19.

[2] Athanasian Creed lines 3-20. The Creed speaks to the Father, the Son and the Spirit each uncreated, incomprehensible, eternal, almighty; yet they are not three “almighties,” “eternals,” “uncreateds” and “incomprehensibles” but one. Each is God and Lord. “It is most important that we think of God as Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.” – cf A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, (New York: HarperOne, 1961), 20. “Within God’s one, undivided being is an ‘unfolding’ into three personal distinctions. These personal distinctions are modes of existence within the divine being, but are not divisions of the divine being.” – cf Matt Perman, “What is the Doctrine of the Trinity,” http://www.desiringgod.org, Jan 23, 2006 (accessed Oct 8, 2014). Also see Dallas Theological Seminary Article II from Doctrinal Statements, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement. John 1:14; 2 Cor 13:14; Heb 1:1-3; Rev 1:4-6.

[3] Athanasian Creed lines 3-20.  Matt 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Cor 8:6.

[4] Athanasian Creed lines 25, 27. “The Persons of the Godhead… have one will. They work always together…. Every act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in Unity…. It is a real if understandable error to conceive of the… [Trinity] as conferring with one another and reaching agreement by interchange of though as humans do.” – cf A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, 22. “When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone.” And “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God.” – cf Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 255.

[5] God is called by many names but these are the most predominant names that are found in Scripture. Other names include: ALL POWERFUL (2 Cor 6:18; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17); ANCIENT OF DAYS (Dan 7:9); FATHER (Rom 1:7; 8:15; Gal 4:6; James 1:27; 1 Pet 1:3); HOLY ONE, MOST HOLY (Isa 1:4; 6:3, Rev 16:5); JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH (Gen 18:25); MASTER, LORD, SOVEREIGN LORD (Luke 2:29; Jude 1:4); KING/MY KING (Ps 5:2; 44:4; 1Tim 6:15); MY LORD, MY HUSBAND (Hos 2:16); ROCK OF ISRAEL (Gen 49:24); SHEPHERD, MY SHEPHERD (Gen 48:15; Ps 23:1).

[6] Adonai literally means “my lords, or master, lord, Lord.” It is found 425 times and is used exclusively of the true God, often together with Yahweh (310 times, 2 Sam 7:18). – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 1 God’s Names and Attributes, ST102 unpublished class notes, DTS, 2. Gen 15:2; 18:3; Ps 35:23; 110:1.

[7] Elohim literally means “powerful ones or God, gods or most high ones.” It is found 2,602 times in the OT and describes God as Creator-Sustainer of the universe, usually translated as “God” in the NT. Typically, it stands in direct relation to Yahweh and Adonai (Deut 10:7) – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 1 God’s Names and Attributes, ST102 unpublished class notes, DTS, 1. Gen 1:1; Ex 20:2-3.

[8] Yahweh (or YHWH) means “LORD, I AM; Jehovah.” It is probably from the verb “to be,” and found 6,828 times in the Old Testament. Generally it is God’s personal name in covenant with His creation (Gen 2:4) and His people, especially Israel (Ex 3:13-15). In the New Testament, it is typically translated Lord, related to “I AM” in Ex 3:13-15, see John 8:58 – cf cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 1 God’s Names and Attributes, ST102 unpublished class notes, DTS, 2. Gen 9:26; 12:8; 15:2,8; Ex 3:14; Is 16:4.

[9] Ex 3:13-15; Jdg 13:17-18; Gen 2:4. Other sources for the doctrine of the Trinity include acts of God in history such as the resurrection, the apostolic and Christian tradition such as the Nicene Creed, and the threefold experience of the Christian God. While God has progressively revealed Himself to creation, the Bible is the foundational source for the doctrine of the Trinity and God’s revelation about Himself. The importance of God’s name is: they reveal His Person (Ex 3:13-15; Jdg 13:17-18), represent Him (Ps 8:1; 75:1) and are therefore sacred (Ex 20:7; Matt 6:9).

[10] God is the definition of the measure or standard of all that is right, excellent, worthy and complete. Deut 32:4, Hab 1:13; Ps 18:30; Matt 5:48; 1 Tim 4:4.

[11] God never differs from Himself. “God cannot change for the better. Since He is perfectly holy, He has never been less holy than He is now and can never be holier than He is and has always been. Neither can God change for the worse. Any deterioration within the unspeakably holy nature of God is impossible…. All that God is He has always been, and all that He has been and is He will ever be.” Any attempt to think of God as changing, that object is no longer God and becomes something less than He is. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 49-50. Ps 102:27; Mal 3:6.

[12] God exists infinitely before when time began, everlasting (in time) but also stands outside of time.

[13] Incommunicable attributes of God. “God is at once far off and near, and that in Him men move and live and have their being….There is no limit to His presence…He surrounds the finite creation and contains it. There is no place beyond Him for anything to be.” – cf A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 74. God is both transcendent (beyond and outside of creation; 1 Kings 8:27; Isa 40:12-28) and immanent (God is everywhere sustaining creation but is not creation itself; Jer 23:23; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:3).

[14] Communicable attributes of God. True: Job 9:4; Ps 33:10-11; John 17:3; Rom 11:33. Holy: Lev 19:2, 21:8; Ps 24:3, 99:3. Good: Ps 25:8, 34:8. Faithful: Deut 7:9; Ps 25:10. Loving: John 17:24; Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:8, Merciful: 2 Sam 24:14; Ps 86:16; Luke 1:78. Gracious: Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Eph 2:4-5.

[15] Athanasian Creed, line 9. “The intellect knoweth that it is ignorant of Thee because it knoweth Thou canst not be known, unless the unknowable could be known, and the invisible beheld and the inaccessible attained.” – cf Nicholas of Cusa, The Vision of God (New York: E.P. Dutton & Sons, 1928) 60. Job 36:26; Ps 139:6; Rom 11:33.

[16] Deut 32:6; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 68:5; Jn 6:27, Rom 1:7, Eph 4:6. “[T]he term God or theos generally denotes the person of the Father, with only a few important exceptions.” Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 7. “Everything that Christ taught… is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 224.

[17] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

[18] God reveals His name most frequently as Yahweh (LORD, I AM), Elohim (powerful ones or God, gods), and Adonai (Lord, master).

[19] God does not originate from or depend on anything outside of Himself. He sustains all things and is necessarily self-existent. Job 41:11; Acts 17:24-25; Rom 11:35-36.

[20] Acts 17:24-25, 28; Eph 1:11, 4:6; Rev 4:11.

[21] Deut 10:14, 17; 1 Chron 29:11-12; Matt 11:25; 1 Tim 6:15.

[22] Gen 18:25; Ex 12:12; Lev 18:4; Luke 23:34; John 8:15-16.

[23] John 3:16; Acts 14:15-17; 1 John 4:8, 16; 2 Cor 5:18-19.

[24] 1 Cor 15:24-28; Col 1:20; Rev 1:8, 21:22, 22:13.

[25] To explain the doctrine of the Trinity more fully, a distinction between essence and persons is helpful. It is helpful to remember that each member of the Trinity is present in every act of God, either in a primary or a secondary role. The one divine essence includes attributes that are equally shared by each member of the Godhead, but these six roles are predominantly ascribed to the Father. Other roles and activities of the Father include: God as husband and Judah/Israel as wife (Hos 2:2-16; Jer 3:1-14); the potter with human beings as the clay (Isa 45:9-10; Rom 9:21-24); the good Shepherd of the sheep (Ps 23; John 10:11-16); and the Vinedresser, with Jesus as the vine, and the believers the branches (John 15:1-8) – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 13. In reference to God as the Father of the Son, see: Luke 23:24; John 3:16, 8:15-16, 17:5, 24.

[26] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, John 1:1-18; John 10:30. Jesus states that He has every right to the claim of oneness with the God because the Father has sent him into the world (10:36) and “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (10:38). Also, “If the Word [Jesus] were a created being, then he would have had to create himself for any and all creation came into existence through him: ‘without him was not any thing made that was made’ (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2)” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 4: God Made Flesh, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 11.

[27] One role of Jesus Christ was His involvement in creation. Col 1:16-17 summarizes that Christ is the creator, sustainer, and the purpose of all created existence. John 1:3, “Through him all things were made.” “He was the Father’s agent in every act of making that the Father has ever performed.” – cf J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 56. “In him was life…” (John 1:4) speaks of Jesus animating, that is all things exist in and through Him, or are sustained in him.

[28] Incarnate means to become flesh. This is God himself becoming human as Jesus entered physically into the world and became human like us. It is only God who could pay for our sins, therefore God the Son became man to provide atonement for mankind’s sins. “He [Jesus] had not ceased to be God; he was no less God than before; but he had begun to be man. He was not now God minus some elements of his deity, but God plus all that he had made his own by taking manhood to himself” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 57. Heb 2:17; John 1:1, 14; 1 Pet 2:24.

[29] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, Luke 1:30-35; Luke 2:40; John 1:18; Phil 2:5-8.

[30] Phil 2:6-7: “who though he was in the form of God… made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Italics mine). Of special note is the term “form” (morphē) which “denotes outward appearance that reveals an inward reality…. The ‘morphē of God’ denotes the heavenly glory… that reveals Christ’s innate deity.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 4: God Made Flesh, ST102OL Class Notes, 17. Douglas McCready states, the only one who can enjoy the status of God is God Himself.” – cf Douglas McCready, He Came Down from Heaven: The Preexistence of Christ and the Christian Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 77.

[31] A major argument is also found in Phil 2:7 over the term “emptied” (himself), which the theological term kenosis (the “self-emptying” of Christ) is derived. Some have argued that because Christ “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” then He could not have been God. Instead this shows the example of Jesus that because He was “in the form of God” and already existed as God, He “made himself nothing,” becoming a humble human. Kenosis says that “in order to be fully human, the Son had to renounce some of his divine qualities, otherwise he could not have shared the experience of being limited in space, time, knowledge and consciousness which is essential to truly human life.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 59. Packer argues why this theory is wrong by showing that when Paul spoke of the Son having emptied himself and became poor, it was not about Jesus laying aside his divine powers and attributes but of his divine glory and dignity citing John 17:5, “the glory I had with you before the world began.” Packer states that there “is no Scripture support for the idea of the Son’s shedding any aspects of his deity” (60). Regarding the controversial text of Mark 13:32 where Jesus says He does not know the time of His return, Packer insists that Jesus lived not as an independently divine person, but as a dependent one. While Jesus was on earth it was not a new relationship with the Father occasioned by the Incarnation, “but the continuation in time of the eternal relationship between the Son and Father in heaven…. The Son was utterly dependent on the Father’s will…. His knowing, like the rest of his activity, was bounded by his Father’s will. And therefore the reason why he was ignorant of (for instance) the date of his return was not that he had given up the power to know all things at the Incarnation, but that the Father had not willed that he should have this particular piece of knowledge while on earth, prior to his passion” (62). Matt 28:18, 20; John 21:17; Eph 4:10.

[32] Chalcedonian Definition states, “the Same perfect in Godhead, the Same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the Same [consisting] of a rational soul and a body; one essence [homoousios] with the Father as to his Godhead, and one essence [homoousios] with us as to his manhood; in all things like unto us, sin only excepted…. One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, made known in two natures [which exist] without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the difference of the natures having been in no wise taken away by reason of the union, but rather the properties of each being preserved, and [both] concurring into one Person (prosopon) and one hypostasis— not parted or divided into two Persons (prosopa), but one and the same Son and Only-begotten….” The hypostatic (meaning personal) union is the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. This doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches that these two natures are united in one person. Jesus is not two persons, but one. It is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus. This means that Jesus is not half God and half man. He is fully and completely God and man. He never lost His divinity. Athanasian Creed formulates it as, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man… perfect God, and perfect man…who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.” Col 2:9; Heb 1:3. For more on hypostatic union see J.I. Packer, Knowing God; Matt Perman, “How can Jesus be God and Man,”desiringgod.org, October 5, 2006 (accessed October 8, 2014).

[33] John 3:16; Phil 3:20-21.

[34] John 1:29; Rom 3:25-26; 2 Cor 5:14; 1 Pet 3:18

[35] Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim 2:6; John 20:20.

[36] Athanasian Creed, line 40. Apostles Creed, line 7. Jesus as Mediator: 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:15.

[37] Athanasian Creed. The Spirit is found active in creation, bring life to the universe (Gen 1:2; 2:7; Job 33:4; Ps 33:6, 104:30). The Holy Spirit has been referred to as such in Ps 51:11 and Isaiah 63:10-11. Similar to the Hebrew word ruah, pneuma in the Greek describes the Spirit as “the Spirit of God” or “Spirit of the Father,” or “Son.” – cf F.W. Horn, “Holy Spirit,” Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed David Noel Freedman, 6 vols, (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 3:265. The clearest evidence of the Holy Spirit’s divinity comes from the baptismal formula of Matt 28:19, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Also see John 15:26 (“the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” KJV); 2 Cor 3:17-18. Counselor: John 14:16, 16:7. Also called Advocate and Comforter (John 14:26).

[38] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. All the divine attributes that God has, the Spirit has (Isa: 40:13,14; 1 Cor 2:10-13; Ps 139:7-9; Heb 10:29; 1 Pet 4:14); and likewise, the Spirit does what the Father and Son do but often times in a complementary role (Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; Isa 40:12; John 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit may also be described as a divine Person in that He has His own intelligence (2 Cor 2:10-13), has affections and emotions (Acts 9:31; Rom 8:26; Eph 4:30), and in the same way the Son submitted to the Father, so the Spirit submits to the will of the Father and the Son. John 16:13-14; Acts 7:51, 15:28; 1 Cor 12:11.

[39] John 14:16-17; John 16:7-15; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:9; Eph 2:22; Eph 4:3-6. “Virtually all the divine ministrations to Christians are accomplished by the Holy Spirit—regeneration, baptism, sealing, indwelling, anointing, etc. Even more directly, to resist (Acts 7:51), quench (1 Thess. 5:19), grieve (Eph. 4:30) or insult the Spirit (Heb. 10:29) is to do so to God.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 15.

[40] In general, a person is both a self-conscious entity and a relational being. “Should the Holy Spirit (already seen to be divine) evidence such characteristics [intelligence, volition, and emotion] in his relationship to the Father, Christ, and believers, then this Spirit should well be considered a person in the same sense as the Father and the Son.” Intelligence: “The Spirit demonstrates a divine intelligence which appears at once one with and yet distinct from the mind of God the Father.” See Isa 40:15-17; 1 Cor 2:10-14. Affection/Emotion: The Spirit sympathizes and supports the believer. The title Counselor suggests affective engagement of the Spirit with the believer and cares for and involves himself with each believer. See Acts 9:31; Rom 8:26; Heb 10:29. Volition: The will of the Spirit is manifested obliquely. It is the Spirit that leads the believer into a more Christlike nature. John intends for the reader to see as the Son submitted his will to the Father, in the same way the Spirit subjects His will to the Son and the Father. John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:50; Acts 5:9; 7:51; 13:2; 15:28; 1 Cor 12:11. – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, unpublished ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 16-19.

[41] Stephen and Philip were chosen as those “known to be full of the Spirit” (Acts 6:3-5). When turning to trust in him and to receive God’s gift of salvation, the believer senses an infusion of the Lord’s presence into their innermost self – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, unpublished ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 2 -3. Gen 41:38; Deut 34:9; Luke 4:18, Acts 4:8, 31.

[42] 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21.

[43] The Spirit “teaches us to pray, illumines us to the significance of Scripture for our lives, gives gifts to each believer for the building up of the church, and empowers our ministries with eternal consequences.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 21. 1 Cor 12:4, 8, 13:14

[44] “One of the most convincing arguments… of the Spirit’s deity is Matthew’s record of Jesus’ teaching on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:30-32).” This provides another argument for the Holy Spirit’s divine personhood. – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, The Other Comforter, unpublished ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 20-21.

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A Doctrinal Statement on Jesus: His Essence and Divinity

Today, we look at the second member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. The early church fathers wrestled with several issues concerning Jesus, mainly his eternality, essence, divinity, and nature. While there were many different camps and arguments that occurred during those early years, there were two main theologians who wrestled with the divine nature and essence of Christ; they were Arius and Athanasius (from whom we get the Athanasian creed). Later on history, there were several main councils that were formed to further discuss the divinity of Christ, including the first council of Nicae and the council of Chalcedon.

This doctrinal statement will look mainly at two important issues, kenosis and the hypostatic union. Remember, the New Testament canon wasn’t agreed upon until the fifth century, so all these issues concerning Christ were important topics. It is something modern day believers take for granted but since these early church fathers were so close in time to the life of Christ and the apostles, there was a lot of discussion about what the right type of thinking was. All sort of different variations of belief in Christ and who He was started appear (these will be further examined in the post to come). Also, we will look further into the topic of “eternally begotten of God” in later posts as well since the origin and eternalness of Christ has been contested by different religions. But for now, we look at our Savior. Remember, this is not an all-encompassing statement on all the many things Jesus does. This focusing on who He was, is, His humanity, His divinity, and His relation to God

I believe in the One and Only Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, eternally begotten of God the Father, being God from God and of the same Being as the Father, not created.[i] I believe that through Him all things were created and are sustained.[ii] I believe that Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, became incarnate[iii] and received a sinless human nature.[iv] I believe that He was at the same time truly God[v] and truly man[vi], being at once in two natures fully human and fully God with the essences of each being preserved.[vii] I believe that the eternal Son of God came into this world fulfilling Scriptures that He might manifest God and redeem fallen humanity as a ransom for all.[viii] I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Sacrificial Lamb that took away the sin of the world saving all those who believe in Him from the righteous judgments that God must execute to satisfy His wrath.[ix] I believe Jesus was crucified, dead and buried and on third day rose from the grave in accordance with Scripture; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.[x] I believe that He is the Christians’ Mediator to God and will come again to judge all mankind.[xi]

[i] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, John 1:1-18; John 10:30. Jesus states that He has every right to the claim of oneness with the God because the Father has sent him into the world (10:36) and “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (10:38). Also, “If the Word [Jesus] were a created being, then he would have had to create himself for any and all creation came into existence through him: ‘without him was not any thing made that was made’ (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2)” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 4: God Made Flesh, ST102OL Class Notes, DTS, 11.

[ii] One role of Jesus Christ was His involvement in creation. Col 1:16-17 summarizes that Christ is the creator, sustainer, and the purpose of all created existence. John 1:3, “Through him all things were made.” “He was the Father’s agent in every act of making that the Father has ever performed.” – cf J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 56. “In him was life…” (John 1:4) speaks of Jesus animating, that is all things exist in and through Him, or are sustained in him.

[iii] Incarnate means to become flesh. This is God himself becoming human as Jesus entered physically into the world and became human like us. It is only God who could pay for our sins, therefore God the Son became man to provide atonement for mankind’s sins. “He [Jesus] had not ceased to be God; he was no less God than before; but he had begun to be man. He was not now God minus some elements of his deity, but God plus all that he had made his own by taking manhood to himself” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 57. Heb 2:17; John 1:1, 14; 1 Pet 2:24.

[iv] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, Luke 1:30-35; Luke 2:40; John 1:18; Phil 2:5-8.

[v] Phil 2:6-7: “who though he was in the form of God… made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Italics mine). Of special note is the term “form” (morphē) which “denotes outward appearance that reveals an inward reality…. The ‘morphē of God’ denotes the heavenly glory… that reveals Christ’s innate deity.” – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 4: God Made Flesh, ST102OL Class Notes, 17. Douglas McCready states, the only one who can enjoy the status of God is God Himself.” – cf Douglas McCready, He Came Down from Heaven: The Preexistence of Christ and the Christian Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 77.

[vi] A major argument is also found in Phil 2:7 over the term “emptied” (himself), which the theological term kenosis (the “self-emptying” of Christ) is derived. Some have argued that because Christ “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” then He could not have been God. Instead this shows the example of Jesus that because He was “in the form of God” and already existed as God, He “made himself nothing,” becoming a humble human. Kenosis says that “in order to be fully human, the Son had to renounce some of his divine qualities, otherwise he could not have shared the experience of being limited in space, time, knowledge and consciousness which is essential to truly human life.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 59. Packer argues why this theory is wrong by showing that when Paul spoke of the Son having emptied himself and became poor, it was not about Jesus laying aside his divine powers and attributes but of his divine glory and dignity citing John 17:5, “the glory I had with you before the world began.” Packer states that there “is no Scripture support for the idea of the Son’s shedding any aspects of his deity” (60). Regarding the controversial text of Mark 13:32 where Jesus says He does not know the time of His return, Packer insists that Jesus lived not as an independently divine person, but as a dependent one. While Jesus was on earth it was not a new relationship with the Father occasioned by the Incarnation, “but the continuation in time of the eternal relationship between the Son and Father in heaven…. The Son was utterly dependent on the Father’s will…. His knowing, like the rest of his activity, was bounded by his Father’s will. And therefore the reason why he was ignorant of (for instance) the date of his return was not that he had given up the power to know all things at the Incarnation, but that the Father had not willed that he should have this particular piece of knowledge while on earth, prior to his passion” (62). Matt 28:18, 20; John 21:17; Eph 4:10.

[vii] Chalcedonian Definition states, “the Same perfect in Godhead, the Same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the Same [consisting] of a rational soul and a body; one essence [homoousios] with the Father as to his Godhead, and one essence [homoousios] with us as to his manhood; in all things like unto us, sin only excepted…. One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, made known in two natures [which exist] without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the difference of the natures having been in no wise taken away by reason of the union, but rather the properties of each being preserved, and [both] concurring into one Person (prosopon) and one hypostasis— not parted or divided into two Persons (prosopa), but one and the same Son and Only-begotten….” The hypostatic (meaning personal) union is the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. This doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches that these two natures are united in one person. Jesus is not two persons, but one. It is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus. This means that Jesus is not half God and half man. He is fully and completely God and man. He never lost His divinity. Athanasian Creed formulates it as, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man… perfect God, and perfect man…who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.” Col 2:9; Heb 1:3. For more on hypostatic union see J.I. Packer, Knowing God; Matt Perman, “How can Jesus be God and Man,”desiringgod.org, October 5, 2006 (accessed October 8, 2014).

[viii] John 3:16; Phil 3:20-21.

[ix] John 1:29; Rom 3:25-26; 2 Cor 5:14; 1 Pet 3:18

[x] Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim 2:6; John 20:20.

[xi] Athanasian Creed, line 40. Apostles Creed, line 7. Jesus as Mediator: 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:15.

God the Father: The Name and Essence

This is part 2 of our 4 part series on a doctrinal statement about god and the Trinity. This post will focus mainly on God the Father providing information and definitions for Him, His names, and attributes. This is again trying to be a high-level overview about God the Father. Because He is infinite and infinitely holy and good, there are not enough words to capture His glory or glorious qualities. Nor even if there were enough words, would they be adequate to describe Him. For many, a bigger discussion would be needed to describe what each means or comes from. The last part on “essence” could be a book on its own.

You will notice that the section on God the Father is the shortest, mainly because there is the least controversy about God and Hime being a Father. Many forms or variations of monotheism will recognize God  or God as Father, but throughout history, some of the greatest debates and controversies have surrounded Jesus and His diety and the Holy Spirit and His Diety.

I believe in one God, the Father[i], the all-powerful Lord and Master, the Glorious and Majestic God of all. I believe that God is the Creator and Maker of heaven and earth, and all that is seen and unseen.[ii] He is the only God, the Creator and Sustainer, the Most High One, the Lord.[iii] The Father is completely self-existent, self-sufficient and free.[iv] I believe the Father is the Divine Source[v], Sovereign Ruler[vi], Lord Chief Justice[vii], Compassionate Reconciler[viii], Him to Whom All Things Return[ix], and the Father of the Son.[x]

[i] Deut 32:6; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 68:5; Jn 6:27, Rom 1:7, Eph 4:6. “[T]he term God or theos generally denotes the person of the Father, with only a few important exceptions.” Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 7. “Everything that Christ taught… is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 224.

[ii] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

[iii] God reveals His name most frequently as Yahweh (LORD, I AM), Elohim (powerful ones or God, gods), and Adonai (Lord, master).

[iv] God does not originate from or depend on anything outside of Himself. He sustains all things and is necessarily self-existent. Job 41:11; Acts 17:24-25; Rom 11:35-36.

[v] Acts 17:24-25, 28; Eph 1:11, 4:6; Rev 4:11.

[vi] Deut 10:14, 17; 1 Chron 29:11-12; Matt 11:25; 1 Tim 6:15.

[vii] Gen 18:25; Ex 12:12; Lev 18:4; Luke 23:34; John 8:15-16.

[viii] John 3:16; Acts 14:15-17; 1 John 4:8, 16; 2 Cor 5:18-19.

[ix] 1 Cor 15:24-28; Col 1:20; Rev 1:8, 21:22, 22:13.

[x] To explain the doctrine of the Trinity more fully, a distinction between essence and persons is helpful. It is helpful to remember that each member of the Trinity is present in every act of God, either in a primary or a secondary role. The one divine essence includes attributes that are equally shared by each member of the Godhead, but these six roles are predominantly ascribed to the Father. Other roles and activities of the Father include: God as husband and Judah/Israel as wife (Hos 2:2-16; Jer 3:1-14); the potter with human beings as the clay (Isa 45:9-10; Rom 9:21-24); the good Shepherd of the sheep (Ps 23; John 10:11-16); and the Vinedresser, with Jesus as the vine, and the believers the branches (John 15:1-8) – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 13. In reference to God as the Father of the Son, see: Luke 23:24; John 3:16, 8:15-16, 17:5, 24.

A Doctrinal Statement on the Trinity

As part of affirming a Trinitarian doctrine, it is important to put together a synthetic definition. So over the next few post, we will be working through a synthetic definition of God. What this means is essentially creating a doctrinal statement about God. This is something you might find at a church that could be called a statement of beliefs as well. This is mainly to provide a summary statement (if possible for a completely infinite God) on the names and attributes of God, specifically focusing on the Trinity and each member of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This is not meant to be an apologetic or argument, but a definition or creed like the Athanasian creed. At the same time, this is not meant to be long, the main body should fit on a page, while the footnotes will handle the biblical references, bibliographic annotation and theological notes and observations. In the endnotes, there will be a couple of arguments that are elaborated on to provide clarity on a topic that has seen much debate. The main body is just a definition, while the footnotes are the background and grounds for that definition.

Today, we look just at the Trinity and what the Trinity is or defined as.

Definition

I believe in the Holy Trinity. I believe in one true God that eternally exists as three Persons –Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that these three are one God.[i] I believe that God is one in essence, three in Person each fully God and equally God each equal in nature, attributes and glory, and worthy of worship and obedience.[ii] I believe that none is greater or less than the other but all equal and united.[iii] I believe that the Bible has revealed the name and person of God for His creation to call Him.[iv]I believe that the Triune God is perfect[v], immutable[vi], eternal[vii], omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.[viii] In God being very God, He is true, holy, just, good, faithful, loving, merciful and gracious.[ix] God is beyond what humans can comprehend. [x]

Endnotes

[i] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 20. “…[S]ince ‘God is spirit,’ ‘Holy Spirit’ can be predicated of the whole Trinity; the Father and Son both being ‘spirit,’ and both ‘holy’… But the Holy Spirit, as a proper name in the Trinity, is relative to the Father and the Son, since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son.” – Augustine, De Trinitate 5.12, in Henry Bettenson, ed., The Later Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great, trans. H. Bettenson (London: Oxford Univ. 1970) 231. Deut 6:4-5; Matt 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 14:6-17; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 13:14; Col 1:13-19.

[ii] Athanasian Creed lines 3-20. The Creed speaks to the Father, the Son and the Spirit each uncreated, incomprehensible, eternal, almighty; yet they are not three “almighties,” “eternals,” “uncreateds” and “incomprehensibles” but one. Each is God and Lord. “It is most important that we think of God as Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.” – cf A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, (New York: HarperOne, 1961), 20. “Within God’s one, undivided being is an ‘unfolding’ into three personal distinctions. These personal distinctions are modes of existence within the divine being, but are not divisions of the divine being.” – cf Matt Perman, “What is the Doctrine of the Trinity,” http://www.desiringgod.org, Jan 23, 2006 (accessed Oct 8, 2014). Also see Dallas Theological Seminary Article II from Doctrinal Statements, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement. John 1:14; 2 Cor 13:14; Heb 1:1-3; Rev 1:4-6.

[iii] Athanasian Creed lines 25, 27. “The Persons of the Godhead… have one will. They work always together…. Every act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in Unity…. It is a real if understandable error to conceive of the… [Trinity] as conferring with one another and reaching agreement by interchange of though as humans do.” – cf A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, 22. “When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone.” And “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God.” – cf Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 255.

[iv] Ex 3:13-15; Jdg 13:17-18; Gen 2:4. Other sources for the doctrine of the Trinity include acts of God in history such as the resurrection, the apostolic and Christian tradition such as the Nicene Creed, and the threefold experience of the Christian God. While God has progressively revealed Himself to creation, the Bible is the foundational source for the doctrine of the Trinity and God’s revelation about Himself.

[v] God is the definition of the measure or standard of all that is right, excellent, worthy and complete. Deut 32:4, Hab 1:13; Ps 18:30; Matt 5:48; 1 Tim 4:4.

[vi] God never differs from Himself. “God cannot change for the better. Since He is perfectly holy, He has never been less holy than He is now and can never be holier than He is and has always been. Neither can God change for the worse. Any deterioration within the unspeakably holy nature of God is impossible…. All that God is He has always been, and all that He has been and is He will ever be.” Any attempt to think of God as changing, that object is no longer God and becomes something less than He is. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 49-50. Ps 102:27; Mal 3:6.

[vii] God exists infinitely before when time began, everlasting (in time) but also stands outside of time.

[viii] Incommunicable attributes of God. “God is at once far off and near, and that in Him men move and live and have their being….There is no limit to His presence…He surrounds the finite creation and contains it. There is no place beyond Him for anything to be.” – cf A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 74. God is both transcendent (beyond and outside of creation; 1 Kings 8:27; Isa 40:12-28) and immanent (God is everywhere sustaining creation but is not creation itself; Jer 23:23; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:3).

[ix] Communicable attributes of God. True: Job 9:4; Ps 33:10-11; John 17:3; Rom 11:33. Holy: Lev 19:2, 21:8; Ps 24:3, 99:3. Good: Ps 25:8, 34:8. Faithful: Deut 7:9; Ps 25:10. Loving: John 17:24; Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:8, Merciful: 2 Sam 24:14; Ps 86:16; Luke 1:78. Gracious: Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Eph 2:4-5.

[x] Athanasian Creed, line 9. “The intellect knoweth that it is ignorant of Thee because it knoweth Thou canst not be known, unless the unknowable could be known, and the invisible beheld and the inaccessible attained.” – cf Nicholas of Cusa, The Vision of God (New York: E.P. Dutton & Sons, 1928) 60. Job 36:26; Ps 139:6; Rom 11:33.

DEFINING THEOLOGY AND SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

The purpose of this articles was to have a personal working definition for theology and systematic theology. Here is my attempt:

Theology comes from the Greek words theos (God) and logos (words); it is commonly thought of as word or words about God or gods. Theology is often defined as the study of God, as Alister McGrath states, it is a “discourse about God”[1]. It provides a doctrine that divides what is true from that which is false. Theology requires balance and it is always open. At the very center of theology it invokes a person to respond to God, as a response to God’s divine revelation whether that is to believe in Him or not. Thus, theology is found in any discussion about God. One can never stop doing theology because it needs to be measured against truth.

Many tend to think that theology is primarily a Christian discipline because it is something that must be consistent with Scripture and is a response to divine revelation. Although McGrath states that there is debate about whether a non-Christian can do theology, for the purpose of this exercise, the term theology must be further defined from the modern definition of a “study of religion”, to a more precise and specific definition about Christian theology[2].

Christian theology is the pursuit of God. It is the pursuit of understanding, building and strengthening faith, which is the right and proper foundation for a Christian. It is reflecting on God and responding the Creator’s divine revelation. Christian theology causes Christians to reflect on God, to seek God and think rightly of Him. It teaches the Christian to ask proper questions to help them know what the most important thing is and prepares them to do it well.

Christian theology is vital to the life of a believer. It calls the Christian to revere God and requires humility in the sense that it helps the Christian become more comfortable with God being God and the believer not being God. As an individual studies Christian theology more, and if one is not cautious, the theology, the intellect, the knowledge can destroy faith and cause one to worship knowledge more than God. A good Christian theology is not finished until it is applied and lived out what one has studied about the Almighty. While it is good and proper to study and reflect on God and respond to His revelation, the believer must not spend their whole time in reflection being disconnected from the world around him; disconnection can cause a believer to be irrelevant and worthless. For Christian theology to be vital and worthwhile, it can never cause one to forget the practice of Christian evangelism.

“A Christian theology is reflecting on and articulating the God-centered life and beliefs that Christians share as followers of Jesus Christ and it is done that God may be glorified in all Christians are and do.”[3] Christian theology starts with the ultimate and primary source of the Bible. “Christianity is about belief in a person (Jesus Christ), rather than belief in a text (the Bible). Nevertheless, the two are closely interlocked.”[4] For one to be a Christian, one must have faith. Thus to better define what Christian theology is, faith must be defined. Faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”[5] The Bible gives the believer the greatest amount of knowledge and information about God and who He is. In it, God reveals Himself to all people, but only those who read and respond to God can truly become believers. In Hebrews 11:6, God shares with people about faith and how it is displayed: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

If faith is the foundation of Christian theology, faith is also the tool that is used to ask questions of God and seek God to greater strengthen one’s belief and have knowledge as to why one believes what they believe. Faith causes the believer to reflect and meditate on God, on what He has revealed in Scripture, on the revelations of God, and on the experiences that one has had with God. These actions lead the believer to an expression of those meditations in some form or context. Good Christian theology leads the believer to see that no matter how much knowledge one gains about God, the more they realize they know so little about the infinite God. It invokes the believer to see God for who He is and the gap that is between Him and His perfection and the Christian and their imperfection. Christian theology if it is good and done right is simply the seeking of God in studying Him and being led by Him, to pursue and strengthen the faith of the Christian. Taking all of this information into account, my opinion of Christian theology is the pursuit of any believer to know and trust God by living in submission to His will that results in a life that exemplifies, praises, worships and desires God.

Christian theology is a multidimensional discipline that has at least six different complementary responsibilities, as Stott defines, they are: revelation, tradition, reason, ethics, mission and worship.[6] These responsibilities are not only responses to pursuing God, but challenges to the Christian to live out their faith; it is important to remember that these are individual parts of Christian theology, and not the sources. This leads to the four main sources of systematic theology proposed by McGrath: Scripture, tradition, reason and religious experience. Each of these sources has a distinct contribution to make within the discipline of theology[7].

At the very heart, systematic theology is a discipline that takes all the information God has revealed about Himself, primarily through Scripture but also other sources, and formulates it into an organized structure. Systematic theology as Kenneth Kantzer reveals “is an eminently practical discipline.”[8] Kantzer quotes from eighteenth century theologian David Hollaz who wrote: “[Systematic] theology must be defined: [It is an] eminently practical system, teaching from the revealed Word of God all things which sinful man, who is to be saved, needs to know and do, in order to attain true faith in Christ and holiness  of life.”[9] Systematic theology must be done practically that the Christian may know God intimately and seek God’s Will for their life. While Hollaz only mentions the “Word of God”, to do the discipline right, the Christian must look to other sources. God does not just limit Himself to the Bible, but He reveals Himself through different forms of revelation, natural and general. Stott’s also mentions tradition as another source that illuminates a way to know God more and respond to Him. To not look at all possible areas in which God has revealed Himself and made Himself known is to limit God and limit one’s view of God.

The task of systematic theology is a complete, coherent and comprehensive task. It is a discipline that is both academic and spiritual. It is “Organized on the basis of educational or presentational concerns” and “… on the basis of presuppositions about method.”[10] As Christians, the only way for us to learn the truths God has revealed through Scripture and other sources is by dependence on the Holy Spirit. We must then allow the Spirit to guide our lives in applying those teachings while still being reminded of our constant need for God’s great grace.

Millard Erikson writes: “Systematic theology is a discipline which strives to give a coherent statement of the doctrines of the Christian faith, looks for a coherent statement based primarily upon the Scriptures.”[11] Similarly, Lewis Sperry Chafer adds, “Systematic theology is a science which follows a humanly-devised scheme or order of doctrinal development and which purports to incorporate into its system all of the truth about God.”[12] Thus, for the Christian to have true, proper and right systematic theology, they must not limit themselves just to the Bible, but to every available source that God has revealed Himself to us so that the theology is coherent and not contradictory.

The study of theology, both Christian and systematic, can lead to many dangers in one’s life. It can destroy faith and make it something harder than it simply is. It can cause someone to reflect too much instead of act. This study can also lead to pride and cause us to depend too much on our own knowledge, boasting in ourselves instead of complete humility and boasting in Christ and what He has done. Right study of theology requires dependence on the Holy Spirit and recognizing that this is a lifelong journey. The Spirit will teach and guide us, but for theology and faith in Christ to be done right, it must not be a disconnected, worthless time of reflection. Theology and faith must be lived, applied, and organized into a way of communicating those ideas to the masses and follow the call that Jesus left His disciples with in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

In a sermon delivered on the immutability of God, 20 year-old Charles Spurgeon reminds us about true and proper study:

The proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. […] But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. […] The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.[13]

J.I. Packer writes, “Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you.”[14] Finally, the study of God should lead the Christian along the path of learning, meditating, humility and ultimately to praising God. Based on the evidence provided, it is my belief that systematic theology is the complete study of the doctrines of Christian faith with the purpose of using every method or system possible to pursue all the truths about God that is humanly possible with a humble dependence on the Holy Spirit.

[1] Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 102.

[2] Ibid, 111-112.

[3] Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 47

[4] McGrath, 105.

[5] Heb 11:1 (NIV)

[6] John R. W. Stott, “Theology: A Multidimensional Discipline” in Doing Theology for the People of God, ed. David Lewis and Alister McGrath (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 4-16.

[7] McGrath, 120.

[8] Kenneth S. Kantzer, “Systematic Theology as a Practical Discipline” in Doing Theology for the People of God, ed. David Lewis and Alister McGrath (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 21.

[9] Kantzer, 21.

[10] McGrath, 105.

[11] Millard J. Erikson, Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), 21.

[12] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, (Dallas: Dallas Seminary, 1947), 6.

[13] Charles Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God: Malachi 3:6,” in Knowing God, ed. J.I. Packer (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 17-18.

[14] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 19.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Dallas: Dallas Seminary, 1947.

Erikson, Millard J.. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983.

Grenz, Stanley, and Roger Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Kantzer, Kenneth. “Systematic Theology as a Practical Discipline.” In Doing Theology for the People of God, edited by David Lewis and Alister McGrath, 21-41. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

McGrath, Alister E.. Christian Theology: An Introduction. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Packer, J.I.. Knowing God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973.

Spurgeon, Charles. “The Immutability of God: Malachi 3:6.” In Knowing God, edited by Packer, J.I.. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973.

Stott, John R. W.. “Theology: A Multidimensional Discipline.” In Doing Theology for the People of God, edited by David Lewis and Alister McGrath, 3-19. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.