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When did it stop? #29987
Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:43 PM
Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:43 PM

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I've been doing some thinking recently, and I have a question that has stemmed from it.

As I've been looking at the Bible and at some of the major events of church history, it seems to me that from the time the book of Acts took place up until (for an example) the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, etc.) that doctrine has grown and expanded. In Acts, all they talked about (for the most part) was Jesus and the sovereignty of God. As time went on, other doctrines came to fruition; things like baptism, predestination, and the trinity. That isn't to say that these doctrines were new, but that they came to maturity through time.

Also, as time progressed, it seems like the understanding of, for example, baptism, predestination, and the trinity changed slightly. Views of the end times changed as well. Again, I'm not saying that new doctrines emerged, but that the understanding of them grew and became more complete.

From that time (the time of the Reformers) onward, though, it seems as though doctrine stopped growing. It appears as though somewhere we Protestants decided that we had a complete understanding of doctrine; like we didn't need any new and further teachings on our doctrines. It sppears that somewhere Protestantism decided that it had all the answers it needed and closed the door of the mind to even fuller and better understandings of doctrine (maybe not intentionally though).

So my question is, when did doctrine stop growing? When was it decided that we had as much as we needed to know and that there would be no further growth or more complete understanding of the doctrines we hold to? Why do we condemn many, if not most, "new" understandings of some of our doctrines without question, yet, at the same time, accept what was newly revealed to men like Luther and Calvin without question? Is God not still revealing more of Himself through Scripture and guiding us to a fuller understanding of doctrine or did He stop doing that at some point?

***NOTE: My questions refer to Protestantism as a whole, not to individual Christians. I am well aware that individual Christians are guided into fuller understandings of doctrine as they study the Bible and mature in their walk.***

Last edited by Kalled2Preach; Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:45 PM.
Re: When did it stop? #29988
Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:31 PM
Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:31 PM
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Kalled,

I am not going to even attempt to answer your myriad of questions regarding the development of Christian doctrine. I will suggest a very good book on this issue. Orthodox Christian doctrine was developed in a very systematic and orderly way through the early centuries.

The book is titled "The Progress of Dogma" by the Scottish theologian James Orr. I believe it is still in print and may be found in good reformed bookstores. The book was originally a series of lectures delivered in the autumn of 1897 at Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

Denny

Roms 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: When did it stop? [Re: Adopted] #29989
Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:55 PM
Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:55 PM
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Denny,

That is a good recommendation. And one could and should add to that one Louis Berkhof's excellent book as well, The History of Christian Doctrine, printed by the Banner of Truth.

In regard to Kalled2Preach's question: The by-word of the Reformers was "Semper Reformanda", always reforming. However, by that they did NOT mean that as time progresses we are to throw off those doctrines which have been found to be unassailable true, e.g., the Trinity, deity of Christ, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, et al. The Church will doubtless grow in learning more of its application of these fundamental truths, but it can never change/exchange those truths which have been tried by myriad groups and individuals throughout the centuries. In our own day, we have those would are calling into question the Church's understanding of such essentials as "justification by faith alone", e.g., N.T. Wright, Doug Wilson &co, Norman Shepherd etc. We also have others who are calling into question the entire structure of the Church, the message it is to preach and teach and its methodology which has been established upon the message itself. Such groups are many, e.g., "mega-church", "seeker-friendly" and most recently this post-modern "Emerging Church" heresy. And ALL of these individuals and groups share one particular thing in common which they most freely throw in the faces of all those who oppose them on solid biblical grounds. That one thing is what they demand of others a misuse of the word they call "toleration". In essence, this "toleration" is nothing more than a demand for those who love the truth to acquiesce and deny that those old doctrines are based upon absolute truth, which would open the door wide for them to enter into the Church with their contrary doctrines. The truth is, the most loving thing the Church could and should do is to point out the seriousness of their error(s) and admonish them to repent. And if they refuse to do so, then it is incumbent upon the Church to disciple them and if necessary excommunicate them with the hope that they will see the seriousness of their error(s), repent and return to the fold.

In His grace,


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Re: When did it stop? [Re: Pilgrim] #29990
Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:17 AM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:17 AM
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Pilgrim says: The by-word of the Reformers was "Semper Reformanda", always reforming. However, by that they did NOT mean that as time progresses we are to throw off those doctrines which have been found to be unassailable true, e.g., the Trinity, deity of Christ, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, et al.


It's funny how liberals will use this concept as a banner of their own. The funny thing is, is that they actually mean it in a reverse way the reformers did.

When liberals say this, what they mean is that the church should "reform" towards the world.

And when conservative reformers say this they mean that the church should be ever "reforming" toward Christ and biblical truth. Because the reformers new that all of us have the natural inclination to drift away from the light and that we need to always be reforming or pulling ourselves back to the cross.

I can't count (I really can't) how many times I've heard liberals try to use this as their trump card and it saddens me how complete opposite they have taken this beautiful banner of truth.

Soli Deo Gloria

Dave.


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16
Re: When did it stop? [Re: Pilgrim] #29991
Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:17 AM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:17 AM

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Pilgrim said:
That one thing is what they demand of others a misuse of the word they call "toleration". In essence, this "toleration" is nothing more than a demand for those who love the truth to acquiesce and deny that those old doctrines are based upon absolute truth, which would open the door wide for them to enter into the Church with their contrary doctrines. The truth is, the most loving thing the Church could and should do is to point out the seriousness of their error(s) and admonish them to repent. And if they refuse to do so, then it is incumbent upon the Church to disciple them and if necessary excommunicate them with the hope that they will see the seriousness of their error(s), repent and return to the fold.

In His grace,


Would it not be better if you dont agree with what your church teaches to leave and find one you can agree with.

Re: When did it stop? #29992
Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:45 PM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:45 PM
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Johnnie_Burgess said:
Would it not be better if you dont agree with what your church teaches to leave and find one you can agree with.

That would depend on what place you occupy in your particular church. If you were a faithful member only, i.e., one who wasn't ordained to an office, you do have an obligation to report such heresy and/or to express your concern with it to your Elders and/or Presbytery/Classis. If the "powers that be" refused to act in an expeditious manner and deal with the problem, (I'm referring to the higher powers here; Synodical or General Assembly), then although such lack of biblical action on their part may lead to the demise of the denomination, such things generally do not effect the local congregations immediately. However, if the problem is within your own congregation and after making your concerns known to the Session/Consistory your concerns are either ignored, dismissed or rejected, and the problem is a grave one, then leaving would certainly be the expeditious thing to do.

So, you have the situation where problems are not in your local assembly but rather denominational issues and you have situations within your own congregation. And depending upon which place these problems exist and the severity of them, leaving may or may not be warranted. I could write much more at this point, but hopefully you will get my point with what I have written. The bottom line is packing your bags and leaving without a "fight" isn't an acceptable option. But there is no obligation on your part to participate in a long drawn out battle for the truth either, particularly when it is on the local level.

In His grace,


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Re: When did it stop? [Re: Pilgrim] #29993
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:01 PM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:01 PM

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Quote
Pilgrim said:
Quote
Johnnie_Burgess said:
Would it not be better if you dont agree with what your church teaches to leave and find one you can agree with.

That would depend on what place you occupy in your particular church. If you were a faithful member only, i.e., one who wasn't ordained to an office, you do have an obligation to report such heresy and/or to express your concern with it to your Elders and/or Presbytery/Classis. If the "powers that be" refused to act in an expeditious manner and deal with the problem, (I'm referring to the higher powers here; Synodical or General Assembly), then although such lack of biblical action on their part may lead to the demise of the denomination, such things generally do not effect the local congregations immediately. However, if the problem is within your own congregation and after making your concerns known to the Session/Consistory your concerns are either ignored, dismissed or rejected, and the problem is a grave one, then leaving would certainly be the expeditious thing to do.

So, you have the situation where problems are not in your local assembly but rather denominational issues and you have situations within your own congregation. And depending upon which place these problems exist and the severity of them, leaving may or may not be warranted. I could write much more at this point, but hopefully you will get my point with what I have written. The bottom line is packing your bags and leaving without a "fight" isn't an acceptable option. But there is no obligation on your part to participate in a long drawn out battle for the truth either, particularly when it is on the local level.

In His grace,


I was thinking mostly about leaders who get ordanined knowing they dont agree with their church but seem to try to change the church to fit their ideas instead of going somewhere else.

Re: When did it stop? #29994
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:18 PM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:18 PM
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Johnnie_Burgess said:
I was thinking mostly about leaders who get ordanined knowing they dont agree with their church but seem to try to change the church to fit their ideas instead of going somewhere else.

Well, first of all, the fact that one would accept ordination in a church where he disagrees with their theology makes me wonder if the man truly understands theology at all? or if the man's ethics are questionable? When I was at WTS I met a young man who made no attempt to hide the fact that he rejected orthodox Christianity and embraced neo-Orthodoxy at best and leaned heavily toward pure Liberalism. But he also made it quite clear that when it came time to take his final exams, he would write all the "correct" answers. And when he took his final oral exam he would simply tell the examiners what they wanted to hear in order that he could get his degree. When asked why he would basically lie about what he truly believed, he gleefully said that his plans were to be ordained to the pulpit ministry in an orthodox church where he could then teach and preach his views. So, there are those who are hypocrites and who are doubtless unregenerate yet who are ordained to office in the church. If anyone believes that all Elders and/or Deacons are infallibly true believers in Christ, may I suggest you open your eyes to the sad reality of the world we live in, not excluding the Church. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/giggle.gif" alt="" />

On the other hand, if a man is ordained to office and his denomination changes its theological stand on a fundamental issue which demands that all adhere to the change and that change is unbiblical, then it probably would be best to leave that denomination. Again, there are simply too many scenarios which one could come up with to give a "one rule for all" type answer that would suffice.

In His grace,


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Re: When did it stop? [Re: Pilgrim] #29995
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:22 PM
Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:22 PM

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Pilgrim said:
So, you have the situation where problems are not in your local assembly but rather denominational issues and you have situations within your own congregation. And depending upon which place these problems exist and the severity of them, leaving may or may not be warranted. I could write much more at this point, but hopefully you will get my point with what I have written. The bottom line is packing your bags and leaving without a "fight" isn't an acceptable option. But there is no obligation on your part to participate in a long drawn out battle for the truth either, particularly when it is on the local level.

In His grace,


Comming from a Baptist church background with each local church controlling its own membership and such. I do not always agree with the national body, but have not had a reason to leave for that. I have been blessed with being in local churches without to many problems, not to say I have not heard of some in other churches. One problem with Baptist's is on the local level a lot have went off and started new churches, someone joked that Baptist's grow by cell division.

Re: When did it stop? [Re: Pilgrim] #29996
Mon Dec 19, 2005 10:22 AM
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Quote
Pilgrim said:
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Johnnie_Burgess said:
I was thinking mostly about leaders who get ordanined knowing they dont agree with their church but seem to try to change the church to fit their ideas instead of going somewhere else.

When I was at WTS I met a young man who made no attempt to hide the fact that he rejected orthodox Christianity and embraced neo-Orthodoxy at best and leaned heavily toward pure Liberalism. But he also made it quite clear that when it came time to take his final exams, he would write all the "correct" answers. And when he took his final oral exam he would simply tell the examiners what they wanted to hear in order that he could get his degree. When asked why he would basically lie about what he truly believed, he gleefully said that his plans were to be ordained to the pulpit ministry in an orthodox church where he could then teach and preach his views. So, there are those who are hypocrites and who are doubtless unregenerate yet who are ordained to office in the church. If anyone believes that all Elders and/or Deacons are infallibly true believers in Christ, may I suggest you open your eyes to the sad reality of the world we live in, not excluding the Church. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/giggle.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


Did others know about his views?
I meet some like that when I was in college, but they were open about it because the teachers did not care.

Re: When did it stop? #29997
Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:43 PM
Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:43 PM
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Johnnie_Burgess said:
Did others know about his views?
I meet some like that when I was in college, but they were open about it because the teachers did not care.

I can't really say how "open" this man was about his views, but I suspect he kept more to himself because of the opposition that would surely have arisen. And of course, the faculty at WTS sure did care and I cannot doubt that they would have not allowed him to graduate if they were privy to his unorthodox views and the primary reason he was there. On the other side of the coin, I met a man who came to WTS to finish his seminary education because he was not allowed to graduate from DTS because he was a professing Calvinist. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />

However, I think we are drifting off-topic here! [Linked Image]

In His grace,


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Re: When did it stop? #29998
Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:21 PM
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I just wish Unitarians paid more to their leaders...then liberal "Christians" could simply go there instead of infecting the church.


Grace is not common.
Re: When did it stop? #29999
Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:31 AM
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I feel as if I do not have the background at all to try to comment to you as I have just a very rudimentary understanding myself of Christian history and the small amount of reading I've done.
In reading your post I can hear "McLarenism" in it. This is one of the things he is trying to say - that God is revealing something "new" to us in this postmodern generation. Now I don't know for sure if this is where this question is stemming from and making you think, but I do know that you've said you've been reading books from some emergent authors like McLaren.

Well my first thought is that the development of "doctrine" that we have is in response to error a lot of times. Am I correct here? For example I believe the Council of Nicea where the "Trinity" was born is in response to error that was going on right?. Also interesting to me was finding out the history of Armenianism and how the TULIP came about.

The issue is that these doctrines that have developed are because some false teaching came up challenging the truth. The truth of scripture was just made more clear in the doctrines we have.

The other real issue here is what is correct doctrine???


You ask:

Quote

Why do we condemn many, if not most, "new" understandings of some of our doctrines without question, yet, at the same time, accept what was newly revealed to men like Luther and Calvin without question?


Why are some "new" understandings of doctrine (like McLaren's) condemned? Probably because they are in error biblically. Why are Luther and Calvin accepted?? Hmmm.... could it be that Luther and Calvin are simply in line with what Scripture really says??
Well I haven't actually ever read anything from Luther or Calvin yet, but I do know that a large part of the body of Christ has accepted them. Whereas someone like McLaren and some of the "new" things he's trying to say are not. And after reading much of McLaren for myself I can tell you his "new" spin on things just simply doesn't line up with what God says in Scripture.

Also what about false doctrine?? How do you test what is true?? I'm all for trying to be open to reading someone's "new" spin on things, but it has to square with Scripture. Period.
You also asked:

Quote
Is God not still revealing more of Himself through Scripture and guiding us to a fuller understanding of doctrine or did He stop doing that at some point?


Good question. In light of your post one of my thoughts is this-- You brought up the development of doctrine and one of the examples was the Trinity. Well are you saying that God actually revealed more of himself through Scripture when the Trininty was born???? There was nothing new revealed that was already not there. The Trinity was just a clarification of what was already existing in Scripture.

Also I might be totally wrong, but doesn't the fact of our living in the age of the printing press change a lot of things. Because of this invention the ability for people to simply express and write more has brought more things to light. And don't forget that there are now even MORE people who are false teachers and have wrong ideas being published and read because of this day and age we live in.

I might be totally wrong, but I believe the real issue with your questions is who's right and who's wrong. Are the "new" things being said by the emergent church right or wrong?? Is Luther and Calvin right or wrong??

What I can tell you is that the stuff I'm seeing coming out the Emergent Church movement is a different thing than what I know from being a Christian for over 20 years and from basically just reading Scripture.

Re: When did it stop? [Re: janean] #30000
Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:16 PM
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My question didn't have anything to do with McLaren but just with the development of doctrine and when it ceased. I appreciate yourt response, though. I am deffinitely in agreement with you for the most part.

Re: When did it stop? #30001
Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:06 PM
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I know your questions didn't have to do with Mclaren. What I notice is that this sounds like something he might say.

I think your question is difficult to answer because there are really other questions behind it. Can anyone really answer the question of when the development of doctrine stopped? I guess we have to ask what is doctrine?? Isn't it an interpretation from the Word of God that is taught?? That's why I think the real questions are what is right and what is wrong because theologies/teachings/doctrines are going to come in each generation. (My opinion is that there are a LOT of wrong ones out there in the last few generations).

Here's some recent doctrines (which may not even be biblical)
What about dispensationalism? Didn't that just coming into being about 100 years ago? (please correct me if I'm wrong). Now I'm not sure if dispensationalism is a correct interpretation or not, but this is a pretty recent development of end times thinking right?? How about liberal theology - that too is pretty recent (but doesn't square with Scripture). How about the New Perspective on Paul?

I guess I look at this whole issue another way. That God used his people at the right times to clarify what His Word already says to stand clear in the midst of error. While I am open to reading someone's new ideas, usually something "new" is something wrong and some "new" false teaching/doctrine instead. And that discernment comes without knowing all the details of the authors from the Reformation era.

I would be interested in reading the books that were recommended here. I really think digging into history reveals a lot of answers to these kinds of questions. At least it does for me.


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