This week we concluded our discussion on election/predestination by looking at the idea of Conditional Election. We gave a defense for Conditional Election, some objections to it and then looked at a way to bridge the gap between these two views. This was called Compatibilism. It seems that there is legitimate tension in the biblical teaching on election. We can’t pick on choose which scripture we like better. Instead we need to accept that though there is no contradiction in scripture, there are some teachings that are hard for us to fully integrate.
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– Class Discussion for Week 3
– Read: The Mosaic of Christian Belief, 243–263 (Chapter 11: Salvation Objective and Subjective)
This week we cover a subject that can lead to some heated discussion. This is quite natural considering the battle between Unconditional Election and Conditional Election historically. The question of what part God plays and what part we play is affected by our concept of free will, which we talked about in our last course of study, Humanity and Sin. This week we gave and overview of the topic and gave a defense for Unconditional Election. Next week we give a defense for Conditional Election and then look at a way to bridge the gap between these two views.
This week we started a new class called Soteriology. This course is a study of the nature of salvation and growth in Christ. It will focus on the process and responsibilities of salvation from the standpoint of God and man by studying what the Scriptures say and by looking for input from the history of the church. We will study the pivotal doctrine of justification that was the central issue of the Reformation. Much time will be spent attempting to understand the ongoing debate between God’s sovereignty in salvation and man responsibility. We will also look at what it means to grow in Christ-likeness. This first week we did an overview of the way different Christian traditions see the order of salvation.
This last week of our class on Humanity and Sin is the second part of the section on the genders of Humanity (Male and Female). Last week we talked about why God made two genders and the idea called Egalitarianism, which says that the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. This week we address Complementarianism which believes there are different roles for the genders. They argee that the Bible teaches that men and women are of equal worth, dignity, and responsibility before God (ontological equality). But they say the Bible teaches that men and women have different roles to play in society, the family, and the church. These roles do not compete but complement each other.
The last two sessions of our class on Humanity and Sin is about the fact that God created Humankind as two genders. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We will address why God made two genders and what implications that has for us in our personal life as well as society at large and in the the church. Two distinct views of gender will be addresses. This week we will talk about Egalitarianism, which states that the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold ministry positions according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Next week we will address Complementarianism which believes there are different roles for the genders.
Free Will was our topic this week. This is a basic philosophical question as well as an important theological topic. There are three basic positions: (1) Fatalism: Belief that a person’s life and choices are totally and unalterably the result of an endless series of cause and effect. (2) Compatibilism: Belief that a person’s actions are free and are determined by their own character and desires. (3) Libertarianism: Belief that a person’s actions are uncaused by any coercion whatsoever (also known as indeterminalism). The agent is the “first cause” of the effect of his or her action. But are any of them the correct view or does the truth lie somewhere in between.
This week we continued our discussion of the doctrine of Original Sin. We looked at two other views as proposed by Augustine (354-430), bishop of Hippo, and Arminius (ca.1560-1609). Augustinianism says that man is inherently corrupt. The Fall brought condemnation and guilt upon all men. As well, the disposition of the will is totally corrupted and inclined toward evil. Man has free will, but that will is governed by his sinful nature. Man sins, therefore, because he is a sinner. Arminianism says that man is inherently corrupt. However, the Fall did not bring condemnation upon any but Adam. Adam’s sin is only imputed to us when we commit a personal sin, thereby showing our agreement with Adam. The disposition of the will is corrupted so that mans has an inclination to sin, but God gives man prevenient grace to correct the sinful disposition. Now man is like Adam in the Garden, able to choose good or evil.