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Apostles' Creed: Chapter 4

1.               Living Theologically

The basis of living theologically is a ‘theology of everyday things’. It is encompassed by three mysteries - Trinity, incarnation and grace.

1.1         Trinity

 

A.     Ancient Symbol of the Trinity

 

 

           B.        Biblical Perspective of the Trinity

 

 

 

Persons of the same essence: Attributes applied to each person

 

Eternality

 

Ps. 90:2

Before the mountains were born

                                      or you brought forth the earth and the world,

            from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 

John 1:2

He was with God in the beginning.

 

Heb 9:14

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

 

Power

 

1 Peter 1:5

who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time

 

2 Cor 12:9

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

 

Rom 15:19

by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

 

Omniscience

Jer. 17:10

"I the LORD search the heart

                                                            and examine the mind,

                                                            to reward a man according to his conduct,

                                    according to what his deeds deserve."

Rev.2:23

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

 

1 Cor.2:11

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

 

            Omnipresence

 

                        Jer. 23:24 Can anyone hide in secret places

                                                 so that I cannot see him?"

                                                declares the LORD.

                                                "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"

                                                declares the LORD.

 

                        Matt. 18:20

    For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

 

Ps. 139:7

                                    Where can I go from your Spirit?

                                    Where can I flee from your presence?

Holiness

Rev. 15:4

Who will not fear you, O Lord,

                                                            and bring glory to your name?

                                                            For you alone are holy.

                                                            All nations will come

                                                            and worship before you,

                                    for your righteous acts have been revealed."

 

Acts 3:14

You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you

 

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

 

Truth

 

John 7:28

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."

 

Rev. 3:7,8

"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.  I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

 

1 John 5:6

 This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

 

Benevolence

 

Rom.2:4

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

 

Eph.5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

 

Neh.9:20

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.

 

Equality with different roles: Activities involving three persons

 

Creation of the world

 

Psalms 102:25

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,

                                    and the heavens are the work of your hands.

 

Col. 1:16

 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

 

Gen.1:2

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 

Creation of man

 

Gen. 2:7

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Col.1:16

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

 

Job 33:4

The Spirit of God has made me;

                                    the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

 

 

Baptism of Christ

 

Matt. 3:17

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Matt.3:16

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him

 

 

Death of Christ

 

Heb. 9:14

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

 

Living theologically depends on Trinitarian thinking.

 

Examples of Trinitarian thinking are

(a)    in the church, we Christians must be always reminded that we are children of the Father, body of Christ and temple of the Holy Spirit. All our worship, communion, baptism and church life is done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit;

(b)   Trinitarian thinking puts the family as the foundational unit of existence;

(c)    in the world, the recognition of equality and value of all human beings is based on the co-equality of the persons in the Trinity and everybody works for the whole;

(d) time: to be in Christ as the Son means to be in the Father and in the Holy Spirit. To be truly in the present also means to be in the past and future. In Trinitarian thinking, the past, present and future are united and become whole time, just as the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one.

 

 

Reflection Questions

A . How does the understanding of the Trinity affects your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B. How does the understanding of the Trinity affects your relationship

     with other people?

 

 

 

 

 


 

1.2         Incarnation

Living theologically means living a life of incarnation as our Lord Jesus has done. God became fully human.  Incarnational lifestyle means living as Jesus did and to be the light and salt of the world.

 

Reflection Questions

A.     How does the incarnation of God affect your everyday life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.     How will you apply the incarnation in your everyday living?

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.3         Grace

Living theologically also recognise that our lives is purely by grace. Everything we have is from God and by the grace of God. Therefore living theologically is a lifestyle of thanksgiving.

 

Reflection Questions

A.     How has the Grace of God affected your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.     What are the means of Grace?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.               An Integrated Life: A Living Theologically Lifestyle

 

 


                                     

 

 

 

 

 

A windmill and a simple farm house is my symbol of an integrated life that is living theologically. Living theologically is living our lives firmly based on our beliefs.

 

 

Tripod

The tripod forms the base for the windmill. It has three pillars which represent orthodoxy (right beliefs), orthopathy (right feelings) and orthopraxy (right action). For an integrated life, these pillars need to be of equal length i.e. balanced so as to provide a firm and stable base for the wind wheel.

 

The Platform

The platform is the foundation on which the tripod and windmill stands. For it to be a strong platform, it needs to be formed from the tenets of our belief-the Apostles’ Creed and informed by the Word of God.

Living Theologically is a ‘Trinitarian, incarnational and full of grace’ lifestyle

 
Wind-wheel

The blades of the wind wheel represent the areas in our lives that need to be in balance.


The 6 blades of the wind-wheel are:

(1)               stability versus change

(2)               personal versus community

(3)               obedience versus initiative

(4)               tradition versus innovation

(5)               contemplation versus action

(6)               desert versus marketplace

 

For the wind wheel to be stable, we need to be in the centre, balancing all these aspects of our lives.

 

Wind

This represent pneuma the Holy Spirit. The wind blows the wind wheel which then moves and produces energy. The Holy Spirit energizes our lives.

 

Wood

Wood that the windmill is made up represent the Cross of Christ. Christology is the basis of an integrated life.

Energy

Energy represent the fruits that will be produced by an integrated life.

 

Farmhouse

This energy (fruit) is given to build the Kingdom of God.

 

 

 

 

3.               Bibliography and Sources Cited

Bauman, Michael, The Creed: What You Believe and Why (Nashville, Ten: Thomas Nelson, 2002).

            Small little book explaining the Apostles’ Creed. Thin enough to read at the bookshop and not have to buy.

Guinness, Os, God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 1989).

            A valuable discussion of the relationship of faith and doubt. May be difficult reading at certain parts but well worth the struggle.

Green, Michael, I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1989).

A first rate introduction to the subject. Highly recommended.

House, Wayne H. Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).

            Useful information summarised in charts and diagrams.

_____ & Price, Randall, Charts of Bible Prophecy (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2003).

            A nice book of charts and tables which summarised Bible prophecy.

 The charts reflect the views of the authors who are pretribulational premillennialism (dispensationalist).

Houston, J.M. I Believe in the Creator  (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans,1980).

            An excellent introduction to the doctrine of creation.

Philip, George M, The Apostles’ Creed: What Christians Should Always Believe (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1990,1994).

            A collection of sermons on the Apostles’ Creed by a pastor in Sandyford-Henderson Church in Glasgow.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity  (New York: Phoenix, 1987 reprint).

            A classic book dealing with the basics of Christianity and the Christian life.

Little, Paul E. Know What You Believe Asian Edition (Hong Kong: Seed Press, 1970).

An excellent little book to read about the Christian faith. Another classic and a must-read.

McGrath, Alister, “I Believe”: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed  (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity 1991,1997).

            An excellent book on the Apostles’ Creed. Good for use for personal or group Bible study.

Sayers, Dorothy L. Creed of Chaos? Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (Manchester: Sophie Press, 1949,1974).

               Good argument by the author why it is necessary for Christians to know what they believe.

Steffler, Alva William. Symbols of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, MI:Eerdmans, 2002).

                Interesting book about the various symbols of the Christian life and giving details explanations of each of them.

Shaw, Robert, An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Great Britain:

Christian Focus Publication, 1845,1973)  A thick tome for those who want to exercise their brain muscles!

Stott, John, The Cross of Christ (Downers Groove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1986).

 Invaluable guide on the meaning of the cross for Christian doctrine and life.

 

 

 

                                        Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

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