Antinomianism

Dictionary.com

antinomian

noun

  • a person who maintains that Christians are freed from the moral law by virtue of grace as set forth in the gospel.

Etymonline.com (antinomian)

“one who maintains that, by the dispensation of grace, the moral law is not binding on Christians,” 1640s, from Medieval Latin Antinomi, name given to a sect of this sort that arose in Germany in 1535, from Greek anti “opposite, against” (see anti-) + nomos “rule, law,” from PIE root *nem- “assign, allot; take.” As an adjective from 1640s.

Discussion/Explanation

The definitions above do a great job of getting to the point of the term – despite them being more focused on individuals who hold this view (the ism).

Antinomianism is one of the pitfall beliefs out there as it effectively rejects entire sections of the Old Testament and what it has to say about how we order our lives. Some fall into this line of thinking out of ignorance but others do it deliberately


See more like this post in “ologies & key terms“.

About Me – On Skepticism

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on this topic.


This may sound like a strange choice for a site dealing with Christian beliefs to some, but it is important one because of my personal heavy science background.

Skepticism isn’t truly about simply being skeptical – though people will treat the word in such a fashion.

If you look up skepticism at dictionary.com, you’ll get the following:

  • noun
  • (1) skeptical attitude or temper; doubt. (2) doubt or unbelief with regard to a religion, especially Christianity. (3) (initial capital letter) the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics; universal doubt.

Many know the first definition but not necessarily the later two.

I have found myself at the center of some misunderstanding when I self-described myself as a skeptic as those individuals of the more atheistic persuasion took that to mean I meant definition #2. Other Christian friends would simply give me a look as they equated the term with atheism. What I had really meant by my statement was more of a spirit of #1 or #3.

What this means is that I do not simply take something as gospel or fact because someone in authority or who is respected says it is so. I need to see the facts. I need to see the Scriptures. I need to see how it all fits together.

Now, if that person is going to go ahead and put all that together right off the bat for me, that makes the situation much easier for me to at least understand where they are coming from – though it does not mean I’m automatically on board with their angle. It typically takes time to persuade me to anything as I need time to mull it over.

By no means am I trying to be some rebel. I simply won’t be a blind sheep.

I will tend to doubt something unless I have prior knowledge that predisposes me to accept what is being presented or until I have adequate time to form a view on the topic/situation.

The same goes for positions involving God and the Scriptures. Key things that helped me in my faith were the providential developments of history that provided a more than stable grounding for the reliability of the Scriptures, and from there giving ground to ideas like Sola Scriptura that leads me to turn to the Scriptures to seek proof for any true position involving God and His works.

What all does this mean?

To be very plain:

  • Want me to take a particular view on Pentecost/End times/Christ/etc.? Show me from Scripture to prove that I should and be thorough. Don’t forget to consider your point in light of ALL of Scripture!
  • Want me to listen to the latest science-backed craze for the environment/health/etc.? Show me from the body of evidence why I should. Present the facts, the data, not simply your interpretation of that data. Also let me see the data from similar research. Does it all fit together? Does any of it seem bogus or exaggerated? Who did the research? Is there any political bias . . . you get the idea I think.

There exists quite a bit of shallowness out there in people’s basis for what they consider to be true and not true. I aim to not be one of those people. I have a strong desire for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but.

So, yes, I’m skeptical in a lot of ways or a skeptic of sorts on a case by case basis. However, I am a Christian as well – I do no doubt Christ. Most of those describing themselves as skeptics out there would fall under definition #2 and not #3 as they make the specific claim of no God. They’re not skeptical on that point. #3 doubt whether they can even know – a sort of universal doubter.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

About Me – On Confessions

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


In our present age, there is this common thought that one’s religion should be kept unshackled from the doctrines, dogmas, and creeds (or confessions) of the past. They think this makes them better and freer than those of the past. As such, they tend to be anti-creedal.

However, it is impossible to truly be anti-confessional. To state you have no confession or that there should be no confession is to inherently make a declarative statement that takes on the role of your confession. By merely taking a stand of any kind, you’ve confessed your position and thereby put forth your creed or confession. Therefore, it is more honest to be forward and state what you have as your confession.

Heretics historically proclaimed that they held to the Scriptures so simply stating “our creed is the Bible” isn’t enough. In fact, confessions were often written in response to historical heresies in order to have a succinct message upon where the church stood that could be referenced against such heresies. These also serve as useful teaching tools for the congregation at large.

I personally enjoy both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed and my current church subscribes to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (also called the 2nd London Baptist Confession).

I also think quite highly of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

There are many other creeds and confessions out there and many that are useful for teaching and historical study that I have not mentioned here.

My greatest point is that confessions are important and that a church that claims it doesn’t have one or refuses to state one has thereby made its stance (confession) clear, and such a church is therefore a potentially dangerous place as it will have difficulty identifying and calling out false doctrine. Such a place is not the sort of place one should look to for growth in Christ.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

See more in the master list.

About Me – Calvinism

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Personally, I don’t like to be associated to the name of a person to describe my views but the term has become common and thus it is used. Even so, I don’t think John Calvin would have been thrilled either.

This website is actually named because of my position in Calvinism. As I have an aversion to using a person’s name, I turn to “monergist” which translates to “one who believes in one work”. “Gratia” of course means grace so taken together we get: “one who believe in the one work of grace”.

I came up with the title as historically there was another famous monergist who sparred with Saint Augustine and that would be Pelagius. In the case of Pelagius, he believe in the one work of man’s will. Still a monergist but definitely not the same sort as myself.

If you want more details about Calvinism, I’ve already written on the topic and you can check out the articles related here.

To be clear, I’m not one of those sort that is going to says something like, “If you’re not a Calvinist, you’re not a Christian!” I don’t agree with that sort of thinking at all!

I would submit that Arminians and others are theologically inconsistent/incorrect/etc. but one’s understanding of Calvinism isn’t absolutely necessary to become a true follower of Christ – that begins simply with what we find in the Gospels. In other words, the tenets of Calvinism aren’t essential for you to understand to come to faith in Christ (despite them being very much involved as you do) though it is inevitable that you’d come to understand the Scriptures involving them as you grow in your faith – whether you come to the same conclusions as Calvinists or not is a different story entirely.

I fully expect to be before Christ one day among those considered Arminian, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc. who were true believers in Christ in this life, and I won’t be surprised to hear Christ correcting us all on some point or another.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

See more in the master list.

About Me – On Apologetics

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


In Christian Apologetics, there are often two particular angles on “defending the faith” that are taken and those would be presuppositional apologetics and classical apologetics – arguably there are others but I’ll keep it to these two. There are many today who would side quite staunchly with one or the other too. I am not one of those.

I have long since been more of a big-picture sort of thinker and over the course of my life you could have made an argument for my being more closely connected to one type of apologetics over another. Today, I would certainly side most with presuppositional as it more readily takes into account the root assumptions we have in our beliefs – something people of all backgrounds (even non-Christian ones) have. Even so, I’m not against using evidence-based arguments when they make sense to and I’m certainly not against using reason/logic argumentation – I just don’t depend solely on these things.

Despite what others may say for their own views they inevitably have root assumptions too such that if they argue they’re logic/evidence based, they’re more or less like me whether they recognize it or not. They just may tilt much more strongly toward logic/evidence-based arguments.

In the end and in line with my more “big-picture” way of thinking, I take on a larger view of apologetics that, admittedly, favors presuppositional apologetics but not to the point of excluding the methods of other apologetic practices including those found in the classical approach.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.


Have further questions? Is my answer too vague?

Please comment on the post and I will make an effort to respond in a timely manner!

See more in the master list.

Apostasy

What is apostasy?

Dictionary.com

  • a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

Etymonline.com

  • late 14c., “renunciation, abandonment or neglect of established religion,” from Late Latin apostasia, from later Greek apostasia for earlier apostasis “revolt, defection,” literally “a standing off,” from apostanai “to stand away” (see apostate (n.)). General (non-religious) sense “abandonment of what one has professed” is attested from 1570s.

Discussion/Explanation

This word brings up others like heresy which is considered by some to be synonymous. It is incorrect to do so.

I would disagree with dictionary.com’s use of the word “total” as apostates (those in apostasy) often reject only portions of the faith though there are those who step away entirely. However, heresy is often included as they will turn around and add or alter things that were previously not there. It is possible to be just apostate as it is possible to be just a heretic (though often heretics are also apostate).

To be clear, terms like apostasy and heresy are used towards those who previously espoused the faith. These are not terms applied to those who never were part of the faith. Also, just because someone can be described as being in apostasy, it doesn’t mean they’ll always be so. There are various early church figures that others have described as apostate based upon a certain period in that individual’s life but in later life could easily be described as orthodox.

It is natural to be bitter towards those who have misrepresented the faith, but we must be willing to genuinely accept them as fellow believers when it is clear they have turned from their wrong.

For further reading on this term & its relation to others:

Systematic Theology

Dictionary.com

Systematic

adjective
  1. having, showing, or involving a system, method, or plan: a systematic course of reading; systematic efforts.
  2. given to or using a system or method; methodical: a systematic person.
  3. arranged in or comprising an ordered system: systematic theology.
  4. concerned with classification: systematic botany.
  5. pertaining to, based on, or in accordance with a system of classification: the systematic names of plants.

Theology

See the following: Theology Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Etymonline.com

1670s, “pertaining to a system,” from French systématique or directly from Late Latin systematicus, from Greek systematikos “combined in a whole,” from systema (genitive systematos); see system. From 1789 as “methodical,” often in a bad sense, “ruthlessly methodical.” Related: Systematical (1660s); systematically.


Discussion/Explanation

From Google’s dictionary:

“noun: systematic theology – a form of theology in which the aim is to arrange religious truths in a self-consistent whole.”

This fairly well gets at the gist of this area of study. The point is not to represent the theology of the Bible as a redemptive whole (which is more the realm of Biblical Theology) but to connect things together from the various books of the Bible.

This area of study is much more preoccupied with organizing the information of the Bible into various categories. It is through such efforts that you get subareas like angelology, demonology, pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit), eschatology (study of the end times, and so on. It addresses individual topics one by one.

It is considered systematic in that it links the various pieces of information found throughout the Scriptures on the particular topic together.

Systematic theology is also one of the main four branches of theology which include exegetical theology, practical theology, and historical theology.


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Practical Theology

Dictionary.com

Practical

adjective

  1. of or relating to practice or action:
    practical mathematics.
  2. consisting of, involving, or resulting from practice or action:
    a practical application of a rule.
  3. of, relating to, or concerned with ordinary activities, business, or work:
    a habitual dreamer, who can’t be bothered with practical affairs.
  4. adapted or designed for actual use; useful:
    practical instructions.
  5. engaged or experienced in actual practice or work:
    a practical politician credited with much legislation.
  6. inclined toward or fitted for actual work or useful activities:
    looking for a practical person to fill this position.
  7. mindful of the results, usefulness, advantages or disadvantages, etc., of action or procedure.
  8. matter-of-fact; prosaic.
  9. being such in practice or effect; virtual:
    Her promotion to manager is a practical certainty.
  10. Theater. practicable(def 3).

Theology


Etymonline.org

Practical

early 15c., practicale “of or pertaining to matters of practice; applied,” with -al (1) + earlier practic(adj.) “dealing with practical matters, applied, not merely theoretical” (early 15c.), or practic (n.) “method, practice, use” (late 14c.). In some cases directly from Old French practique (adj.) “fit for action,” earlier pratique (13c.) and Medieval Latin practicalis, from Late Latin practicus “practical, active,” from Greek praktikos “fit for action, fit for business; business-like, practical; active, effective, vigorous,” from praktos “done; to be done,” verbal adjective of prassein, prattein “to do, act, effect, accomplish.”

Practical joke “trick played on someone for the sake of a laugh at his expense” is from 1771 (earlier handicraft joke, 1741).

Theology

mid-14c., “the science of religion, study of God and his relationship to humanity,” from Old French theologie “philosophical study of Christian doctrine; Scripture” (14c.), from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia “an account of the gods,” from theologos “one discoursing on the gods,” from theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -logos “treating of” (see -logy). Meaning “a particular system of theology” is from 1660s.


Discussion/Explanation

Here we have a two-word term once more which requires looking at each word individually. We have looked at the term theology before such that the focus now will be on what practical means in this context.

In practical theology, we see much of the use we see in the first several definitions given from Dictionary.com. To be more specific, practical theology involves the study of the application of theological insights. It involves what we’ve learned from God’s Word, the Scriptures, lived out and practiced in our daily lives.

This area of study includes several sub-areas of study just as the other main branches of theology do. These include pastoral studies, homiletics, Christian education, ethics, church duties, and more.


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A Woman’s Conduct – 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Part 2)

[Begin Part 2]

In the previous post, we dealt with verses 9 to 10 from 1 Timothy 2. In this post, we move onto verses 11-15.

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, go back and do so now as it sets the stage for what comes next.

Once again, context is important whether it be cultural, historical, etc., we must consider such things in order to understand the message most clearly and concisely. Just as in our day there are stereotypes, stereotypes existed back at the time of writing 1 Timothy as well.

In those times, females were considered inferior academically and education systems were set up for men. This was true in both Greek culture of the time as well as Jewish. With these things in mind…

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” (v. 11)

This statement was revolutionary. Paul writes that women are to learn as well. Women are, after all, created in the image of God just as much as men and should therefore reflect that Godliness, that Christ-likeness alongside men. You do this best by learning more about God and growing closer to Him through it such that you inevitably reflect Christ-likeness to those around you.

Earlier in 1 Timothy 2 and here Paul uses the term translated in most versions to “quietly” to describe the manner for receiving instruction. In the Greek, this term is referring to respect and not silence. This carries over into the term of “submissiveness” which refers “to arrange yourself in rank under” in the Greek. This sort of action is a willful decision and not something anyone is given the right to force upon the woman. Again, if it is her intent to follow God, she is to show this intent through her actions and to do so by her own will. This passage is speaking specifically to women in the church but elsewhere in the Scriptures we find that all followers are called to do likewise before the God-ordained leadership of the church.

In verse 12…

“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

This has got to be one of the most controversial parts of this passage.

I think the sermon linked below words this quite well so I will quote:

“This command by Paul is not a prohibition against women teaching in the church, nor is it a prohibition from general instruction in the Bible. It is, however, a prohibition againsts women authoritatively proclaiming God’s Word in the context of the public worship of the Church.”

What does this mean? Remember that the context here is in reference to corporate worship. The context indicates that this prohibition is meant for the confines of corporate worship. It is not saying the prohibition should go beyond corporate worship. If it did, there would be clear conflicts then with other areas of Scriptures in which women were recorded teaching men various things about the faith – all of which took place outside corporate worship.

Official instruction in corporate worship is set for people like Paul and the elders of the church. In fact, we see Pauls talk about the elders in the very next chapter.

One of the distinctions of verse 12 is in the apect surrounding “teach”. It isn’t speaking of all teaching activities. Specifically in the Greek, it is written in the present infinitive which translates “to be a teacher”. Taken in the context of the rest of the verse we see this means a woman is not to hold a position of an authoritative teacher over a man in corporate worship. I want to note that this isn’t saying anyting about a woman’s ability.

“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” (vv. 13-15)

That “For” at the beginning of verse 13 is just like a “because” which tells you that what comes next refers to what came before – verse 12. Verse 13 begins the rationale Paul gives for verse 12. In it we, see Paul going back to creation.

I think it’ll be best to lay this out in points to make it easier to follow. Here we go:

  1. “For it was Adam who was first created,” is not a mark of superiority in Adam but it is a point about being the first born – a position that has always carried with it spiritual responsibility within the family. Paul is refering to the created order in humanity before the fall had even taken place. In this we see Adam was created to be the head and Eve his helpmate. It was adam, therefore, who was given spiritual headship and authority, not Eve.
  2. After this first bit, the focus shifts to mostly Eve; however, Paul is not blaming Eve here for the fall. We should pay particular attention to the word “deceived” here.
    1. Eve was clearly deceived here.
    2. Adam was not deceived meaning he transgressed fully aware of what he was doing!
    3. Adam’s failure makes it all the more clear why God went to him rather than Eve after what had happened in the garden. Not only was he supposed to be the spiritual head but he knowingly transgressed God’s rule.
    4. “Eve stepped out from under the protection and leadership of Adam and Adam violated his leadership role and followed Eve.” – from the linked sermon
  3. Nowhere is it said that women are some how lesser or inferior in intelligence or capability in this passage.
  4. Verse 15 isn’t trying to suggest that women are somehow saved through childbirth. Not only does the original text not support the idea, but it doesn’t make any sense in light of the rest of Scripture where we know that salvation comes through God’s grace and by faith in Jesus Christ.
    1. Women have a distince role that only they can play: motherhood.
    2. It is through women that children are brought into the world and this includes those who would be devout followers of God.
    3. It is also through women that the most righteous seed would come forth, Jesus Christ.
    4. As a result, “…women would have the privelege of leading the race out of sin to godliness.” – quoted from near the end of the linked sermon

As you can see, things aren’t always what they may first appear. You have to be diligent and look carefully as to what is and isn’t said. Context, of all kinds, must also be considered in order to accurately understand what is written in its original environment and how it would have been received by the people it was written too originally. Many of us have done this very same exercise in our English, history, and reading classes growing up. I recommend being consistent and to do the same in the Scriptures.


If you have any questions, please listen to the sermon first. What I have written here is in large part a summary of key points. There are more examples and further explanation in the message. Just click the “here” link below to be taken to the page to hear it for yourself.


This post is based upon notes & study connected to a spoken message that can be found here.

Why Study Koine Greek?

Why would you want to study a particular version (Koine) of Greek that no one speaks anymore?

The straightforward answer is because it is the language in which the New Testament (NT) was written. In addition, there was written a Koine Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint.

Koine (sounds like coin-ay) effectively means common so we have “common” Greek and this was the common tongue in the time of Jesus and the Apostles as well as beyond. Any time you study languages, you will come across the term lingua franca which is used to refer to the common language of a time. For NT times, this was Greek.

  1. With the above in mind, you have to study Koine Greek if you want to be able to read the NT in its original language and grasp a deeper understanding of the text.
  2. What was written in Greek may not have a direct counterpart in English. This is a great reason for the different translation approaches used between the different English translations of the Bible. Read the Greek to get to the source.
  3. The culture in which the original text written in Greek is different from our own present-day culture. This is important for understanding difficult texts that our present-day culture hates or is confused about. 1 Timothy 2:9-15 is a great example. People have often responded to such a passage by siding with worldly culture and thereby rejecting the Scripture (at least on the target passage), or you get those who read it without seeking to understand the full context and thereby conclude, improperly, to take on abusive, error-filled practices. This point also serves to re-emphasize point 2.
  4. Revival. Historically, the early church did all its worship in Greek. This became a problem as the western church and the eastern church grew further and further apart. Eventually, the west broke entirely and did things in Latin and the people largely spoke their own native tongue at this point. This brought about a period of spiritual darkness that stuck around until the Reformation. We are in danger of the same sort of spiritual darkening if we fail to continue to seek out the Greek, the original text of the NT Scriptures. Thankfully, we do have many good English translations today, but we wouldn’t have had them without the Greek; if we forget the Greek, we can endanger ourselves to those who would push forward altered translations of the Bible.
  5. For the one studying Greek (or any language for that matter), their minds become sharpened. As you learn Koine Greek, you come to understand the Scriptures as those did in the times that it was written and beyond. You also become sharper at noticing key details in the text that can have profound implications to its interpretation. For one, this helps to notice what was originally being said in a given text when in the English it may look like something contradictory is being said when compared to another area of Scripture. Such a scenario speaks to the difficulties of translation and emphasizes the benefit of understanding the original language in which it was written.

I’m sure I could make more points but already you can see how each point made easily feeds into the others. Also, many of these reasons to study Greek would also apply to study Hebrew which is the original language of the Old Testament Scriptures. Sure, you could just stick to the Greek Septuagint but that work is a translation of the original Hebrew. Once again, it is good and profitable to get to the original language.

Now, with all that said, I am not trying to say that every Christian must learn Greek, Hebrew, or whatever other languages. I would highly recommend it though. Between Greek and Hebrew, most English speakers will find Greek relatively easier to learn as there are clear similarities between the two languages.

Other languages used in the time of Christ and thereafter include Aramaic and Latin which can also prove useful.


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