Historical Theology

Etymonline.com

Historical

early 15c., “of or pertaining to history, conveying information from the past,” with -al (1) + Latin historicus “of history, historical,” from Greek historikos “historical; of or for inquiry,” from historia (see history). For sense differentiation, see historic. Meaning “narrated or mentioned in history” (as opposed to what is fiction or legend) is from 1843. Related: Historically.

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

Historical theology is one of the 4 main branches of theology that is often closely tied with studies of church history. Why?

The answer to this question – because the focus of historical theology is to study the development of doctrine historically. Those that followed directly beyond the apostles largely spent their time reiterating what was already written by the apostles. Some of the biggest developments of this time were in the form (or liturgy) of early worship gatherings and an emphasis on the deity of Christ (even more so than what is described in the NT).

Much of historical theology focuses on such developments in their historical context. Our current understanding of God’s Word has come to us because of the many events that have occurred from then to now.  Chief among these events were challenges to the faith that often came in the form of heresies. Through such heresies, it became clearer the difference between the fact and fiction, the truth and falsehoods surrounding the faith.

Besides chronological developments and doctrines, we also see territorial developments and denominational developments as we study historical theology. This grants us understanding as to how such groups and divisions have come to be and inform us on how to view them today.


There was nothing to give from Dictionary.com this time around.


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Hermeneutics

Dictionary.com

noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures.
  2. the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

Etymonline.com

“art of interpretation, the study of exegesis,” 1737, from hermeneutic; also see -ics.

“interpretive,” 1670s, from Latinized form of Greek hermeneutikos “of or for interpreting,” from hermeneutes “interpreter,” from hermeneuein “to interpret (foreign languages); interpret into words, give utterance to,” a word of unknown origin (formerly considered ultimately a derivative of Hermes, as the tutelary divinity of speech, writing, and eloquence).


Discussion/Explanation

From the above, we can see that hermeneutics is a key area of study within exegetical theology.

Differing hermeneutical approaches are clearly seen when dealing with topics such as the end times. One interpreter may take a more literal interpretation whereas another a more figurative approach.

Other key components of interpretation include interpreting texts in their historical setting, considering the grammar used, and in the surrounding context of the text.

Failing to consider such things has lead various people over the years into all sorts of conflicting beliefs and even heresy. This is not to say there cannot be legitimate conflicting views on how to interpret a particular text (as seen above) but such differences still end up having more in common because of applying an overall consistent hermeneutic. Those who fall into heresy tend to insist on their own view rather than what makes sense &/or flat out ignore other areas of Scripture that they should have considered before standing on their chosen view.


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Exegetical Theology

Dictionary.com & Etymonline.com

— see Exegesis —     also    — see Theology


Discussion/Explanation

It is all that explains and interprets the Holy Scriptures in the study of theology.

This area of study involves the study of ancient languages like Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic in order to study the Scriptures from primary sources – the original/early manuscripts of the Bible.

This also includes archeology and study of the canon of Scripture. Archeology in the study of ancient cultures and people surround the original writings. Canon in the study of the process involved in bringing the various books of the Bible together into the Bible as we know it today which was also against a historical background.

Exegetical theology therefore also includes criticism of the Scriptures and, by relation, the interpretation. This probably becomes obvious to you as you stop to think about what would be logically involved in the above-mentioned elements.

In the end, this is a very important branch of theology as it directly connects to historical theology in its studies and therefore directly impacts practical theology. Biblical theology becomes closely tied with the work carried out in exegesis such that it isn’t uncommon for people to argue biblical theology to be little more than part of exegetical theology (more on this later).


Source/Link for Additional Reading:

http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/E/exegetical-theology.html


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Dogmatics

Dictionary.com

noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the study of the arrangement and statement of religious doctrines, especially of the doctrines received in and taught by the Christian church.

Etymonline.com

1670s, from Late Latin dogmaticus, from Greek dogmatikos “pertaining to doctrines,” from dogma (genitive dogmatos) “opinion, tenet,” literally “that which one thinks is true,” from dokein “to seem good, think” (from PIE root *dek- “to take, accept”). Related: Dogmatical (c. 1600).


Discussion/Explanation

These are the official doctrines of the church.

The study of dogmatics involves these recognized doctrines and is sometimes mixed up with systematic theology. This fact is in large part because people have a tendency to use dogmatics and systematic theology interchangeably – though they are not the exact same. A key difference is whether or not there is official sanction by the church of the doctrine.


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Confessions

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. acknowledgment; avowal; admission: a confession of incompetence.
  2. acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, especially to a priest to obtain absolution.
  3. something that is confessed.
  4. a formal, usually written, acknowledgment of guilt by a person accused of a crime.
  5. Also called confession of faith. a formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership.
  6. the tomb of a martyr or confessor or the altar or shrine connected with it.

Etymonline.com

late 14c., confessioun, “action of confessing, acknowledgment of a fault or wrong,” originally in religion, “the disclosing of sins or faults to a priest as one of the four parts of the sacrament of penance,” from Old French confession (10c.), from Latin confessionem (nominative confessio) “confession, acknowledgement,” noun of action from past-participle stem of confiteri “to acknowledge” (see confess).

An Old English word for it was andettung, also scriftspræc. Meaning “that which is confessed” is mid-15c.  Meaning “a formula of the articles of a religious faith, a creed to be assented to” is from late 14c. In the common law, “admission or acknowledgment of guilt made in court or before a magistrate,” 1570s.


Discussion/Explanation

The descriptions above do a great job of describing this term. I do want to highlight a few points.

The term reads “confessions” rather than “confession” as this post is truly aimed at what is also called “confessions of faith”. Creeds are related to this term.

The second part of the etymonline description speaks on this point. I want to add that each confession that arose was primarily in response to opposing beliefs at the time of writing. Typically, these opposing beliefs were heresies and the confession arose as a written document of faith that clearly defined what the faith was in contrast. The Nicene Creed and Apostles Creed are examples that arose during such times.

These creeds served as summations as well as building blocks to more comprehensive writings more commonly called a “confession of faith”. As such, creeds have gone hand-in-hand with confessions though you won’t hear a church recite an entire confession as they are often book-length whereas a creed is much shorter (a summation as said earlier).

Some common confessions would include:

  • The Westminster Confession of Faith
  • The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

These confessions were never meant to replace the Scriptures and often quote them and give references to specific passages. They serve as teaching tools and clarifying tools as they often pull together the greater context of the counsel of God found in His word (the Bible).


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Christology

Dictionary.com

noun, plural Chris·tol·o·gies.
  1. the branch of theology dealing with the nature, person, and deeds of Jesus Christ.
  2. an interpretation of the nature, person, and deeds of Christ.

Etymonline.com

“branch of theology which studies the person and character of Jesus,” 1670s, from Christ + connective -o- + -logy.


Discussion/Explanation

A very straight-forward term to define and describe such that the above leaves little to add.

Key questions addressed in this area of study include:

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?
  2. Is Jesus God? What did he say about himself in relation to this question?
  3. How can Jesus be both God and man at the same time?

See news and updates in the new page below About here.

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A Hiatus & Updates

I’m taking a “hiatus” away from the many things that have been monopolizing my time and from those things taking away my focus.

I’m narrowing my focus to the following:

  • Web Design
  • School work for seminary
  • Blogging

This new focus scheme means more of my time will be narrowed in which includes this blog. This will include additional posts – as has occurred this week – on other items outside the series that posts on Sundays.

I also mentioned before that everything will be funneling through this site now which includes a new page under About called News & Updates. This will be the one-stop place to see previous posts from the early days of the blog on such a topic to more recent entries that will be directly written on the page. It will follow a journal format with the most recent entry listed at the top.

That’s all for now!

God bless!

Torn & Seduction

A pastor friend of my father’s once stated upon his impending return to his own country in part of Africa that he actually couldn’t wait to get back. Why?

While it isn’t just an American problem, the seduction of idols is rampant in the United States today. Materialism, in particular, has created a wealth of items that people daily prostrate themselves before. The seduction is made all the more complete by the fact that most cannot even see that they’ve been seduced by the things around them.

While my Dad’s friend had to face persecutions in his country, he would rather take on that than the seduction of the idols that are so rampant today in the West.

Yes, many of these these things we tie ourselves to are fine in and of themselves. In fact, many such items bring much joy to our lives. As always, the failure is in us. We are all too easily seduced by the ease, the entertainment, and the pleasure to the point that we look to what is around us as our reason for living.

I work to pay for my games.

I live to play basketball.

If I didn’t have (insert item), I don’t know what I’d do with myself.

I myself am not immune to such error. Seduction is embedded into our culture to the point it impacts our very thinking. I have found myself even saying, “well there’s nothing really wrong with watching this or playing that” and that thought or the item referenced wasn’t wrong for me to think or say, but there’s a pattern.

There’s a pattern here in which I know I should be spending my time more wisely on eternal things. That I should be spending my time on other people. That I should be spending my time doing what I already know I should be doing before God – instead I return to what has seduced me away. “Like the dog to his vomit.”

To be clear, seduction isn’t about sex. It is anything that turns your attention away. It is enticing. It is tempting. So many today who would call themselves Christian do not even spend regular time seeking out God, the one they claim to be devoted to with the title Christian. Why? Because they’ve been lead away. They’ve been seduced and a seduction allowed to complete ultimately brings destruction though it may seem pleasant and even fulfilling in the interim.

What are you seduced by? Seriously consider it.

I may regularly write this blog but I must struggle against this same seductive element of my culture just as you should if you mean to be a Christian. Seriously consider and routinely re-evaluate how you spend your time.

Set priorities with God at the top and stick to them!

I am praying for you. Please pray for me too!


 

Father’s Day and more

It is now after 5:30pm where I’m at in the US.

Today is Father’s Day around here and I wanted to say a

Happy Father’s Day!

to all you father’s out there! Being a father is an awesome job and one that is sorely lacking in multiple countries today (some are better off than others).

There won’t be a definition post today, just this one, but I wanted to take the time to thank especially father’s but also anyone who fulfills a parenting role. You all do so much for the next generation and it is what you do that sets the stage for the next chapter in the societies of our world.

Always remember to be patient and bearing and above all -> direct the family to look to God for their guidance!


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Baptism

What exactly is baptism?

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. Ecclesiasticala ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church.
  2. any similar ceremony or action of initiation, dedication, etc.
  3. a trying or purifying experience or initiation.

Etymonline.com

“initiatory sacrament of the Christian faith, consisting in immersion in or application of water by an authorized administrator,” c. 1300, bapteme, from Old French batesme, bapteme “baptism” (11c., Modern French baptême), from Latin baptismus, from Greek baptismos, noun of action from baptizein (see baptize). The -s- was restored in late 14c.

The signification, qualifications, and methods of administration have been much debated. Figurative sense “any ceremonial ablution as a sign of purification, dedication, etc.” is from late 14c. Old English used fulluht in this sense (John the Baptist was Iohannes se Fulluhtere).

Phrase baptism of fire “a soldier’s first experience of battle” (1857) translates French baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Greek baptisma pyros and meant “the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism;” later it was used of martyrdom, especially by burning.


Discussion/Explanation

As you can see, the term has had some variant use. Even so, the focus here is on what you see in definition #1 from dictionary.com.

Baptism, while it has initiate qualities, more specifically display death to one’s old self and rising anew as a believer in Jesus Christ. Practices surrounding this sacrament have varied throughout church history.

Of the various baptism varitions, each can be easily placed into one of two categories of baptism:

  1. Credobaptism
  2. Paedobaptism

Credotbaptism is the baptism of professing believers. It involves the public profession of faith from the believer accompanied with entire-body immersion in water. [cred- (latin) refers to a creed or profession; often called “believer’s baptism”]

  • The Baptists (hence the name) are some of the most well-known connected to this practice.
  • The water immersion could take place in a river, lake, pool, etc. Some Christian traditions will only baptize in running water (usually a river).

Paedobaptism is the baptism done upon infants or young children. This could include immersion, dunking, or sprinkling with water. [paed- comes from Greek pais which means “child”]

  • Entire households are considered to be part of the Covenant of Grace if the parents are believers. Therefore, it is the parent’s belief that is looked to instead of the Child’s belief.
  • Baptism is considered the sign of the covenant just as circumcision was the sign of covenant found in the Old Testament.
  • For variations on paedobaptism (current & historical), see the list within the Paedobaptist post.

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