Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Systematic Theology, chapter 35

I tried first to separate various aspects of my life, to make things easier and streamline each blog.  One blog for spiritual updates, one blog for family updates, and one blog just to complain a bit about how odd Sweden is.  

But in reality, all those aspects are better off in my book to be thrown together and enjoyed as one big grouping of thoughts!

Today I am more than halfway through a personal study of Wayne Grudem's book, "Systematic Theology."  

This is a heck of a book, almost 1,300 pages long, and let me tell you, this is word by word important stuff, not just a cheap novel that you can skim over and read through one evening. 

But it is exciting to get a stable foothold of how to look at all aspects of the Bible in a better way!  

I am also complementarian, so just to repeat, I am not out to teach, but rather to summarize and quote Grudem and the gems in his book. 

 Chapter 35, Conversion, Faith and Repentance. 

What is conversion?   What is needed?  

1. respond to God's calling
2. Repent of sins
3. Trust in Christ for salvation. 

The head knowledge of all these things is not enough. 
"You can know the facts but rebel against them or dislike them." 

We must decide to depend on Jesus along to save us. 
...this includes trusting in Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. 
Those are the first two things that most new Christians see, yet the blessings of being a believer in Christ are so many more than that. 

How about:
being declared righteous
adoption into God's family
etc...  (to be discussed more in further chapters)

As our knowledge of God increases, so should our faith increase. 
Just like you come to trust a person the more experience and time you have with them, so do Christians also trust and believe more the more we get to know God and about him. 

Repentance must be hand in hand with faith.

Therefore you cannot speak of someone having faith with not repentance of sin.
OR having Christ as Savoir but NOT as Lord.  These don't match up.

There should be an initial faith and repentance, and those two aspects should continue throughout our lives, a daily repentance of our sins, and a daily faith in Christ to provide and help us walk with him.

Sorry for the mess!

I was just doing a bit of cleaning on this blog, merging together some blogs.  For those 3 people who get my blog sent to their email, I hope it didn't send you 50 emails with all the merged blogs like it did for me!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Systematic Theology, Chapter 34

Regeneration, an act of God where he imparts a new spiritual life in us.  (also called being born again).

Just like we did not choose to be physically born, so do we not take an active role in regeneration.   Both the New Testament and Old Testament speak of this....

Ezekial says, "A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you."
John 1 says, "we were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of God , but born of God."

Regeneration occurs first, and then effective calling.

Effective calling is God speaking powerfully to us, and regeneration is God working powerfully in us, to make us alive.

Heard of the word, irresistible grace? This is similar, and shows the power of God to reach into our lives and change us from the inside out.

We were spiritually dead, and also "dead in our sins," and later we are a new creation, alive in Christ.

Whether you are raised in a Christian family or go from ragged sinner to saved, there is a point of salvation on both situations, wher eGod awakens spiritual life within.

THAT change will become evident over time in patterns of behavior and desires that are pleasing to God.

What kind of results?

  • heartfelt trust in Christ for salvation, 
  • assurance of forgiveness of sins
  • desire to read the Bible and pray
  • delight in worship
  • desire for Christian fellowship
  • desire to be obedient to God's word in Scripture
  • desire to tell others about Christ. 
John 6, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." 
Acts 16, "The Lord opened her (Lydia's) heart to give heed to what was said by Paul." 

1 John 3, "no one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born again of God." 

Grudem says, "when we are asked to characterize a regenerated persons life, the adjective that comes to mind should not be "sinner," but rather something like, "obedient to Christ or obedient to Scripture."  

As regenerated, there is also protection from Satan, as 1 John 5 says, "the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Matjesilltårta, or "pickled herring cheesecake"

I was trying to explain this Swedish phenomena to my mom a day or two ago.

Let's just set the scene:  It is midsommar, a big holiday in Sweden celebrating the middle of the summer.  Lots of odd things happen every year around this day, including a bunch of adults and children singing and mimicking frogs, a dance around a phallic symbol, and of course, the pickled herring cheesecake.   Lots of sweet things too, like woven flower crowns, good cheer, people singing folk songs together, and the longest day of the year!

A nice savory herring cake, that looks suspiciously like a cheesecake until you take your first bite.

Rye bread crumb crust,

cream cheese and onions, pickled herring bits, and horseradish filling.


This newspaper even translated the recipe for you, just in case you want to try it. (It's actually quite good!)


Thursday, 18 June 2015

cleaning house

My mom loaned me a book called "cleaning house."
The book's cover says, "A mom's 12 month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement."

The basic thought is, when our kids one day grow up and move out, are they ready to take on the practicalities of taking care of a home?

So we experimented with one of the chapters.  "Kids learn to cook dinner totally on their own."

I explained this to my 5 year old, and when she understood that she gets to choose the menu, including a dessert, and has to get it all on the table by herself, she was pretty excited.

Well, ok, she did take her inspiration from a McDonald's happy meal, but she did it!

Here's how it went down:
1. She came up with the idea of what she wanted (which looked like this plus a chocolate cake).

2. We went to the grocery store together and she personally picked out the chicken nuggets, apples, fries, and cake toppings.

3.  I got the other kiddos busy with other stuff, and walked by her side as she ON HER OWN

  •  mixed up a cake, 
  • put it in the oven, 
  • put nuggets and fries on a tray and into the oven, 
  • CUT UP apples, 
  • set the table, including flowers and candles and fancy napkins, 
  • mixed up some juice concentrate, 
  • got out some condiments, 
  • and very proudly invited us for dinner. 
  • She even helped scrub some dishes AND helped her little brother put his dishes in the dishwasher with a voluntary attitude!
....all this from the girl who loves to whine about simple chores. 

Just goes to show that when she has personal ownership over something, it can totally change her attitude, willingness, and show her SHE CAN!

Here is a photo of them eating the leftovers of her cake. She is busy telling us "I made this when it was MY day in the kitchen!" 

We asked our 3 year old what he wants to do when it is his night to "make dinner."  His answer?  

SUSHI!  (that should be fun.)

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Systematic Theology, Chapter 33

The Gospel call and effective calling.

Romans speaks of how God first predestines, then calls, then justifies, then glorifies.  Is there a definite order in how salvation should go about?

God calls us in a way that is not a mere human calling, but a sort of "summons" from the King of the universe.  It is an act of God that guarantees a response, as God does the work in justifying us.

Effective calling, an act of God, through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which HE summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith.

A general gospel call is the crying out to all people to repent and believe in the gospel, offered to all people, even to those who do not accept it.

The elements of the gospel call:
1. Explanation of salvation.  (All have sinned, penalty is death, Christ died to pay that penalty)
2. Invitation to respond personally in repentance and faith. (Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest).   We cannot cling any more to our sin, but willingly renounce it in genuine repentance.
3. Promise of forgiveness and eternal life.

Are there points that we have missed normally in sharing the gospel? Do we know the key verses needed to share clearly?

Next week, regeneration.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Systematic Theology, Chapter 32

Election and Reprobation.

Election occured when God decided to choose us to be saved before the foundation of the world.

They are not elected because of any foreseen merit, but only because of his sovereign and good pleasure.

Is predestination in the Bible?
Acts 13:48, "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Romans 8:28-30, "Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son...."
God chose Jacob over Esau, according to Paul, not because of anything they had done, but that God's purpose of election might continue.

Eph 1:4-6, "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world,"

And the list goes on....

Election should be a:
1. comfort.  An assurance. Past, present, and future, God has acted for our good.
2. A reason to praise God. We cannot take pride, but simply thank God for saving us.
3. An encouragement to evangelism. We may go forth confidently, knowing that God has chosen some people to be saved from every folk and people.

Misunderstandings of election.
1. Is it fatalistic? (i.e., we have no choice in the matter) In a true fatalistic system, our humanity is destroyed as our choices mean nothing, and there is no motivation for moral accountability. The Bible speaks many times about "come to me," or "they refuse to come," thus putting a personal willful choice into the mix.
   God doesn't just know a person is "elect" because he can see in the future, but rather that he knew from the beginning of the world.
   Scripture shows that we are not elect because of any redeeming factor in us, but rather purely for Christ and what he did.  We are chosen by grace, so that we can see that there is no merit in us or as God's basis for choosing us. Salvation is all about grace and not about human ability!

If God makes us in a certain way and then tells us that our voluntary choices are real and genuine choices, then we must agree that they are.  God is the ultimate definer of truth.

When people "who never had a chance to believe" rejected God, then he blames them in their willful choice to reject him.   "You refuse to come to me that you may have life."

Election is unfair?  True fairness would be for God not to save anyone.   This question reaches deep into our understanding of ourselves as creatures and of our relationship to God as our creator.   We have no right to tell God what he should be doing in our finite person.

God says in his word that he wills to save everyone.
1 Tim 2:4, God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Ezekiel 33:11, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked will turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, o house of Israel?

next week, The Gospel call and effective calling.

familj liv....family life

Våra familj är inte perfekt, men vems är?  Man letar efter den perfekta bild av en perfekt familj, men detta bild är mycket mer real...