Lakeside Fellowship Blog

Theology 1 Session 3: Categories of Theology

by Administrator 11. February 2017 09:17
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 3 Categories of Theology, Justin Sands shares his thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #7: It was said during the lesson that when reading the Bible “it does not matter what it means to you. It matters what it meant.” How is this true? Discuss.  I chose to discuss this question because it applied directly to our family’s search for a church home and a daycare. During our search we heard everything from “it does not matter as long as you love Jesus” to “we really allow families to interpret the Bible as it pertains to them.” As a strong believer in God’s Word, I realize there is, without a doubt, an absolute truth so we ran from these places a fast as possible. However, I soon realized that didn’t know how to back up the idea of absolute truth from Scripture. During our class discussion about interpreting Scripture, we learned no personal interpretation can change the original author’s intent or meaning. The original author’s intent is what it is and cannot or ever will be changed. The original author influenced by their experiences wrote Scripture as God inspired them. The meaning of what they wrote does not change because our current society or desires are different. For me, the eye opening difference was learning about the Author’s intent. What did God intend for the human author to write and what does it mean for all people throughout all time periods. Obviously we are imperfect beings and as individuals we are often biased when trying to comprehend God’s intended meaning. God is perfect and the Bible is without error; this is a fact. It is our obligation to take the entirety of Scripture and figure out how these truths apply to us today. As discussed, the last step is taking the human author’s intent, discerning the more important Author’s (God’s) intent, finding the timeless principle, and then applying that to our world and our lives. All of these pieces are important and if we are honest with ourselves we will recognize even Christians can allow their biases to affect their interpretation of the Bible. Since the Bible is without error, it only matters what it means and not what we think it means. God inspired the original authors to write down His truth, so it doesn’t matter what it means to us, but what God means and how we are to apply His truth. Our lesson taught us we can rightly understand Scripture by considering the historical, grammatical, contextual, and literary interpretation of the text. Rightly understanding Scripture is our responsibility as believers and to know how those unchanging truths apply to us today. There is a real danger in not studying the entire Word of God and surrounding ourselves with other believers. If we allow various “truths” into our lives we run the risk of straying from God’s intent. When we do not have a foundational concept of God’s intended message it can become impossible to properly apply His Word to our lives. Any misapplication of God’s Word can spread to our families and others who are trusting in us.  

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Theology

Theology 1 Session 2: Defining Theology

by Administrator 28. January 2017 10:06
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 2 Defining Theology, Amanda Sparks shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #7: How are the issues like getting sick, choosing schooling for our children, voting, or getting married influenced by our theology? In our notes, there are examples of areas of our lives that are affected by our theology. These areas can include times when we are sick, voting, getting married, schooling for our children, sharing the gospel, or how we interpret the Bible. Discussion question seven asks us: how are these areas influenced by our theology? I’d like to give my answer to that question in this blog post. Each person’s theology is their personal study of God; from that study a person will form their personal beliefs about God. Those beliefs influence and help determine how a person makes small and large decisions. Those beliefs will also determine a person’s point of view on the world, situations, and experiences. It also helps determine how a person will react when God puts them through a trial. First I’ve chosen to look at getting married. When making the decision to marry someone, theology plays a big role. Some people would believe that its choice, fate, or chance to find the right person. Others believe that God has a plan for their life and that includes who they will marry. The process of finding the right person is affected by our theology. When dating we compare our beliefs that have been based off our theology to help us determine if the person is the right one. Do they believe there is a God, do they believe God is good, do they believe that Christ is the Savior and that He did die on the cross? This list of questions could go on and on. Once someone knows another’s beliefs they have to then look at do our beliefs align and if they don’t align then a person has to determine how important is my belief and can I live with their beliefs? Once married the beliefs of the individuals will become the beliefs of the family and determine the children’s theology. Lastly, I want to share how my theology affected an experience in my life. This August will be 10 years since our son was born, lived for 60 hours, and died. I knew at 20 weeks of pregnancy that Noah would die after he was born and my beliefs guided so many decisions along the way and my perspective. My theology led me to believe in God’s purpose for each life, even one that would be so short. From my theology I was able to believe in God’s ability to take care of me and that determined I would carry Noah until God said it was time for him to be born. The study of God’s Word gave me strength and the promises in His Word helped me to find joy in what we had instead of jealousy or anger in what we didn’t or wouldn’t have. Had I not had God’s Word, the promises in them, and had I not studied them for myself, my life and Noah’s would have been different. I didn’t know it then but my theology played a very large role in how those nine months were lived and loved.

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Theology

Session 6: Inspiration Part 2

by Administrator 19. July 2014 14:47
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 6 Inspiration, Larry Meiners shares his thoughts on the inspiration of Scripture. What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? How did inspiration occur? How does one’s view of inspiration affect their interpretation? These are all good questions about how scripture was written. That is one of many reasons why I decided to take the Theology class. To answer questions like these about the Bible and the information it contains. What is inspiration? The best biblical definition is: The act whereby God guided the writers of Scripture, giving them His words while fully utilizing the human element within man to produce the Scriptures. Making the Bible a product that is 100% God and 100% man. There are many places in the Bible that clearly tell us that the Scriptures where inspired by God. In 2 Timothy 3:16 -17, Paul writes, that God inspired all Scripture for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness so that man may be adequately equipped for every good work. To further support that in 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter tells us that no prophecy of Scripture is that of one’s own interpretation and that all the men where moved by the Holy Spirit spoken from God. Many times we will hear someone say that they were inspired by God to do something. Are they truly inspired by God? Did God guide them in what they did? Or did God simply illuminate them? My opinion of most of these accounts is they are probably illuminated by God not inspired. Illumination means the act whereby God enlightens us to understand His revelations and its relevance to our lives. So for me to say that God has inspired me to take the theology class here at Lakeside is probably not a correct statement. I should say that through the graces of God, He is illuminating me by taking this class to help me understand His revelation and its relevance to my life. There are several different theories of inspiration. Just to name a few, Natural inspiration is the belief that certain people were extremely gifted through their natural God-given abilities to write Scripture, Mechanical Dictation inspiration is the belief that God simply used the hand of man to passively write His words, and Verbal Plenary inspiration is that all Scripture is inspired by God who utilized the human element within man to accomplish this without error. As you read the bible you could say that there are these three forms of inspiration in the writings of the Bible. You can also see that God has a part in all of these. The one that is truly correct is Verbal Plenary. It is important to know that Scripture is the only thing that is said to be God-breathed. Although the Bible is inspired by God, there are many examples of human element within Scripture. Some examples are the emotions in Psalms and Romans 9, Grammatical Differences in Hebrews and John, Grammatical errors in Romans 5, phenomenological language in Joshua 10:13, and the use of round numbers. There are other things too that are of human nature that you will find though out the books of the Bible. One thing I took away from this lesson was although Scripture is written 100% by man, it was inspired 100% by God in some form. Whether it is God speaking directly to the person writing, the Holy Spirit directing, or by Jesus coming to the earth and dying for our sins the Bible is truly Gods Word. Larry Meiners

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Session 6: Inspiration Part 1

by Administrator 19. July 2014 14:36
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 6 Inspiration, Gary Presnall shares his thoughts on the inspiration of Scripture. The lesson for session 6 of my theology class I am taking was Inspiration of scripture. The key points that had an impact on me in the lesson were that there is only one interpretation of scripture, but many applications. I was always under the impression there were many interpretations and many applications. I appreciated how God reveals Himself to us in different ways, and knowing how He does that. The ways He does that is by illumination, inspiration, and revelation. Illumination meaning God has to step in and help enlighten people and help them understand why His Word is true, relevant, and active working in people’s lives. It’s also objective in nature. Inspiration is God guiding people to write Scripture and giving them the words to write without bypassing who and what they were, fully utilizing their personalities and experiences. In the Old Testament they were called Prophets. Revelation is where God reveals His Truth to us through Scripture and through nature and our conscience. There are many theories on how Scripture was inspired. I guess what stuck out are the more disturbing theories. One is the Degree Theory of Inspiration. It is a belief that some of the parts of the Bible are more inspired than other parts, thus we get half truths. In my opinion, it’s either all true or none of it is true; it’s one or the other. The other theory that’s disturbing is the Mechanical Theory. The definition is God used the hand of man to passively write His Word. Its 100% God and man had no part. Its treated here as a magic book, that the prophets were like puppets. It is taught by Muslims the Koran was written this way as well as the Mormons believing their book of Mormon was dictated. This was a great lesson. I totally believe in the theory of Verbal Plenary Inspiration and that all of Scripture is inspired by God. 100% God and 100% man, written down by man without error. Gary Presnall

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Session 3: Transmission of Scripture Part 2

by Administrator 28. June 2014 20:05
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 3 Transmission of Scripture, Grant Etherington shares his thoughts on having confidence in the Bible. Here is a question to ponder: How do we know that the Bible is the same today as it was when it was written? Let’s start with the Old Testament, it was written in two languages Hebrew and Aramaic, and was written over a period of time from 1500 to 400BC. Now the New Testament was written in Koine Greek(basically how they talked on the streets) and was written from 40 to 90BC. We learned that we do not have any original writings, and all scripture that was passed on was handwritten until the printing press came about in the 1450s. When I hear that, my mind says there is no way the Bible I’m holding in my hand can hold anything to the original. Then we learn that there are over 300,000 errors (also called variants) in the New Testament alone. Wow! Now that really makes you think about the Bible that you are holding in your hand. Upon further discussion we learned that 99% of those errors, actually make no theological difference what so ever. A lot the variants were unintentional, like a mistaken letter, or similar sounding words, or the reversal of order with words, example of that would be Christ Jesus, Jesus Christ. As I saw these variants it made me wonder how I would have performed! I know for certain I would have messed up! It was very interesting to know that there were some intentional errors as well. Some examples of that would be updating to the language (names of towns). Another one they would do would be Liturgical Additions, which means that something that always might be used and said within a church service might be added, the example they used was Matthew 6:13”And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…For yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever, Amen. After the word evil the rest was added, because that’s what they would have said in their service. Now of the one percent that does affect theology, none of those affect any major doctrine! A very cool thing we learned was when they found the Dead Sea scrolls in 1948, they compared them to the manuscripts they had and the scrolls were dead on word for word. That blows my mind. For me it was very comforting to learn all this and it just affirms that what we are holding in our hands is the real deal. I think if your walk with Christ wobbles over these variants then you’re looking for a way out. But for me it just puts my mind at rest. So at the end of the night it was quite amazing to learn how sound the Scriptures are that we are holding in our hands. It’s the real McCoy. I know for me, growing up, it was very easy to think that the Bible was just bunch of stuff men threw together and that it can’t be the same as it was back in the day. BUT IT IS!!! So not only am I able to trust in God, but I can read this Bible with total confidence! Grant Etherington

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Session 3: Transmission of Scripture Part 1

by Administrator 28. June 2014 19:23
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 3 Transmission of Scripture, Anna Lee shares her thoughts on having confidence in the Bible. As Christians, it is imperative that we are confident in the Word of God we have in our hands. But few of us understand how the Bible has been transmitted from when it was originally written to the copy that exists in 2014. Transmission is defined as "to send something, pass something on, or cause something to spread, from one person thing or place to another." When referring to Scripture specifically, it is the process of the original author writing it down, copies made over time, and leaving us with the Bible we have today. This begs the question: How do we know if we have the right words? The Bible was inspired by God over a 1,500 year period. He used at least 40 men to put it in writing; ranging from priests and prophets to shepherds and tax collectors. To me, the transmission of Scripture seems like the perfect point of attack for an unbeliever. It stands to reason that considering the time span during which it was written and the number of authors from vastly different professions, that it would deem Scripture to be an unreliable source. However, leave it to our great God to take something that would seem to shake the very foundation of our faith and instead use it to prove its authenticity. Not even the most hard-core atheists or liberals will touch this one because the evidence is overwhelming. While we do not have any of the original manuscripts of the Old or New Testament, it is acknowledged that the closer a copy is made to the date of the original document, the more it is reliable. That being said, in the Theology Course curriculum (Session 3, page 74), a table compares the Bible with other reliable ancient manuscripts. The New Testament was written between 50-90 A.D. with the earliest known copy made only 25 years later, and the number of copies made exceeding 25,000. The next closest is Homer's Iliad which was written in 900 B.C. with the earliest copy made 1,500 years later, and the number of copies made totaling 643. When you put it side-by-side, 25 years versus 1,500 years from first writing, and 25,000 copies versus 643, the evidence speaks for itself. God likes to go big! How did we come to have Scripture in front of us today? God inspired the Word, men wrote it down, and copies were made. But as we all know, human error is inevitable. How then can we know that the copies of Scripture we have are not rampant with errors? While scribes were meticulously copying the Old and New Testament, many mistakes were made. In fact, in the New Testament alone there are more than 300,000 copyist errors. When I learned about the large number of variants in the manuscripts it made me uneasy. But upon further discussion, it turns out that 99% of these make no theological difference at all. Some are merely grammatical or differ only in order of wording (an example being "Jesus Christ" versus "Christ Jesus"). But what about the other 1%? An example is the classic Sunday School story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. In many Bible translations, this story in John 7:53-8:11 is in brackets because some of the early manuscripts do not include it. Should it be included? In these instances, whether you leave it in or take it out, it does not affect any major doctrine. The inclusion or absence of it does not alter the character of God or change how we come to salvation. Before studying transmission, I assumed that the Bible was completely perfect in every way. After studying this, I am confident that it is perfectly the way God intended it to be. He was the One who created us. He knew that we are imperfect and would make mistakes. But He is also in complete control. Now, more than ever before, I trust the divine Author of the Word I hold in my hands. Anna Lee

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