Category Archives: Theology

Trinity Dictionary 

A simple quick reference for Trinitarian words:
ousia (essence/being/substance): Formalized by the council of Nicea (325), it declared the Son to be of the same essence (homoousious) or co-essential with God the Father.

hypostasis (entity, “substance”, or person): Although typically used as a synonym for ousia (the word literally means “to stand under” i.e. “sub-stance”. Theologians will speak of there being one ousia (essence) and three hypostases (entities or “persons”). Why the two terms? Because it was deemed contradictory to say God is one essence and three essences or one substance with three substances. So one synonym was made to serve the other. 

prosopon (person, “mask/face”): Literally meaning “face” and implies the persona or image we present to others (commonly used in acting). Although the term is virtually synonymous with hypostasis it did not convey as strong a sense as hypostasis of an actually existing entity/person, as we use the term today and was feared to be a foothold for Modalism. Today speaking of the three “persons” of the Trinity is more accepted and common.

  • The classic Trinity formulation of doctrine is that: God is one essence (ousia), existing as three persons (hypostases or prosopon): Father, Son and Spirit.

physis (nature): In reference to the Trinity it is sometimes a synonym for ousia, but in Christology it is a way of speaking of the humanity and divinity of Christ.

hypostatic union: A term used to describe the relationship of the divine and human natures in Christ. In the unity of Christ’s substance/person there is no mixing, confusion or hybrid of the divine and human natures.

  • The classic Christology formulation of doctrine is that: Christ is one person (hypostasis or prosopon), who possesses two natures (physes): divine and human.

communicatio idiomatum (the communication or exchange of properties): A Christological precept that, because of Christ’s unity of person, allows for the attributes of the divine and human natures to be described as belonging to the other. We speak of God’s blood or God being born of Mary, dying on the cross….

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Post postmodern church

The post-postmodern church will be a customized app so your “worship” time is customized and privatized by/to you. You set up a portfolio icon/image and discuss things with other members via chat and prayer rooms separated by age groups. Select a pastor from the menu according to the style and intensity you like. The sermons are then tweeted live at a certain time each week so that members can interact with them via likes or evangelically share them. If you don’t catch it live, you can always read it according to your own schedule. Periods of worship music are set aside before and after the sermon, but the app will allow you to bypass the preselected songs/hymns to access your our playlist so you can listen to what worship music suits you. Communion will be a clickable action for your icon to participate in as it’s symbolic anyway. The offering is more of an in-app purchase, where you can select a cause for it to go to, with just a % going to the church. 

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Not my own

1 Corinthians 6:20 …”for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
“If we are not our own but the Lord’s, it’s clear what errors we must flee, and what we must direct our whole lives toward. We are not our own; therefore, neither our reason nor our will should dominate our plans and actions. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make the gratification of our flesh our end. We are not our own; therefore, let us forget ourselves and our own interests. Rather, we are God’s. Therefore, let us live and die to Him. We are God’s. Therefore, let His wisdom and His will govern all our actions. We are God’s. Therefore, let us – in every way in all our lives – run to Him as our only proper end. How far has he progressed who’s been taught that he is not his own – who’s taken rule and dominion away from his own reason and entrusted them to God. For the plague of submitting to our own rule leads us straight to ruin, but the surest way to safety is neither to know nor to want anything on our own, but simply to follow the leading of the Lord.”  – John Calvin, A Little Book On The Christian Life, pages 22-23.

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All things for work for my eternal good. Romans 8:28-30

What Paul says:”And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (ESV)
Most segregate verse 28 from the rest, and without this context some common errors come up. 
It’s not saying Christians will have any less pain, suffering or general hard/bad circumstances in life than anyone else. The “all things” is simply that, all of life – the good, the bad and the ugly, are part of the Christian experience. Jesus didn’t die to lessen our hard times in this life. 
It’s not saying that because you did not get your initial dream job (bf/gf, car, college….) that the “working together for good” means that a better job (or whatever you’re after) is just down the road a few days or weeks at most. 
It’s not a negative version karma where I look at bad circumstances in life as something that triggers an equal and opposite positive circumstance. 
It’s not saying to look at bad circumstances as if they are good or come with silver linings. Bad things are really bad. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus was mad and wept, because death was real, and it was bad. He didn’t look past the pain of death and approach the situation as if He was looking to prove a point with a smile on his face. 

We so often tell people, who are in the midst of a tragedy that God will make it good, as in they will be able to comfort somebody else later on who befalls the same thing. That may be, but that’s not the promise here. 
It is saying:

* That all of life, for God’s children, is fixed and structured in a manner that it works to mold us, more and more into the image of Jesus (our greatest “good”). 

* That circumstances (good or bad) are the means/tools by which God molds us into Christ’s image. They are no less great or as bad as God intends, as He knows exactly what we need and can withstand. He never cuts off too much or too little. 

* That within this image bearing, God can refer to all Christians (men, women, children, Greeks, slaves…) as inheritors (“sons” as a position/title, not just gender). 

* That glorification is so fixed for the children of God, that it can be referenced in the past tense as already a part of what we are. 

* That, as Tim Keller summarizes in a sermon on joy, Christians have joy that transcends circumstances because these passages tell us 1) bad things are for our ultimate good, 2) the good (Christ) we can never lose, and 3) the best is yet to come.

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Visual Catechism 

Table Based on the ocular Catechism of Puritan, William Perkins, modified by myself.

Click link above: sample screenshot below

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One interpretation, many applications 

Here is a new sermon/ lesson/ passage application grid. It’s borrowed in part from the Puritan model of sermon preparation for application, but modified. 

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Pascal’s Wager

Simply stated, the wager is that if eternal life and death are contingent on believing or not believing in God, then it’s logical to believe, Even if “just to be safe” because the risk of eternal damnation is too great.
To me it seems the wager is not an apologetic, appealing to natural reason in a fear/risk model as most cite. This then suspends (denies) the basic reformed position that in sinful depravity you could just logically convince someone to believe in God. Pascal does not attempt this tact in his other writings, so contextually as a writer, why would he start and even contradict other things he had written?
Now within the context of his other writings he maintains great descriptions of man’s depravity and its impact and cause of illogical reasoning’s of man. A famous quote of his places the motions of the heart against logic when it comes to love. This fits the moral rational view he holds that as man makes decisions there are calculations being made. You go to cross the street, and you mentally calculate your ability to accelerate against the speed and distance of on coming traffic. In anger you may ignore the calculation and just gun it and take your “chances”. I think this the observation being made in Pascal’s wager. He is not looking to apologetically convince someone to believe, but instead makes an acute observation that men make such an irrational choice with so much in the balance, that sin and depravity could be the only reason to not believe in God. It’s a proof observation that belief in God is a moral rational belief. One that man actively suppresses. If man approached the God question as he does other choices, the rational/logical conclusion would be to believe, because of everything at stake. I think this matches well with his “thoughts”, especially those on distractions and diversions.

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