Archive for ‘Orthodoxy’

January 2, 2016

God With Us: Knowing the Mystery of Who Jesus Is

God With Us CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

Jesus. The name means so many things to so many people. This book has as its aim to know Jesus. In order to know him experientially and personally we must know what the Bible says about Him. To come to this knowledge we will delve into the holy mysteries of the Word of God and the historic Christian faith. Whether you are a skeptic, an agnostic, an inquirer, or a convinced Christian, this book is meant to cause you to consider the mysteries that Jesus claimed of Himself that you too might join the cloud of witnesses that no man can number, confessing the name of Jesus—“God with us.”

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Rev. Daniel R. Hyde

About the Author

Daniel R. Hyde (M.Div. Westminster Seminary California) is the Pastor of Oceanside United Reformed Church in Oceanside, California. He is the author of Jesus Loves the Little Children (2006), The Good Confession (2006), What to Expect in Reformed Worship (2007), and With Heart and Mouth (2008).

 

Paperback, 157 pages

Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-60178-031-7

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

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November 3, 2015

The Arian Heresy and Nicene Orthodoxy

The Council of Nicea ruling on the Arian Heresy.

The Council of Nicea ruling on the Arian Heresy.

On Sunday, November 1, 2015, Elder Wayne Wylie taught about the Arian Heresy and Nicene Orthodoxy.

Christianity faces more controversies and heresies than other religions because it is based on propositional doctrine rather than morality, as other religions are. “Contending for the faith” is a biblical duty intended to preserve the peace and purity of the church (Jude 3). In the ancient era of church history, the Faith needed to be stated more clearly in a formal way, hence the development of Nicene Orthodoxy.

The heresiarch Arius taught that Jesus was the first created being, and denied the “ontological Trinity,” which means he denied that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are of one divine essence. The councils which developed the Nicene Creed demonstrate the fact of the eternal generation of the Son, and the modern controversy over this teaching is due to a new understanding of the Greek root of the term translated “begotten” in reference to Christ.

Listen to “The Arian Heresy and Nicene Orthodoxy” at mcopc.org.

October 27, 2015

Gnosticism and Docetism

The Pleroma in the Valentinian System

The Pleroma in the Valentinian System

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, elder Wayne Wylie taught on Gnosticism, and introduced Docetism in his series on Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Elements of the ancient heresy of Gnositicism include the ideas of dualism, the elitist attitude of the “Gnostikoi” who are the chosen few favored with secret knowledge of Gnostic doctrine, and some discussion of how this two-tiered attitude is reflected in various Christian movements to this day. Another prominent custom among modern Christians which bears some parallel to the notion that Christians have direct knowledge of God apart from Scripture is in the notion of receiving individualistic “guidance by the Holy Spirit,” often appealed to in day-to-day decision making. Important varieties of Gnosticism, such as that of the arch-heretic Marcion and the school of Valentinus were also introduced.

In Gnosticism, knowledge of Gnostic doctrine, rather than faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, is the key to a redemption comprised of the escape of the spirit from the body at death.

Docetism was also introduced. “The word [Docetism] is derived from the Greek dokeo, meaning “to seem” or “to appear.” According to Docetism, the eternal Son of God did not really become human or suffer on the cross; he only appeared to do so. The heresy arose in a Helenistic milieu and was based on a Dualism which held that the material world is either unreal or postitively evil. The basic thesis of such docetics was that if Christ suffered he was not divine, and if he was God he could not suffer [from class handout].”

Listen to “Gnosticism and Docetism” at mcopc.org.

October 26, 2015

Introduction and Review: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church

Click image to read more about this book.

Click image to read more about this book.

On Sunday, October 18, 2015, Elder Wayne Wylie reviewed “Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church” which he taught through the 18th century about a year and a half ago. After a couple of weeks of review, Wayne will resume where he left off dealing with Pietism and Revivalism.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) sets a prominent theme the student of heresies in church history must keep in mind. The heresies with which the modern church contends are merely variations on heresies which the church throughout history has always had to correct.

The concepts of “heresy,” “error,” “dogma” and “orthodoxy” are defined, compared and contrasted.

Why are there more controversies and heresies associated with Christianity than with any other religion? This stems largely from the fact that most religions are based on morality, whereas Christianity is based on propositional doctrines which are rooted in historical events.

Heresy forces the church to define what we mean by the doctrines we confess. The earliest heresies dealt with who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What was he like? How much does one really need to know about the nature of the triune God, and the person and work of Jesus Christ?

Listen to “Introduction to Heresy and Orthodoxy” for all of this and more at mcopc.org.

September 17, 2015

Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church

Heresies CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

The history of Christian theology is in large part a history of heresies, because Jesus and the claims he made . . . seemed incredible,” writes the author. Heresies presents “the story of how succeeding generations of Christians through almost twenty centuries have tried to understand, trust, and obey Jesus Christ.” Particularly concerned with christology and trinitarianism, the author calls on the four major creeds of the church—Apostles’, Nicene, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian—to separate orthodoxy from heresy. He acknowledges that heresy has done much more than confuse and divide the church. It has also helped the church to classify orthodoxy. Just as heresy served this purpose historically, so it serves this purpose pedagogically in Heresies.

This volume presents a clarion call to evangelicals to preserve tenaciously “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Frank E. James III wrote in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society: “Brown deserves to be commended not only for his insightful scholarship and his readable style but also and more importantly for providing a sorely-needed jab to the soft underbelly of modern evangelicalism.”

Source: Hendrickson Publishers

Harold OJ Brown

Harold O.J. Brown

About the Author

Like so many others who graced the halls of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Harold O. J. Brown (1933-2007) was an evangelical statesmen, demonstrating high intellectual acumen, steadfast theological conviction, and compassionate, prophetic social engagement. While a mentor in the classroom and beloved teacher, Brown was most known for his role in arousing a slumbering pro-life movement.

His Life: A Thumbnail Sketch

Born on July 6, 1933, Brown seemed to have a natural draw to the intellectual life. He studied vigorously at Harvard throughout his 20s and early 30s, where he earned four degrees from Harvard: A.B., Harvard College (1953); B.D., Harvard Divnity School (1957); Th.M., Harvard Divinity School (1959); Ph.D, Harvard University (1967).

During that same period, Brown was also ordained in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (1958) and served in pastoral ministry first between 1958 and 1965. That pastoral tenure ended with postdoctoral work in Europe, having received the prestigious Fulbright and Danforth fellowships. His primary educational home, however, was Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he taught in 1971, 1975-83, and 1987-1998. (He also had an extended tenure at Reformed Theological Seminary.) On all accounts, he was a beloved teacher and mentor. As TEDS faculty member John Woodbridge fondly recalls,

Brown was an intriguing lecturer. He could awe with displays of vast erudition regarding theology, ethics, journalism, politics, and church history. He could entertain by spouting Latin verse or by bursting into the hearty singing of an old German song. He could charm with flashes of wit and colorful anecdotes. But students especially appreciated Brown’s care and concern for them as persons. He wanted them to be educated (“civilized” with a wide-ranging culture), articulate, and activist Christians.

This account is evidenced by the fact that students elected him “Faculty Member of the Year” in 1989.

Theological Accomplishments

Brown’s significance as a theologian, pastor, professor, and social activist lies primarily in his influence on the pro-life movement. He both anticipated the problem of abortion before it was legalized and was one of the more significant organizers and strategists afterward. It is reasonable to suppose that without Brown there may not have been a pro-life movement.Indeed, according to Matthew Miller, had it not been for Brown (and with him, Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop), “there may not have been a pro-life movement in the 1980s at all, nor in the years that followed.”

In 1975 (two years after Roe v. Wade), Brown and Koop founded the Christian Action Council (now Care Net), which was a leading “right to life” advocacy group on Capital Hill for some time and remains active in the promotion of “life.” He was also the editor of The Human Life Review, among many other publications. Furthermore, Brown was the Christianity Today editor responsible for writing the editorial in response to Roe v. Wade, which Mark Galli (CT) described as “[o]ne of the finer moments in CT history.” Published on February 2, 1973 with the title “Abortion and the Court,” the editorial is a scathing, insightful, bitingly witty, and intelligent critique of the Court decision. Besides his critique of the absurdities of the decision, and its moral consequences and pagan undertones, Brown’s prophetic articulation of the changing shape of society is also eerily spot-on:

Christians should accustom themselves to the thought that the American state no longer supports, in any meaningful sense, the laws of God, and prepare themselves spiritually for the prospect that it may one day formally repudiate them and turn against those who seek to live by them.

Besides his work in the “right to life” movement—indeed, in relation to it—Brown’s work in the Evangelical-Catholic dialogue is also noteworthy. As one Catholic, Scott Richert, remarks, Brown was “perhaps the best example I have ever known of an uncompromising ecumenism.”

For these reasons and many more, Harold O. J. Brown is the ideal theologian after whom to name our academic scholarship for doctoral students, designed to encourage excellent theological argumentation with compassionate, prophetic social engagement.

Source: Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Hendrickson Pub (March 1998)
ISBN-10: 1565633652
ISBN-13: 978-1565633650

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.