I Know What and Whom I have Believed Part 1
Although I was gripped by the substitutionary atoning love of Jesus Christ during a high school retreat (while a member of a PCUSA church) at the age of 15 and committed my life to Christ…even though I grew in the knowledge and grace of Jesus for over a year afterwards, I came to a place where I rejected Christianity during college. The secularism and pluralism I was exposed to, accompanied by the abusiveness of my father led me to doubt God and to reject my church. It was after college, through a direct and amazing work of God in my life, the love of a conservative evangelical church and a missionary home on leave, with strong apologetic, biblical and philosophical training from mature evangelical leaders at Denver Seminary that led me back to the Lord. Because of the faithfulness of that once very conservative congregation, I turned my eyes to ordained ministry within the PCUSA. I received mild warnings about the liberalism that had infected the denomination, but was assured repeatedly that there were still many faithful congregations there. Though the road was long, and for a time I pastured a non-denominational church with roots in the PCUSA, I eventually became ordained and received a call to be associate pastor. It was not long after this when the PUP was passed and in that process I began to learn a whole lot more about the denomination that I now called my home, and the more my conscience assaulted me.
I have now become convinced that a gauntlet must be thrown down that once again affirms essentials of the reformed faith, and all those that reject those essentials must go through a thorough discipline process that seeks to reconcile and draw them back to the believing community. It is not loving to continue to have leaders within the PCUSA who affirm a false faith and lead others along the wide road that leads to destruction. It is not compassionate or even truly tolerant. A loving response calls people back to the one who is the way, the truth and the life. In a denomination where this is not possible requires some level of separation. PFR has suggested a two synod option. While this might be a good first step, I do not see it as the final solution or even a possible option considering the current environment and leadership of the denomination.
This is my attempt to lay down my gauntlet and proclaim what I believe and what I believe to be essential.
The concept of revelation presupposes that something is hidden and that this something has not been discovered, but rather, has been disclosed. Revelation insinuates dependency; it is God’s bestowal of Himself to humankind. People through General Revelation and Special Revelation progressively know God. General Revelation is available to all through nature, history, and their own moral conscience.
General revelation reveals three major categories of truths about God. From general revelation we know that God exists (Ps. 19:1,2; Rom. 1:19). We also can know that God is an uncreated being (Acts 17:24) who himself creates (Acts 14:15). We see that he not only creates everything, but then also sustains everything (Acts 14:16; 17:25). God’s universal lordship is also made clear (Acts 17:24), as is his self-sufficiency (Acts 17:25). General revelation reveals both God’s transcendence (Acts 17:24) and his immanence (Acts 17:26-27). God’s eternal nature (Ps. 93:2) and his immensity (Ps. 8:3-4) are also made clear.
We can certain things about his character. God’s majesty (Ps. 29:4) and his power (Ps. 29:4; ROM. 1:20) are revealed to us through general revelation. God also makes known his wisdom (Ps. 104:24), his goodness (Acts 14:17), and his righteousness (Rom. 1:32). Through general revelation we can also discover some things about God’s moral demands (Rom. 2:14-15) through our consciousness and through the order we see around us. We see in this same passage that God will judge evil, since people should perform the good. We can also discover that God should be worshipped (Acts 14:15, 17:25), and for this reason we see people worshipping almost anything. The eternal Word created the universe and illumines human intellectual and moral faculties; giving us a sense of moral conscious written on our hearts (John 1:4,9).
Although general revelation reveals God’s glory, his divine nature, and his moral demands, it is not salvific (able to save). Human depravity is real, but the Logos (The shekinah, glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ) still upholds to some degree the human mind and conscious, so that we have some knowledge of God (John 1:4,9). God does not arbitrarily condemn anyone but judges according to people’s works according to the truth they know (Rom. 1:18-21). But since none truly seek God, none are saved except through Special Revelation (Rom. 2:13-16).
Next time I will look at Special Revelation and Scripture.
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