I Know What and Whom I have Believed Part 3: God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
With such sentiments as, “… [The General Assembly] continues to slide toward utter irrelevance and obsolescence…out of touch with the church, with Scripture, and with the historic Christian faith”, the Presbyterian Global Fellowship and friends continue to absolutely ignore reality. Instead of condemning apostasy and heresy and calling for immediate discipline of leaders who promulgate it, they instead continue the support of a denomination that is at odds with God’s inerrant Word. Heresy in my denomination…oh well…ignore it…it’s just a dying shell…keep giving your money…just keep on keeping on…do missions (social justice, compassion). How is this a proper answer to heresy? How will this change or renew anything? One cannot simply ignore apostasy, thinking that it will simply go away and become obsolete like rotary phones, and continue to be intimately yoked to it.
The liberalism and neo-orthodoxy that has infected the so-called “mainline” denominations denies and opposes all the essentials of the Christian faith. Ignoring apostasy supports heresy.
As I turn my eyes on a theology of the triune God, it is vital to interact with the mainline, postmodern theology of “what’s happening now.” As an example, the PCUSA has gone far down the path of a rejection of traditional Christian Theistic views of God, but has instead embraced forms of pantheism (all is god) and panentheism (all is god+) that are apart of liberalism and forms of neo-orthodoxy.
It is popular today among postmoderns to freely converse about God in a mixture of theistic (God as a personal being separate from all that he has created) pantheistic (all is god) and panentheistic (god is all of creation and more) terms. These categories seem to have no meaning for them and they freely move back and forth over those lines. This is often what underlies such sayings such as “god is still creating” (often meaning a pantheistic form of growth with evolution) and the “Christ or god within each one”. While it is clearly popular, it should have no place among Bible believing Christians. If a person’s theology is not theistic, it is not Christian.
Recently the PCUSA received a paper that affirms the Triune God, but they see overemphasis on male language of God and wanted a more balanced view of the femaleness in God. They began with the assumption that all titles are ultimately metaphor. They supported such terms as God/ess, Creator/liberator/comforter or Mother/child/womb. Male titles were revised, and Godself was approved instead of God himself. Jesus now becomes: human one and child of God. It is very typical among pastors and students to refer to God in neutral or female language. I recently read several statements of faith where the Holy Spirit was regularly referred to as “she and her”. Nowhere in the Bible is God referred to with the feminine pronoun, but always masculine and often as Father. While we must be careful how much significance we give to the male language of God and we shouldn’t imagine that God functions as a very large human male. We should call God Father, but be careful that we don’t make God into our masculine image.
But we must absolutely adhere and respect the fact that the Bible never refers to God with female pronouns. Theological concepts of God as female inevitably lead to forms of pantheism. The ancient forms of cult prostitution, involved the divine feminine. Feminist theologians are often welcomed with open arms among Presbyterian and other mainliners. Here are some examples: Carol Christ – “the goddess is not out there” biblical monotheistic religion is viewed as patriarchal…Rosemary Ruther – “god is the great womb within which all things are generated”…Virginia Malencott – “the undivided one god who births and breastfeeds the universe.”
The so-called 2nd Reformation 1993 The Re-Imagining Conference which was supported by many mainliners and continues to attract the leaders of the PCUSA and many others continues to push forward god as female. Here is part of one of the concluding prayers at the 1993 event: “Our maker Sophia, we are women in your image: With the hotblood of our wombs we give form to new life. With the courage of our convictions we pour out lifeblood for justice. Sophia, creator God, let your milk and honey flow. . . . Our sweet Sophia, we are women in your image: with nectar between our thighs we invite a lover, we birth a child with our warm body fluids, we remind the world of its pleasures and sensations. . . . Our guide, Sophia, we are women in your image: with our moist mouths we kiss away a tear, we smile encouragement. With the honey of wisdom in our mouths, we prophesy a full humanity to all the peoples.” This very dangerous movement and theology continues to be supported by all levels of the PCUSA, with leaders, pastors, and ordained elders and deacons attending and even participating.
In stark contrast to these kinds of movements, it is time to boldly proclaim what is another absolute essential to me and to all who uphold historic Biblical Protestantism and to do so with unapologetic boldness.
I believe that God has revealed himself in Scripture as an invisible, personal [as opposed to impersonal] (Isa. 11:2; Jer. 16:5), living, active, eternal Spirit (2 Cor. 6:16; 1Tim. 4:10). He is self-existent (does not rely on anyone or anything else for his existence), eternal and unchanging (Psalm 36:9; Acts 14:12-16). God is Spirit (John 4:24) and as such is a real nonphysical being. He is not simply some energy force, but a personal being (Gen. 1:27; 2:7; Job 12:13). The three basic dimensions of what we know of as a person all fully reside in the being of God. God thinks, comprehends, and understands all things. God also feels (Ex. 34:6; Matt. 15:32; 20:34; Luke 7:13), which is most fully revealed in the person of Christ, but is also seen in the pages in the Old Testament (Jer. 4:19-21). God also acts, which is found on nearly every page of the Bible. Women and men are created in the image of God as personal, knowing, feeling, acting beings (Gen 1:27; 2:7). God is a living, active God (1Tim. 4:10). God is self-existent and doesn’t owe his existence to anyone or anything outside himself (Psalm 36:9). He is non-contingent and non-dependent. Exodus 3:14 “I Am Who I Am” confirms God’s non-contingency. Jesus tells us that the Father has life in himself; so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
God is Omniscient. He knows all there is to know about individuals: motives, characteristics, inner thoughts, struggles, sorrows, words, and actions. (Psalms 139:2-10; John 21:17; 1 John 3:20) God is faithful and true. God’s words in human language are faithful and true, because God is in his very nature faithful and true (Rev. 19:1-2). It is because God is faithful and reliable to His word, that we can trust in God and have hope for the future (Heb. 10:32). None of His promises failed (1 Kings 8:56). God’s love is unconditional (does not depend on object being loved), compassionate, empathetic, and self-giving. Out of love Yahweh chose Israel (Deut. 7:7-8). God’s love is not limited to a few, but is extended to all (John 3:16).
God is holy and transcendent, above creation (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8). God cannot even tolerate evil (Hab. 1:13) and cannot encourage sin in any way (Hab. 1:13). God is also an emotional being who hates evil (Nah. 1:3; Rev. 4:8). God is repulsed and acts emotionally to injustice and unrighteousness. God is jealous. This means that he feels a righteous possessiveness of his chosen people and is aroused for the well being of his people. (Ex. 34:14; John 2:17; 1 Cor. 10:21-22). God is authentic and always genuinely Himself (Isaiah 45:5; 1Thess. 1:9), never representing Himself as something that He is not. God is Omnipotent. He is capable of doing everything logically possible and consistent with His character and nature (Psalm 135:6; Acts 4:24-28; Luke 1:37). God is Transcendent in being (Isa. 57:15; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16) – above, separated and distinct from His creation. God is imminent in providential activity – present and active in sustaining, guiding and governing His creation (Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:28).
The Scriptures clearly set forth that “the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4), denying that there is any value in other gods (polytheism) [there is absolutely no acceptance of pluralism in Scripture]. There is also some foreshadowing of a multiplicity within the unity of the Godhead that we can find throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 48:16; 61:1; 63:9-10), with ambiguity especially in the texts of the prophets that speak of the Messiah as both a man and God. The oneness of God should be interpreted in respect to essence: God is one substantially (one spiritual being) and one essentially (one spiritual being with all the attributes belonging to him).
There is also a multiplicity (threeness) of persons to God. Those persons are capable of fellowship, communication and intercession with one another and with humans. The three are addressed as God and worshipped as persons. The Father’s deity is addressed and explicit throughout Scripture (Dan. 9:4, Matt 6:9). It is also explicit throughout the New Testament that Jesus (Emmanuel — God with us) was worshipped as God (John 20:28). The Holy Spirit was also equated with God (Heb. 3:7-9), for Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Spirit was to lie to God (Acts 5:3, 4). To be born of the Spirit is to be born of God (1John 5:18). There are several key passages that speak of all three in the Godhead equally (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 5:7).
All three possess the same divine attributes equally. The Father (Gen 21:33; 1 Tim. 1:17), and the Son (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5, 24) as well as the Spirit (Heb. 9:14) are eternal. The Son is always of the Father and the Spirit is always of the Father and the Son. Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He is thus of the same nature as the Father, but is distinguishable from the Father. Jesus as the Word of God expresses the overflow of the Father’s heart in creating and sustaining the world (John 1:1-2). .
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