Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Heidelberg Catechism

Below is some Preliminary Remarks of Charles Hodge about the Trinity from his writings about Systematic Theology - Volume I: There are many options below to download: or go to the following link to access this information there: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/theology1.html

Title:
Systematic Theology - Volume I
Author:
Hodge, Charles (1797-1878)
Language:
English
CCEL Subjects:
All; Theology
Formats:
Read OnlineAdobe Acrobat PDF - 2.7 MB Microsoft Word htm w/markup - 2.5 MB Page images Palm eBook (pdb) - 931 KB Plain text (UTF-8) - 2.0 MB Theological Markup Language (XML) - 2.2 MB


§ 1. Preliminary Remarks.
THE doctrine of the Trinity is peculiar to the religion of the Bible. The Triad of the ancient world is only a philosophical statement of the pantheistic theory which underlies all the religion of antiquity. With the Hindus, simple, undeveloped, primal being, without consciousness or attributes, is called Brahm. This being, as unfolding itself in the actual world, is Vishnu; as returning into the abyss of unconscious being, it is Shiva. In Buddhism we find essentially the same ideas, in a more dualistic form. Buddhism makes more of a distinction between God, as the spiritual principle of all things, and nature. The soul of man is a part, or an existence-form, of this spiritual essence, whose destiny is, that it may be freed from nature and lost in the infinite unknown. In Platonism, also, we find a notional Trinity. Simple being (τὸ ὀν) has its λόγος, the complex of its ideas, the reality in all that is phenomenal and changing. In all these systems, whether ancient or modern, there is a Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis; the Infinite becomes finite, and the finite returns to the Infinite. It is obvious, therefore, that these trinitarian formulas have no analogy with the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity, and serve neither to explain nor to confirm it.
The design of all the revelations contained in the Word of God is the salvation of men. Truth is in order to holiness. God does not make known his being and attributes to teach men science, but to bring them to the saving knowledge of Himself. The doctrines of the Bible are, therefore, intimately connected with religion, or the life of God in the soul. They determine the religious experience of believers, and are presupposed in that experience. This is specially true of the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a great mistake to regard that doctrine as a mere speculative or abstract truth, concerning the constitution of the Godhead, with which we have no practical concern, or which we are required to believe simply because it is revealed. On the contrary, it underlies the whole plan of salvation, and determines the character of the religion (in 443the subjective sense of that word) of all true Christians. It is the unconscious, or unformed faith, even of those of God’s people who are unable to understand the term by which it is expressed. They all believe in God, the Creator and Preserver against whom they have sinned, whose justice they know they cannot satisfy, and whose image they cannot restore to their apostate nature. They therefore, as of necessity, believe in a divine Redeemer and a divine Sanctifier. They have, as it were, the factors of the doctrine of the Trinity in their own religious convictions. No mere speculative doctrine, especially no doctrine so mysterious and so out of analogy with all other objects of human knowledge, as that of the Trinity, could ever have held the abiding control over the faith of the Church, which this doctrine has maintained. It is not, therefore, by any arbitrary decision, nor from any bigoted adherence to hereditary beliefs, that the Church has always refused to recognize as Christians those who reject this doctrine. This judgment is only the expression of the deep conviction that Antitrinitarians must adopt a radically and practically different system of religion from that on which the Church builds her hopes. It is not too much to say with Meyer,473473Lehre von der Trinität , vol. i. p. 42.
that “the Trinity is the point in which all Christian ideas and interests unite; at once the beginning and the end of all insight into Christianity.”
This great article of the Christian faith may be regarded under three different aspects: (1.) The Biblical form of the doctrine. (2.) The ecclesiastical form, or the mode in which the statements of the Bible have been explained in the symbols of the Church and the writings of theologians. (3.) Its philosophical form, or the attempts which have been made to illustrate, or to prove, the doctrine on philosophical principles. It is only the doctrine as presented in the Bible, which binds the faith and conscience of the people of God.

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The Holy Trinity
Lord’s Day 8
24. How are these articles divided?
Into three parts: the first is of God the Father and our creation; the second, of God the Son and our redemption; the third, of God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.[1]
[1] 1 Pt 1:2
25. Since there is but one Divine Being,[1] why do you speak of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word,,[2] that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.
[1] Deut 6:4; Isa 44:6, 45:5; 1 Cor 8:4-6; [2] Gen 1:2-3; Ps 110:1; Isa 61:1, 63:8-10; Mt 3:16-17, 28:18-19; Lk 4:18; Jn 14:26, 15:26; 2 Cor 13:14; Gal 4:6; Tit 3:5-6
Of God the Father and our CreationLord’s Day 9
26. What do you believe when you say: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?”
That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that in them is,[1] who likewise upholds, and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence,[2] is for the sake of Christ, His Son, my God and my Father,[3] in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul;[4] and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life, He will turn to my good;[5] for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,[6] and willing also, being a faithful Father.[7]
[1] Gen 1-2; Ex 20:11; Job 38-39; Ps 33:6; Isa 44:24; Acts 4:24, 14:15; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3; [2] Ps 104:2-5, 27-30, 115:3; Mt 6:30, 10:29-30; Acts 17:24-25; Eph 1:11; Heb 1:3; [3] Mt 6:8; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 8:15-16; Gal 4:4-7; Eph 1:5, 3:14-16; [4] Ps 55:22, 90:1-2; Mt 6:25-26; Lk 12:22-31; [5] Acts 17:27-28; Rom 8:28; [6] Gen 18:14; Rom 8:31-39, 10:12; [7] Num 23:19; Mt 6:32-33, 7:9-11

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Heidelberg Catechism

Below is an excerpt from John Calvin's view of this portion of the Apostle's Creed "Descended in to Hell". This sounds very troubling in our day. But, it is understanding why some people even in early Chruch History would want to either not include this phrase or refer to it as being "in the Grave". But, below are some good points made by John Calvin that really make you think and wonder about what Jesus went through not just physically, but spiritually. Let me know what you think.
Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
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John Calvin:
JOHN CALVIN'S: INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGIONEDITED BY JOHN T. MCNEILLAuburn Professor Emeritus of Church History Union Theological Seminary New YorkTRANSLATED AND INDEXED BY FORD LEWIS BATTLES
10. THE "DESCENT INTO HELL" AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE SPIRITUAL TORMENT THAT CHRIST UNDERWENT FOR US
But we must seek a surer explanation, apart from the Creed, of Christ’s descent into hell. The explanation given to us in God’s Word is not only holy and pious, but also full of wonderful consolation. If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No — it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment. For this reason, he must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death.
f439 A little while ago f440 we referred to the prophet’s statement that "the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him," "he was wounded for our transgressions" by the Father, "he was bruised for our infirmities" [Isaiah 53:5 p.]. By these words he means that Christ was put in place of evildoers as surety and pledge — submitting himself even as the accused — to bear and suffer all the punishments that they ought to have sustained. All — with this one exception: "He could not be held by the pangs of death" [Acts 2:24 p.]. No wonder, then, if he is said to have descended into hell, for he suffered the death that, God in his wrath had inflicted upon the wicked! Those who — on the ground that it is absurd to put after his burial what preceded it — say that the order is reversed in this way are making a very trifling and ridiculous objection. f441 The point is that the Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.
11. DEFENSE OF THIS EXPLANATION FROM SCRIPTURE PASSAGES
In this sense Peter says: "Christ arose, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held or conquered by them" [Acts 2:24 p.]. Peter does not simply name death, but expressly states that the Son of God had been laid hold of by the pangs of death that arose from God’s curse and wrath — the source of death. For what a smallthing it would have been to have gone forward with nothing to fear and, as if in sport, to suffer death! But this was a true proof of his boundless mercy, that he did not shun death, however much he dreaded it. There is no doubt that the apostle means the same thing when he writes in the Letter to the Hebrews: Christ "was heard for his …fear" [Hebrews 5:7 p.]. (Others render it "reverence" or "piety,"
f442 but how inappropriately is evident from the fact itself, as well as the form of speaking.) Christ, therefore, "praying with tears and loud cries, …is heard for his …fear" [Hebrews 5:7 p.]; he does not pray to be spared death, but he prays not to be swallowed up by it as a sinner because he there bore our nature, and surely no more terrible abyss can be conceived than to feel yourself forsaken and estranged from God; and when you call upon him, not to be heard. It is as if God himself had plotted your ruin. We see that Christ was so cast down as to be compelled to cry out in deep anguish: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" [Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46]. Now some would have it that he was expressing the opinion of others rather than his own feeling. f443 This is not at all probable, for his words clearly were drawn forth from anguish deep within his heart. Yet we do not suggest that God was ever inimical or angry toward him. How could he be angry toward his beloved Son, "in whom his heart reposed" [cf. Matthew 3:17]? How could Christ by his intercession appease the Father toward others, if he were himself hateful to God? This is what we are saying: he bore the weight of divine severity, since he was "stricken and afflicted" [cf. Isaiah 53:5] by God’s hand, and experienced all the signs of a wrathful and avenging God. Therefore Hilary reasons: by his descent into hell we have obtained this, that death has been overcome. In other passages he does not differ from our view, as when he says: "The cross, death, hell — these are our life." In another place: "The Son of God is in hell, but man is borne up to heaven." f444 And why do I quote the testimony of a private individual when the apostle, recalling this fruit of victory, asserts the same thing, that they were "delivered who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage"? [Hebrews 2:l5 p.]. He had, therefore, to conquer that fear which by nature continually torments and oppresses all mortals. This he could do only by fighting it. Now it will soon be more apparent that his was no common sorrow or one engendered by a light cause. Therefore, by his wrestling hand to hand with the devil’s power, with the dread of death,with the pains of hell, he was victorious and triumphed over them, that in death we may not now fear those things which our Prince has swallowed up [cf. 1 Peter 3:22, Vg.].
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Lord’s Day 7
20. Are all men, then, saved by Christ as they have perished in Adam?
No, only those who by true faith are ingrafted into Him and receive all His benefits.[1]
[1] Ps 2:12; Mt 7:14; Jn 1:12-13, 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 11:16-21; 1 Cor 15:22; Heb 4:2-3, 10:39
21. What is true faith?
True faith is not only a sure knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word,[1] but also a hearty trust,[2] which the Holy Spirit[3] works in me by the Gospel,[4] that not only to others, but to me also,[5] forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God,[6] merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.[7]
[1] Jn 17:3, 17; Heb 11:1-3; Jas 1:6, 2:19; [2] Rom 4:16-21, 5:1, 10:10; Heb 4:16; [3] 2 Cor 4:13; Php 1:19, 29; [4] Acts 16:4; Rom 1:16, 10:17; 1 Cor 1:21; [5] Gal 2:20; [6] Rom. 1:17; Heb 10:10, 11:1-2; [7] Acts 10:43; Rom 3:20-26; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:7-10
22. What, then, is necessary for a Christian to believe?
All that is promised us in the Gospel,[1] which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in summary.
[1] Mt 28:19-20; Jn 20:30-31; 2 Tim 3:15; 2 Pt 1:21
The Apostles’ Creed
23. What are these articles?
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, a holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The Holy Trinity

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Heidelberg Catechism

The Lord is at the center of scripture and our salvation. There isn't a single thing that we can offer to gain righteousness. We are wholly at the mercy of God and His Grace given to us. These things are foreign to us and not intuitive to our fallen nature. This is one reason why it is so desperately important to preach the Gospel on a regular basis. It isn't just for evangelizing the lost. It is also for Christians at all stages of their faith. It is important to be remind us all of our guilt, and how marvelous grace is, and how we can't help but love one another and share the Gospel out of Gratitude for what God has done. This should help to keep us humble and not proud. A grateful Christian would not be like a Pharisee pointing fingers at those sinners outside the church.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Says -
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Notice that the change comes after someone is in Christ. We don't try to change people and then they become Christians. The old has gone and the new has come.
Next, it is evident that scripture shows us that Christ sought out those "He foreknew". He reached out to those that belonged to Him, and all the way to the cross he died for those "He foreknew".
Jesus didn't go to the cross so that people will have the "chance" to be saved. But, he went to the cross so that specific people would certainly be saved. Those given to Him before the foundations of the world, and he hasn't lost a single one. John 17

Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!
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Lord’s Day 6
16. Why must He be a true and righteous man?
Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin;[1] but one who is himself a sinner cannot satisfy for others.[2]
[1] Rom 5:12, 15; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:14-16; [2] Isa 53:3-5; Heb 7:26-27; 1 Pt 3:18
17. Why must He also be true God?
That by the power of His Godhead[1] He might bear in His manhood the burden of God’s wrath,[2] and so obtain for[3] and restore to us righteousness and life.[4]
[1] Isa 9:5; [2] Dt 4:24; Isa 53:8; Ps 130:3; Nah 1:6; Acts 2:24; [3] Jn 3:16; Acts 20:28; [4] Isa 53:5, 11; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Jn 1:2
18. But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man?
Our Lord Jesus Christ,[1] who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness. [2]
[1] Mt 1:21-23; Lk 2:11; 1 Tim 2:5, 3:16; [2] Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 1:30
19. From where do you know this?
From the Holy Gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise,[1] afterwards proclaimed by the holy patriarchs[2] and prophets,[3] and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law,[4] and finally fulfilled by His well-beloved Son.[5]
[1] Gen 3:15; [2] Gen 12:3, 22:18, 49:10-11; [3] Isa 53; Jer 23:5-6; Mic 7:18-20; Acts 3:22-24, 10:43; Rom 1:2; Heb 1:1; [4] Lev 1:7; Jn 5:46; Heb 10:1-10; [5] Rom 10:4; Gal 4:4-5; Col 2:17; Heb 10:1

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Heidelberg Catechism

Lord’s Day 5

12. Since, then, by the righteous judgment of God we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how may we escape this punishment and be again received into favor?

God wills that His justice be satisfied;[1] therefore, we must make full satisfaction to that justice, either by ourselves or by another.[2]

[1] Ex 20:5, 23:7; Rom 2:1-11; [2] Isa 53:11; Rom 8:3-4

13. Can we ourselves make this satisfaction?

Certainly not; on the contrary, we daily increase our guilt.[1]

[1] Job 9:2-3, 15:15-16; Ps 130:3; Mt 6:12, 16:26; Rom 2:4-5

14. Can any mere creature make satisfaction for us?

None; for first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man committed;[1] and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin and redeem others from it.[2]

[1] Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18; [2] Ps 130:3; Nah 1:6

15. What kind of mediator and redeemer, then, must we seek?

One who is a true[1] and righteous man,[2] and yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.[3]

[1] 1 Cor 15:21-22, 25-26; Heb 2:17; [2] Isa 53:11; Jer 13:16; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26; [3] Isa 7:14, 9:6; Jer 23:6; Jn 1:1; Rom 8:3-4; Heb 7:15-16

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Heidelberg Catechism

<>Does God do Good Things, or are they Good things because God does them?
Does God ordain the sin that He hates, and brings about the ultimate good?
Did God plan for sin to take place while not being the author of sin?
I have heard it often said that when sin or the fall happened, it was as if God had to go with "Plan B" since His initial plan didn't work out like He had hoped it would.
Here are some more things to think about.
What do you think about this quote:
"You can't define God's Sovereignty, if you could then it wouldn't be sovereignty"
I'm personally not sure I can agree with that statement. I think we can try to describe God's Sovereignty even though we might not do it justice in our description. And I think the Bible as a whole describes God's Sovereignty throughout. I also look to Christ for a real life picture of God's Sovereignty and how it is all about the person and works of Christ.

Grace and Peace,
Chris
Coram Deo!!!

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Lord’s Day 4

9. Does not God, then, do injustice to man by requiring of him in His Law that which he cannot perform?

No, for God so made man that he could perform it;[1] but man, through the instigation of the devil,[2] by willful disobedience[3] deprived himself and all his descendants of this power.[4]

[1] Gen 1:31; Eph 4:24; [2] Gen 3:13; Jn 8:44; 1 Tim 2:13-14; [3] Gen 3:6; [4] Rom 5:12, 18-19

10. Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy to go unpunished?

Certainly not,[1] but He is terribly displeased with our inborn as well as our actual sins, and will punish them in just judgment in time and eternity,[2] as He has declared: “Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”[3]

[1] Heb 9:27; [2] Ex 34:7; Ps 5:4-6, 7:10; Nah 1:2; Mt 25:41; Rom 1:18, 5:12; Eph 5:6; [3] Deut 27:26; Gal 3:10

11. But is not God also merciful?

God is indeed merciful,[1] but He is likewise just;[2] His justice therefore requires that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment both of body and soul.[3]

[1] Ex 20:6, 34:6-7; Ps 103:8-9; [2] Ex 20:5, 34:7; Deut 7:9-11; Ps 5:4-6; 2 Cor 6:14-16; Heb 10:30-31; Rev 14:11; [3] Mt 25:45-46