Let me introduce you to a dear friend, Brother in Christ, and a wonderful mentor to me. I'm referring to Dr. George E. Bloomquist who writes and teaches from the Word of God on his website named Echoes of Grace. I am always encouraged and challenged when I read his newsletters. I'm pleased to see Dr. Bloomquist take a visit to essential doctrines. Below is a sample of what you will find on this month's newsletter. The Doctrine of God is extremely important to the church, and it is somewhat ironic that many of Evangelical churches have "stiff-armed" or have turn their backs on any kind of focus on such important truths. They have often said they don't want any kind of creed or catechism or confessions because they only want Jesus. They say they've had enough creeds, we need to be more about deeds. The funny thing is... I don't think you've ever had to worry about getting people to do "deeds". Especially in America. We are always about doing something, and we don't like sitting still and feeding on the Word and dwelling and marvelling at these great truths about God. I remember several years ago asking a church leader about leading people in their church through the various doctrines (I didn't even use the word catechism) and they guy responded "we don't want to start doing catechims." Then here they are several years later and they have been doing a children's AWANA program which is basically a fun version of catechisms and scripture memorization.
I guess as long as you don't call it that catechism word then it is acceptable. Of course, that seems to be the way of Evangelical churches. The method becomes sovereign and not so much the content of what is being preached or taught. On one hand we say we want to become "Intimate with Jesus" (yuk) or "Experiencing God" but on the other hand we act like we don't want to do any of that "book learning" to know more about the God who gives us Grace.
I hope you will visit Echoes of Grace and leave him a note and let him know you stopped by.
Grace and Peace,
A Biblical Newsletter by Dr. George E. Bloomquist April 2009
ECHOES OF GRACE NEWSLETTER
Lessons in Christian Doctrine
Part I: “The Doctrine of God”
I recently shared a poll by the Barna Group with our Sunday night Bible study family.
Barna listed five essentials to having a biblical worldview. The alarming part of the poll was that
only 19% of evangelicals (those who are supposed to believe the Word and have had a personal
encounter with Christ) subscribed to all five essentials.
It’s obvious from the poll and from what is heard in church circles, that people today are
woefully ignorant of the essentials of the faith. Thus, in the next few months I will be departing
from our usual study of various books of the Bible, to focus on some of the basic truths of the faith
that we continually need to repeat. Our first focus will be on the nature of God and comes from
Paul’s sermon in Acts 17:22‐31. Paul had come, in his journey, to the city of Athens. In that city
he went to the synagogue and reasoned from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus was the
Christ. However, he also preached to the Greeks in the marketplace and on Mars Hill where some
of the Epicureans and Stoic philosophers spent hours discussing ideas.
Since the apostle was never hesitant to speak up for Christ, he stood in the middle of that
band of philosophers and began to witness to them. He began speak by pointing to their
“religious practices” (17:22 and the many objects of worship filling the city. He noted they even
had an altar inscribed with the words, “To the Unknown God.” From that vantage point, Paul
began to preach the truth that is in Christ.
Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill is one of the clearest and most basic sermons on God ever
preached. Knowing who God is and what He is like determines our theology and the direction of
our life. To fail to understand the nature of God hampers any real growth in the likeness of Christ.
Thus, it is essential to our understanding of the Christian faith to know something of His divine
TRUTH NUMBER ONE: GOD IS ONE
Paul begins by stating that there is but one God. Further, God is One, manifested in three
persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 18:18‐20). All the attributes, in Scripture, that
describe God the Father are also descriptive of the Son and the Spirit.
C. S. Lewis noted that the Godhead (Trinity in theological wording) is like a mind with its
capacity to think, plan, and execute the plan in our body. While there is a mystery to the totality
of God’s being there is no doubt in Scripture that there is but One God. He commands us to use
the name of all three persons in discipling and baptizing believers. The Ten Commandments in
Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 point to the unity of God. Genesis speaks of “making man in Our
image…” as it refers to the creating work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.