Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Systematic Theology Chapters 2-3: The Word of God and the Canon of Scripture (Plus a Little Life Update)

I guess I'll start with the life update, since that's what everyone wants to know. "Why are you home in the middle of the day?" "What's this about quitting your job?" (I wish the maddening crowd would calm down... okay, I'm kidding a little bit a lot.) Here's why:

My boss turned out to be a pervert, so the other office girl and I both quit. That's all there is to it; I just need a new job.

Now Theology. The Word of God. Grudem uses this chapter to distinguish the different meanings of the phrase "The Word of God". The first meaning is in the person of Christ. The Bible, and especially the book of John, refer to Christ as "the Word". Another meaning is God's speech: his decrees (like, "Let there be light"), his personal address (like, "I am the Lord your God..."), his words through humans (prophets), and his written words (the Bible, obviously). Grudem states that the study of systematic theology focuses on the Bible, as that "is the form of God's Word that is available for study, for public inspection, for repeated examination, and as a basis for mutual discussion."

Chapter 3 discusses the Canon of Scripture. First of all, the canon of Scripture is simply a list of the books that belong in the Bible. We must trust the canon to be God's words or we will not trust the words He has spoken to us. By the time of Jesus, the Old Testament canon (or at least what we today call the OT) was well established. There were no recorded arguments among the Jews about adding or taking away books. The Jews did not accept the Apocrypha as Scripture, and most of the early church did not either. They treated them as helpful and useful books, but not the Word of God. Jesus himself did not consider them as Scripture, nor did the New Testament authors.

Grudem has a lot to say about the New Testament canon and I can't summarize it all. He basically gives a few requirements the church had for books to make it into the canon: apostolic ties and a self-attesting nature ("the words would have borne witness to their own divine authorship as Christians read them"). He also points out that we should not be concerned about the adequacy of the canon. We don't need to fret, "Are we missing a book?" or "Should this book not be in the Bible?" If God wanted us to have another book, He is a big enough God to get that book in the canon. If He wanted a book out of the canon, He would have worked that. Our God is big enough that we needn't worry! We can trust Him - and we can trust His Word!

Next up: The Four Characteristics of Scripture. And hopefully a new job!

At least I've got some time to work on art projects. :)

Love and Sewing,

Leah Joy

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Be Honest

First of all, it's been too long. I have excuses. Good ones this time. My grandpa died a couple weeks ago, and life has been hectic.

Second, no Theology this time. Though it would honor my grandpa's memory, it's not happening tonight. Honestly, I'm just waiting for my nail polish to dry so I can go to bed.

Third, I just realized how like my grandpa I am. I've always known I got the whole no-condiments thing from him, but I just realized that we both love Theology. I guess he can read long books about wars and grow dahlias though, and I can not. :)

Fourth, sometimes I get really angry when people pray. Or annoyed. Or frustrated. Maybe I'm not supposed to analyze your prayers. But I do. I hate it when people are constantly super super reverent. And I hate it when people are constantly too "friendly" ("Hey Jesus. What's up?"). (I see that last one a lot with college students. Yes, Jesus is your friend. He's also a holy God who put you into this world and can take you right back out of it.) I think there should be a healthy balance between "Jesus is terrifying" and "Jesus is my best buddy".

Also, God's name is not a comma. Or are you reminding Him of His name? Or perhaps you forgot to Whom you're praying? Why must you say "God", "Lord Jesus", or "Father" every two words?

And the word "just"? UGH. "Just give us peace. And just give us strength." Okay, which one do you want? Because 'just' means precisely, or only. So do you want God to only give you peace, or only give you strength? Maybe I'm over-analyzing this. Okay, I know I'm over-analyzing this, but I wish people (myself included) would stop overusing the word "just", when speaking to God and the rest of the time, too!

And finally? Why do you ask God to come and be with you? If you are a follower of Christ, God is already with you. You can thank Him for His presence, but asking for it is completely unnecessary.

Rant over. Thanks for letting me be honest with you. :)

Love and Nail Polish (Just a clear coat),
Leah Joy