H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Friday, April 29, 2005
Law and not Grace.
In Romans seven Paul wrote: "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate... ...For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I keep on doing the very evil that I do not want to do!"

The debate rages - who Paul is writing about? Is this the common born again experience, or is this a firstperson flashback describing what it used to be like for him before he came to Christ.

Personally, I think both sides are missing the point - Paul isn't doing either. In the greater context Paul is contrasting law and grace. Romans seven characterizes what faith looks like when it is under the law - that is, it highlights what it is exactly that the law cannot do. The law teaches us what pleasing God looks like - but provides absolutely no power to do so.

Christians who have not appropriated grace are hardly different than unregenerate Jews in this regard. Both want to be pleasing to God, but find they cannot please God, because they cannot long resist the temptation to sin. That is what the law could not do - stop a man from wanting to sin.

The law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The gospel is called the "gospel of grace" - not grace meaning "unmerited favor" - but grace meaning the power to obey. Jesus freely gives men the "grace" to obey all of His commands - that is the gospel of grace - something that Moses didn't give.

If a believer thinks that the way to live a Christian life is to supress sin, and train oneself to sin less - to avoid sin at all costs - well, congratulations - you are becoming a model picture of a Pharisee. The outside of your cup is getting shiny - but you know full well that inside your cup wickedness still exists - it hasn't been cleansed out.

What can you do? More later...
posted by Daniel @ 11:03 AM   0 comment(s)
Monday, April 25, 2005
Jesus was both God and Man
Growing up without scripture, I inherited much theological folklore from my mother. She was catholic, and educated in a catholic school until grade five. She could recite the Rosary from memory, but hadn't cracked a bible open in her life. From her I learned that Jesus was God's son, and that he died on the cross in order to possibly save us from sin if we were good enough.

The deity of Jesus Christ was emphasized - that is, Jesus was God in the form of a man.

I knew that Jesus was human of course, He certainly ate, slept, breathed and eventually bleed while on the earth - but it was equally clear that Jesus was not merely a man - since He was also all knowing and all powerful.

Jesus looked like a human - but He was God through and through.

It wasn't until after I came to Christ and began studying the scripture's that I was able to divest myself of this notion. Scripture teaches that Jesus did what He did in the power of the Holy Spirit as opposed to in His own power. Jesus, we are told, emptied Himself and came to earth as a man of low birth. He lived by the same faith that we are expected to live - and did nothing in His own strength.

When I finally understood that Jesus, although fully God, remained entirely human on earth - it opened my eyes about a few things.

I used to think - well, Jesus did that - but hey, He is God, and I am not. I can't be expected to be perfect like Jesus - I am just a man.

Yet as I begin to understand the new covenant, I begin to see an absolute necessity that Jesus be understood as being entirely and completely human during His tenure on earth. He was still God - but while on earth He did nothing of Himself - any omniscience He seemed to possess He was given by the Holy Spirit - it was not His own, but imparted to Him through the Holy Spirit. That is why they blasphemed the Holy Spirit when they said He was casting out demons by the power of the devil - He wasn't casting out the demons in His own power - but by the "Finger of God" (the Holy Spirit).

What God did for Christ, He can do for all of us.
posted by Daniel @ 12:25 PM   0 comment(s)
Friday, April 22, 2005
Faith - Who, not what.
Zac Poonen gives a wonderful illustration of faith in a sermon called A Life of Faith . In this sermon he gives the example of a man crossing a stream using two bridges - the first is made of concrete, the second is a rickety old tree.

As the man crosses the concrete bridge, no one marvels at his profound faith - since it is plain that the bridge will hold his weight. But the same man has no faith in the rickety tree bridge. The point is that the faith is not an inherant quality of the man - for, were that the case, the same man could traverse both bridges with equal surety. The point therefore is that the concrete bridge engenders profound faith, while the rickety old tree does not.

That is why the we are told to look, not to our own faith, but to the Author and Finisher of our faith - to Christ our Lord who is worthy of faith.

Concentrating on our own ability to generate faith - as though faith were some personal quality, is missing the point. We must look to Christ - and be convinced that God is worthy of the faith we place in Him - that is, that He is able to do abundantly above all that we can ask or think - that He really 'is', and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Even the faith of a mustard seed is sufficient to send a mountain into the sea.

posted by Daniel @ 10:15 AM   0 comment(s)
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Idolatry - The Art of Mimicry
I love to read the forums on Sermonindex.net. There is a particular user there, who goes by the unfortunate moniker of 'bubbaguy.' This fellow has a rather sad understanding of the bible - that is, he believes that it is full of errors.

Naturally, he also feels more than qualified however, to judge what is to be believed and what can be discarded.

In the end, he believes as much as he feels comfortable with, throws the rest out the window, and creates for himself a watered down version of the bible, which ultimately assists him in worshipping his watered down (and therefore illegitimate) version of God and Jesus Christ.

It doesn't hurt so much that he continues to make a fool of himself, but he does so in a way that brings much abuse to the name of Christ. Not to single him out - I am sure I bring abuse to the name of Christ too, but I hope that I do so in blind rather than willful ignorance.

It is one thing to make my own God and worship it - and quite another to take the real God, put him into a mould that suits my tastes, and impose that same God on others.

How many of us make our own Christ? Even among those of us who truely believe the scriptures and would not alter them - knowing the truth is not the same as believing the truth.
posted by Daniel @ 2:42 PM   0 comment(s)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Theology: The Christian Talmud.
Most of what we call 'Theology' today finds it's roots in apology. The doctrine of the trinity for instance, grew out of various apologetic dialogs regarding the person of Jesus Christ, and later the person of the Holy Spirit. In answering hard questions about the very nature of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of the Trinity was born.

Given that this is the case for most theology, I am always amazed/amused/baffled by those Christians who read about ten books for every page of the bible they digest. Somehow these Christians have overlooked the fact that that most of the foundational theology they are studying was written by men who were not trying to produce theology, but rather, being skilled in scripture, were giving answer to theological questions such as "When is the soul created?" or "What does it mean to be 'in Adam'?" etc. Recall that Jesus Christ reproved the Jews for consulting tradition (the Talmud) rather than scripture - it should be clear that God intends to teach us personally - through personal study of God's word. There is room for godly counsel - don't get me wrong - but theology for the Christian has begun to hold the same place as the Talmud for the Jew.

Sadly, instead of being discipled, most Christians are being commentaried - that is, instead of learning to walk in the Christian faith by being discipled by a brother or sister who is walking in faith - they embark on a purely scholastic effort to be a Christian. This is due In part to a watered down gospel being preached in a dead church - but there is more to it than that. Where once the religious spokesmen of the day were spirit filled and scripture driven pastors and evangelists - today the authorities are seminarians - men who are exalted for their academic and scholastic aptitude rather than their walk with Christ. This change in Christian culture is having an effect both in the pulpit and the pew. The average seminary graduate can give you an summary survey of the various theological systems, but couldn't tell you which King of Israel removed the bronze serpent from the temple or why! Those few rare Christians who do read and believe their bibles are being taught to consult a commentary rather than the Holy Spirit. Theology, commentaries, and human wisdom have become the Christian traditions that are not unlike the Jewish Talmud of Christ's day.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that theology is wrong - or that Christians must cloister themselves away in a closet with only a candle and a Bible. Hardly! I am saying that the there is an attitude about scripture that it is wrong to trust God to teach you - but certainly okay to trust a commentary. Likewise we now enter into that abominable practice of studying theology rather than scripture to learn about truth - as though truth were an intellectual persuasion rather than a person.
posted by Daniel @ 10:32 AM   0 comment(s)
Monday, April 18, 2005
Defining God, and other wasteful efforts.
We are all familiar with the picture of a rodent running endlessly on a squeaky metal exercise wheel. Likewise, those of us who have spent any time in the word of God are also familiar with the passage describing men who, in the last days, are always learning, but never seem able to come to an understanding of truth.

Jesus said that He is the truth. The legitimate Christian experience is the pursuit of truth - that is, the pursuit of Jesus Christ. There are some zealots even today however, who rather than pursue a living relationship with Christ, instead pursue a dead relationship with theology. That is, they spend tremendous effort defining and fine tuning their faith - yet the very faith they zealously coddle and nurture - is almost entirely useless because they have built their faith on knowledge rather than obedience.

I hope I am not misunderstood. It is crucial for all believers to know scripture, and to pursue knowledge of God. I do not say that a believer should disengage their intellect when they study scripture - I simply point out that knowledge of God comes through fellowship with God; whereas knowledge about God comes through personal study of scripture.

I love scripture, and have a wonderful passion for anything theological. Yet for all that I have no interest in doctrine for doctrine's sake. There is room for Christian apology - I do not deny it, but I have no great respect for a man's theology unless it produces a deeper walk with God.
posted by Daniel @ 5:06 PM   0 comment(s)
Paedobaptism - buffoonery, or dogma?
If you're a follower of theology, you will likely have an opinion regarding whether it is appropriate to baptize unregenerate, unbelieving, and otherwise unwilling candidates. I speak, of course, about the practice of infant baptism.

In a nutshell, paedobaptists believe that baptism is to the new covenant what circumcision was to the old - that is that God enters into a covenant with any unwilling, and unknowing infant who has the misfortune of being immersed by their well meaning, but theologically driven parents or guardians. I doubt many paedobaptists would present infant baptism in this way - but while I play with their position for humour's sake, I do not stray from the conclusions their theological construct is built upon.

Circumcision, as we know, was a covenant sign between God and Abraham. In Abraham's case, circumcision was physical - the separation of himself from his flesh. In the New Covenant, the separation between the man and the flesh is spiritual. Paedobaptists err in this one simple way - they fail to comprehend that the covenant sign in the New Testament isn't water baptism - it is spiritual baptism - identification with Christ.

I know I am a partaker in the New Covenant - not because someone dunked me, or because I even dunked myself - I am a partaker because I have been baptized (spiritually) into the body of Christ by Christ Himself. My water baptism, although a public demonstration of the internal spiritual identification - nevertheless primarily remains an act of obedience to the will of Christ.
posted by Daniel @ 3:49 PM   0 comment(s)
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