A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 35
What is the Gospel?
This lesson on Death explores the definition of death, the theology of death, and cultural views on death. The lesson then delves into the biblical view of death, examining how it is portrayed in the Old and New Testaments. The consequences of death are also explored, both physical and spiritual. Finally, the lesson covers resurrection and the afterlife, exploring the Old and New Testament's views on resurrection and what the Bible says about the afterlife.
What is the Gospel?
I. Introduction to Death
II. Life and Death
A. Physical Death verses Spiritual Death
B. The Rich Man and Lazarus
III. Practical Questions
A. On the Act of Dying
B. On Consciousness After Death
IV. God’s Kingdom
The Son of Man and the Kingdom of God
B. Destruction of the Temple and the Return of Jesus
- In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
- Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
- This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
- Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
- Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
- This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
- In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
- In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
- This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
- This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
- This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
- This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
- Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
- This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
- Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
- This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
- Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
- Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
- This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
- Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
- This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
- This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
- In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
- You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
- This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
- In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
- This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
- You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
- From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
- By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
- This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
- Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
- Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
- This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
- From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
- This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
- Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
- Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.
Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.
A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
What is the Gospel?
What is the gospel after all? It's one of those debated things, and I'm just going to do a quick review of my answer to the question and refer you to Marc Cortez's video that's at the BiblicalTraining site. And also I have a module at Western Seminary in our resources for pastors.
And my friend Steve Walker gave me an outline for the gospel that's proved to be very, very helpful. And the first thing is revelation, second is response, and the third is results. Revelation is what God did. Response is what I do. Results is what I get. And I think to look at the gospel, you need all of those.
So the gospel proper is just the revelation, what God did. So revelation, what I did, results a response, what I do, results what I get. So the key passage for me for the gospels, Acts Chapter Two, the foundational covenant document of the church. Peter's explaining the new covenant for the people who are just bewildered by what happened, by the outpouring, the Holy Spirit on that Pentecost day.
And in Verse 22, he begins the process. "Fellow Israelites, listen to this. Jesus of Nazareth, who is a man accredited to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through him, now know." So that's 22. And so if this were a class, I would ask you, "Okay, revelation, response, result?"
And I'd wait for you to figure it out. And it'd take you a little bit, but you'd probably come out on Revelation. And what God did is he has established Jesus as Emmanuel. He's accredited by God as who he is endowed in Verse 36, the bookend of this passage, Verse 36. "Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this. God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, Lord and Messiah." Of course, he was referring back to the Gospel of Luke.
So first one in its revelation, what God did, is Jesus is Emmanuel, Lord, Messiah, son of God. So Jesus is the Messiah with us. But then he continues, Verse 23, this man was handed over by God's deliberate plan for knowledge. And you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. So what the revelation here is, is Jesus is crucified. And this is not a disastrous mistake. This appears to be Rome crushing Jesus, but in fact it's God's perfect plan at work.
So Jesus, Emmanuel, Lord Messiah, he's crucified, and that's God's deliberate plan at work. Verse 24, God raised him from the dead, freeing from the agony of death. God raised him from the dead. So that's the third step. God resurrect ... So Jesus is resurrected. And the interesting thing is, he's got one Verse on crucifixion, but you follow this through, and the discussion of resurrection goes all the way down to Verse 32.
And it's really ironic to me that most people when they talk about the gospel don't even mention the resurrection. And for Peter it's essential. And what resurrection does is bring life into the place of death, his resurrection. So that's third step is Jesus is resurrected.
And then Verse 33 talks about Jesus being exalted to the right hand of God. So that's the fourth point in the revelation, is he's exalted to the right hand of God. And I look down in Verse 34, he's quoting Psalm 110, "The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool."" So he's exalted over the hostile powers. We see that in Ephesians Chapter One, and other places.
So Emmanuel Lord, Messiah, crucified, resurrected, exalted to the right hand of God, far above all the dominion, power and authority, et cetera.
And in the second half of 33, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. That's the fifth point of the gospel proper. He poured out the Holy Spirit on us. So that's the revelation piece. That's what God did. Jesus the Messiah, Emmanuel Lord, Messiah, crucified, resurrected, exalted, poured out the spirit.
Verse 36 is the bookend. Then Verse 37, "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart." So you think, "Well, what is cut to the heart? Is that a revelation, response, result?" And you think about it and you're probably going to say, "Hmm, that's not like a response. Let's see. We crucified the Messiah. That could have been a bad choice." Yep, could have been a really bad choice as a matter of fact.
So I think that's what's conviction. Is, I have a problem. And then they say, "Brothers, what should we do?" And what I'm suggesting at this point, just for a term, the second thing in the response would be, confession. I have a need. I speak out what I did, what I am, and I take responsibility for it. I express my need. So conviction is seeing my need. Confession is speaking my need. So the first two steps.
And then Verse 38, he replied, "Repent and be baptized everyone in the name of Jesus." Okay, revelation response, result. Yeah, that's response. Repent and be baptized. Now, the way I look at this is I think repent and be baptized is single act, because I think repentance is a whole person action, not just a hard attitude action. Because my anthropology's embodied personhood.
So I think this is a one person act, and the biblical way to say, "Yes, I repentance," is baptized. We do it in other ways these days, and I think it actually better to do the biblical way, but that's a whole nother fight.
So we do it by Sinner's Prayer, or something like that. But it's a whole person thing. Repent and be baptized. That's the third point, repent and be baptized, and we'll unpack repentance in a bit. And baptism we'll look when we talk about the church.
And then he says, "For the forgiveness of sins," revelation, response, result. Forgiveness of sins. Yeah, that's a result. So the forgiveness of sins we're going to unpack in justification. Forgiveness and acceptance are the heart of justification. He's talking about the forgiveness of sins here.
And then he goes on and says, "You'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," and that's another result. We get the gift of the spirit, or we get new life, and that's going to be regeneration. We'll unpack later, new heart and dwelling Holy Spirit. Again, that's by grace alone, through faith alone.
And then he says, "This promises for you as many as our Lord will call. With many words he warned them and pleaded them." But look what he says, "Save yourselves from the corrupt generation." In Verse 41, those who accepted this message were baptized. Accepted this message. Revelation, response, result. What God did, what we do or what we get, accepted his message. Yep, that's a response. Those who accepted his message were baptized.
And again, I think this is a whole person, so acceptance would be faith or trust or belief, however you term it. And again, it's a whole person thing, it's not just a hard attitude thing. And about 3,000 were added.
Then Verse 42, "They devoted themselves to apostles' teaching fellowship, bringing bread and prayer." Revelation, response, result. Yeah, that's a response. They devoted themselves to the fellowship, to the apostles' teaching. And it goes on and talks about this.
Now, this is a part where I think it's both a response and a result. There's a response they devoted themselves to, but there's also a result. We participate in the new community, the spirit. So I think Verse 42 and following fits in both sides, they devoted themselves to.
And again, I think in the gospel, it's never just me and Jesus, if you look at it scripturally. It's me joining a Jesus community, that it didn't necessarily be an organized church, though I think many times it is. But if you're doing it just me and Jesus, I don't want to be a part of a community, you're shortchanging the gospel. Because it's always a call to community, seems to me.
And it talks about in this community, wonders and signs are performed by the apostles, [inaudible] shared and everything in common, that's a sharing between them. They continue to meet together, broke their bread in homes with glad and sincere hearts. And this is the nature of the community that we join. And part of the gospel is we join a community where the only common point is faith in Jesus Christ. Not political allegiance, not ethnic identity, not cultural background. We have to bypass those, and have a community of all those together.
That's going to become a huge fight in the early church is, do you have to obey the Mosaic covenant in order to be a good Christian? And I think the point is we don't. So this being a part of the community of the spirit is really important.
And then 46, 47, they continued to meet together, broke bread in homes, praised God and join the fear of all people. And there were added people who were being saved. And I would put this as a new mission, which is to live a contagious life and proclaim the gospel.
The thing that's missing here, the thing that's missing here is what I hear in most gospel presentations whenever I go to churches. It never mentions go to heaven when you die. And most gospel presentations are something like, "Okay, you're a sinner. God still loves you. Jesus died. Believe in him, and you get eternal life. You go to heaven when you die." And somehow this doesn't talk about go to to heaven when you die.
Now, I think you do go to heaven when you die, but that's not the point. The point is to live a missional community now, we are demonstrating the reality of the new life in Christ. And then down in Chapter three, which is a second gospel sermon, Peter speaking again after the lame man is healed, Three 18, this is Acts Three 18, "This is how God fulfilled what he foretold through all the prophets saying the Messiah would suffer. Repent and turn to God so that your sin may wiped out. And the times of refreshing may come from God, that's a new life, that he may send the Messiah who's been appointed to you. Heaven must receive him until the kind comes to God to restore everything as he promised long go through his holy prophets."
This is what some people call the kingdom gospel, that we are allegiance to the king Jesus, and there will be a cosmic restoration. Romans Chapter eight talks about that too. But that's not in the Acts Two gospel. I think it is an important consequence of it though, is he's not just forming a church now, he's redeeming the entire cosmos, crushing the serpent in all of his works everywhere. But I'm going to say it's after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
So what's the gospel? As I understand it, again, quick, quick, quick fly-by, Jesus Emmanuel Lord, Messiah, crucified. God's perfect plan. Resurrected, bringing life in the place of death, exalted to the right of God, triumph over the hostile powers, and poured out the spirit. That's the gospel proper.
Then our response, conviction, confession, repentance, whole person including baptism. And then in Verse 41, receiving the word. Again, connect with whole person, baptism, and then devote themselves to initial salvation is always in community. The results we get are forgiveness, justification, acceptance, new family. We get a new life that transformed worked through the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit, a new community of sharing things, and living a righteous community life, a new mission. And then this new hulk of a cosmic transformation yet to come.
To me, that's a center point in the gospel. A lot, lot more to say, but there are other classes where you can unpack that.