The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Archive for the ‘Theology proper’ Category

The humility and jealousy of the Holy Spirit

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 3 September 2012 at 09:10

The eternal generation of the Son

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Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is both one with the Father and yet distinct from the Father. The doctrine of the “eternal generation” plays an important role in securing both points. This doctrine teaches that the Father eternally communicates the divine essence to the Son without division or change so that the Son shares an equality of nature with the Father (sharing all the attributes of deity) yet is also eternally distinct from the Father.

Although the eternal generation of the Son is affirmed in early confessions such as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed (AD 381) and post-Reformation statements like the Westminster Confession, several prominent evangelical theologians object to this doctrine on the grounds that it lacks biblical support. Evangelicals who reject this doctrine frequently point out that the Greek word monogenes (John 1:18; 3:16) does not mean “only begotten” but rather “unique.” Since the mistranslation of monogenes (allegedly) represents one of key lines of biblical evidence, one should dispense with eternal generation as a theological relic of a bygone era.

In light of this, how should we think about eternal generation?

Keith Johnson offers a fascinating, instructive, and stimulating answer to this question.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 3 July 2012 at 12:55

Immanuel

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Matthew begins his Gospel with this truth:

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ (Mt 1.21-23)

John reminds us of the man who walked among us:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1.14)

Matthew returns there at the close of his Gospel to remind us that Jesus the Christ, risen and reigning, has never departed from his people:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen. (Mt 28.18-20)

However you choose to celebrate it (or not) at this time of year, there is an astounding beauty and abiding glory in “God with us,” the underpinnings of redemption and the consolation of every believing heart, that should make us bow down and worship:

He stepped from his high throne,
And laid aside his crown,
And to this sinful world
The Son of God stooped down:
He came as our Immanuel
That God as man with men should dwell.

Read the rest . . .

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 24 December 2011 at 22:00

Posted in Theology proper

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Knowing God in Christ

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From a sermon by David Clarkson on Philippians 3.8, concerning the excellent knowledge of Christ:

In knowing Christ we know the glorious excellencies of God, John xiv. 7.  The Father and Christ are so like, as he that knows the one knows the other also, sees the Son, sees the Father.  This is so apparent, as Christ seems to wonder that Philip, who had seen him, should speak as though he had not seen the Father, ver. 8, 9.  He is known in the knowing of Christ, and seen in the seeing of Christ.  Hence he is called ‘the image,’ Col. i. 15, – that which represents, and in a lively manner holds forth to us, the infinite perfections of God; therefore styled, Heb. i. 3, ‘the character,’ – not a shadow of him, not a dead, superficial representation of him, such as pictures and portraitures are, but a living, express, subsisting, perfect representation.  The similitude seems to be borrowed from a signet’s impression, which represents all the sculptures and lineaments of the seal.  But no similitude can reach this mystery; only this we learn by this expression, that as Christ is perfectly distinct from, so is he a full and perfect resemblance of the Father, of the same nature and essence with him, so that there is no perfection in the Father but the same is substantially in the Son, so that in knowing Christ we apprehend (as weakness will suffer) the excellencies of God; hence the glory of God is said to shine in the face of Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6, so that those who know Christ, thereby see the glory of God in the face of Christ.  That knowledge, that light which discovers Christ, discovers the glorious excellencies of God, the brightness whereof appears in the face of Christ.  Nor is this only true of Christ as he is the Son of God, of the same nature with the Father, but also as he is Mediator.  In the great work of redemption, the Lord caused his glory to pass before the sons of men.  Never was there such a full, such a clear, discovery of God’s glorious perfections, as was made to the world in Christ.  In him we may see infinite power, wisdom, justice, mercy, holiness; glorious truth, faithfulness, unchangeabless [sic]; the glory of love, of free grace, of goodness; he even caused all his goodness to pass visibly before us in Christ, so that he who knows Christ knows all these glorious excellencies; ergo, &c.

“The Excellent Knowledge of Christ” in The Works of David Clarkson (1864, reprint, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1988), 1:255.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 14 October 2010 at 12:07

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