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Thursday
Jul242014

Thankful Thursday

Join me in thanking God for the past week’s blessings.

I’m thankful 

  • for work done, for God-given energy and focus. 
  • for this week’s visitors and guests—those who stayed for a few minutes, for a few hours, for a meal, or overnight.
  • for save travel for the travelers in the family, and for joyful homecomings.
  • for summer weather and summer food, especially fresh salads and ice cream cones.
  • for fun with the grandchildren. 
  • that the Son came (link won’t work until tomorrow morning). 

Kim was thankful today, too.

What are you thankful for? Why not leave a comment with your thanksgiving?

Tuesday
Jul222014

Theological Term of the Week

polytheism
The belief that there are many gods; the worship of multiple deities.  

  • Scripture teaching against polytheism: 
    “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
    that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
    Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me. (Isaiah 43:10 ESV)

    For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens. (Psalm 96:5 ESV)

    Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ESV)

    “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,“and my servant whom I have chosen,that you may know and believe meand understand that I am he.Before me no god was formed,nor shall there be any after me. (Isaiah 43:10 ESV)

    For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens. (Psalm 96:5 ESV)

    Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ESV)

  • From the Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 3: 
    Truly we detest many gods because it is expressly written: “The Lord your God is one Lord”(Deut.6:4). “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2-3). “I am the Lord, and there is no other god besides me. Am I not the Lord, and there is no other God beside me? A righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me” (Isa. 45:5, 21). “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). 

    Polytheists typically believe that the gods exist within the natural universe rather than transcending it. That helps to explain why the gods are limited: they’re constrained by the natural laws of the universe.   … 

    Polytheism has cropped up many times in the history of mankind, but it isn’t a very philosophically satisfying worldview because it has no good answers to some very basic questions. Where did the gods come from? Where did the universe come from, and why does it have the laws it has if the gods didn’t create it?

  • From God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology  by Gerald Bray:
  • When speaking about pagans to the Romans, Paul described them in these words:
    What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, the did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. [Romans 1:19-23]
    The picture is hardly flattering, but [this passage] tell[s] us something of great importance about so-called “primitive” or pagan [or polytheistic] religious practices. The pagans knew God in their hearts, and God continued to speak to them by the providential care that he lavished on them. They went wrong because they had no access to spiritual knowledge and found themselves looking for substitutes within the material universe. 

Learn more:

  1. Blue Letter Bible: What Is Polytheism?
  2. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: What is relativism?
  3. GotQuestions.org: What is polytheism?
  4. Theopedia: Polytheism

Related terms:

Filed under Worldviews

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on Theological Terms in the navigation bar above will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

Monday
Jul212014

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 45. How do we benefit from the resurrection of Christ?

Answer: First, by his resurrection Christ has overcome death, so that he could make us partakers of that righteousness which he purchased for us by his death; (a) secondly, by his power we too are raised up to a new life; (b) and lastly, Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (c)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul192014

Sunday's Hymn: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is for ever.

—Martin Luther

St Olaf Choir

(This is a different translation than the one I’ve posted. The rhythm of the third verse is supposedly something like the way the hymn would have been originally sung.)

 

Piano and violin

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Jul182014

Linked Together: Questions About God

A few suggestions for your weekend reading and thinking.

His Nature
Why do Christians believe God exists as Trinity if the word Trinity isn’t found in the Bible? The short answer.

Why do Christian formulas use so many negatives when making assertions about God? The answer is a mystery.

What is idolatry? Here’s the fundamental definition.

His Work
What does it mean that all things work together for the believer’s good (Romans 8:28)? Think of it as “a glimpse of hindsight in advance.”