Doctrine

Lesson 1: Creation in the Old Testament

Lesson 1: Creation in the Old Testament

We tend to understand the confession “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth” from perspectives that miss its main points. Creationism and Intelligent Design advocates react against modernity and present the confession as a crude, primitive scientific picture. Others read it as a natural evolutionary process ascending from lower to […]

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Lesson 2:  Creation in the New Testament

Lesson 2: Creation in the New Testament

If you think of creation only as the origin of the physical world, the New Testament has little to say about it. It does speak quite a bit about a broader concept of creation. It builds on the Old Testament’s understanding that God creates everything by uttering words. “In the beginning was the Word, and […]

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Lesson 3: Creation Now

Lesson 3: Creation Now

I’ve been trying to get beyond the public Christian discussion about creation to what the Bible really says. Quite frankly, I think most of that debate consciously or unconsciously tries to divert us from central biblical teachings. We attack the natural sciences for their take on what happened long ago, so we can continue living […]

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Lesson 4: Sin in Genesis 2-11

Lesson 4: Sin in Genesis 2-11

The Bible could succinctly be summed up with: Humans find themselves suffering because of sin; God offers them salvation from this. Genesis 1-11 sets this up by picturing God creating everything good and then four pictures of sin with the suffering it brings. If this is the situation, the good being corrupted, then it is […]

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Lesson 5: Sin in the Mosaic Law

Lesson 5: Sin in the Mosaic Law

The Mosaic Law found in the Torah, the first five books our Bible, spells out in some detail what it is to live as God wills. The First Commandment, “Love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul (Exodus 20: 2-6, Deuteronomy 5:6-11) is constantly cited in the ordinances (D. 6: 4-9, 10: 12). […]

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Lesson 6: Sin in the Prophets

Lesson 6: Sin in the Prophets

The prophets are obviously important. They wrote almost half of the Old Testament, 17 of the 39 books. They answer the critical question, “If we are God’s people, how come we suffer?”, claiming the people brought pain on themselves by breaking the Mosaic Law and losing touch with God. They must repent and return to […]

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Lesson 7: Sin in the Gospels

Lesson 7: Sin in the Gospels

Jesus like the prophets sees sin as injustice. The similarity is obvious when he describes the Last and Ultimate Judgment based on giving food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting the imprisoned (Matthew 25: 31-46). Or again when he insists […]

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Lesson 8: Sin in Paul

Lesson 8: Sin in Paul

Not everyone agrees, but I think a terribly significant change takes place with Paul. He transforms the common story when he moves from a Hebraic to a universal vision. Previously it was the Exodus which remembered the Jews were slaves whom God rescued. Now it became the Cross when we all were helpless, sinners, and […]

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Lesson 9: Sin in Our Time

Lesson 9: Sin in Our Time

It is easy to define sin as not doing God’s will or being separated from God, but what does that mean? If you turn to the Bible you can find rigid laws but also flexible love. You still have what Bob calls “the perennial problem of rigid rules that are generally but not always correct […]

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Lesson 10: Public Porn

Lesson 10: Public Porn

Last week two of my face-to-face classes discussed “Is it a sin to view pornography in public, especially if children are nearby.” This problem was reported in a Washington Post article “Publicly, a Whole New Lewdness” by Monica Hesse. We started by acknowledging we are saved by grace, God’s unconditional love, so the discussion of […]

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