Contrasting Views

For the discussion of the distinctives of the various mainstream Christian denominations
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RND
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Contrasting Views

Post by RND » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:23 pm

From a denomination specific thread I frequent there was this. I thought it might be of interest:

"It seems to me that there are a great number of theological differences being tossed about these days. I thought that I would contrast between 2 views, not to say that there aren’t others, but yet these seem to represent the dominant perspectives in the church that I belong (Seventh-day Adventist). I’m sure that some of you could add to and modify this list which is now probably too long for most people to take interest in!

1. Sin:

View A:

Sin occurs in the mind and reflects a rebellious and distrustful attitude toward God. Sin is ultimately a broken relationship with God that all stems from a distorted view of his character. Sinful actions (“breaking the rules”) are the natural unavoidable consequence of this broken relationship with God

View B:

Sin is breaking the law which requires God to punish.

2. The remedy for sin:

View A:

This view emphasizes that sin is something that requires healing. The solution to the sin problem is to be restored back into relationship with God. Ultimately this is done when we see the goodness and the trustworthiness of God as revealed by Jesus. Once our rebellious attitude toward God is “put in remission” there is a natural consequence that our life and outward actions will become more Christ-like. “Salvation” in this model emphasizes the meaning of the word, which is “unbroken” or “healed”. The emphasis is not “getting to heaven” but rather on reflecting the character of our God to others so that they may also begin to experience his love and goodness. In this way, the remedy is spread.

View B:

This view emphasizes that sin must be punished and believes that Jesus paid the price for our sin (he took the punishment that should have been ours) which means that we can now be saved. This group views sin as a quantity that can literally be transferred from one person to another (as occurred with Jesus who “took” our sins upon himself). Salvation in this model emphasizes getting to heaven. When we “accept” Christ we are “covered” by his righteousness and may then enter heaven.

3. God’s wrath

View A:

God’s wrath is to experience the natural devastating consequences of separation from God. This is not an arbitrary action on God’s part and is not God saying, “You’ve crossed the line, I’m leaving” – rather it is caused by our willful decision to leave God’s side, leaving God with no choice other than to not respect our freedom and to allow us to suffer the consequences.

View B:

God’s wrath is an active punishment that comes directly from the hand of God toward sinners.

4. God’s justice

View A:

God’s justice is simply that God always does what is right. This view emphasizes that the Biblical conception of God’s justice is not to inflict punishment and it is not to use violent methods, but rather to intervene to correct the injustice in the world. God’s justice is done when the widows, the poor and the orphans are cared for and treated with love and respect, etc.

View B:

This view sees God’s justice predominantly in terms of a punishment that a God must actively administer to unrepentant sinners. This view says that “God is love, but he is also just” which emphasizes a dimension of God’s character that must administer punishment to make things right.

5. Biblical Inspiration

View A:

The purpose of the Bible is to reveal to us the trustworthy character of God. The Bible reveals God’s dealings with men and is to form the basis for the core essential belief that “God can be trusted” and “God is just like Jesus in character.” This view promotes thought inspiration and is able to accept mistakes in the writings of the Biblical writers/prophets while at the same time accepting the Bible as “inspired.” This view usually emphasizes more of the allegorical nature of certain passages, rather than a strictly literal interpretation.

View B:

This view tends to emphasize the belief that the scripture are the inerrant word of God and that the purpose of scripture is to reveal how we are to be saved. This view emphasizes a more literal interpretation of scripture.

6. The final end of sin and sinners

View A:

This view believes that sin (which results in separation from God) is inherently destructive. Sin literally does lead to death (some suggest a “pulled plug” analogy as separated from God who is the source of life; others suggest that separation from God leads to the chaos of wars, fighting, suicide, etc. – either way, sin does lead to death). This is not an arbitrary act on God’s part as these individuals have chosen separation from God and God grants them the freedom to choose this. This view believes that the lake of fire is the glory of God’s presence, goodness and love and that the wicked are so out of harmony with a God who is love personified that they rather crave the darkness.

View B:

God will actively punish and then destroy the wicked with a literal fire. God will miraculously sustain the life of some in this literal fire and thus some will burn longer than others. God must act in this way to satisfy justice.

7. God’s use of rules and law

View A:

This group emphasizes God’s condescension in stooping to meet a people who are far from the idea. God gave rules such as “eye for an eye”, divorce laws, rules for how to treat multiple wives, rules not to sleep with animals, cities of refuge and a thousand other “bad rules” (Ezekiel) to meet a rebellious people. This group would say that even the 10 commandments were given because of the emergent nature of the situation and that God never should have had to tell his people, “Please don’t kill”. God use of law/rules says bad things about where we were but it is not a negative reflection on God. This group does not read the Bible to collect a list of rules to be lived out in the 21st century, but rather sees the rules as God’s condescension to rebels. This group points to the “ideal” of all law as so clearly stated by Jesus: love for God and neighbor.

View B:

This group has a greater tendency to read the rules and to determine how to specifically live them out today. “If the Bible says that women shouldn’t speak in church, then they shouldn’t speak in church,” etc.

8. God’s use of force in the Old Testament

View A:

This group believes that God’s methods are not coercion or force. But yet, a loving parent (whose methods of parenting are not coercion or force) may occasionally need to shout and even threaten their children when they are about to run into the highway. In a similar way, this group believes that God’s OT “violent” actions were never for the purpose of punishment, but rather for the purpose of protection and ultimately healing. God sent the flood as a rescue mission to save the last person on earth who trusted him. Had God not sent the flood he would have lost contact with planet earth and Satan would have won the great controversy. God helped David kill Goliath because he had a single boy boldly proclaiming that he came in the name of the Lord as he ran at the giant, etc. These methods do not clearly reflect the character of God, but they were necessary measures that God had to take at that time. Jesus refers to this death as the “sleep death” and all of these individuals like Goliath will rise again with the same character and with another opportunity to respond to truth and evidence.

{I should also say that this group also believes that some of the OT actions that are attributed to God are in fact the result of God withdrawing his hand of protection – “God sent poisonous snakes” in Numbers, “God slew Saul” etc.}

View B:

The Old Testament violent actions of God reveal that God is punishing sin and it is confirmation that God will once again punish sin in the end.

9. The Sabbath

View A:

This group emphasizes the meaning of the Sabbath which is ultimately to say something about who God is. To this group the Sabbath points to a God who would create a planet of completely free individuals (in the setting of a war in heaven where God’s character was challenged and God was accused of being restrictive of freedom). The highlight of the Sabbath to this group is what was revealed about God when Jesus died and that God is the kind of person who would rest in the tomb over the Sabbath hours. Finally, the God who created the Sabbath for man is seen as a God who craves relationship and special time with his people.

This group emphasizes the end time significance of what the Sabbath says about God’s character and that the seal of God is to be settled into this truth about God (which the Sabbath represents) and to be in intimate relationship with him.

View B:

This group emphasizes the keeping of the day. Some in this group have said that the beauty of the Sabbath is that it is completely arbitrary and that it is thus a test of our obedience. This group emphasizes an end time Sunday law and that the keeping of Saturday in this context will be the mark of God’s true people who keep the commandments.

10. God’s Power, human freedom

View A:

This group believes that God is all-powerful, but that his ultimate power is his love and humility and that this is the power that brings us to him. This group emphasizes that God’s will is not being done on planet earth and that the chaos we see around us is the result of God allowing humanity to freely go its own way. This group describes God as in somewhat of a dilemma since he cannot coercively over-ride our free-will choice to descend into chaos and separation from him. This view emphasizes human freedom.

View B:

This view emphasizes God’s sovereignty, “brightness”, “holiness” and physical power and sees view A as a weak and “sentimental” view of God. In response to view A above, this group would say, “that means that human salvation is then up to human choice rather than God’s choice” (in response, group A would say, “God is like a husband who proposes to his bride. But the choice is ours in the sense that we must say ‘yes’ to God’s offer of marriage.”)

11. The atonement

View A:

The atonement is literally the “At-One-Ment”. The atonement is the process of reconciliation between God and humanity. It is the relationship restored. Seen in this way, God has been actively involved in the work of atonement since the rebellion began. Ultimately, however, at-one-ment was achieved by Jesus Christ who revealed to us the goodness and the trustworthy character of God, the hatred and ugliness of the character of Satan, the hatefulness and depravity of humanity, and the intrinsically destructive nature of sin. The cross did not change God. The cross revealed God – a God who could look his enemies in the eye and say “Father, forgive them.” This view emphasizes that the intercessor is God, the advocate with the Father is God, the substitute is God (i.e. – 2 party not 3 party substitution)

View B:

The atonement is the payment of a legal penalty so that the Father can save lost humanity. Jesus took our sins and our punishment upon himself so that we can be saved.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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Re: Contrasting Views

Post by RND » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:49 pm

THE FORENSIC/LEGAL VIEW

Why we shouldn't sin
: Because God says we shouldn't

Why sin is dangerous
: It is something that angers or displeases God; it is disobedience to His law and will; it is "breaking the rules."

What happens when we sin
: Because God decided that “the wages of sin is death,” somebody must die for our disobedience; whether we repent or not, there has to be an imposed punishment.

Why Jesus had to die: God could not forgive those who were repentant without somebody dying for their disobedience. On the cross, He died that imposed death Himself so He could forgive us and spare our lives.

Was He our substitute
: Yes! God punished Himself so that, if we love Him, He won’t have to punish us. Jesus Christ was our whipping boy.

Who benefited from Calvary: God the Father.

Why it doesn't save everyone: Although Jesus’ death “covered the sins of the whole world,” everyone will not be saved, because for those who didn’t accept that God took their imposed punishment (and thereby render to Him love and worship), He will still punish them at the end.

What the above really means: Love Me or I’ll torture and kill you.

How accepting Jesus saves us: When we accept Christ and His death, our sins are “covered” and the “merits” of Christ are applied to us (whether we really become changed or not).

What we end up obsessed with
: Our legal standing – “guilty” or “innocent” ?

What that makes us
: Servants.

Why we obey: Either because (1) we are afraid of what will happen to us if we don’t or (2) we want to please God.

What kills wicked sinners: God. He imposes the death.

THE TRUST/HEALING VIEW

Why we shouldn't sin: Because sin will destroy us.

Why sin is dangerous: It separates us from God, makes us afraid of Him, makes us distrust Him. It also changes us in such a way that, eventually, we are no longer able to be in His presence without being consumed.

What happens when we sin: We believe Satan’s lies about God, therefore we distrust Him and run away from Him. We won’t let Him near us – and, in this separated state, we have no hope of getting close enough to God to find out what He’s really like.

Why Jesus had to die: To show us the truth about God, the truth that wins us back to love and trust.

Was He our substitute: Yes! Had I been left to reap the natural consequences of my disobedience, my death would have proved the truthfulness of God’s word (that sin brings death). But, since God loves us and does not wish that any of us should be forever gone, He substituted the death of Christ on the cross to prove the truthfulness of His word so that we all might know the truth and come to full salvation.

Who benefited from Calvary: Human beings, angels, unfallen beings.

Why it doesn't save everyone
: God can only save people who will listen to Him. Though He revealed what He was like on the cross, some people reject it, ignore it, etc. If God does not win them back to trusting Him, He can’t do anything for them.

What the above really means: We can put ourselves out of God’s reach; we can choose to destroy ourselves.

How accepting Jesus saves us: When we accept the picture of God that Christ presented through His life and death, we will listen to God as a patient listens to his doctor. In this state of trust and willingness to listen, God can restore all damage done by sin and make us fit for heaven and an eternity with Him.

What we end up obsessed with: Understanding God and listening to Him.

What that makes us: Friends.

Why we obey: We do what is right because we agree with God that it is right and the best way to do things.

What kills wicked sinners: Sin. It is self-destructive, suicide.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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Re: Contrasting Views

Post by Paidion » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:53 pm

In general, an excellent distinction, RND!
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Contrasting Views

Post by RND » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:59 pm

Paidion wrote:In general, an excellent distinction, RND!
Yes, Paidon - I too was absolutely blown away with Brad and Kelley's posts. :) I'll pass on your compliment. You can do it yourself if you'd like here...HS.com
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

You Are Israel
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