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Theology Topics

Included here are various topics that relate to theological issues, especially ministry and Christian growth in the context of the Church. Also included are historical documents of the Church, including many of the classic creeds and confessions of the Church, as well as contemporary Articles of Faith and position statements.

Theological Issues

Two Views of Theology

Short essay contrasting theology seen as absolute truth and theology understood as testimony conditioned by time and place.

TULIP Calvinism Compared to Wesleyan Perspectives [Portuguese] [Dutch]

A simple chart listing the major differences between the five points of classical Calvinism and corresponding Wesleyan-Arminian views.

The Triumph of Arminianism (and its dangers)

Comparison of the basic perspectives of Arminianism and classic Calvinism, concluding that most modern-day churches that cling to Calvinism in doctrine are actually Arminian-Wesleyan in practice, as well as noting the need for balance between the extremes of either position.

Christian Security

Examination of the Christian doctrine of security, contrasting the two extremes of unconditional security and eternal insecurity, concluding with a middle position that emphasizes God's grace in mutual relationship.

God’s Foreknowledge, Predestination, and Human Freedom  [Available in .pdf ]

A discussion of the logical and biblical problems with the idea of predestination and the absolute foreknowledge of God, with a proposal for an incarnational model of God rather than a metaphysical one.

God's Immutability: A Proof Text?

Examination of the word "change" in Malachi 3:6-7a as a proof text for the immutability of God.

The Death of Jesus: Historically Contingent or Divinely Ordained?

A detailed essay examining from a biblical perspective the tension between the death of Jesus as predestined by God, or as the result of human decisions; concludes by examining the implications of this tension for theories of the atonement.

The "Pre-existence of the Son" and the Old Testament

The concept of the 'pre-existence of the Son' in systematic theology in relation to the historical dimension of the biblical witness to God, highlighting the differences in method and goals of systematic theology and biblical interpretation.

The Modern Inerrancy Debate

A discussion of the roots of the debates about biblical inerrancy, their impact on the church, the relation to various theories of inspirations, and inerrancy in relation to Faith Statements about Scripture.

Word and Table: Reflections on a Theology of Worship

An examination of the theological basis for the renewed emphasis on "word and table" as the structure for Christian worship in some historically low church traditions.

Humanism in Scripture and Culture: Recovering a Balance

Short article distinguishing humanism from secularism and atheism, concluding that some of the the biblical perspective is humanistic, but is sacral humanism in which all of life is placed under God, which calls for a careful balance in how the term "humanism" is used pejoratively.

The Problem of Natural Evil

A reflection on the problem of natural evil in the world, challenging the common assumptions about God that force the question to be framed in certain ways, suggesting that the problem is actually created in how we view the nature of God and the expectation of how he should work in the world.

The Second Coming

An analysis of biblical perspectives on the Second Coming of Christ, in contrast to many popular ideas of the rapture.

The Millennium

A detailed look at the popular concepts surrounding the Second Coming, the millennial reign of Christ, and the rapture with an analysis of their biblical basis from a Wesleyan theological perspective.

The Rapture: Truth or Speculation?

A brief survey of some of the problems with the idea of a secret rapture and speculations about end times.

Ten Theological "Trick" Questions

A series of ten biblical and theological questions that appear to have easy answers, but require a little more reflection to avoid folk theology.

Two Theories Of Creation: Creation out of Nothing - Creation out of Chaosmos

A short article in outline format that compares the classical philosophical idea of ex nihilo creation ("out of nothing") with a more biblical model of creation out of chaos.

Theology and the Church

Faith and Identity: A Reformation Meditation

An essay on the Protestant Principle of "Faith Alone" traced through Habakkuk, Paul, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, concluding that genuine Faith is faithfulness in commitment to God despite circumstances and religious ideas about God.

Dialog on Homosexuality

Essay on the need for dialog in the Church of the Nazarene on homosexuality with suggested parameters for that dialog.

Relational Holiness: An Integrative Paradigm for Our Time

A brief survey of the inadequacy of traditional ways of expressing the doctrine of entire sanctification, proposing that the relational concept of love of both God and others provides an overarching and inclusive model.

The Holiness Movement: Dead or Alive?

A frankly negative evaluation of the current state of the holiness movement in traditional holiness churches, concluding with a positive outlook for the future of the holiness message and the rise of a new emphasis on holiness.

The Third Generation: Nehemiah and the Question of Identity

A reflective article based on Nehemiah 13 addressing the tendency of religious traditions to drift from their original purpose and vision as they move further away from their origins; suggestions for maintaining religious identity.

Divine-Human Synergism in Ministry

A biblically based reflective essay dealing with the mission of the Church and implications for ministry and education in the church in light of that mission.  Note:  If printed, this will take 25-30 pages.

Renewing the Pioneer Spirit, M. V. (Bud) Scutt

Dr. M. V. Scutt is now retired, but served as the District Superintendent, Southwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene.  This is his 1995 Annual Report to the District Assembly in which he lays a theological foundation from the Wesleyan tradition for the evangelistic mission of the Church.

Born Again Christians?

Examination of the popular idea of "born Again" used by some evangelicals, its biblical background, and what the biblical and traditional concept of "new birth" means.

God Is Dead: False Images of God

Some people have a false view of God as vindictive and judgmental, when in fact God is presented in the Bible as gracious, loving, and forgiving.

Holy Living

A short article providing practical guidelines for ethical decision making based on biblical moral principles.

Series

Christian Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms

A reference archive and a short history of various creeds and confessions of the Christian Faith from all periods of Church History, including the Ecumenical Creeds, Creeds of the Reformation, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, the Reformed Tradition, the Wesleyan Tradition, Modern Faith Statements, and Various Position Statements.

Women and Theology

A collection of biblical studies, theological reflections, and general articles that address primarily the topic of women in ministry, as well as other topics related to women in the Church.

Online Resources and Bibliography for Women in Ministry

Links to online articles dealing with the general topic of women in ministry.

Historical Theology

Selected writings from the history of the church that address significant or relevant issues facing the church today. Since there are many sites on the web that contain the full text of many historical writings, those presented here will normally be limited to short excerpts that have particular relevance to ongoing discussions in the various forums, are not easily available elsewhere, or are presented in digested or edited form to make them more readable.

John Wesley's Sermon "Catholic Spirit" in modern English
John Wesley on Differences of Opinion Among Christians
The Question, “What Is an Arminian?” Answered by a Lover of Free Grace (John Wesley)
John Calvin on Infant Baptism
C. S. Lewis on Inerrancy, Inspiration, and Historicity
Women's Speaking Justified, Proved, and Allowed by the Scriptures (Margaret Fell Fox)
Female Ministry; or, Woman's Right to Preach the Gospel (Catherine Booth)

The Heritage of Holiness (Holiness Heritage Series)

A series of articles examining the concern with the idea of holiness of heart and life in the history of the church.

Psalm 51 and the Language of Transformation (Dennis Bratcher)

Holiness in the Early Church (Jirair Tashjian)

The Holiness Movement: Dead or Alive? (Keith Drury)

Sin and Holiness (Brad Mercer) [Dutch]

The Holiness Manifesto

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2013, Dennis Bratcher - All Rights Reserved
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