Semănătorul (The Sower)
The Journal of Ministry and Biblical Research
Emanuel University of Oradea, Romania
Volume 3, Number 1.
Articles published by the Faculty of Theology in Emanuel
University of Oradea, and International Contributors,
The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity in Reformed Theology
Reformed Theology is concerned with the worship of a Triune God who created all things and who made Himself known in Jesus Christ and who, as the Holy Spirit, is the Lord and the Giver of life.
Discussing the doctrine of the Trinity more recent scholars have shown that the importance of this doctrine in Reformed theology will be understood better when we look at it, not in an isolated position to what was going on in the theological camps before the Reformation, but as a part of a theological tradition which precedes the Reformation and even the Middle Ages. Recent scholarship on the sixteenth century, while not blind to important areas of discontinuity, has brought attention to the important continuities that exist between Reformation thought and the patristic and medieval intellectual background.
We conclude that the confession of the Trinity is the sum of the Christian religion. Without it neither the creation nor the redemption nor sanctification can be purely maintained. Every departure from this confession leads to error in the other heads of doctrine. We can truly proclaim the mighty works of God only when we recognize and confess them as the one great work of Father, Son, and Spirit.
KEY WORDS: Reformed theology, tradition, the doctrine of the Trinity, Council of Nicea, Biblical revelation.
Adiaphora: A Christian response to a culture of tolerance, censorship, and ostracism
The society in which we live is marked by various social upheavals despite the fact that one of the fundamental values is tolerance. The phenomenon of cancel culture, hate culture, censorship, and ostracism, is propagated by all modern means of communication and is apparently very difficult to combat or eradicate. The problem of differences of opinion and dogmatic and practical dissent can also be found in the first century church. The Apostle Paul stresses the need for doctrinal unity in fundamental beliefs, but in secondary matters he writes to the church in Rome to seek mutual acceptance and avoid mutual judgment. The problem of dissension in small things is called adiaphora and has to do with those matters in the area which are neither forbidden nor commanded. The present paper seeks to examine the aspect of Christian acceptance in relation to secular tolerance and to highlight the paradigm that Paul proposes in seeking a solution to the alienation that can arise in a community due to differences of opinion. The Pauline paradigm is one worth considering as a social model in the context where conflicts of opinion arise.
KEY WORDS: Adiaphora, cancel culture, Christian acceptance, tolerance, disagreement.
Preaching Gospel Parables: Some Guidelines.
Jesus taught in many different situations and used various form of teaching, including often parables. This article discusses the nature of parables and the history of their interpretation. This history outlines early allegorical interpretation, the Middle Ages, the time of the reformation, and their treatment in modern Biblical scholarship in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century. With modern approaches to the study of the text we find recent existentialist, artistic and literary approaches to the parables. Often the reconstructing of any historical context for the parables is understood as a misguided goal since the parables ought to be understood solely as units of literature. Yet this article still wishes to hold to authorial intent, to place the story in the culture and context of the life of Jesus and to endeavour to look for the point of the parable which Jesus intended it to make. All this leads to guidelines as to how these Gospel parables ought to be approached today.
KEY WORDS: Parables, allegory, the new hermeneutic, Palestinian culture, preaching.
He Must Increase: Ministry Lessons from John the Baptist
John, son of Zechariah, commonly called ‘John the Baptist’ is a significant figure on the pages of the New Testament, not only in the Gospels, but also in Acts. Rather than focusing upon questions concerning John’s relationship to first Century Judaism or to Jesus, or on his theological function within the Gospel narratives, this article explores the relevance of John’s words for ministry in the twenty-first century. John’s words play a vital role in the Gospels in establishing Jesus’ identity and mission and also serve as a model for Christian ministers in how they think about themselves and speak about the Lord Jesus. In a context of high-profile leadership failings and a culture emphasising the ‘self’, John provides vital lessons for ministry.
KEY WORDS: John the Baptist, Christian leadership, burn out, servanthood, Christ-centered proclamation.
A Social Status Change: An Examination of 1 Corinthians 7:17-24
Kenneth R. Lewis
The text in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 poses a challenge to the idea that one should actively improve his or her social standing. A surface reading of this text could lead to the conclusion that a person should remain in their place in society without seeking opportunity for improvement. The researcher’s position is hat through an exegetical study of the text in 1 Cor. 7:17-24 and related passages that biblical teachings do not preclude changes in social standing. The article will also touch upon Paul’s perspective on matters as ethnicity, the rite of circumcision, slavery and the call of God. Paul proposes with regard to seeking to change or not to change one’s social status for the believer must be their understanding of God’s sovereign purpose and will for them. The furtherance of the gospel and the advance of the kingdom should be the primary concern.
KEY WORDS: Social status, circumcision, slavery, the gracious call of God, the unity of the church and advance of the kingdom.
“Spiritum sanctum adoramus”: The ontology of the Spirit in Theodore of Mopsuestia
Michael A.G. Haykin
The article begins with reference to the creedal declaration of the Council of Constantinople (381). The God of the Scriptures has revealed himself as three co-equal persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who share one divine being to the full. The creed affirms that the Holy Spirit, ought to be worshipped and confessed together with the Father and with the Son. There follows a brief survey of the status of the Spirit from Athanasius in the late 50’s and also Basil of Caesarea in 375 to the precise wording of the pneumatological article of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed, which was issued in 381. Reference is made to those who opposed this direction of Trinitarian thought, i.e., the Pneumatomachi, later known also as “Macedonians,” who in the 370’s denied the full deity of the Spirit. The article focuses upon Theodore of Mopsuestia (352–428), who produced a number of exegetical and dogmatic works which were preserved among the Churches of the East, in Syriac and other Oriental languages. Theodore’s Disputation with the Macedonians, which was the record of a debate between Theodore and some Pneumatomachian bishops held at Anazarbus, the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia Secunda, is particularly highlighted here. Theodore spoke of the Holy Spirit’s hypostatic existence within the Godhead. While others could affirm that whereas the Son is eternally generated from the Father, the Spirit eternally proceeds from God, Theodore did not employ this description, but simply affirmed the Spirit’s divine nature and left the mode of his distinct existence as a mystery.
Religion in the Public Sphere: The Role and Function of Military Chaplains
The focus is the specific question of religion in the public sphere and the role and function of military chaplains. These will be explored in three distinct sections. In Religion in the Public Sphere the key issues will be examined by looking closely at what some of the leading international thinkers have contributed to the debate. The second section Aspects of Societal Change and the Implications for the Military will consider: a, the increasing fluidity of ideas and concepts; b, the hollowing out of traditional ideas; c, morality, moral beliefs and moral reasoning among emerging adults; and d, some implications for the military. The third section The Role of and Function of Military Chaplains will consider two specific areas: a, Religion provides substance for moral thought; and b, the theology of chaplaincy and basic human rights.
KEY WORDS: Religion, secularism, the public sphere, morality, chaplaincy.