Welcome to "What We Believe about the Bible: Ten Topics of Systematic Theology"
It is currently popular for churches to make their statement of faith as vague a possible. While that is understandable in promoting inclusiveness, it seems disingenuous to conceal a product before selling it. A genuine church offers one product, Jesus Christ, as portrayed by the Bible. It is a belief system involving the four branches of philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, and Categorical Philosophy. More specifically, it concerns the ten doctrines of the Systematic Theology: Bibliology, Theology Proper, Christology, Pneumatology, Angelology, Anthropology, Hamartiology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology. This series examines systematic theology in a nutshell (concerning “what we believe” in the state of faith); plus, we will study select areas of apologetics (about “why we believe so”). Please come to ABC and join us!
--- Pastor Daiqing Yuan, Ph.D.
Sermon 1.1 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 1: Introduction ◦ Preached 04/28/2019
Postmodernism is born from the complaint that medieval dogma and modern machines robbed full humanity. While the diagnosis is agreeable, the prescription involves shameless inconsistency. Man-made dogmas (e.g. climate change) are followed religiously; man-made machines (e.g. smart phones) have become indispensable. Full humanity cannot live without mind and doctrines; the difference is in the source. The Bible is where men get doctrines about God. This is why Bibliology should be the first of the ten doctrines of systematic theology. The essence of Bibliology follows: (1) the Bible is divinely sourced; (2) it is inerrant and infallible; and (3) it centers on Jesus Christ.
Sermon 1.2 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 2: How Was the Old Testament Formed? ◦ 05/05/2019
Modern mainstream academia is committed to naturalism and makes imaginary theories on the formation of the Old Testament, generally making it late and collective in authorship, focusing on the two foundations of OT and NT (Torah and Gospels), and the two major bridges between them (Isiah and Daniel). Its goal seems to be reducing the authority and authenticity of the Bible. The real history of writing in the world is actually dependent on significant individuals rather than the mass. By believing in the reality of biblical history and understanding the many roles of biblical “authors,” we can offer a reasonable “Believers’ Theory on OT Formation.”
Sermon 1.3 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 3: How Was the New Testament Formed? ◦ 05/12/2019
Unlike mainstream academia’s theories that the New Testament was the composition of the church collectively in a long process, recent researche on chronology, history, and documents support the believers’ theory on NT formation: that a few significant individuals in NT history were the writers, translators, and editors who formed and published NT in AD100.
Sermon 1.4 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 4: What about the Apocrypha and the OT Pseudepigrapha? ◦ 05/19/2019
The boundary of the Old Testament seems to be fluid. The Protestant Bible has the same number of books as the Jews. The Catholic Bible has 8 more books, and the Orthodox Bible has 16 more. The Apocrypha is the name for the group of books counted as “deuterocanonical” by some religious denominations but not by all. The OT Pseudepigrapha is another collection of books not claimed as canonical by any denominations but were quoted or regarded as authoritative. Are they the inspired word of God? Is our Old Testament complete?
Sermon 1.5 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 5: What about the Versions of Translations? ◦ 05/26/2019
Some English Bible translations (KJV, NKJV) seem to have a “fuller” text in the New Testament than others (e.g. NASB, NIV, ESV etc.). The KJV-Only Movement claims that the “briefer” New Testaments are incomplete, and those who read the modern translations are heretical in denying the deity of Christ etc. Is that true?
Sermon 1.6 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 6: How Should the Bible Be Read? ◦ 06/02/2019
More differences occurred because of interpretation than because of textual variance. Is there a right way of reading the Bible? Is it possible to find a singular original meaning of the author(s), human and divine? The Church has found a system of rules of interpretation in order to achieve that. It is more urgent than ever to consult these rules, for they came from the experiences of dealing with heresies that resulted from erroneous readings.
Sermon 1.7 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 7: Who Should Teach the Bible and How? ◦ 06/09/2019
The Bible declares that the teachers of the gospel are under higher standards of judgment and forbade women from teaching men. Why are there restrictions on teachers of the Bible? What qualifies a Bible teacher? How should the Bible be taught in the Church?
Sermon 2.1 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Bible? Part 1: The Existence of One Triune God, & the Fatherhood of God the Father ◦ 06/16/2019
“God” means different things to different people. People may regard money, idols, self, great men, Lucifer, or Yahweh as their God. “God” can be a spirit or beings with immortal bodies. What differs between biblical Theism and all other “isms” in theology is not just in the existence (vs. Atheism) of God, the number of Gods within or without the godhead (vs. Polytheism, Pantheism; and vs. Unitarian Monotheism such as Judaism and Islam), but the work of God (vs. Deism). This last category mostly concerns the moral nature of God. Two essential questions follow: (1) Is God not only great in power but also holy in morality? (2) Is there a balance of unity vs. diversity, relations vs. fellowship in Trinitarianism?
Sermon 2.2 ◦ What Do We Believe about God? Part 2: The Attributes of God ◦ 06/23/2019
Attributes of God are the characteristics of God described in understandable terms to men. There are several classes or groups such as existential, power, and moral attributes. There are different aspects that need balance such as greatness and goodness, justice and mercy. A balanced view of God based on the biblically revealed attributes is essential to worshiping and relating to the true God in the way revealed, dictated, and preferred by God, not men.
Sermon 3.1 ◦ What We Believe about Christ? Part 1: The Person, Word, and Work of Christ ◦ 06/30/2019
Jesus Christ is a real historical person, whose birth, death, and resurrection are commemorated by Christmas and Easter. Some of his words became popular, e.g. “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” Some are taken out of context, e.g. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” His work on the cross transformed the fate of humanity: not only the eternity destination for the believers but also the life experience of all.
Sermon 3.2 ◦ What We Believe about Christ? Part 2: The Nature of Christ ◦ 07/07/2019
The nature of Christ is about his divinity and humanity. This topic was hotly debated in church history. The issue is not moot as it seems now, for your answer to it could determine your eternal destiny, classifying your theology as either orthodox or heretical.
Sermon 4 ◦ What We Believe about the Holy Spirit? ◦ 07/14/2019
The Doctrine on the Holy Spirit (Pnuematology) has been the most debated doctrine in the Church during the 20th and 21st Centuries. In the statement of faith in most churches, very little is said about the Holy Spirit beyond simply mentioning it in context to the Trinity. We derive from the Scripture what the Holy Spirit is, what He did and does, what He likes and hates, and how can we distinguish the Holy Spirit from other spirits.
Sermon 5 ◦ What Do We Believe about the Angels ◦ 07/21/2019
Most churches do not mention Angelology at all in their statement of faith even though the understanding about them divides major religions from each other. We derive from Scripture answers to important questions concerning angles: What are they? When were they created, and how are they organized? What do they do, and what is their end?
Sermon 6 ◦ What We Believe about Humanity? ◦ 07/28/2019
Humanity is the category to which we belong in God's creation. What are we? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Why are we in trouble? What is our hope? We can derive a Biblical anthropology that answers all of these questions.
Sermon 7 ◦ What We Believe about Sin? ◦ 08/04/2019
The Doctrine about Sin is called Harmatiology. Most people have never heard of the name, and the topic is rarely mentioned in the statement of faith of any church, even though sin is the central problem for humanity. The Bible gave us a description on the reason, nature, and effect of sin, and prescribed a cure.
Sermon 8.1 ◦ What We Believe about Salvation: Soteriology Part 1, The Mechanism & The Way ◦ 08/11/2019
ABC’s Statement of Faith is fully articulated concerning the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology), as is the case with most evangelical churches. The complete process of salvation actually includes: (1) Justification (an event - salvation of the spirit); (2) Sanctification (a process - salvation of the soul); and (3) Glorification (an event - salvation of the body). What evangelicals commonly term “salvation” is Justification; it is the acceptance of Redemption through Christ Jesus; it happens at the same time as the Regeneration by the Holy Spirit and the Adoption by the Father.
Sermon 8.2 ◦ What We Believe about Salvation: Soteriology Part 2, The Controversies and the Solution ◦ 08/18/2019
Before the beginning of the process of salvation as known to men (where Salvation equals Justification, Regeneration, Adoption, Betrothal, Sanctification, and then Glorification), God has done a lot more: Election which equates with Foreknowledge Predestination, Redemption, and Call. There are varying opinions on the big picture of salvation, differing on how much weight one gives to the divine and human will on salvation. If we draw a spectrum of soteriology, on the left are Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and (Classical, Wesleyan, and Modern) Arminianism, and on the right are Moderate, Classical, and Hyper-Calvinism. Historical church councils have judged the three left-side opinions as heretical. But what is the biblical and balanced position? We analyze the ways to build theology from the Bible and propose a satisfying solution.
Sermon 9 ◦ What We Believe about the Church: The Doctrine of Ecclesiology ◦ 08/25/2019
The result of salvation is the church. The doctrine of the church is ecclesiology. It involves (1) the doctrine of Sanctification and practical theology; (2) the definitions of the Universal Church and the Local Churches; (3) the rites of the Church; (4) the government of the Church; (5) the dogma, councils, and creeds of the Church (the boundaries of faith); (6) the histories of the denominations; and, (7) the Church and State relationship. Ecclesiology is the least complete doctrine of systematic theology, together with Eschatology and Pneumatology.