Theology

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Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church Beliefs

Posted by on 07 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, Theology

So that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Tim. 3:15 NLT

Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church is a Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-immersed group of believers eagerly yearning for more of Christ in our lives and the presence of God in our community. We are men and women of faith drawn together by the Holy Spirit from various denominational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

We desire to be a complete expression of the early church: our worship is Biblical and historic, liturgical and Spirit-filled, ancient and contemporary, holy and joyful. We are a church that is submitted to the authority of Scripture as interpreted by the continuing witness of the ancient church. Lamb of God Church is committed to advancing the Kingdom of God by proclaiming the gospel to the least, lost, lonely and last.

Lamb of God Is Fully Sacramental and Liturgical:

At the center of Lamb of God’s worship is the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper where we believe resides the presence of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is precious for it is an encounter with the living resurrected Jesus. Grace poured forth, faith renewed, sins forgiven, spirits encouraged, healing released, and hope restored, all found at the table of the Lord. At the Lord’s table, the resurrected Christ meets the people of God as the heart of God makes known the love of God in bread and wine. Through baptism and the partaking of Christ’s body and blood, we are brought into living union with Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Evangelical:

Lamb of God Church believes that we are saved by grace alone, justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Christ who is our Lord and Savior is calling all men and women to a personal relationship with Him. We believe the gospel which is the good news that God in Christ has come into the world and by his life, death, and resurrection has conquered our greatest foes: the world, flesh, sin, death, and the devil. The gospel is the proclamation that our sins are forgiven and we are under the condemnation of judgment no more. This precious gospel calls forth from each of us a response of faith and repentance.

Lamb of God Church holds to a high view of Holy Scriptures both the Old and New Testaments, believing them to contain all things necessary to salvation; nothing can be taught as necessary for salvation that is not found in the Scriptures. We are committed to the preaching of the Gospel to fulfill the great commission for salvation is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Charismatic:

We are a church that participates in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We believe that through the baptism of the Holy Spirit all believers are can partake in the fullness of the Spirit and are given power for Christian ministry. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases in the believer both the fruit and gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the church and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Lamb of God Is Consensus Government:

We are a church governed by Christ through bishops in apostolic succession who are humbly submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and to one another. Our desire is to be a house of prayer, yearning to hear and obey the voice of God. Decisions are made by our elders upon coming to consensus with our bishop under the Lordship of Christ.

What Theologians Are Supposed to Do!

Posted by on 14 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, J. I. Packer, Puritans, Theology

Theology that Quickens the Conscience and Softens the Heart

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 1:1-2

Several years ago, Bishop Charles W. Jones graciously appointed me as his canon theologian. A canon theologian is responsible for advising his bishop in theological matters, teaching the classic truths of the Faith, and encouraging his fellow clergy in the study of the Word of God. I take the task seriously, perhaps too seriously. But, I feel a responsibility to equip the people of God in the truths of God for the upbuilding of the church of God for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Theology need not be a purely intellectual exercise: theology should elevate the people of God into the presence of God for the worship and love of God. Theology should be birthed in prayer, pastorally sensitive, and understandable to the everyday believer. As J. I. Packer states below, theology should clean out the church’s sewers so that God’s truth might flow to the benefit of all.

If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride. So one who theologizes in public, whether formally in the pulpit, on the podium or in print, or informally from the armchair, must think hard about the effect his thoughts will have on people — God’s people, and other people. Theologians are called to be the church’s water engineers and sewage officers; it is their job to see that God’s pure truth flows abundantly where it is needed, and to filter out any intrusive pollution that might damage health.

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 15.

HT: Ray Ortlund

Why I’m Not (Eastern) Orthodox

Posted by on 27 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Conversion, Early Church Father, Eastern Orthodoxy, Evangelical, Gospel, Justification, Martin Luther, Theology

eo-image

“Because I Am Committed to Key Distinctives of the Protestant Evangelical Tradition.”

Daniel Clendenin puts into words from his experience my own commitment to Evangelical truth: original sin, penal substitution, imputed righteousness, justification by faith, and sola scriptura, etc.

While Protestant evangelicals have never agreed on the precise meaning or mode of the sacraments, they have historically emphasized two related truths that diverge from the Orthodox understanding of the sacraments. Evangelicals urge the necessity of personal conversion through the faith and repentance of the individual believer, as opposed to the Orthodox idea of regeneration by the sacraments.

Also, while evangelicals wholeheartedly embrace the full-orbed New Testament descriptions of the work of Christ (reconciliation, ransom, redemption, forgiveness, adoption, etc.), since the Reformation, justification by faith and substitutionary atonement have enjoyed pride of place in our understanding of the doctrines of sin and salvation. Luther urged that Christianity would stand or fall with this doctrine; Calvin called it “the hinge upon which all true religion turns.”

In the history and theology of Orthodoxy it is startling to observe the nearly complete absence of any mention of the doctrine of justification by faith. Rather, “theosis” (literally, “deification”), or the progressive transformation of people into full likeness to God, in soul and body, takes center stage. (2 Pet. 1:4). Further, the Orthodox reject the idea of inherited guilt; we are guilty only for our own sins rather than for the inborn consequences of Adam’s fall. Conversely, evangelicals argue that this forensic framework for sin and salvation is not merely a historical and unduly negative carryover from Augustine and Anselm, but rather is the clear teaching of Paul in his Letters to the Romans and Galatians.

Read Daniel Clendenin’s entire essay entitled, “Why I’m Not Orthodox: An Evangelical Explores the Ancient and Alien World of the Eastern Church” originally published in Christianity Today (January 6, 1997): 33.

HT: Journey with Jesus

CEC Theological Summit

Posted by on 25 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Catholicity, Charismatic Episcopal Church, Charismatic Movement, Theology

cec-theological-summit

A Summit of a Different Sort

Just in case you have been wondering what I have been doing all week, I attended the first annual CEC Theological Summit in Orlando, Florida.  The theme of our conference was *Toward a Theology of Convergence.* Our summit focused on the three streams of the historic faith: evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental. I wrote an essay on the evangelical stream and I shared those Reformed theological truths on Wednesday morning. My talk/address/sermon focused on the Cross, the exchanged life, evangelism and mission, priesthood of all believers, penal substitution, total depravity, heart conversion, imputed and imparted righteousness, and sola scriptura. You can see that I covered many doctrines in my hour and fifteen minutes, the time flew by quickly. I greatly enjoyed the experience: special thanks to Bishops Bates and Simpson for the opportunity.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church is part of a growing movement, which recognizes that for the church to be truly catholic in its faith and practice, it needs to integrate the three major streams of the Christian tradition: the evangelical, the charismatic, and the sacramental. I enjoyed hearing the four addresses which focused on the theological truth of each stream and a wrap-up talk on convergence. The talks revealed among our clergy a passionate love for Jesus combined with deep commitment to the historic truths of our faith: a rare combination indeed. The depth of theological thinking was quite amazing for a small communion. In addition, the spirit of unity and camaraderie among our clergy who hail from diverse theological backgrounds was personally encouraging.

Below, Bishop Epps conveys better than I ever could the spirit, tone, and tenor of our conference.

Christus Victor,

Cn. Glenn

IMPRESSIONS OF A THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE

Bishop David Epps

One would think that a week-long meeting on theology would not be a riveting affair. At least, that was my assumption before I traveled to Orlando, FL a few days ago to be an observer at our denomination’s International Theological Conference.

The participants were tasked with presenting to the Bishops of our Church and to the larger communion a coherent and understandable “convergence theology,” which has to do with the synthesis of the evangelical, sacramental/liturgical, and Pentecostal/charismatic expressions of the Christian faith. Not very interesting, perhaps, for the average person, but the transmission of theology is vital for the future orthodoxy, survival, and prosperity of any denomination or movement. I came away with several impressions:

My first impression was how brilliant the “presbyter/theologians” of our denomination are. For us, a “presbyter” is a priest and these men are not ivory tower people who study for a living. They are pastors who, every week, visit the sick, preach, celebrate the Sacraments, deal with commissions and committees, counsel, hear confessions, and consistently do the “grunt work” of ministry in their home parishes. But “theologians” they truly are. The theological position papers they presented were as thorough and profound as any I have ever seen.

These men are Doctors of Philosophy, Doctors of Ministry, Doctors of Theology, Canons, Theologians, seminary professors-all of whom have extensive background in both academics and pastoral ministry. Though reasonably well-educated, I was not the smartest guy in the room-not by a long shot!

My second impression was how passionate these men were in their presentations. Like many people, I have been in academic or ecclesial settings in which papers, presentations, or sermons were presented in a way that sucked the very moisture out of the air-they were, in other words, dry as dust and dead as nails. Not so in Orlando. The presbyter/theologians almost “preached” their papers with as much passion as a Baptist evangelist. One could sense that the papers had been bathed in prayer and that the presenters had been empowered by a divine encounter.

My third impression concerned the respect and civility demonstrated toward conflicting points of view. I have been in many arenas where egotism was the order of the day and opposing views were not tolerated. The presenters listened to each other with a serious intensity and, even when disagreements were expressed during the open discussion time, there was a fraternal respect and a brotherly love and concern demonstrated. True humility was in abundance.

The fourth impression was how long it takes to “do theology.” The Church stills struggles with concerns that have been on the table for two thousand years. We are in a “quick-fix” society but serious theological grappling may take years, decades, or even centuries. The Church must be committed to the long view and eschew shortcuts.

The fifth impression was that the denomination in which I serve is in good theological hands. We will make mistakes, as we have in the past, but I am confident in the future. I believe that our children and grandchildren will be left a very good legacy, which, in turn, they will pass on.

I can imagine that the Church Fathers, the theologians of days past, and the faithful scholars and bishops of the early Church had little concept of the impact they would have on the future generations. Putting quill to parchment, writing by lamps filled with oil, suffering heat and cold, privation and persecution, those early leaders struggled to communicate the faith to their present generation and their works and influence remain with us today. I could imagine that, prior to coming to Orlando, these presbyter/theologians, though blessed with modern technology and comforts, were in a long line of people who were, quietly and without reward or fanfare, seeking to communicate timeless truth. God bless the scholars and theologians among us!

Bishop David Epps is the founding pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. He also serves as a Bishop to the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org).