Home Page
Home
About
Books
Media
Music
Studies
Books>Index
The Things We Firmly Believe

Things We Firmly Believe (The) 2nd edition

Geoffrey Bingham

by Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

Subject: Systematic Theology

Book Code: 139

Pages: 333 pp, Book

Pub. Date: 1986

ISBN: 0 86408 036 0

PDF Download  645 kb

 

 

Things We Firmly Believe (The)PREFACE

BY WAY OF AN EXPLANATION

This volume could have been called ‘A Simple Compendium of Christian Doctrine’. This is the age of scientific reality, so that the demand is to have our theology in objective categories. In theology today there is a strong ‘anti-metaphysical’trend. It is not only that the supernatural is denied, but that thinking in the terms which Luther and Calvin thought—let alone Aquinas—is unacceptable. This book, then, would be seen as naive.

When we read theology today we find that theologians not only differ among themselves, which is natural enough, but they also differ, often, in their hermeneutics (principles of studying Scripture, i.e. the ground rules for interpreting it), as also in their epistemologies (the methods or grounds of knowledge). Each theologian naturally enough argues his position and presents his material so that it has credibility in the light of contemporary ways of thinking and reasoning. This generally means he must take into consideration the development of historical theology, point out its strengths and weaknesses, and value what others are saying today. Hence the reading of theology is for the most part confined to the realm of theologians, and we mean by this, trained and even professional scholars. This is by no means a bad thing.

Theology must always then be in a state of flux, partly by reason of the dialectic which obtains, partly because theology is, by nature of the case, dynamic, and also because new insights are continually being discovered. For the so called simple person it would be a relief to know that theology is fixed—so to speak—and all we have to do is simply restate it in the idiom of our age, and so communicate it in current thought forms. Alas, the matter is not so simple. Anything a theologian is bold to say will be called in question, and this on many grounds. How then does the simple person grasp theological truth? Does he have to go through the process we have here stated? Is there in fact simple truth?

The answer must be, ‘Yes.’The truth must be simple enough since Jesus told us to become as little children to enter the Kingdom. We need new birth for new understanding. The truth then must be simple since God is the truth, and the Son the very truth of the Father. Both are ‘full of grace and truth’. The truth is also what you do or live rather than know only in an intellectual way. Theology of course is man’s reflection upon God, the system of thinking thus which he formulates. He has certain materials for intellection, and using these he comes to certain conclusions. These may or may not be correct—hence the unceasing interaction between scholars, the dialectic which keeps the issues alive.

This small treatment of doctrine has, perforce, set aside the continuing theological debate. It makes no claim to a proven hermeneutic. It takes the general trend that the church has known in history, of assuming the Scriptures are our basic source of doctrine, even though, strictly speaking, doctrine in the Scriptures is not fashioned after the manner of systematic theology. We read in Acts 2:42 that ‘they continued in the apostles’doctrine’. There was doctrine. There were things understood. It may be debated as to whether the things they believed are acceptable to us today, but there can be little harm in knowing what they believed, and deciding whether or not this, too, is authentic for us.

Every man is a theologian. Everyone thinks on the things of God. Atheists often think on them more than non-atheists. Whether we are good, bad, or indifferent theologians does not greatly matter. What we want to know is, ‘What things do Christians, generally speaking, believe?’Doubtless what I have set out as things generally believed may not meet the acceptance of many (if not most) theologians. The way I set them out may meet with even less acceptance. Perhaps that will always be with what most theologians themselves set out. The truth is that no theologian is infallible or peerless. We have made our mistakes in thinking men such as Luther and Calvin have said the last word, or the only word, or the true word, on the great doctrinal truths. They have not, and doubtless did not think they had. We have our great theologians today, and no doubt they understand the humility of spirit which forbids the pride of mind.

Theology, rightly enough, will constantly be in debate. Certainly we reap many worthwhile fruits from the debate. What we must be wary of is theological priestcraft, an intellectualistic elitism which decries the crude and simple theology of the less tutored and denies authenticity because its thought has not been through the (latest) mincer of hermeneutics and epistemologies.

The apostle John said, ‘I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth.’He also said, ‘I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him’ (I John 2:21, 26-27). Jesus said, ‘If any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority’(John 7:17). He also said, ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.’

It does seem, then, that apart from the continuing theological debate, and the endeavour to authenticate theological truth, a human person may know the truth, via what God has spoken (in the many ways that He speaks), with the conviction and assurance that the Holy Spirit gives. This book, then, seeks to provide those materials which can be read and studied, they also being subject to that monitoring which the anointing of the Spirit provides for those seeking to know more of the truth.

It is with this attitude, and in this hope, that the book is sent forth. Whilst hermeneutics and epistemologies must change in the processes of history—as indeed so many things change—yet truth must come from God to the hearts of men, and must surely come with its own ‘ring of truth’.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

The response to the first edition has been most gratifying. Already it is being used in Seminary and Bible College courses, as well as personal and group studies.

The revising and correcting of the text, plus a comprehensive index, and the resetting of the type and format, have combined to make a more useful volume.

I trust it will be helpful to teachers and students, and even those whose interest has not hitherto been linked with the truth of the Christian faith.

Geoffrey Bingham,

January 1986


Series
Author
Title
Session Title
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Theology and Revelation
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Knowing God in His Attributes (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Knowing God in His Attributes (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Triune God
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Father (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Father (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Son (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Son (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Spirit (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Person and Work of the Spirit (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe God's Man and Creation
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Fall of Man
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Man in Bondage
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Man's Dilemma Before God
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation I-God and His Grace
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation II-God and His Wrath
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation III-The Atonement (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation IV-The Atonement (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation V-The Atonement and Its Fruits (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation VI-The Atonement and Its Fruits (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation VII-The Atonement and Its Fruits (3)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Salvation VIII-The Atonement and Its Fruits (4)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Conclusion to God, Man, Sin and Salvation (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Conclusion to God, Man, Sin and Salvation (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Church in the New Testament
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Transition to the New Testament Church
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Jesus and the Church
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Pentecost and the Birth of the Church
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Pentecost and Church Growth
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Church on the Move
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of the Church (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of the Church (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of the Church (3)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of the Church (4)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Order and Organisation of the Church
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Worship of the Church
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Church and Serving Others
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Community of Love and Holiness
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Proclaiming Community
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Eschatological Community
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Church and the Sacraments (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Church and the Sacraments (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe God's People from the Beginning
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Gospel for the Nation-the New People of God
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Ultimate People of God
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Introducing the Kingdom
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Kingdom of God in the New Testament
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Conclusion Concerning the Kingdom
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Approaching the End Things
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Principle of Hope
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ and Creation
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ and the People of God
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ and Prophecy
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ the Lord of the Future
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ's View of the Future-The Synoptic Gospels
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Christ's View of the Future-John's Gospel
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The End Things (1): Preceding Events
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The End Things (2): The Coming of Christ
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Millennial Question
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Resurrection
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Life Beyond Death (1)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe Life Beyond Death (2)
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Judgment of the World
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Judgment of the Believer
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of Hell
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Nature of Heaven
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The New Worship and Service
BSTB Geoffrey Bingham The Things We Firmly Believe The Triumph of God