Hello Sailors, and thanks for sticking out for the “Theology Thursday” section of this blog. I am sure that you do not mind listening to a civilian comment on theology. So I thank you all in advance for giving me a chance to use my degree. Remember to check in every Thursday because this series is very, very, important.
To begin, here's a story. Some years ago, I was traveling with my father in the Philippines. We were waiting about in a Manila airport. I was casually reading my tiny, blue, pocket copy of the NIV. A middle aged gentlemen noticed I was a bit fidgety –I was really looking for something else to read- and he handed me a pamphlet from the Iglesnia ni Cristo church. My pitiful understanding of Tagalog translated it (correctly) as Church of Christ, so I began reading.
One article in the pamphlet was fairly standard “Christian Living” type stuff. It was a second article that got my attention. The article was a discussion of John 20:27-29. In this passage, the Resurrected Jesus tells Thomas to touch his sides and his hand. Thomas's reaction is as follows:
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” -John 20:28
Now the Iglesnia ni Cristo was making a point here. They were saying that Thomas was not addressing Jesus. He was praising God in general. It was an exclamation as we might say “Oh my God!” today. It was not an indication of Jesus' divinity. In other words, they denied the sacred, ancient, doctrine of the Incarnation.
I was completely thrown for a loop by this. For a moment, I was not sure whether or not Jesus was God or not. I wasn't sure what my church believed on that or what the Bible taught. You have to understand the irony here: I had been a faithful Christian for several years. I was serving as a worship leader, camp counselor, and general henchmen of my Youth Pastor at the time. Despite all that I was confused on an a central Christian doctrine.
How on earth could this happen? Did my church just 'forget' to make sure I understood something? Did it become a trivial matter in my denomination?
My hope is that you, especially if you are a new Christian, will not have the same experience I did. When you grow in the faith and go out to serve, you will know the central doctrines (no, they are not evil!) of the Christian faith. When you think about and pray to God, you will be able to understand things like the Incarnation, the Trinity, the future Resurrection and so forth.
You will be able to understand the authoritative, universal, and essential tenants of the Christian faith as they are outlined in the Nicene Creed.
The following Blog, you will get a chance to read the Creed. I will also provide a few more reasons why it is important.
Joel Gonzaga has never been on a navy vessel, fired a weapon, or used a uniform to get girls. He did however study Theology and Azusa Pacific University and Christian philosophy at Loyola Marymount. His blog is entitled Some Kind of Christian