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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Essentials (Part One)

Without trying to sound like a “fundamentalist” (in the historic sense of the word) the question of what are the fundamentals, or better yet, what are the essentials of the Christian faith is a question that I continue to ask myself. In other words, I often wonder and research what is necessary for me to adhere to, believe, and embrace in order to call myself a Christian. Is the virgin birth a necessary doctrine? How about the inerrancy of the Bible? Better yet, if these, and other doctrines, where removed in every sense of the word removed (historically, factually, etc.) would that negate (or annul) my Christian faith?

I tend to agree with what Ben Myers posted on his blog, responding to Chris Tilling, about a month ago regarding the essentials or fundamentals of the Christian faith. Ben declared, “. . . there’s no question of trying to impose certain beliefs on others or of turning certain doctrines into laws that must be obeyed, but only of describing those beliefs that distinctively mark out Christian communities and traditions from other communities and traditions. So what are the “identifying beliefs” of Christian faith? It seems to me that there are two related ones: Christian faith is identified both by its christological character and by its trinitarian character. And at the core of both of these identifying characteristics is a single, central belief: a belief in the unity between Jesus Christ and God.” I think Ben makes a good point, but one could still ask, so what are those “identifying beliefs” that are identified by their Christological and Trinitarian character?

Why are certain doctrines essential and others not? What is essential and what is not? I still think these questions remain good questions, but is there really a need to ask such questions? These are a few of the questions that sometimes keep me up at night. While I have come to terms with a few doctrines which I believe are not essential, and others which are definitely essential, there are a few that have really made me re-think their overall importance in terms of their essentialness. So what do you think? What are the essential doctrines which mark us distinctively as Christians?

[More to come]

6 Comments:

Blogger Ben Myers said...

Looks like a good series, Todd. I'll look forward to hearing your other thoughts about this.

And by the way, congratulations on the job offer!

6:43 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Chris Tilling said...

yes, I second Ben. I've been praying for your job situation.

7:38 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Thank you both. I actually got an awesome offer from Verizon communications - So I took that position. Thanks for your prayers.

10:08 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

T.B.,

RE: what is essential

I was driving north to White Center last week (only 30 blocks from Seahurst Park) and I came to a stoplight behind a biker on a full-dress HD hog, wearing a german style helmet and "colors", in this case a denim jacket embossed with a large biker insignia and across the top the word Resurrection. That word all by itself comes the very close to being a summation of what is essential. I think it was Russian Orthodoxy that helped to wake me out of my post evangelical cynicism by focusing on the Resurrection.

By the way, the biker who didn't stick around for me to photograph him, was a member of the Resurrection biker club in Seattle. I know almost nothing about them but the did have a party in Seahurst Park two summers ago which was attended by lots of bikers and many of them had Resurrection painted on the gas tanks of their HD hogs.

If they show up again perhaps I can get some photos and post them.

CSB

12:05 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Brilliant news Todd!

5:15 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

CSB,

That's a great story. I agree when you declare, "That word all by itself comes the very close to being a summation of what is essential."

That word by itself, and all that it means to us as Christians is in and of itself an essential.

8:46 AM, April 14, 2006  

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