Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站
Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站

Doctrinal Synthesis Paper

Brief Statement

God’s Revelation and Scripture

The Christians’ Bible is God’s inspired words (2 Pet 1:20-21) by the work of the Holy Spirit through human authors to reveal God’s redemption plan for mankind. It is inerrant and truthful in everything it affirms to be true (John 17:17). All creations, especially the church, are under the authority of the Bible (Ps 119:89). The Bible is sufficient in its teachings for salvation, including godly Christians living and service (2 Tim 3:16).

The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

God is Trinity, eternally exists in three persons, namely God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). They are one in essence, equal in glory, distinct in relations, and indwelling in each other (Matt 3:16-17). Jesus Christ, who is eternally begotten from the Father (John 1:18) outside of time, is fully God (John 1:1-3) and fully man (Rom 1:3). The Holy Spirit is God (2 Co 3:17-19). He is the third person of the Trinity (Matt 28:19). He has the attributes, works, and titles of God (2 Cor 13:14).

Creation, Humanity, and Sin

The Triune God created this universe out of nothing (Gen 1:1). Lucifer, a high-ranking angel, wanted to be worshipped like God. So he became Satan and led one-third of the angels to rebel against God (Rev 12:4). God created humankind in His image so that we can be His representatives to rule over all His creations (Gen 1:26-28). However, Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and disobeyed God. Their disobedience has caused this world to fall into sin (Rom 8:20). Since then, all humankind has been born with original sin (Rom 5:12).

Salvation

Believers are chosen by God before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:3), justified by the redemption work of Christ (Rom 3:24-25), and born by the Holy Spirit (John 4:3). Believers are saved by grace through faith, apart from their own works (Eph 2:9-10). Believers can have the assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13), and their salvation is eternally secured by the works of Christ (John 10:28-29).

The Church and Sanctification

The church is the body of Christ (Eph 4:4) which consists of all who place their faith in Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (Col 1:18). The mission of the church is to make disciples for Christ in all nations (Matt 28:19) for God’s glory (Eph 3:21). Communion and baptism are the ordinances of the church. All believers are given spiritual gifts for building up the body of Christ (Eph 5:12). All believers have been sanctified positionally (Heb 10:10), are in the process of sanctification (Rom 6:19), and will be glorified in the future (Rom 8:30).

Last Things

Christ will physically return to the earth in His second coming to judge all humanity (Rev 19:11; 20:11). All who are not saved will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev 20:15), and all who are saved will forever live with God in eternity (Rev 21:3-7). Christ will reign the new heaven and new earth in eternity (Rev 11:15).

Theological Narrative: From creation to New Creation

God’s Revelation and Scripture

I believe in general revelation: God is revealing Himself to humankind through His creations.[1] I believe in special revelation: God has revealed Himself through angels, miracles, divine manifestations, words spoken through His prophets, and most importantly, by the Scriptures.[2]

I believe the entire Christian Bible, all the words in its original manuscript, are God’s inspired words for mankind. The Holy Spirit supernaturally guided the human writers to write down these words. Even though the human writers maintained their own distinctive personalities, literary styles, and were able to express their own views and experience, God ultimately orchestrated the writers’ life to write down the exact words God intended to have on the Scriptures to be preserved as His inspired words.[3] The inspiration of the Scriptures means that the origin of the Scriptures is divine. However, the mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to man.[4]

I believe that the entire Bible is inerrant. That is, the Scriptures tell the truth and contain no errors.[5] It is because God is the truth. He does not lie. Even though the human writers were fallible, the divine author was able to orchestrate the writing process so that the original manuscripts were without errors. Therefore, I believe the records of the creation, the fall, all the history of Israel and the nations, all the prophecies, all the miracles, all the words and works of Jesus Christ, the teachings on the epistles, and the end-time prophecies are true.

I believe the Scriptures have the highest and final authority over mankind, especially over each believer individually and overall church authorities.[6] The Scriptures have authority over the tradition of a church. If a church’s tradition is contrary to the Scriptures, the church should submit to the authority of the scripture. While the church’s councils, creeds, and doctrinal statements are helpful and oftentimes essential to summarize and clarify the teachings of the Bible, they are under the authority of the Bible. All bible teachers are under the authority of the scripture. Their job is to handle the scripture rightly.

I believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures. The Scriptures contain all the words from God to men necessary for salvation. The Bible is sufficient to bring man into an initial relationship with God, as well as sufficient to provide teachings, encouragement, and nourishment for godly Christian living and ministry.

I believe all of and only all the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament are canonical writings. These books were recognized and received by the early church as the inspired words of God.[7] No new books can be added to the Bible.[8] God inspired Moses to write the Pentateuch[9] , and the OT canon ended with the Malachi. After that, there were no more OT prophets until the birth of Jesus Christ. After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles wrote books or epistles to teach the person and works of Jesus Christ. Twenty-seven books were widely circulated among the early churches[10] and were recognized as the inspired word of God.[11] After the completion of Revelation by apostle John, the NT canon is closed. The prophets and apostles are the foundation of the church,[12] the disappearance of apostles and prophets would mark the end of the canon.[13]

I believe believers should use all God’s given abilities to read and understand the Scriptures, but ultimately, the Holy Spirit guides us to understand the Scriptures.[14]

The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

I believe[15] God exists eternally, for He has no beginning and no end. He reveals His characters through all His names in the Scriptures. Elohim[16] reveals God as Creator-Sustainer of the universe,[17] Adonai[18] reveals God as Lord par excellence, and YHWH[19] reveals God as I am Who I am.[20] God is self-existent, self-sufficient, completely free, coherent, united, perfect, immutable, incomprehensible, outside of time, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and distinct from all creations. These attributes belong to God only.[21] I believe God is glory, true, wise, holy, just, good, faithful, loving, and merciful. He graciously shares these attributes with humans[22]. God is the Divine Source of All,[23] Sovereign Ruler,[24] Holy Judge,[25] Compassionate Reconciler,[26] and to Whom all things return.[27]

I believe Jesus Christ is God the Son,[28] and He is eternally begotten from God the Father.[29] Christ is not a creature, for, with the Father and the Spirit, He is the Creator of this universe and everything in it. Christ is fully God[30], for He is of one essence with God the Father and equal with the Father in glory. Christ is equal with God the Father but willingly submits Himself to the Father.[31]

I believe Christ was sent by the Father into this world to redeem humans by dying on the cross. He willingly emptied[32] Himself to become the man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, by Incarnation.[33] He was incarnated by the Holy Spirit[34] through the virgin Mary, and His human nature would not exist without the Incarnation. His human nature is aware of and sustained by His divine nature.[35] He is fully God and fully man, except He is without original sin.[36] Christ was tempted in every way, but He has lived a life without sins. Christ was completely obedient to God the Father and the perfect human the Father desired. He loved God the Father and has exemplified human existence fully. Christ, in His human nature, obeyed the Holy Spirit; and, in His divine nature, had authority over the Holy Spirit.

I believe Christ was crucified on the cross, buried, and resurrected on the third day. He has ascended into the heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will return to this world in glory to judge all humans and take all who believed in Him into eternity in glory.[37]

I believe the Holy Spirit[38] is God[39]. The Spirit is one essence with God the Father and God the Son, [40] yet distinct in person. Therefore, He is worthy of being worshipped. The Holy Spirit is the Creator of the universe together with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit worked in Jesus’s life in Incarnation, in baptism, in His daily life, in His teaching and miracles, in His emotion, at the cross, and in the resurrection. The Holy Spirit also works in every stage of the believer’s salvation, life, and ministry. The Spirit works in a person’s justification, sanctification, and glorification.[41] The Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son[42] to indwell in believers to testify[43] Christ Himself.[44]

I believe God eternally exists in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Son is not the Father, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. However, there is one God, not three[45]. All three persons are perfect in unity, one in essence, equal in glory, distinct in relations, and indwelled in each other.[46]

Creation, Humanity, and Sin

         I believe that the triune God is the Creator[47] of this universe and all that is in it,[48] which He created out of nothing[49]and shaped in a way that He regards as good through His spoken word and His Son Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I believe that God continues to preserve the existence of this universe through Christ.[50]

I believe God created unnumerable[51] sinless, powerful,[52] intelligent, spiritual beings[53]  known as angels.[54] They were created to serve and worship God.[55] One of the highest ranked angels,[56] Lucifer,[57] wanted to be worshipped like God. Therefore he turned himself into Satan[58] and led one-third of the angels to rebel against God. These fallen angels became demons. Some were chained under gloomy darkness, and the rest of the demons are serving Satan. All of the demons will be judged by God into the punishment of eternal fire after the millennium and before the creation of the new heavens and new earth.

I believe that although Satan is highly intelligent and powerful, he is not equal to God. Instead, he is under the authority of God Satan was the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve to fall into sin. Since the fall, Satan continued to work against God’s plan of salvation for humankind. He actively binds the spiritual eyes of unbelievers to prevent them from knowing the gospel. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive people from knowing the truth. He constantly accuses God’s people before God, entices them to sin, sabotages God’s people’s ministry, and attacks believers. I believe that Satan has been defeated by Christ at the cross, though he has not been judged and executed. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit when Christ returns to earth for a thousand years. After that, he will be thrown into the lake of fire and will be tormented day and night forever.[59]

         I believe that humankind was the climax of God’s creation because only humankind was created by the triune God in His image and likeness.[60] Humans are created to mirror the Creator and to enjoy a relationship with Him. God’s purpose is so that humankind can represent and reflect the triune God. Therefore, he commanded humans to have children to populate the earth and rule over all His creations[61].

         I believe a human is a complex dichotomy. Humans have both material and immaterial aspects. I believe in traducianism, that is, a person’s material and immaterial aspects are created through the agency of human parents. Gen 2:7 only describes the historical creation of Adam. Since then, humans have procreated according to their own image[62].

         I believe all humans have dignity, regardless of their capabilities, because we are created in the image of God. Therefore, humans should treat each other with respect.[63]

I believe God instituted marriage as the relationship between a man and a woman to reflect the relationship between Christ and His church. God designed humankind for companionship with others, analogous to the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity.

I believe the first humankind couple was called Adam and Eve. However, unfortunately, they fall into the temptation of Satan. Consequently, they lost their spiritual life, became dead in the trespasses and sins, and became subject to the power of Satan.

I believe this spiritual death has been transmitted to everyone except Jesus Christ[64]. As a result, all humankind is born with original sin, with no capacity to reconcile to God apart from the grace of God.[65]

Salvation

I believe that salvation is entirely the work of the triune God. All humans are sinners and cannot save themselves from God’s righteous judgment. Therefore, God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to become man, die on the cross, and resurrect on the third day to provide salvation for the world.[66]

I believe Jesus Christ is the only Savior in the world. All the Old Testament prophecies and promises of the Messiah are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Christ’s death on the cross has fully satisfied the righteous requirements of God once and for all. No further sacrifice for sins is needed. Christ is sinless but has taken on Himself the sins of all humans. Christ’s resurrection proved that He had victory over death and sin.[67]

I believe in unlimited atonement.[68] Christ died to make possible the salvation of all humans. However, only those who believe are saved[69]. I believe in substitution atonement.[70] That is, Christ died to pay for the penalty of sinners to satisfy the righteousness and holiness of God. I believe humans cannot merit[71] themselves into salvation by doing good works[72] or keeping the church sacraments, including baptism[73] and the Lord’s supper.[74] All humans can only be saved by grace alone,[75] through faith alone,[76] in Christ alone.[77] I believe that the special grace of God is effective.[78] The elects may temporarily resist God’s grace, but ultimately the grace of God will prevail.

I believe in total depravity, that fallen humans in our natural states are spiritually dead, blinded by Satan,[79] and unable to respond to the gospel. The sovereign and loving God in eternity past predestine some[80] to receive His grace, not according to God’s foreknowledge of the faith or good works of the person[81], but according to His purpose[82] for His glory. Those who are not chosen are left[83] in their self-willed state of sinful rebellion against God, leading to their eternal damnation.

I believe that the redemption works of Christ are applied to the elects through the Holy Spirit. He calls[84] the elects and works in them to have faith[85] to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who repent and believe in the gospel will be born again by the Holy Spirit,[86] united with Christ, justified,[87] and adopted[88] as children of God.[89]

I believe the Holy Spirit indwells in the believers and works in our life through the means of sanctification to transform us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, faith must produce fruits.[90] However, believers will not reach perfectness in this life because of their sinful nature. Thus, sanctification is a continuing process until we depart from this world.

I believe in the perseverance of the saints.[91] Although believers continue to experience struggle with sins in this life due to sinful nature, we can never lose our salvation[92] because the Lord Jesus constantly advocates for us as our high priest. In addition, God the Father has sealed us with His Holy Spirit. I also believe in the assurance of salvation because the Holy Spirit works in the believers’ lives to testify that we are children of God through His word.[93]

I believe that when believers depart from this world, we will be with Christ immediately in our spirit. And then, believers will be given a glorious body at Christ’s second advent.[94] Believers[95] will spend eternity with God. However, God will judge unbelievers[96] at the great white throne. They will lose their chance to respond to the gospel after they die.[97] They will be thrown into the lake of fire and will suffer for eternity as a consequence of their sins.

The Church and Sanctification

I believe in the one universal church, which consists of all people who place their faith in Jesus Christ in all times and all places. Christ is the head of the church, and the church is His body. The church is the bride of Christ and should submit to Christ’s headship.[98] The Lord Jesus Christ has supreme authority in the church. The church began in Pentecost and is distinct from Israel.[99] The Holy Spirit baptizes all who believe in Christ as members of His body.[100] The church includes both Jews and Gentile believers of Christ because they are one in Christ Jesus.[101] I believe a local church[102] is a local assembly of Christians in which the person and work of Jesus Christ is the center of worship.[103]

I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has established baptism and the Lord’s Supper[104] as the two ordinances of the church.[105] Biblical baptism is a full-body immersion[106] in the name of the Triune God for the confessing believer.[107] The Lord’s Supper elements represent flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, He is present uniquely with the believers during the Lord’s Supper.[108] In addition, I believe only baptized believers should partake in the Lord’s Supper.[109]

I believe in the local church’s autonomy,[110] where each local church should be self-governed[111]. However, it is biblical for local churches to have fellowship, support each other, and work together for the missions of God.[112]

I believe in the cessation of the office of apostles and prophets.[113] Each local church should be led by a plurality of elders-pastors[114] who are spiritually mature men[115] gifted in teaching.[116] One of these elders-pastors is the lead elder pastor, the primary preacher of the local church.[117] The purpose of the ministry of the elders-pastors is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.[118] These elders-pastors are assisted by a group of deacons, who are spiritually mature men and women. The congregation should submit to their leadership under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.[119]

I believe all believers should associate themselves with a local church where they worship, love, and evangelize together. The Holy Spirit has given all believers spiritual gifts, and all believers should exercise their spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ.[120] All believers are priests in the church. They are called to serve and worship God and to proclaim God in this fallen world. I believe the ultimate purpose of the church is to glorify God.[121]

I believe the doctrine of justification by faith through faith is not a license to sin. God commands those who are justified to live a holy life. Believers are in union with Christ in His death and resurrection.[122] This union with Christ gives believers the power to live a holy life in obedience to God. I believe sanctification is the continuing work of the triune God[123] on the life of the believers to conform them into the likeness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwelled in the believers.[124]  I believe all who are born again are instantly justified and sanctified positionally.[125] However, the believers will struggle between the Spirit and the flesh[126] because their sinful nature is still in them, which cannot be completely eradicated in this life. Therefore, perfect sanctification is never attained in this life.[127] Nevertheless, progressive sanctification begins immediately upon conversion when the person is given a new life in Christ.[128]

I believe sanctification is by grace through faith. The Holy Spirit progressively sanctifies believers.[129] The process of sanctification is accomplished through both corporate and individual means.[130] Believers are to obey[131] the word[132] of God to live a life of increasing holiness.[133] I believe that all believers will be completely sanctified when they depart from this world to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.[134]

Last Things

I believe Christ inaugurated the kingdom when He was seated at the right hand of the Father’s throne. Therefore, the kingdom exists in the spiritual realm in the heart of believers in the present dispensation[135]. Therefore, the Church is the present Revelation of the Kingdom.[136]

I believe that when people die, their bodies will be separated from their spirits, decay, and return to the earth. However, their spirit will continue to have consciousness in this stage.[137] The believers’ spirit will immediately be with Christ in heaven.[138] However, the non-believers’ spirits will be in hades, suffering as a punishment for their sins.[139] These are the intermediate states of the dead until the end times.[140]

I believe in bodily resurrection for the believers.[141] It is a great hope for believers because the resurrected body is an imperishable, glorious body. At the rapture, all the believers who are dead will resurrect and be reunited with their spirits. Together all the believers alive will be raptured to heaven before the seven years tribulation to meet Christ. The believers will then be judged by Christ, not for eternal destiny, but for eternal rewards according to their works during their lifetime as believers.[142]

         I believe that at the end of the seven years tribulation, Christ will physically return to earth with the saints to destroy the antichrist, the false prophets, and their armies. The antichrist and the false prophets will be thrown into the lake of fire.[143]

I believe Christ will establish the millennium kingdom on earth after the tribulation.[144] The millennium will be a literal one thousand years kingdom on earth[145] where Christ will rule with the saints.[146] The extent of the saints’ authority and responsibility depends on their faithfulness to the Lord in their life.[147] The millennium will fill with peace, joy, holiness, glory, justice, an abundance of knowledge, absence of sickness, universal worship of God, and full of the presence of God[148] under the reign of the King of kings and Lord of lords.[149]

I believe Satan will be bounded during the millennium. At the end of the millennium, Satan will be released, and he will deceive the nations[150] to attack the saints. Then, God will send fire from heaven to destroy Satan and his troops. After that, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire to join the other two members of the false Trinity, the antichrist and the false prophet. They will be tormented day and night forever.[151]

I believe, after the millennium, all the wicked will be resurrected and judged by Christ at the great white throne judgment according to what they have done in their life.[152] Then, they will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer for eternity as a just punishment for their sins.[153]

I believe that God will destroy the present heaven and earth after the millennium. Then God will recreate a new heaven and new earth.[154] The New Jerusalem will come down from the new heaven to the new earth, and it will be the capital city of God in eternity. There will be no more sin, death, and curse on the new earth.[155] This new earth is an actual physical place. What was lost in the fall will be restored to God’s original purpose.[156] The unfallen angles and all people throughout the history of humans who have been saved by God will live with God forever. The redeemed will reign will Christ in the new heaven and the new earth forever.[157]

Biblical, Exegetical, Theological, Historical, and Explanatory Notes


[1] Ps 19:1; Rom 1:19-20.

[2] Nathan D. Holsteen, ed., Exploring Christian Theology: Revelation, Scripture, and the Triune God (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2014), 27.

[3] 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 7:25. See Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2017), 121.

[4] Stephen J. Nichols and Eric T. Brandt Ancient Word, Changing World: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 163.

[5] Inerrancy does not 1) demand strict adherence to the rules of grammar, 2) exclude the use of either figures of speech or literary genre, 3) demand historical or semantic precision, 4) demand the technical or observational language of modern science, 5) require verbal exactness in the citation of the Old Testament by the New, 6) demand that the sayings of Jesus contain the exact words Jesus uttered but rather a faithful report of His meaning, 7) guarantee the exhaustive comprehensiveness of any single account or of combined accounts where those are involved, 8) demand the infallibility of non-inspired sources used by biblical writers. See Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, Exploring Christian Theology Volume One: Revelation, Scripture, And the Triune God. (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), 48.

[6] The Romans Catholic church position is the Roman Catholic church has authority over Scripture. A third view is the church and the Bible belong together, as an organic unity of community and text, making it impossible to allow “authority” to the Bible over the church or vice versa. See Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2017), 112.

[7] A widespread consensus on the New Testament writings appears to have emerged within the churches by the middle of the third century, with lingering low-level disputes over four letters – 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. Benjamin Warfield’s list of the low-level dispute letters replaces 2 Peter with Philemon. See Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2017), 111. And Benjamin B. Warfield, The Canon of The New Testament: How and When Formed. (Philadelphia: The American Sunday-School Union, 1892), 9.

[8] Rev 22:18.

[9] Deuteronomy 31:24; Joshua 8:30-35. See Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, Exploring Christian Theology Volume One: Revelation, Scripture, And the Triune God. (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), 50.

[10] 1 Thessalonians 5:27; Colossians 4:16.

[11] 2 Peter 3:16; 1 Tim 5:18. Early church at apostle time already treated the apostles’ writings have the same authority as the Old Testament canon. The apostle Peter treated many of Paul writings the same other Old Testament Scriptures. Paul had both Deuteronomy and Gospel of Luke under the same category a scripture. 

[12] Ephesians 2:20.

[13] Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, Exploring Christian Theology Volume One: Revelation, Scripture, And the Triune God. (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), 53.

[14] John 14:26; 16:13.

[15] What I believe is based on God’s revelation in Scriptures, with the help of Creeds, especially the Nicene (325)/Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451) creeds. Creeds are important documents that aid to our understanding of the Trinity, because the creeds are consensus of how the church fathers understood the Scriptures.

[16] אֱלֹהִים, first occurs in Gen 1:1, occurs 2,600 times in 2,248 verses in the OT as noted by Scott Horrell, “The Names of God,” Unpublished Class Notes for ST5102 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 2021), 1.

[17] Horrell, 1.

[18] אָדוֹן, first occurs in Gen 15:2, occurs about 449 times, with YHWH 315 times, is found predominantly in the prophets (320 times) as notes by Horrell, 2.

[19] יהוה, first occurs in Gen 2:4, occurs about 6,877 times in 5,815 verses, not including abbreviations and contractions in the OT as noted by Horrell, 3.

[20] YHWH is the personal name of God in covenant with creation and especially with Israel. Horrell, 3.

[21] These are known as incommunicable attributes of God. See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Baker Academic, 2013), 237. Also see Holsteen, Exploring Christian Theology, 145–52.

[22] These are known as communicable attributes of God. See Erickson, Christian Theology, 2013, 237.

[23] Gen 1:1; Acts 17:24-29; Rev 4:11. God the father received the designation of fons divinitatis, the ultimate divine source or ground for all created existence. Although God the Son and God the Spirit also involved in the creation, but the Scriptures and church fathers give prominence to God the Father as the ultimate source of all creation. See Scott Horrell, “Father Who Draws Hear,” Unpublished Class Notes for ST5102 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 2021), 15.

[24] Deut 10:14, 17; 2 Kings 19:15; Dan 4:34-35; 7:10; Matt 11:25; Eph 1:3-5, 11; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 4:2-5:13. God is the Lord of heaven and earth, He has dominion over all creations.

[25] God the Father is Holy (Isa 6:3), He is the source and standard for defining right and wrong, and He is the Judge of all creations (Gen 18:25; John 3:36; Rev 4:8, 20:11). Yet, He has given the right to judge all things to God the Son Jesus Christ (John 5:22; 2 Tim 4:1; Rev 6:16-17).

[26] God is love (1 John 4:8,16), He loves the world (John 3:16), He shows His love for us by sending Christ to die for us (Rom 5:8). God makes us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) and reconciled us to be His children (Rom 8:15-17; Eph 2:19).

[27]God the Father is the Alpha and the Omega (rev 1:8; 21:6), so does God the Son (Rev 22:13). All things are subjected to God and the Son (1 Cor 15:27-28). These are the primary roles of God the Father, the Scriptures do contain other metaphors that describe who God is, example God is the husband of Israel (Hos 2:2-16; Jer 3:1-14); the good Shepherd (Ps 23), see Horrell, “Father Who Draws Hear,” 14.

[28] Matt 26:62-65, 28:19; John 1:1-3, 14, 18; 8:58; 10:30; Col 1:16-19; Heb 1:2-3.

[29] John 1:14, 18; 3:16.

[30] Matt 26:64; John 1:1-3; John 1:14, 18; John 10:30; John 20:28-29; Rom 9:5.

[31] John 17:5; Phil 2:6.

[32] Phil 2:5-8. What Christ emptied was 1) His glory that He had before the world existed (John 17:5), 2) His authority by submission to the Holy Spirit, 3) His divine power by restraining from exercising it. See Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), volume 2, 703. Also see Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 373–81.

[33] John 1:14; Rom 1:3-4; Phil 2:5-8; Col 2:9; 1 John 1:1-4. For a classic works on the theology of Incarnation, see Athanasius and John Behr, On the Incarnation, Popular Patristics Series, no. 44b (Yonkers, N.Y: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011).

[34] Luke 1:35.

[35] It is known as enhypostatic (inpersonal). The Athanasian Creed proclaims: “For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.” Quoted from Rick Brannan, Historic Creeds and Confessions (Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997), chap. Athanasian Creed.

[36] The Chalcedonian Creed is also known as the Definitio Fidei (Faithful Definition). It declares that Christ’s divine nature and human nature exists in one hypostatis (person) of Jesus Christ, without separation, without confusion. Horrell has a table that shows the major Scriptures that show the divine and the human nature of Christ in the NT, see Scott Horrell, “One Person Two Natures,” Unpublished Class Notes for ST5102 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 2021), 1.

[37]Luke 4:1; John 16:7; Rom 8:16; Col 3:4.

[38]The Holy Spirit has at least 40 titles. The Spirit shows up in difference names in the OT, all with the Hebrew word ruah (רוּחַ). The Greek word for Spirit is πνεὐμα, there are approximately 275 occurrences of spirit that refer to the Holy Spirit in the NT. The Holy Spirit also occurs with other titles that do not have the word spirit, for example the other Counselor (John 14:16).  Scott Horrell, “Holy Spirit,” Unpublished Class Notes for ST5102 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 2021), 13–15.

[39]As witnessed by the NT (Matt 12:31-32; Matt 28:19; John 16:13; Acts 5:3-9; 9:31; 2 Cor 3:17-18) and the Nicaea/Constantinople Creed (AD 325/381) and the Athanasian Creed.

[40]The Scriptures reveals that Holy Spirit has the same divine attributes as God the Father. The Holy Spirit is omniscience (1 Cor 2:10), omnipotence (Isa 40:13-17), omnipresence (Ps 139:7-9), and truth (John 14:17; 15:26).

[41] Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; Job 33:4; Luke 1:35; 3:22; Isa 11:2-3; Luke 4:1; Isa 61:1; Luke 4:14; 18-19; Acts 10:38; Luke 10:21; Heb 9:14; Rom 8:2; 1 Cor 12:1-11; John 6:63; Titus 3:5; John 16:12-14; Gal 5:22-23.

[42]Historically, there is a great debate between the Eastern and the Western Church regarding whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son. It is called the Filioque Controversy. The argument is based on the understanding of John 15:26, “… the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father…”. Both sides interpreted this as a reference to the immanent Trinity, that is the Holy Spirit is eternally proceeds from the Father. The West interpreted that Jesus’s words at John 16:7, “… I will send Him to you.” as the Holy Spirit eternally proceed from the Father and the Son, but the Eastern Church disagreed. Letham claimed that most modern theologians think these verses only refer to the economy Trinity, not necessary the immanent Trinity, which is my current position based on my understanding of John 15:26 and 16:7. See Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship, Revised and Expanded [edition] (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2019), chap. 10: East and West: The Filioque Controversy.

[43]John 15:26-27.

[44]For a detail works on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, see R. A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit as Revealed in the Scriptures and in Personal Experience (Fleming H. Revell, 1910).

[45] John 20:17; 14:16, 26; Deut 6:4; 1 Cor 8:6. See Holsteen, Exploring Christian Theology, 131.

[46]John 14:9-11; 17:21. This doctrine is known as perichoresis. A doctrine originated from the Eastern church, first taught by Gregory of Nyssa (AD 335-395) and developed by John of Damascus (AD 675-749).

[47]While there were other creation stories other than the biblical creation story from Mesopotamian in the middle and late bronze age (2100-1200BC), Christians believe that only the biblical creation story is the revelation from God. In other creation stories, the gods are inferior to God of the Bible.

[48] All Christians agree that God created this universe but have difference views on the creation process. Millard summarized these views into six categories, there are 1) the gap theory, 2) the flood theory or young earth theory, 3) the ideal-time theory, 4) the age-day theory, 5) the pictorial-day theory, and 6) the revelatory-day theory. For more details, please read Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Baker Academic, 2013), page 350-352.

[49]Gen 1:1; Ps 33:9; John 1:1; Rom 4:17; Heb 11:3. We have well preserved writings of early church fathers who believe that God created this universe out of nothing. The Latin speaking church fathers called this doctrine creation ex nihilo.

[50] Ps 33:9; Heb 11:3; Prov 8:22-31; John 1:1-3; Col 1:17.

[51]Angels do not get married, which implies they cannot reproduce (Matt 22:30), therefore God must have created all angels directly at one time. God said the angels were there when God created the foundation of the earth (Job 38:7). The number of angels is unknown, we do know that God create a lot of them (Heb 12:22), John saw in a vision that in heaven, the angels are number in thousands of thousands (Rev 5:11).

[52]Although powerful, angels are not omnipotent. Although they have great knowledge, they are not omniscience. There are spiritual beings, but not divine. They are creatures, not creators. All angels, including the chief of fallen angels Satan are under the authority of God (Job 1:12; 2:6).

[53]Ps 148:2,5; Col 1:16.

[54]Bible has many terms that are referred to angels. The Hebrew word for angel is מַלְאָךְ , the Greek equivalent is ἄγγελος. In Old Testament, sons of the Elohim (Job 1:6; 2:1), sons of Elim (Ps 29:1;89:6), holy ones (Ps 89:5,7), watchers (Dan 4:13, 17, 23) are generally thought as angels as well. Collectively, angels are referred to as “the council” (Ps 89:7), “the assembly” (Ps 89:5) or hosts, as in the term the Lord of “hosts”. In New Testament, angels are also referred as heavenly host (Luke 2:13), ministering spirits (Heb 1:14), principalities, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places (Eph 6:12), these are all angels created by God.

[55]God commissions angels to deliver His messages to humankind, to deliver humankind from danger, or to execute judgement on humankind.

[56]The Bible did not reveal in details of the ranks of angels. We are told that Michael is an archangel (Jude 9). There are also different types of angels. Many believe that cherubim and seraphim are types of angels, although the Bible does not explicitly state that.

[57]Lucifer was most probably created between the unknown length period between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This is the view of Lewis Sperry Chafer. He spent 6 chapters on the second volume of his Systematic Theology on Satanology.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology (Kregel Publications, 1993), Volume 2, 39.

[58]Isa 14:12-17; Eze 28:1-10. Chafer has extensive commentary on the fall of Satan as revealed in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:1-10. He exegeted the five “I will” in Isaiah 14 and concluded that each “I will” represents a motive of Satan’s rebellion against God. There are to secure 1) the highest heavenly position; 2) regal rights both in heaven and on earth; 3) Messianic recognition; 4) glory which belongs to God alone; and 5) a likeness to the Most High, the “possessor of heaven and earth”. See Chafer, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, 45-50.

[59] Jude 6; Eph 6:13; Job 1:6-12; Rev 12:9; 2 Cor 4:4; 2 Cor 11:14; Job 1:9-11; Rev 12:10; 1 Pet 5:8; 1 Thess 2:18; 2 Cor12:7; Rev 20:1; Rev 20:10.

[60]Humans still carry the image of God after the fall (Gen 5:1; 9:6; Jam 3:9).

[61] Gen 1:26-31.

[62] Gen 5:3. See Nathan D. Holsteen, ed., Exploring Christian Theology. Volume II: Creation, Fall, and Salvation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2015), 35–37.

[63] Gen 9:6; James 3:8-9. See Holsteen, 37–38.

[64]Gen 1:26-28; Eph 2:1-2; Rom 5:12.

[65]The state of the sinfulness of humankind was the hot debate in 4th century and there were three major views. Pelagius (ca. 354-418) believed that all humans are born sinless, spiritually alive, and able to trust and obey God and thus merit eternal life. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) believed that all humans are born sinful, spiritually dead, and unable to trust and obey God apert from the grace of God. John Cassian (ca. 360-435) believed that all humans are born sinful, spiritually sick, but equipped with freewill sufficient to response to God’s outstretched hand. The church 3rd ecumenical council (AD 431, Ephesus) condemned Pelagius (ca. 354-418) but did not endorse either Augustine or Cassian’s view. See Nathan D. Holsteen, ed., Exploring Christian Theology. Volume II: Creation, Fall, and Salvation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2015).

[66] I believe the Bible teaches unlimited atonement. Strong Calvinists typically defense limited atonement by defining the word “world” used by John as the “elects.” Jesus, however, distinguished the world from the elects (John 17:9). John did the same (1 John 2:2). Robert Lightner has effectively demonstrated that John Calvin himself did not hold the limited atonement view, see Robert Paul Lightner, The Death Christ Died: A Biblical Case for Unlimited Atonement, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 13-14,131.

[67] Acts 4:12; Luke 24:44; John 5:39; John 19:30; Heb 10:10-14; 1 Cor 15:56-57.

[68]One’s view on the extent of the atonement is mainly affected by his understanding of the intent of the atonement. Strong Calvinists understand that the intent of atonement is to secure salvation, therefore they view that Christ’s atonement is only for the elects (John 10:15; Eph 5:25). The Armenians understand that the intent of atonement is to obtain redemption and sufficient grace for all men, leaving men with the decision to choose or reject the redemption (John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:19; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 2:2). I believe the moderate Calvinists’ view best harmonizes two sets of Scriptures. Lighter wrote this about the moderate Calvinists’ position: “Christ died to make possible the salvation of all men and to make certain the salvation of those who believe.“ See Lightner, The Death Christ Died, 46–47.

[69]  Universalism believes all people will be saved because God is love. The problem with universalism is that it ignores the holiness and righteousness of God (Rom 2:5; Rev 19:11). The Scriptures are clear that some people will spend eternity in hell (Matt 13:42, 50; 23:33; 25:41; 2 Thess 1:9; Rev 20:15; 21:8).

[70]  Christ’s atonement is multifaced. I believe the Scriptures teaches that penal substitution is the foundation of atonement. Christ died on the cross to satisfy God. Because God is righteous and holy, He must judge sinners; because God is love, God in Christ, incarnate as man, died on the cross as the substitute for sinners. (Isa 53:4-9; Rom 3:23-26; Rom 4:25; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 John 2:2). For an excellent exposition of the substitution view, see John R. W Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 112-164.

[71] Human religions teach works salvation, but the gospel proclaims salvation by grace alone (Eph 2:8-9).

[72]Pelagius (d. 418) taught that 1) humans are born without original sins, 2) the grace of God is not required to obtain salvation, and 3) humans have the ability to live a sinless life. See Augustine, A Treatise against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 5.24. Augustine spent tremendous effort to fight against Pelagianism because its teaching is contrary to the doctrine of grace. Pelagianism was condemned by the Synod of Carthage (A.D. 412), Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 413) and Third General Council at Ephesus (A.D. 431), see Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949), 141–42.

[73] Supporters of “baptism regeneration” often quote Acts 2:38 to support their view. They are confused about the efficient cause and instrumental cause of salvation. The only efficient cause of salvation is the redemption work of Christ. Baptism is an instrumental cause of salvation. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. However, believers should express their faith to Christ by baptism. See Gregg R. Allison, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012), 359.

[74] The Romans Catholic church teaches that participants of the Lord’s Supper would receive saving grace from God, for they believe the wine and bread turned into the real blood and body of Christ at each Lord’s Supper. Strong responded with 1) Christ was with the disciplines physically, distinct from the bread when He instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt 26:26), therefore the bread could not be His real body; 2) It contradicts humans’ senses that the wine and bread remain the same; 3) it denies the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; 4) it destroys Christianity by externalizing it. See Strong, Systematic Theology, 965–66.

[75] The doctrine of grace becomes the foundation doctrine of the reformation and is still held on by a large section of the evangelical church. See Carl R. Trueman, Grace Alone: Salvation as a Gift of God, What the Reformers Taught … and Why It Still Matters, The Five Solas Series (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017).

[76] Romans Catholics believe that justification is by faith and works. The Scriptures reveal that justification is by faith alone apart from works (Rom 3:25, 28, 30; 5:1; Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9). Faith is the means or instrument, not the ground of justification. The ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to the sinner who believes. See Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 520–24.

[77]Old Testaments believers are saved by grace through faith just like New Testaments believers. Abraham believed the LORD, and God counted it to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3). Based on the New Testament text (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), I argue that Old Testament believers are also saved in Christ, although they did not have the same knowledge of Christ as New Testament believers do.

[78] The Bible describes two kinds of grace, common and special grace. Common grace is for all people (Matt 5:45; Acts 14:17), special grace is for the elect (Eph 2:4-5; 1 Pet 1:13). Special grace is effectual. The elect may resist grace temporarily, but not finally. Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation, Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 84–85.

[79]Eph 2:1-3; 2 Cor 4:4.

[80]God did not choose a class of people, but He chose each individual. The Greek adjective ἐκλεκτός occurred 24 times in NT, 17 times are used as plural to describe the “chosen ones” or “elects” (Matt 24:22; Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 2:10; Tit 1:1; 1 Pet 1:1). Demarest wrote, and I agree: “The elect are viewed not as an empty class, for in the preceding verse the elect cry out to God, obey Christ, are faithful to him, and reflect the fruits of the Spirit – all of which are activities of individuals, who also may be considered as a group or a class.” Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 125.

[81]Paul wrote those God foreknew (προέγνω) He also predestined (Rom 8:29). Προέγνω could mean “know beforehand” or “choose beforehand.” Cranfield wrote that it should be understood in the light of the use of yada in OT passages like Gen 18:19; Jer 1:5, and Amos 3:2. Paul is writing about believers whom God predestined. Based on the context, Morris concluded that chose beforehand is “as good as we can do.” Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 332. BDAG agrees, see William Arndt et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 866.

[82]Eph 1:5.

[83] Sproul argues that the reform faith teaches double active-passive predestination, which means the predestinations are asymmetrical. The predestination to the elect is active, God takes an active role to move the elect into salvation. The predestination to the none-elect is passive, God takes a passive role to leave the none-elect to their own sinful lifestyle that leads to reprobation. Sproul convincingly listed five reformed confessions to support his view. See R. C. Sproul, “‘Double’ Predestination,” 2012, https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/double-predestination.

[84]The Bible reveals two kinds of callings, the general calling to all (Isa 45:22; Matt 11:28; 22:1-4; Luke 14:16-24; 2 Cor 5:20), and the special calling to the elects (Luke 14:23; John 6:44; Rom 8:29-31; 1 Cor 1:9, 29; 22-24). See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Baker Academic, 2013), 862.

[85]The reformed traditional believes faith consists of three ingredients: notitia (knowing), assensus (agreeing), and fiducia (trusting). I believe the traditional reformed view is correct. Faith in Jesus Christ is not then knowing and agreeing, it also includes a commitment to Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:21; 2:36; 16:31; Rom 10:9).

[86]Reformed theologians believe in monergism, that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit alone without the cooperation of men, and regeneration happens before a person believes in Christ logically. Other evangelical theologians, e.g., Erickson and Demarest, also believe in monergism regeneration, place regeneration after a person believes in Christ. For them, the enablement of faith is not regeneration but the special calling of the Holy Spirit, and I agree that this view is most in-line with Scriptures. See Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation, Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 290–295. Also see Erickson, Christian Theology, 2013, 864.

[87]Justification is a judicial event in which a believer is declared righteous by God on the basis that Christ’s righteousness was imputed on him (Rom 3:21-22; 4:5; 5:1). See James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds., Justification: Five Views, Spectrum Multiview books (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2011), 89–91.

[88]John 1:9-13; Rom 8:12-23; Gal 4:4-7; Eph 1:5; 1 John 1:1-3.

[89]Ordo Salutis of various traditions is different. I believe the order of the Evangelicals in the broadly Reformed tradition as layout by Demarest is most consistent with the overall revelations of Scriptures (Rom 8:28-30; 1 Cor 1:26-30; Eph 1:11-14; 2 Thess 2:13-15; 2 Tim 1:8-10; 1 Pet 1:1-2; 2 Pet 1:9-11). See Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 36–44.

[90]However, there are three caveats: 1) a believer is not always fruitful (Tit 3:14; 2 Pet 1:8); 2) a believer’s fruit is out always outwardly evident; 3) each person understanding of fruit is incomplete. See Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation. (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1997), 41–42.

[91]John 6:39; Augustine, A Treatise on the Gift of Perseverance, vol. 5, chaps. 9, “When Perseverance is Granted to a person, He cannot but persevere”.

[92]Eternal security is clearly taught in these verses: John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-20; John 17:9-24; Rom 4:5-6; Rom 8:29-30; 8:33-39; 11:29; Eph 1:4-5; 1:13-14; 2 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim 4:18; Heb 12:2; Jude 24-25. The Scriptures that Arminians interpreted as a loss of salvation are either 1) describe about a loss of maturity or reward or 2) describing professing believers who were never truly saved from the beginning (2 Peter 2). Those who do not persevere to the end are not true believers (1 John 2:19). See Horton et al., Four Views on Eternal Security, chaps. 3, A Reformed Arminian View, “A moderate Calvinist Response to Stephen M. Ashby”, Hoopla.

[93]Council of Trent (1545-63) denied that a person could have the assurance of salvation except for a few exceptional saints who have received special revelation from God. Arminians can have assurance at present but cannot have ultimate assurance at the final judgment because believers could lose their salvation by apostasy. However, Peter instructed us to pursuit assurance, and that assurance is grounded on the election (2 Pet 1:10-11).

[94]Phil 1:23; Phil 3:21.

[95]I do believe that the babies who died before the age of accountability, which is different for each child and is not known to us, are saved by God through the work of Jesus Christ (2 Sam 12:23; Matt 18:14; 19:14). See John MacArthur, Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven about the Death of a Child / John MacArthur (Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 90.

[96]  Inclusivism teaches that those who worship other Gods would be saved by Christ as long as they are sincere in their faith. This view, while comforting, gives false hope to the none-believers because the Bible is clear that knowledge of Christ in the New Testament dispensation is required for salvation. See Gabriel J. Fackre, Ronald H. Nash, and John Sanders, What about Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 69.

[97]Some believe none-believers will be given a second chance to respond to the gospel after death. The historical, orthodox, evangelical view is there is no second chance after death (Matt 13:42, 50; 25:46; 2 Thess 1:9; 2 Pet 3:7; Rev 14:11; 20:15).

[98]Col 1:18; Eph 5:24.

[99] How one views the relationship between the church and Israel is based on whether he has adopted dispensational or Covenantal theology. Dispensationalism stresses discontinuity between the OT and NT. But covenantal theology stresses continuity. It emphasizes God has one group of people, they are the Israelites in Old Testament time, and the church in New Testament time.

[100]Acts 1:4-5; 1 Cor 12:13.

[101] Gal 3:28.

[102] In Acts, James, 3 John, Revelation, and the earlier Pauline letters, ἐκκλησία always refer to a particular local congregation. In Paul’s letters to Colossians and Ephesians, ἐκκλησία is the spiritual or universal church. See D.W.B. Robinson, “Church” D. R. W. Wood et al., eds., New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (InterVarsity Press, 1996), 200.

[103] I choose this simple statement as the mark of the church because I think the following marks of the church throughout the history of the can be boiled down to this: “The person and work of Jesus Christ is the center of worship.” As written in the Nicaean-Constantinople Creed, the marks of the early church are one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. The marks of the church in the reformation are the word of God purely preached, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Support properly administered.

[104]Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:24.

[105] All branches of the Christian Church agree that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of the church, see Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel, eds., Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times, vol. 3 (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2014), 45.

[106]Mark 1:10; Acts 8:36-39; Rom 6:1-11. Historically, the church has three modes of baptism, namely immersion, pouring, and sprinkling. However, pouring and sprinkling are developed practices in church history. Immersion is the biblical mode of baptism.

[107]Some branches of the church, for example, the reformed presbyterian churches, believe in pedobaptism. The main argument is baptism replaces circumcision as the sign for a family with a covenantal relationship with God. However, this logical inference is against the clear teaching of NT about believer’s baptism.

[108]I reject the Roman Catholic transubstantiation view because Christ has already sacrificed Himself once, and it is forever effective (Heb 10:10-12). I reject the Lutheran view because Christ is not physically present in the elements but is seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Heb 10:12). The Zwinglian memorial view is correct because the Lord said, “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24). However, it is more than that. I believe Christ is spiritually present in a unique way during Lord’s Supper. Therefore, I agree with Calvin’s view. See Allison, Sojourners and Strangers, 365–87.

[109]This is a safeguard to prevent unbelievers from taking the elements. This is also an incentive for unbaptized believers not to delay in their baptism. The 1st century Christians only allow baptized believers to take the elements as described in Didache 9.5. See Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (Macmillan and Co., 1891), 232.

[110]Each seven churches in Revelation are responsible for their own faith, without hints of responsibility of higher authority outside of the local church (Rev 2:1-3:22).

[111] Episcopalism is not biblical because I believe the Bible teaches that bishops, elders, and pastors refer to the same groups of leaders (Acts 20:17; 28; 1 Pet 5:1-2). Bishop is not a separate office with higher authority over the elders and the congregation across local churches.

[112]There are many examples of churches working together for the missions of God. For example, the church of Antioch worked together with the church of Jerusalem regarding OT laws observance for gentile believers (Acts 15). Another example is the churches in Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia that provided financial support the Jerusalem in church (1 Cor 16:1-4; Rom 15:25-28; 2 Cor 8-9).

[113]The apostles and NT prophets are the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20). Once the foundation is built, these offices cease to exist. Allison argued that historically, no major figures in the church history (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Billy Graham ) called themselves or have been called apostles. And I would add that is true for prophets as well. See Allison, Sojourners and Strangers, 210.

[114]Elders, pastors, overseers, and bishops refer to the same group of men. Didache teaches the appointment of bishops and deacons without mentioning elders because they refer to the same group of leaders (Didache 15.1). See Lightfoot and Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, 232.

[115]1 Cor 14:34-35; 1 Tim 2:12; 3:2; Tit 1:5 exclude women from the office of the elders-pastors.

[116] 1 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9.

[117] This man is the lead teacher among the elders. Didache 4.1 teaches, “thou shalt remember him that speaketh unto thee the word of God night and day, and shalt honour him as the Lord.” See Lightfoot and Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, 230.

[118] Eph 4:11-12.

[119] 1 Tim 3:8-13; Heb 13:7, 17; 1 Pet 5:4.

[120]1 Cor 11:18-20; Heb 10:25; Eph 5:12.

[121]1 Pet 2:5, 9; Matt 5:14-16; 1 Cor 10:31; Eph 3:20-21. The church exists to worship and glorify God. Allison wrote: “worship is the all-encompassing passion and purpose of the church”. See Allison, Sojourners and Strangers, 424.

[122] Rom 6:3-11; Gal 2:20.

[123]All three persons of the Godhead, God the Father (1 Thess 5:23), God the Son (Eph 5:26), and God the Holy Spirit (2 Thess 2:13) work in our sanctification.

[124]Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God. In particular, sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s applying to the life of the believer the work done by Jesus Christ.” See Erickson, Christian Theology, 2013, 898.

[125]Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 2:11; Heb 10:10, 14.

[126]My view of Romans chapter 7 is Paul was talking about the struggle of a believer (Rom 7:17).

[127]Evangelicals in the Reformed circle believe Christians cannot reach a perfect, sinless life, but evangelicals from the holiness circle believe that Christians could.

[128] 1 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Col 3:10.

[129] “This growth in godliness is not a result of human effort or works but is a gift of God by grace. This can be described as “cooperation” or “participation””. See Michael Svigel, “Lecture 10, Sanctification” (unpublished class notes for ST5105, Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2021), 14.

[130]Church history is filled with teaching on the means of sanctification. These means can be categorized into corporate and individual means. Maintaining the balance between extreme corporate and extreme individual means is essential for a healthy Christian life. See Michael J. Svigel, RetroChristianity: Reclaiming the Forgotten Faith (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012), chap. Chapter 11: From We to Me-Nurturing Personal Christian Identity.

[131]Believers are to live in obedience to the word of God because we are the Lord’s disciples (Matt 28:20). The word of God has the power of sanctification (John 17:17). Whoever obeys the word will be blessed (Rev 1:3).

[132]The words sanctify (John 17:17) and the Spirit sanctifies (2 Thess 2:13).

[133]Believers are being renewed to conform to the image of our creator (Rom 8:29; Gal 5:16; Col 3:10), it is also called to grow up into salvation (2 Peter 2:2).

[134]All believers will eventually be fully sanctified when they see the Lord Jesus Christ face to face (Rom 8:29-30; Phil 3:21; 1 Thess 5:12-13; 5:23, Jude 24).

[135] Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 265.

[136]Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:13. See Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 257-262.

[137] Luke 16:22-31; Luke 23:43; Phil 1:23; 2 Cor 5:8. The “Soul sleep” cannot be supported biblically. The phrase “fallen asleep” (1 Thess 4:13) is a euphemism for death, referring to the body’s outward appearance. See Randy C. Alcorn, Heaven (Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), 46–47.

[138] 1 Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:21-24.

[139] Luke 16:19-31; Rev 20:13. See Chafer, Systematic Theology, v4.413-414.

[140] What I mean “the end times” is all the events beginning with the Rapture all the way to eternity.

[141] It is supported by the OT (Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2), the NT (1 Thess 4:14-18; John 5:25-29), the apostles and the Nicaea-Constantinople creeds, the reformers like Calvin, and the Confessions like Westminster. On the other hand, the heterodox view that resurrection is only spiritual without physical resurrection is influent by Gnosticism, inconsistent with the Bible and classic Christianity. See Svigel, “ST5106 Course Notes Unit 03b,” 142–43.

[142] 1 Cor 15:42-44; 1 Thess 4:14-18; Rom 14:10-12; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:9-11; Rev 19:11-21. See Mark Hitchcock, The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days (Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 2012), 47.

[143] Rev 19:11-21.

[144] Hitchcock developed a very helpful acronym, PREMIL, for the six reasons why the Premillennial view is a better view than the amillennial view and the postmillennial view. PREMIL stands for 1) Promises of God; 2) Resurrection in Rev 20:4-6; 3) Earliest view; 4) Most Natural Reading of Rev 20:1-6; 5) Imprisonment of Satan; 6) Literal Use of Numbers in Revelation. See Hitchcock, The End, 409–15.

[145] Historically, the premillennial view is more aligned with the early church fathers’ view. Didache, Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, (See Eusebius Epistle of Barnabas 15.4-9; 3.39.12; Justin Dialogue with Trypho 80; Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.30.4) and the majority of the ante-Nicene fathers (attested by Philip Schaff, as mentioned in Svigel, “ST5106 Eternal State Powerpoint,” 192) held the premillennial view.

[146] Dan 7:18, 22, 27; 2 Tim 2:11; Jud 1:14; Rev 2:26-28; Rev 19:14; Rev 20:4-6.

[147] Luke 19:11-26. See Hitchcock, The End, 419.

[148] For details of the flourish conditions of the millennial, see Hitchcock, 424–28.

[149] Isa 2:14- 4:2-6; 9:1-7; 11:1-12; 25:6-8; 32:1-4; 32:15-18; 35:1-10; 42:1-9; 60:1-22; 61:1-62:12; 65:17-25; Jer 30:1-22; 31:31-40; Ezek 36:22-36; Dan 7:14, 27; Amos 9:11-15; Zech 14:6-21; Rev 20:1-6.

[150] Rev 20:3. These are the people who will be born and raised during the Millennium but would not believe in Christ. See Hitchcock, The End, 432–33.

[151] Rev 20:7-10.

[152] John 5:22; 2 Tim 4:1; Rev 20:11; Rev 20:11-14. See Hitchcock, The End, 439.

[153] There are a few heterodox views, namely purgatory, conditional immortality, and annihilationism. The proponents of conditional immortality and annihilationism failed to see that OT passages like Isa 66:24 and Dan 12:2 portray unbelievers would face eternal suffering as a just punishment for their sins. Furthermore, intertestamental Jewish literature continued these OT teachings. In NT, Christ and His disciplines also teach eternal judgment (Matt 25:46; Rev 14:9-11; 20:10). Additionally, the eternity of damnation had a broad consensus in the church’s history. See Lexham Survey of Theology (Lexham Press, 2018), sec. The Judgment of the Wicked.

[154] I think the recreation is a better view than the renew or redeem view because 1) it is a more natural reading of “passed away” (21:1, 4); 2) Other NT Scriptures seem to indicate the present world will be destroyed (Matt 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 16:17; 21:33); 3) 2 Pet 3:10 and Rev 20:11 explicitly state this destruction is literal and physical.  

[155] Rev 21:4.

[156] There are incredible parallel between Gen 1-2 and Rev 21-22. See Alcorn, Heaven, 82–82.

[157] Rev 22:5.

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