Systematically arranged with passages for memorization and questions for review at the close of each chapter, this helpful book is ideal for group or individual study. The author's Systematic Theology presented in briefer form. Just as Berkhof's Systematic Theology is outstanding in its own field, his Summary of Christian Doctrine is unequalled as a popular handbook of Christian doctrine, written from an evangelical and reformed standpoint. Systematically arranged and helpfully sub-divided, A Summary of Christian Doctrine has proved ideal for church study-groups. Passages for memorization and questions for review at the close of each chapter enhance the book's value for the student.
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All Scripture references are from the American Standard Version 2. The Nature of Religion. The Bible informs us that man was created in the image ofGod. When he fell in sin, he did not entirely cease to be the image-bearer of the MostHigh. The seed of religion is still present in all men, though their sinful nature constantlyreacts against it. Missionaries testify to the presence of religion in some form or otheramong all the nations and tribes of the earth.
It is one of the greatest blessings ofmankind, though many denounce it as a curse. Not only does it touch the deepest springsof mans life, but it also controls his thoughts and feelings and desires.
But just what is religion? It is only by the study of the Word of God that we can learn toknow the nature of true religion.
The word religion is derived from the Latin and notfrom any word that is found in the original Hebrew or Greek of the Bible. It is found onlyfour times in our translation of the Bible, Gal. The Old Testamentdefines religion as the fear of the Lord. This fear is not a feeling of dread, but of reverentregard for God akin to awe, but coupled with love and confidence. It is the response ofthe Old Testament believers to the revelation of the law.
In the New Testament religion isa response to the gospel rather than to the law, and assumes the form of faith andgodliness. In the light of Scripture we learn to understand that religion is a relation in which manstands to God, a relation in which man is conscious of the absolute majesty and infinitepower of God and of his own utter insignificance and absolute helplessness. It may bedefined as a conscious and voluntary relationship to God, which expresses itself ingrateful worship and loving service.
The manner of this religious worship and service isnot left to the arbitrary will of man, but is determined by God. The Seat of Religion. There are several wrong views respecting the seat of religion inman. Some think of religion primarily as a sort of knowledge, and locate it in theintellect. Others regard it as a kind of immediate feeling of God, and find its seat in thefeelings.
And still others hold that it consists most of all in moral activity, and refer it tothe will. However, all these views are one-sided and contrary to Scripture, which teachesus that religion is a matter of the heart.
In Scripture psychology the heart is the centralorgan of the soul. Out of it are all the issues of life, thoughts, feelings, and desires, Prov. Religion involves the whole man, his intellectual, his emotional, and his moral life. This is the only view that does justice to the nature of religion. The Origin of Religion. Particular attention was devoted during the last fifty years tothe problem of the origin of religion.
Repeated attempts were made to give a naturalexplanation of it, but without success. Some spoke of it as an invention of cunning anddeceptive priests, who regarded it as an easy source of revenue; but this explanation isentirely discredited now. Others held that it began with the worship of lifeless objects Page:3 of 4.
Summary Of Christian Doctrine fetishes , or with the worship of spirits, possibly the spirits of forefathers. But this is noexplanation, since the question remains, How did people ever hit upon the idea ofworshiping lifeless or living objects? Still others were of the opinion that religionoriginated in nature-worship, that is, the worship of the marvels and powers of nature, orin the widespread practice of magic.
But these theories do not explain any more than theothers how non-religious man ever became religious. They all start out with a man who isalready religious. The Bible gives the only reliable account of the origin of religion. It informs us of theexistence of God, the only object worthy of religious worship e Moreover, it comes tous with the assurance that God, whom man could never discover with his natural powers,revealed Himself in nature and, more especially, in His divine Word, demands theworship and service of man, and also determines the worship and service that is well-pleasing to Him.
And, finally, it teaches us that God created man in His own image, andthus endowed him with a capacity to understand, and to respond to, this revelation, andengendered in him a natural urge to seek communion with God and to glorify Him.
To memorize. Scripture passages bearing on:a. The Nature of Religion:Deut. Summary Of Christian DoctrineC. What elements of true religion are indicated in the following passages: Deut. What forms of false religion are indicated in the following passages: Ps.
Name six instances of true religion. Questions for Review1. Is religion limited to certain tribes and nations? How can we learn to know the real nature of true religion? What terms are used in the Old and New Testament to describe religion? How would you define religion? What mistaken notions are there as to the seat of religion in man? What is the center of the religions life according to Scripture?
What different explanations have been given of the origin of religion? What is the only satisfactory explanation? Chapter 2: Revelation1. Revelation in General. The discussion of religion naturally leads on to that ofrevelation as its origin.
If God had not revealed Himself, religion would have beenimpossible. Man could not possibly have had any knowledge of God, if God had notmade Himself known. Left to himself, he would never have discovered God. Wedistinguish between Gods revelation in nature and His revelation in Scripture. Atheists and Agnostics, of course, do not believe in revelation.
A Summary of Christian Doctrine (New Format)
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A Summary of Christian Doctrine
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Summary of Christian Doctrine