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Basic Theology I






Welcome to Basic Theology I.  This particular course is Part I of a two course series that discusses many of the main doctrines of the Christian Faith.  While the two courses will not cover all of the primary church doctrines, it will cover many of them.  Hopefully, the reader will gain a stronger understanding of key evangelical and orthodox principles such as the Trinity, the character of God, and the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Because this course is anticipated to be used by a broad range of Christian groups and in order to be considerate of sensitivities associated with various translations of the Holy Bible, all scriptures will be quoted from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.



What is Theology and why is it important that you as a pastor, disciple-maker, and overall student of the Holy Bible understand theology?  By definition, “theology” is the study of God and it is precisely because you consider yourself a student of the Holy Bible – which is God’s Word – that theology should be important to you.  Theology helps us answer certain questions about God that too often we don’t think to ask or take for granted – until such time as we need to know.  If we wait until that time, however, it may be too late to search for an answer.  2 Timothy 2:15 says “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Likewise, 2 Timothy 4:2 says “Preach the word; be instant [that is, be ready] in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”  If we don’t study and prepare ourselves in advance to understand the important doctrines of God, then we will likely find ourselves in situations where we are unprepared to defend those doctrines.


In John 1:29, before Jesus had even begun his ministry, John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” How did he know that?


In Matthew 16:16, when Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Simon Peter replied and said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  How did he know that?

After proclaiming his disbelief of the resurrection and then seeing Jesus with his own eyes and touching his wombs with his hands, Thomas declared “My Lord and my God.”


Each of these statements declared something about what they believed with respect to Jesus Christ.  However, their understanding as demonstrated by those statements was more than that which was possible through merely human observations.   Something – or someone – revealed to them truths about Jesus.  We know that someone to be the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity.  However, it does raise an interesting question which deserves an answer:


Why do we believe what we believe?


In this series, we want to answer that question by looking at many of the major theological beliefs we hold true as Christians.  Certainly there will be some disagreements about some of the details of some of those beliefs, but as has been stated in various forms by many theologians going all the way back to St. Augustine:


In necessary things, unity.

In doubtful things, liberty.

In all things, charity.


In other words, there are certain essential doctrines about which we must be in unity.  We will discuss these as part of this study.  However, there are other doctrines that may be important, but about which we have legitimate doubts and disagreements.  Because they are less essential doctrines, we must give each other the liberty – or freedom – to disagree.  We will also discuss many of these.  Certainly we will have our own deep convictions concerning them – and you may very well disagree with the author’s assessment of them – and that is certainly OK.  It is for this reason that we have different churches and denominations.  And while it is sad that we cannot be in perfect agreement, we know that it is a consequence of the fact that even as Christians we are still imperfect and, until the perfection comes, we are sure to be susceptible to flawed thinking.  Praise the Lord that Jesus will make all things clear when he returns.

Nevertheless, these less essential doctrines should not prevent us from being in Christian fellowship with each other.  Thus, as the saying concludes, we must deal with each other in Christian love (that is, charity) no matter what our opinions may be.  So let us begin our discuss in unity where possible, in liberty where not possible, but always in charity.

All lessons are copyright 2015 by Joel J. Dison

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