WEEKLY CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY AND DEVOTIONAL FROM GOD’S WORD, FOR THE NEWLY SAVED AND MORE SEASONED BELIEVER, AND FOR OTHERS SEEKING TRUTH. OUR PRAYER IS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S INFINITE MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE, AND IN THE GOSPEL OF THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL WHO SEEK HIM HAVE ETERNAL, ABUNDANT LIFE.
Saturday, August 7, 2021
Are You an Evangelical?
Photo by Frank Karlitschek 2015
Do you consider yourself an evangelical, born again
Christian? If I were to attempt a Scripture-based definition of an evangelical,
I would say the term applies to one who has been saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death,
burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ ( 1
Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).
Such a person has a spiritual second birth (John 3:3-8) by the indwelling
Holy Spirit (John 14:17). Out
of gratitude to Jesus Christ, Who paid the price demanded for all our sins to
reconcile sinful man to Holy God (John
1:29; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), the
evangelical seeks to obey God, including His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) to tell
everyone the Good News, or Gospel, of how they can be saved and be sure they
will spend eternity in Heaven.
For purposes of theological research, however, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research define evangelicals as those who strongly agree
with all four of the following statements:
1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
(See 2 Timothy 3:16)
2.It is very
important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ
as their Savior (See Matthew 28:19-20;
Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8; 1
Peter 2:9; 3:15).
3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice
that could remove the penalty of my sin (See Hebrews 10:1-14).
4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their
Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation (See John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14).
Yet Ligonier/LifeWay research has shown that many American evangelicals
are “deeply confused” about some core doctrines of the Christian faith. To see
if you might be one of them, consider taking the following quiz they published
and writing down your “True” or “False” responses before checking the answers
1. God the Father and Jesus Christ are equally divine.
2. Jesus is a hybrid, partially divine and partially human.
3. God the Son is uncreated.
4. The Holy Spirit is a force.
5. The Holy Spirit is less divine than the Father and the
6. “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” are three different
names for one divine person.
1. True. in 325 AD,
the Council of Nicaea stated that the Father and the Son are of the same divine
essence, and they condemned Subordinationism, a false doctrine stating that
Jesus is inferior to the Father. This is of historical and ecclesiastical interest, but as born-again
Christians guided by the Holy Spirit, we can rely on God’s Word alone as the
basis of our doctrinal beliefs.
Referring to Scripture as our ultimate authority, Jesus
Christ described His equality with the Father:
14:9 Jesus saith unto
him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us
The apostle John, whose gospel and letters are the source
for much of Christology, wrote that Jesus (the Word), the Father, and the Holy
Spirit all have authority in Heaven, and all are One, despite their different
personalities and roles.
5:7 For there are three
that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these
three are one.
2. False. In 381
AD, the Council of Constantinople condemned Apollinarianism, a false doctrine
stating that Jesus is not equally human and divine, but is one person
with one nature. Apollinarianism, condemned at the Council of Constantinople in
381, taught that Jesus had a perfect divine nature but an imperfect human
Although Jesus has a human body and soul in His earthly
ministry (John 1:14), He is,
always was, and always will be God, the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Although He
suffered the same temptations that all humans do, He was and is perfect and
without sin (Hebrews 4:15),
whereas all humans are sinners (Romans
1:14 And the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the
only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me,
because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it
from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have
power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
3. True. The
Council of Nicaea stated that Jesus Christ the Son is coeternal with the Father
and condemned Arianism, a heresy stating that the Son was created by God before
1:1 In the beginning was
the Word (Jesus Christ the Son),
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the
beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any
thing made that was made
1:8 I am Alpha and
Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was,
and which is to come, the Almighty.
4. False. The
Council of Constantinople correctly taught that the Holy Spirit is equal to God
the Father and Jesus Christ the Son (1
John 5:7). They condemned Pneumatomachianism, a false doctrine that the
Spirit was a created force or power and not a person of the Trinity. Jesus
Himself clearly describes the Holy Spirit, or Comforter, as a person.
14:16 And I will pray the
Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for
ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it
seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you,
and shall be in you.
Subordinationism is defined as the heresy that the Spirit is inferior to the
Father and the Son, and it was excluded by the Nicene Creed. John explains that
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one Triune God, each with equal authority
in Heaven (1 John 5:7).The Spirit, with The Father and Son, collaborated equally in creation, the Spirit’s
role being to empower the process:
1: 1 In the beginning
noun Elohim, connoting the three persons of the Trinity) created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form,
and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God
moved upon the face of the waters.
6. False. While the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are equally divine, as shown above, and
while all are unified in their perfect will, they each have distinct
personalities and roles, as evidenced throughout Scripture. Jesus Christ the
Son is the express image of God the Father (Hebrews
1:3) and He intercedes for us to the Father (Romans 8:34), while the Spirit works directly in our mind,
soul and spirit to teach us about Jesus Christ and to draw our attention to Him
So how did you do on this quiz? As we draw ever closer to
the End Times, false prophets (Matthew
7:15; 24:11,24) and false teachings (1 Timothy 4:1,13,16) abound, and many are misled by Satan’s ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13-15),
as we shall see in a subsequent post. We must know what we believe, stand up
for it, and share it with others!