Doctrine of God
It is difficult to underestimate the role the doctrine of God in its evangelical setting plays in the contemporary American culture. The doctrine consists of a number of components, and all of them are important in understanding the doctrine. Though, in my opinion, the top three issues that are connected with the doctrine of God are the question of His existence, His relation to the preservation of the universe and to the creation, and His attributes.
The question of the existence of God has been the theme for numerous theological discussions for several centuries, which proves the importance of this theme to the faithful. Perhaps, all people who start their life as Christians doubt whether God really exists of not. It is mostly impossible to prove His existence logically, because the most important component of understanding the issue is faith. Such timeless interest in the problem of the existence of God makes it one of the most important issues to concern in theological discussion.
Another important issue is His relation to the preservation of the universe and to the creation. It is also the problem that touches the interests of every religious person, as it belongs to the basic ones that form the Christian world view. This question is often raised nowadays, when the number of catastrophes caused by humans is constantly increasing. People doubt whether God cares about them and whether they can hope for the better.
The last crucial issue is the attributes of God. God has many attributes, among which are His love, providence, omnipotence, simplicity and omnipresence. Perhaps, all people know the notion that God is love and it is often the main reason why they come to the faith. The attributes form the basics of the Christian faith and determine the most important aspects of Christian life. God is simple, that is why every person can understand Him and believe in Him. God is omnipotent, that is why there is nothing that God can not make, so it gives a person hope.
In the nearest future I am going to read three following books that address the issues mentioned earlier. The first book is The Doctrine of God (1993) by Gerald Bray. The author investigates into such basic questions of Christian faith as what is the nature of God, what is theology and what are inner relations among the Trinity. He makes an attempt to explain the trinitarian and personal existence of God in a simple and easy to understand language. This book is necessary to read because it might be of great help in further preaching. It is always important to understand how to explain the doctrine in a simple language without losing or oversimplifying its sense. Bray also investigates into certain aspects of the Eastern Orthodox tradition that offer an interesting alternative approach to the doctrine of God, that is not given deserved attention by evangelical theologists.
The second book is America’s Four Gods (2010) by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader. The authors write that the majority of the Americans, which is nearly 95 percent, believe in God and the Americans can obviously be called one of the most religious nations in the world. The peculiar aspect described in the book is that the main division is not in different religions, but in the approaches to understanding God in the context of the Christian faith. The role of God in everyday life of Americans is among the most important issues for them. The book proposes a systematic analysis of thoughts the average Americans have about God. It is important to read because it might be also useful in further preaching, as it gives the understanding of people.
The last book is Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspective by McCormack and Bruce. The authors investigate into the comparison of the evangelical doctrine of the classic theism and open theism. The discussion is centered around the question whether God is all-knowing and unchangeable. It is traditionally considered as the ideas of classic theism show that God is unchangeable and all-mighty. Open theism is a comparatively new branch of theology and it gives numerous examples that the power of God sometimes does not work, as it is during wars where thousands of people are slaughtered. The book consists of essays of contemporary theologists that are important to study in order to understand what is going on in the modern evangelicalism.
I plan to respond to the following material by means of blogging and sermons in the nearest future. Making publications is a complicated task to achieve and required much preliminary work, that includes sermons, blogging and writing small articles. In my opinion, having a blog has many advantages as the first step towards understanding the doctrine better, then to systematizing the knowledge about it and trying to convey the message to the others. In addition, blog is a perfect way to organize personal activity and to make writing and reading a good habit. It is also necessary to remember that blogging supposes communication with the readers and so it is an efficient way to make preaching skills better. After that, when I will be more confident in my skills, I plan to start writing sermons. Perhaps, systematic work and discipline will help me to become a preacher who will be able to convey the words of God in the way that is easy to understand.
Bray, Gerald. L. The Doctrine of God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Froese, Paul., and Christopher Bader. America’s Four Gods. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010.
McCormack, Bruce L., ed. Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.