- Miraculous conception
- The circumstances of his birth are described in detail but only one event from his childhood - and it took place at the temple
- The song of Hannah and the song of Mary
- The Lord brings a boy into the scene to save Israel in the midst of national apostasy
- Grew in faith with God and men (1 Sam 2:26)
- Replaced a corrupt priesthood
- Inaugurated the kingdom
- The last judge of Israel
- Devoted to the Lord's service
- None of his words failed (1 Sam 3:19)
- The Lord appeared again (1 Sam 3:21)
- An end to the famine of the Word (1 Sam 3:
"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor 11:1)
As great a man as Paul was, he believed that Christians should only follow him to the extent that he followed Christ. He wasn't interested in training Christians to be man-followers (1 Cor 1:12f; 3:4).
I'm saddened by the fact that many serious, devoted, well-meaning believers are being inadvertently trained to be man-followers in how they study and teach the Scriptures. In particular, there is a growing obsession with the church fathers and the Reformers (hereafter CFAR). For many teachers, the study of any topic (or passage) entails studying what one or both of these two groups of men had to say. The Bible is interpreted through the lens of the CFAR. Quotes and appeals to the CFAR constitute a large portion of these believers' study and ministry - often a larger portion that the Bible itself.
It is common to hear men criticize "grasshopper exegesis" (i.e. referring to passages elsewhere in the Bible), but they have no problem (in fact, they deem it an evidence of thorough, serious study) to hop through the writings of the CFAR at length. Often they belittle a message that only uses the Bible. They (ironically) feel that genuine, serious Bible study uses less and less of the Bible and more and more of the CFAR.
Given that most of the CFAR wouldn't be allowed to teach in our churches today because they were wildly heretical on a variety of topics, one wonders why so many are obsessed with them. I suspect that in many cases, the obsession is simply a trained one. But in some cases (hopefully only a few), I can't help but think that pride plays a role - there's a belief that any Christian can study just the Bible, but it takes a real scholar to sift through the CFAR. A knowledge of the arcane CFAR proves that we are "above" the simple masses who have not moved beyond studying the Bible.
"But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word." (Isa 66:2)
Does the Bible teach the total depravity of man? That depends on what one means by "total depravity". Let me offer a few observations:
So I ask you: does your theological system require you to believe that the image of God has been eradicated in man? If so, then how do you reconcile the fact that unsaved men can think, create, etc.? And if the image of God (albeit marred) has been retained, then how can you believe that all unsaved men are totally repelled by every aspect of the character of God?
Please note (he says, naively hoping that any respondents will read what I actually wrote and not a paranoid exaggeration of it), I'm not saying that man is basically good, that our problem with sin is trivial, or that we are capable of saving ourselves. Reread points 1 and 2 as many times as is necessary for this to sink in. I'm simply saying that inventing an extra-biblical term and then clinging to the most extreme interpretation of it in the teeth of Scripture is not the path to truth.
The Lord Jesus is spoken of as Saviour in many different spheres: