Just a thought...as I’ve always encountered people always talking about doctrine when relating to theology maybe it’s useful to note here that doctrines are the result of a community of faith’s (i.e. a particular church's or denomination's) understanding of Scripture thus should never be allowed to supercede Scripture. While theology is the attempt to express faith verbally in a responsible way, thus theology is the struggle to give faith a proper vocabulary, a proper idiom with which to speak of God.
I believe this point of clarification is important for all Christians who agree on the basics of orthodox Christian faith. As sometimes we tend to believe that only our local church’s or denomination’s doctrinal formulation is the only valid expression of Christianity. Perhaps the question of always being on guard against ‘strange winds of doctrine’ specially in pertaining to groups and institutions that adhere to the basics of orthodoxy (Inspiration of the Scriptures, the Trinity, Deity and Humanity of Christ etc), are mostly borne out of our stubbornness to admit that our local church or denomination does not have the monopoly of precision as far as understanding Scriptures go.
It has been said that Genesis is the book of beginnings, and as an individual who is embarking on a new beginning I would like to use the word – serendipity to describe how timely the study of the book was for me as I start my life as a theology student at Asian Theological Seminary.
I have always believed that I already know the book --after all, I could no longer count how many times I have finished reading and hearing about it, and how many times I have studied it at church. After all –most of the Bible lessons that I’ve heard as a kid or have watched in Superbook are there: Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel; Noah’s ark; Abraham sacrificing Isaac; Rebecca’s marriage with Isaac; Jacob and Esau; Joseph the dreamer etc.
Re-reading Genesis has jolted me out of my ‘born again Christian’ complacency, that has been borne out of my belief that I already know all that there us to be learned from the book as I have already studied it a number of times at church. But as I have said earlier, reading it again in light of its original context has opened my eyes to God’s story that seems to be intricately related to me and how I live my life as a human being, especially if I were to relate it to its overarching theme that I consider as: creation, fall and reversal.
Christianity regards salvation as liberation from the bondage of sin and re-establishing a personal communion with God. Christians hold that Jesus is the source of salvation and faith in his saving power is of particular importance is it determines the ‘way, truth and life’ that leads those who believe Him into communion of God.
Last Sunday I had a very animated discussion about the Church as a picture of the Blessed Trinity, which came about from the introduction to Tertullian that I gave at the church history series on the Sunday School class that I am teaching.
The discussion led me again to reflect upon the nature of God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures but also of its significance to me as a part of His Body – the Church, which gives us a salient picture of the divine truth of the Trinity.