Posted by: chuckbumgardner | February 3, 2010

Garrett, Systematic Theology, Quotable 5

(The final installment of interesting and representative quotations from James Leo Garrett, Systematic Theology, 2nd edition)

(41) “The New Testament does not prescribe or mandate a detailed system of church polity, or government.” (2:639)

(42) “It is the intention under congregational polity that the congregation govern itself under the lordship of Jesus Christ (Christocracy) and with the leadership of the Holy Spirit (pneumatophoria) with no superior or governing ecclesial bodies (autonomy) and with every member having a voice in its affairs and its decisions (democracy).” (2:664)

(43) “We do well to remember that church unity begins at the congregational level, should never evoke satisfaction until it reaches out to Christians of all nations, and will never be fully realized until it is realized eschatologically.” (2:687)

(44) “The parousia will be to culminate or consummate the kingdom of God, not to initiate, found, or establish it.  Some Christian theologies teach the latter rather than the former.  The ‘theocratic kingdom of God’ accordingly was offered to the Jewish people at the first advent of Jesus, was rejected by such people even as they rejected Jesus as king, was ‘withdrawn’ as an offer, was postponed until the second coming, and hence will be instituted at the second coming.  But such a view of the purpose of the parousia runs counter to the diverse meanings given to the kingdom of God in the Bible, especially to the kingdom as arrived or inaugurated or present in and with the first advent and ministry of Jesus.” (2:778-79)

(45) “The parousia will be intended, following eschatological resurrection and eschatological judgment, to lead to the heavenly, eternal kingdom of God, not to establish an earthly, temporal kingdom.  Premillennialists generally reject such a statement inasmuch as the thousand-year reign of Christ with his saints (Rev.20:2-7) is said by them to be an on-the-earth transitional era between the present historical age and the eternal age.” (2:279)

(46) “The parousia of Jesus Christ is to be a singular coming, not two separate and distinct comings.  Pretribulational premillennialism teaches two comings: ‘the rapture,’ or Christ’s secret coming in the air for his church, and ‘the revelation,’ or Christ’s visible coming to the earth with the church, ‘separated by the great tribulation.'” (2:781)

(47) “The Dispensational doctrine of the kingdom is coupled with a very literal hermeneutic, a dispensational division of history, doctrines of eschatological comings and of the rapture of the church, an essentially futurist concept of the kingdom which casts doubt upon its present existence, a tendency to make the death [of] Jesus secondary to a theocratic kingdom in the divine purpose, and an eternal hiatus between Israel and the church.” (2:812)

(48) “Like the doctrines of salvation and sanctification, the kingdom of God involves three temporalities: past, present, and future.  The kingdom of God was related to the kingdom of Israel-Judah and the throne of David and his successors.  The kingdom of God in some sense came with the ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus . . . If the kingdom in some sense came with Jesus, then its present reality, as the apostle Paul made clear, is also to be affirmed.  But it is also necessary to emphasize the future or eschatological aspect of the kingdom.  The present sense of the kingdom is not perfected or fully realized, and only with the parousia of Jesus Christ can the eschatological kingdom be realized.” (2:815)

(49) “The doctrine of the millennium has proved to be very obsessive and quite divisive among Evangelical Protestants, especially in the United States.  It ought not to be an issue over which Christians should break fellowship and form antagonistic camps.  If indeed there is only one biblical text and it is to be found in a highly symbolic book, some Christian caution is to be desired.” (2:845)

(50) “Adherents of the doctrine of eternal punishment must take seriously the cases put forth by both eschatological universalism and annihilationism.  Of the two, universalism poses the more serious problems for the message and mission of the church.” (2:888)

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