In the sectioned entitled "What it is All About," there are questions about Jesus such as...
HOW DID JESUS BEGIN HIS MINISTRY?Then Dr. Howie writes...
HOW DID HE COME INTO CONFLICT WITH
HOW LONG WAS JESUS ON THE CROSS AND WHERE?
WHAT ABOUT ACCOUNTS OF RESURRECTION?Why the reluctance to simply say with the Apostles' Creed, "...on the third day, he rose from the dead"? Why not proclaim, "He is the living Lord." Following Dr. Howie's example, could we not also proclaim, "There are several accounts of Elvis which emphasize that he was seen and known to be alive."
There are several accounts which emphasize that he was seen and known to be alive in rooms where Christians lived and on roads where they walked after his death. He was the living Lord.
ARE THERE NOT SEVERAL THEORIES ABOUT THE CROSS?Here Dr. Howie speaks of the atonement. He never uses the word. Granted, it is a messy theological word which requires definition. Nonetheless, the word is how the church has discussed Christ's work and our relationship to God. Dr. Howie discusses some traditional, biblical ideas about the atonement. Then, he speaks of Jesus' death as an act of moral courage. Althought that statement is true, it does not belong here. How are we reconciled to God? Dr. Howie seems to suggest that people saw Jesus hanging on a cross and were encouraged. No wonder the author runs away from word, "atonement."
Yes, there certainly are. Among them there is the idea that God ransomed believers from enslavement by Satan with the price of Christ's death. Another widely held view is the substitutionary idea that Christ took man's place and suffered what was due to others. Some say his was a courageous act that has a great moral influence upon those who see him there on a cross...
WHAT DO PRESBYTERIANS INTERPRET THE RESURRECTION TO MEAN?After reading this, I wanted to proclaim with Thomas, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it" (John 20:25). Granted, I admit that I'm strange, but for me, the Christian faith hinges on more than Jesus' memory lives after him.
First it means that Jesus lives among us as the Lord of life. His was not a short visit to earth that ended in a quick death. He has risen from the dead and is present to the church and in the world.
IN WHAT SENSE THEN IS JESUS SAVIOR FROM SIN AND DEATH?Dr. Howie suggests that death is merely an incident in life. Jesus is our Savior in that he takes away our anxiety about death. How disappointing! For Dr. Howie, Jesus is as much a savior as some pychoactive drugs. All praise Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Gives new meaning to Marx's "opiate of the masses."
...Moreover, he takes away the terrible fear of death by teaching us that life is not given as a time to be spent in getting ready to die, but is rather out time for living life to the full. By showing that death is only an incident in life, he saves us from wasting our days being "scared to death." So he saves from sin and death.
WHAT DO PRESBYTERIANS BELIEVE ABOUT ETERNAL LIFE?Eternal life isn't actually eternal life, but Dr. Howie suggests an eternal quality of life. Maybe, but will I ever see Grandma again? What the heck anyway is a "deathless quality of life." Frankly, I'm more concerned about the "lifeless quality of death."
For those who put their trust in Christ, eternal life has already begun. It is a new deathless quality of life. As life itself was a gift, so eternal quality of life is also God's gift.
DO PRESBYTERIANS BELIEVE IN HEAVEN?(Well, that's reasurring.)
Without question most do.
We are, however, reluctant to go into theories about the details of that situation toward which life is now tending.Does this mean that life is tending toward heaven? I affirm that the evidence suggests otherwise. Did this guy miss out on World War I, II, the Holocaust, and Vietnam?
WHAT ABOUT PRESBYTERIANS AND HELL?Okay, okay, the real response was too long-winded and wimpy to be worthy of comment.
Yes, there will be Presbyterians in hell.
HAVE WE NEGLECTED OR FORGOTTEN THE DEVIL?Perhaps if we ignore him, he will go away.
...Presbyterians believe that light overcomes darkness, so we do neglect the devil as we think Christians should.
I am pleased to hear of your recent promotion within the denomination. The writing of curriculum will certainly benefit our cause.