“A Summary of Christian Theology”
CENTURION EDUCATION FOUNDATION
A Theological Article
Dr. Andrew T. Knight
What is this Critical Theological Perspective
Andrew Thomas Knight
DMIN Luther Rice University, 2014
MABA Clarks Summit University, 2018
MRE West Coast Baptist College, 2010
MBS Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
BB Pensacola Christian College, 1994
February 25, 2012
“A Summary of Christian Theology”
Critical Theological Perspectives
Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, Second Addition (Grand Rapids: Baker Books,
1999), 177 – 285.
Millard J. Erickson is a professor of theology at Truett and Western Seminaries
in Portland, Oregon. Erickson has been noted as a nationally known spokesman for
evangelicalism. He has authored numerous books, to include: God the Father Almighty,
God in Three Persons, The Word Became Flesh, and Post-Modernizing the Faith.
Summary review of verbal plenary inspiration
Definition of Inspiration
Millard Erickson explains the inspiration of Scripture as a supernatural
influence by the Holy Spirit. As the writers of Scripture wrote, he stated, the Holy
Spirit influenced the writers to accurately write the revelation of the Word God.
Erickson stated that the revelation of God is the main source of communication
between Himself and humans. The truth that is communicated from God to man
is so man can properly relate to God. Erickson believed that the Word of God
was preserved as, he stated, oral communication and tradition might lose
meaning in the transmission. The significances of preservation, he stated,
was never more imperative than from the time the revelation was penned until
the time of the canonization of the Scriptures. Erickson argued that preservation
was needed as the reliance on orally passing on of revelation would not be
The way Erickson stated the difference between revelation and
reservation was that revelation is vertical and inspiration is horizontal. He stated
that revelation and inspiration were not contingent upon each other. For example
Erickson said that there are times the Bible records the words of unsaved people.
He then referenced John 21:25 to argue that there were many times that there
was revelation but no inspiration to pen words and events that were said or took
place during Christ’s earthly ministry.
The Fact of Inspiration
Erickson begins his argument for the inspiration of the Bible as a defense
attorney would for his client. He then talked about circular reasoning and its limitations.
He stated that one could begin with the Bible as a historical document and then build
ones evidence out from that stating point to other evidences. Erickson then references the
main verses that speak to the inspiration of Scripture, such as: II Peter 1:20, 21; II
Timothy 3:16, 17; and Matthew 5:18. He points out that the two things that were
considered sacred in Jesus’ day were the Temple and the Scriptures. He concluded along
with that the Old Testament prophets and New Testament preachers concurred that the
Bible is the Holy Word of God. The Bible is the inspired Word from Holy God to the
human race. He claimed the next issue to arise is the interpretation of Scripture.
Issues in Formulating a Theory of Inspiration
Erickson first asked his readers if there can be any theory of inspiration in the
Bible. Then he asked his readers if there was a theory of inspiration taught in the Bible?
Then, if there is are the readers obligated to accept this view of inspiration? Erickson then
mentions the analyzing of Scripture both inductively and deductively. He then asked his
readers if inspiration guaranteed the accuracy of the writers? Then he asked his readers if
inspiration was broadly or narrowly related to the Scripture writers? Then asked if
inspiration was related to the Scriptures themselves or to the writer?
Theories of Inspiration
Erickson begins this section discussing the first five theories of inspiration. The
more liberal part of Christendom believed in an institutional form of inspiration. Erickson
stated that the human writers of Scripture were brilliant religious thinkers. The
illumination theory states that the Holy Spirit had an influence on the writes of Scripture.
The Holy Spirit heightened the writers’ consciousness. The Holy Spirit was a higher
degree of influence but of the same type.
Erickson next discussed the dynamic theory whereby the human and divine
inspiration of the writing of the Bible came together. The Holy Spirit directed ideas and
concepts to be included while the personality of the biblical writer came through in the
Bible. Next Erickson stated that the verbal theory of inspiration meant that every Word
that was penned by the writers was exactly as God intended them to be recorded. Then
Erickson talked about the dictation theory that meant that God dictated to the biblical
writers the entire Bible. This school of thought is smaller than the verbal plenary school
The Method of Formulating a Theory of Inspiration
The first method Erickson referenced was focused on what the biblical writers
wrote and how those words were used. The second method focuses on how the Bible was
analyzed and how the biblical writers recorded the biblical events.
The Extent of Inspiration
When Timothy stated that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” he was
talking about the whole of Scripture. That is to say the Law and the Prophets in the Old
Testament and the Gospels and the Epistles in the New Testament.
The Intensiveness of Inspiration
The New Testament writers looked at the Old Testament writers as recording the
very Words that God had spoken. These Words were seen as authoritative. Jesus many
times used the phrase, “It is written” referring to an Old Testament passage.
Model of Inspiration
The writer here is arguing that the Bible is inspired not because of the nature of
God but rather because of the didactic material. The writer discussed the word-versus-
thoughts issue. He stated that the words had to match the thoughts precisely or they could
not be used. Erickson ultimately argued that it was the leading of the Holy Spirit upon the
human authors of Scripture that led them to use the exact right words. He stated that
though the Holy Spirit had directed the Scriptural writers to specific words the words
could have been more general or more specific.
Erickson stated that the way to determine the specificity was by studying the
original biblical languages. He concluded that inspiration was verbal, including the
choice of Words. Furthermore Erickson stated that the biblical writers were not novices.
They had walked with the Lord for some time and they and were grounded in the faith.
He referenced Paul as stating he was chosen before the world began.
Erickson then discussed that the words recorded in the Bible were not just human
words penned in the Bible. He stated that these words were derived from a long standing
relationship and influence from God to man. The other influences that have affected the
biblical writers were their education and many other earthly experiences. God also had a
pool of words that he intended the biblical writers to use. Then God also had influence
over the thoughts of the minds of the biblical writers. The writer equated this to being
similar to mental telepathy.
Erickson continues to suggest the connection between God and the biblical
writers is not divinely dictating from the mind of God to the writers penning the words.
He argued that these biblical writers were already devoted followers of Christ and have
been immersed in the truth.
Next Erickson gave a comparison between he and his secretary knowing his
thoughts and was able to write a letter on his behalf because she knew her boss so well.
He then stated that there was a vast difference between literature and inspired writing.
Erickson then addressed that fact that there is a distinct difference between devotional
materials and the sermon on the mount. His point was that inspired writing has a
distinction all its own.
Erickson then stated that he did not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible,
but at the same time he said, one must take the takes of interpretation very seriously.
He then stated that inspiration takes into account both the writing and the writer. He
compared it to revelation, including both the revealed and the revealing.
Erickson in this chapter gives attention to inspiration as well as the phenomenon
of Scripture. He concludes this chapter stating that he is motivated to study God’s Word,
and have confidence that It is a sure Word from God.
The Constitutional Nature of the Human
Summary Review of the nature of man
Erickson begins this chapter discussing the three different views that make up the
human constitution. First, he stated, there is the trichotomism, then dichotomism, and
finally there is monism. Erickson wants his readers to pay particular attention to A.T.
Robinson’s view on monism. Erickson believes these three views should be rejected with
a conditional unity model in its place. He suggests this model has five implications that
he intends to bring to the readers’ attention.
The three questions to be asked regarding humanity are its origin, its purpose, and
the ultimate human’s destiny. The next basic question is, What are human beings? The
author gives one caution to his readers to be careful in their study of anthropology
not to superimpose into the Scriptures Greek dualism or modern behavioristic monism.
Basic Views of Human Constitution
Erickson then stated the position of many conservative Christians that
trichotomism can be traced back to ancient Greek metaphysics, but right after stating that
he goes into a list of Scripture that indicates three distinct parts of human. Erickson
continued his discussion stating the Greek philosophers taught that there was a body and
soul and the spirit brought the two together. He stated that Trichotomism lost the regard
of the early church fathers, even referring to it as heretical, until revived by English and
Erickson began discussing dichotomism as one that was popularized at the time
of the Council of Constantinople in 381. This belief began to become universal in the
church. Dichotomism is attributed to the Old Testament while dualism is attributed to the
New Testament. The body was what died at death and the soul is what survived beyond
the body. Erickson stated that dichotomism made arguments against trichotomism in
order to try and prove the first over the later. Erickson argued that soul and spirit were
used interchangeably thereby demonstrating there are only two parts to humans not three.
He then continues his argument that the body and the spirit are the only two parts of a
human being. He stated that at death the spirit lives on while the body dies. Erickson also
brought out examples of other theologians that had different ideas about the makeup of a
Erickson discussed the liberal view that in immortality they do not believe the
body is resurrected. Harry Emerson Fosdick stated that resurrection was just an event of
its current time in the New Testament. Fosdick stated that the resurrection was more like
a perseverance of the personality. The conservatives though believe in a resurrected body
and the survival of the soul.
Erickson begins this section stating the dichotomist and trichotomist are similar in
that they both believe the human is made up of two or three parts. Monism believes a
human is made up of one part, or as self. They do not believe in immortality apart from
the body resurrection, nor do they believe in an in – between state. Erickson stated that
monism came out or was popularized by neoorthodoxy. He referenced A.T. Robinson as
saying that there is no Old Testament word for body, that is equivalent to the Greek word.
Robertson stated that the Old Testament word for body is flesh. What he is saying is that
these words both refer to the whole person. He stated there is therefore no difference in
the meanings of the words. Robinsons argued that the Old Testament word for body and
soul was a synonymous term. His understanding then was that there was no difference in
the body and the soul. The body, he stated, was all one unit.
Erickson now contrasts other views with the whole view of Scripture. Erickson
made reference to both Luke 23 (the thief of the cross), and Luke 16 (the rich man and
Lazarus), and suggested that these were both in intermediate locations apart from their
bodies. He did well then to reference II Corinthians 5:8 that teaches a separation from the
body and soul. He then referenced Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28 where Jesus taught
that there was a difference between body and soul.
The next passage, Erickson shows a challenge between two theologians, John
A.T. Robertson and James Barr. Barr believed that Robertson ignored a lot of biblical
data to have stated that there is no distinction between the words, body and flesh. Part of
the argument has to do with whether the Greeks had any knowledge of the contrast or
distinction between form and matter or not. Barr did not believe that the Greeks had this
knowledge at that time. He also pointed out that Robertson lacked documentation of the
Greeks in this matter.
The final argument that Erickson used was that of languages and context. He first
argued that someone with a different language would have correct understanding in their
own tongue. Mainly, he stated, understanding would happen because of the words in
their context. In other words the words would give meaning because of the context that
they were placed in in their sentencing.
The first philosophical argument that Erickson puts forth was the differentiation
between the soul and the body. The point here is that the Bible makes reference to two
different deaths. The first reference is the physical body. The Bible, he stated, makes
reference to the physical death of the body. The second reference of death was a second
death. He now referenced the second death which was separate and distinct from the
physical death. The second death had to do with the soul.
Next Erickson referenced Penelhum who stated that personal identity was
dependent upon the body. Paul Helm remarked that the memory was adequate to be
considered personal identity. Helm then divides the person into two categories, E1 and E2.
Penelhum responded by stating that if two different parts did not have different properties
and essences it would be meaningless.
Erickson then references Wittgenstein that apparently did not believe in a
disembodied existence or separation of the body from the soul. Erickson offered some
examples of religious models of disembodied existence. The religious models are not
conducive with a scientific analysis of the body and soul.
Erickson stated that the concept of behavior of humanity is flawed as it is not a
true replica of human behavior. He explained that without recognition of the introspective
element of human beings and a clear representation of peoples observable behavior this
is not a good representation of humans and human life. Unless human behavior is seen
and assessed properly human beings will be viewed equal to a highly developed animal.
Erickson then chides a behaviorist that has just given birth to their own child. He asks the
behaviorist if they would consider their own new born child just the birth of a mammal?
It would seem to be a rhetorical question, and one that would shame the behaviorist.
The central-state materialist does, he stated, believe in the subjective experiences.
An Alternative Model: Conditional Unity
Erickson is concluding this section on the nature of man with an alternative model
he has referred to as conditional unity. This approach is his alternative to both dualism
and monism. Erickson also referenced Henri Bergson’s view of creative evolution.
Erickson reiterated that the Old Testament referred to the body as in unity while the New
Testament introduced the terminology of body-soul. The New Testament idea, he stated,
does not clearly state weather the soul-body is depicted as an embodied or disembodied
being. Erickson moves on to discuss that the New Testament does teach a point between
immaterial and material existence. This intermediate state is the place between the death
of a person and the universal resurrection of all the dead and that living to a new, and
perfect body that was made for eternity (II Cor. 5:2-4).
Erickson now moves to his closing arguments, and that is how the question is
answered, “How does this differ from the usual views of trichotomy, dichotomy, and
monism?” The way Erickson termed this biblical approach to the essences of man from
the point of death until the resurrection he called “conditional unity.” Erickson argues
that the Bible never encourages the believer to escape from the body. Though the soul
is separated from the body at death, at the resurrection the two will be reunited together
again. He then warned about a neo-orthodoxy’s idea of humans not persisting past death.
He also warned about the liberal idea of an immortal soul that needs no resurrection. He
encouraged the orthodoxy thought in both of these areas.
Implications of Conditional Unity
Erickson ends with important advice for a Christian counsel to treat a person in a
holistic manner. This, he stated, would include addressing peoples spiritual issues along
with their physical, mental and emotional state. He wants people to understand that
people are complex. He also stated that ”the gospel is an appeal to the whole person.”
Summary Review of the fall of man
Evil in General
The question that Erickson has asked and needs an answer is, “Could Adam have
died prior to the fall?” This writer will seek to answer this question. Erickson begins by
discussing the racial sin. The human race, Erickson stated, had violated the human state
of innocence. Death fell on humanity as a result of the original sin, Erickson stated. He
also stated that the whole creation was affected by human sin. He said that the creation
is awaiting the redemption from the bondage that it is in. Another important aspect that
Erickson brought out was the connection that natural evil has had with human sin.
The first challenge that Erickson tried to solve was whether there was sin from
Satan’s fall until Adam and Eve’s temptation. Erickson gave some speculation about a
theory he called, the “germ theory.” But then he stated that sin was more a result of
someone’s will to do the wrong thing. Sin, he stated, is a result of a wrong relationship
with God. Erickson conclusion on this matter is that God did not create sin. True
freedom, he stated, was the ability to do wrong, but choose the right thing. The
conclusion Erickson came to is that Adam could not have died before the fall.
Erickson now addresses the very practical issue of how sin’s results affect people
directly or indirectly. Erickson first referenced Job chapter 22 how Job suffered by evil
but there was no sin connected to Job that might have been punishment for any personal
sin. Erickson’s take away is that there did not have to be any personal sin for there to be
suffering from evil.
Erickson then addressed an interesting problem found in John chapter nine where
it was assumed that someone in a family must have sinned for a man to be born blind.
Jesus’ response of course is that no one sinned. Something evil happened to someone that
did not sin so that God would be glorified, and that His work might be accomplished.
Erickson then brings out the more obvious and predictable result from a personal
sin. He referenced the account of the sin of King David and Bathsheba found in Psalms
Fifty-One. Because of David’s sin with Bathsheba led to his murdering her husband,
followed by the death of their child. Erickson moves on to mention Paul who charged his
readers not to be deceived into believing that one’s sin would not be judged.
One of the theories that Erickson described as a reason for the source of sin was
that man had evolved from its original species as an animal. The timeline when this
theory had become popularized was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Erickson recording this theological and cultural shift paralleled the advent and expansion
of the theory of biological evolution. Erickson further explained that when the Genesis
account of creation and sin became untenable another explanation for original sin began
to be sought.
Anxiety of Finiteness
Erickson next explained another philosophy that was popularized by Reinhold
Niebuhr. The belief, Erickson stated, the problem of sin arose from human finitude and
the freedom to aspire. Niebuhr believed that humans tried to overcome the insecurities
of having intellectual limitations. This intellectual pride and the lust for power, Erickson
stated, was a cause in the disturbance in the creations’ harmony. He explained that these
two matters were the fundamental forms of sin. He further explained that these issues
have both a moral and a religious component of sin. He stated that pride was rebellion
against God and the lust for power was a human injustice. Erickson showed Lucifer’s
sin of pride in Isaiah 14. This is when Lucifer gave his intent to be supreme above God.
Erickson stated this was Adam and Eve’s sin as well, wanting to know good and evil.
The next concept Erickson deals with is existential estrangement. First he stated
that this estrangement was likened unto sin. Then he backed off from that position, but
stated that estrangement was backing off from what one ought to be. Sin, he stated, was
becoming estranged. Erickson was referencing Paul Tillich that argued that to have
existence was to be estranged, thus the two concepts could coexist. Erickson further
discusses Tillich’s position on the fall of man. Tillich stated that he did not go along with
the Genesis account of man’s nature changing in an instance from good to evil. What
Tillich believed in was called, “actualized creation and estranged existence.” Erickson
stated that this view was similar to that of Origen.
Erickson now turns to identify a number of the out of the mainstream theology.
First he discussed liberation theology. This belief system, he stated, skipped over the
original sins in the garden in Genesis chapter three. Liberation theology looks to the sin
in Exodus chapter three. Liberation theology begins, he stated, by rejecting the
personalization of sins. He referenced James Cone that stated that sin was not religious
in nature but rather political and economic. He then referenced Gustavo Gutierrez, and
explained his view that if one does not love his neighbor he cannot love God. Erickson
then references James Fowler as stating his view of God is either oppressed or an
oppressor. Cone believed that black theology meant that God must represent blacks and
thus be against whites.
Erickson then makes startling statement as he compared liberation theology to
Marxism. He did not force his readers to say they were the same but rather that they did
have similar stated problems and outcomes that created a parallel that he observed. He
stated the problem was that of power and wealth inequalities.
Individualism and Competitiveness
Erickson continues as he highlighted other unbiblical views of sin. He referenced
Elliott, a liberal professor of Christian education. Elliott’s idea of sin was not using ones
full potential of their ability. Elliott had rejected the thought that sin could be reduced to
one act or to egoism. She basically defined sin as any demonstration striving or any
individualism that might be misconstrued as egotistical. On the contrary she argued that
the underachiever it was not sin for them to strive to better their economic standing.
Elliott further stated that she thought it harmful for humans to be thought of as
sinners. She also thought it harmful for one to be thought of as having sin and guilt.
Elliott saw sin as something that was a learned practice not an innate character. Egoism
and aggressiveness only becomes sinful when it is in excess. She referred to this as
ruthless and a competitive struggle against each other. Elliott referred to this struggle to
go far beyond the wild kingdom.
The Biblical Teaching
Erickson recaps the previous study stating the review of five flawed views of the
source of sin. He first reviews the fact that God does not tempt anyone to cause them to
sin. Erickson stated and squarely placed the blame for sin on one own sinful desires.
Erickson then clarifies the sin of strong desires. He stated that everyone has a desire for
food and for intimacy. Misplaced desires will lead to sin, but without fulfilling theses
desires the human race ends. Erickson then contrasts the difference between the
command in God’s economy to “subdue it.” Thus the Christian, he argued, should be
industrious and acquire material goods. When does this command have limitation, he
asked, when this quest becomes so compelling that one would do or say anything to
acquire goods. When one, he stated, goes beyond this point it becomes, “the lust of the
eyes,” and thus becomes sin for the Christian.
The next aspect that Erickson pointed out regarding material goods and
the heart is the attitude toward those material things. The attitude, he suggested, was the
spiritual barometer that gauged the temperature of ones Christianity. He referenced I John
2:16, “the pride of life” to support his statement. Erickson further argued that when
Satan tempted Jesus he used legitimate desires to try and entice Him (Christ could not
have sinned). He then concluded his point by stating that Adam and Eve chose to sin
when in fact they were induced externally by Satan. Jesus on the other hand, he stated,
was also externally induced by Satan with an appeal to legitimate desires yet He refused.
His final point was the contrast between the flesh and the spirit. His claim is that the body
in and of itself is not evil. He explained it was the natural bias man has toward sin, and
the propensity to reject God.
Erickson explained the obvious result of sin which is death. He explained that the
mortality of every human being was fixed. Erickson asked the question whether people
were made to be mortal or immortal. He also dealt with the squeamish whether the
original sins in the garden brought spiritual or physical death. His answer was that people
were made in God’s image, that is eternal. Erickson answers both of these issues when he
explained that sin separated man from God, thus spiritual death is the issue not the
Erickson explains the difference here between the physical death and the spiritual
death. With reference to Adam and Eve and eating of the knowledge of the fruit of good
and evil the death they experienced, Erickson stated, was not physical right away but
rather spiritual. He explained that the spiritual death took place immediately upon the
original sins of the garden. The physical death would take place in the future.
Summary Review of Erickson’s four aspects of atonement
Erickson begins this chapter (45) referencing back to the previous chapter
referring to his conversation leading to one’s effectual calling, conversion, regeneration,
justification and adoption. Erickson began the current chapter discussing the general
calling to salvation. He gave Matthew 11:28 to show that the invitation is given to all
persons. He then referenced Isaiah 45:22 to demonstrate the universal dimension of
salvation. Erickson next stated that this seemed to be a universal offer but then seemed
to walk that statement back.
Erickson then gave several references to support his point of view. Next he
explained his extra-biblical terminology, “God’s effectual special calling.” He explained
that this “special calling” is the only real way anyone can get saved. He refers to the
chosen ones as the elect. In Erickson’s elect intellect he stated that these elect are the only
ones that can respond in repentance and faith. Erickson then moved on to make a strange
comparison between Jesus choosing disciples and a dinner guest, and the elect that get
saved. He then listed a number of those in the New Testament that were saved, but then
argued from the Bible’ silence that God chose others not to be saved. This approach does
not seem to have any exegetical basis.
Erickson discusses further his thoughts regarding the special or effectual calling.
He gave his continuing reasoning that this extra-biblical concept actually allows people to
understand the gospel that might not understand it otherwise. He then explained that this
effectual calling is in a logical order that leads one to conversion. Erickson then parses
out the salvation experience into two parts, conversion and regeneration. Also, special
and effectual calling. He concluded with, special calling, conversion, and regeneration.
Erickson began this part having stated that conversion is the starting point in the
Christian experience. Erickson then gave references from the Old and New Testaments
that conversion with two different parts, repentance and faith. He broke conversion down
this way, repentance was the unbeliever turning away from his unbelief, and faith was
turning to Christ. He terms this two aspects as the negative and the positive of the same
event. He stated that the two aspects are incomplete without the other. Erickson stated
that Scripture indicates that conversion generally takes place in a moment of time. He
gave as examples, Nicodemus, the day of Pentecost, Saul and Lydia.
Erickson then discussed some history of evangelistic campaigns whereby the
evangelist would have all aspects of the gospel with the evangelist pressuring the hearers
for a decision. He summed this up as being a crisis decision. His thinking is that everyone
is different so all will not have an identical response to the gospel presentation.
Erickson described repentance as the negative part of conversion. He called it a
feeling of godly sorrow. Erickson stated that it is only logical to deal with repentance
before you deal with where one is going. He then references the well quoted Old
Testament Scripture II Chronicles 7:14 with particular reference to God’s people being
humble and repenting of their sins. He also stated the repercussions of sins that were
generational. Erickson then moved to New Testament references such as:
Matthew 21:39 “He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.”
He also referred to John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2 “And saying, Repent ye: for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Erickson explained the word repentance has the idea of
changing ones’ mind. He stated that repentance was a prerequisite for salvation. He goes
on to talk about the connection between repentance and discipleship as one matures.
Erickson then began the faith aspect of conversion. The part he referred to as the
positive aspect. He referred to faith as the heart of the gospel, even calling it the vehicle
in which people receive the grace of God. Erickson first referenced the well know Old
Testament verse, Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him:
but the just shall live by his faith.” The Hebrew in the Old Testament do not have a noun
form of the word faith. The Hebrew concept rather is not that they possess faith but rather
it is a verb, something that they do.
In the New Testament Erickson explained that the word faith had one meaning.
The idea is that a statement that was made was believed upon. So he defined faith as
believing that something was true. He stated that faith was more than a statement of faith
but significant personal trust. Erickson concluded his point regarding faith by stating that
for salvation one must believe on a statement and believe in the One they are trusting in.
his concluding thought was that those that believe in the revelation of God’s Word see
the twofold nature of faith, affirming a statement of faith and then trusting in the Lord.
Lastly, he described faith as a form of knowledge, thus faith and reason are intertwined.
Erickson breaks down salvation into two parts. He stated that conversion was the
Individual’s response to God’s offer of salvation. Regeneration, Erickson explained, was
all God’s working. He stated that this was God doing the transformation. He further
explained that the unregenerate person was completely unaware and unable to respond to
spiritual matters. To support this position Erickson referenced Romans 3:9-20.
Erickson then declares that there is a biblical description of the new birth. He
discussed the Old Testament example of God’s renewing work. He referenced, Ezekiel
11:19, 20. Erickson then made New Testament references such as Matthew 19:28.
Erickson continues his discussion about regeneration and stated the clearest
passage being John chapter three when Jesus was talking with Nicodemus. This matter
of being born again is a supernatural work that only God does in someone, and is the
only way one comes into the kingdom of God. This is the new birth, he stated, that gives
one new life as a regenerated person. Erickson moved on to explain that because this was
a supernatural event it took some explaining. It was not like any natural thing in the
world that one could see he explained.
Erickson continued his discussion on regeneration by stating that this supernatural
event affected the individual. It crucified the flesh. He explained this meant to be dead to
the flesh (natural desires) and alive to Christ. Erickson brought out an interesting point
that this new nature in Christ is not foreign to the human nature but rather a restoration of
the way the human nature was originally intended to be before the fall. This event of
regeneration is complete in a moment of time but is just the beginning of the process of
an individual, he states, maturing in Christ. This process, he stated, is called
sanctification. Erickson then discussed what he called the manifestation of the spiritual
ripening. This, he said, is the fruit of the Spirit. Erickson concluded this matter of
regeneration with and oxymoron in the Christian experience. He stated that though from
the Christian perspective the human experience without Christ is hopeless, with Christ it
and the future could not be brighter.
At this point, Erickson stated, that the work of God has just begun in the life of
the new believer. He stated this is the beginning of making one holy. Sanctification, he
said, was the process of making ones moral condition in alignment with their legal status
before God. The first of two aspects that Erickson discussed was the idea of holiness.
The believer, he explained, was set apart, or separated from the world and/or the unholy.
Erickson continues with his discussion on sanctification referencing Exodus 13:2
Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of
Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. The second aspect of sanctification that
Erickson mentioned was the moral goodness and spiritual worth of a Christian. He
explained that the new birth has a direct connection to the conduct of the believer.
Erickson further explained that the purpose of the divine work of God in the
believer’s life is progressive. The objective, he explained, of the divine work is
Christ – likeness. He then discussed the fruit that comes from sanctification are things
like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and so forth. Erickson concluded with
discussing sinlessness, though it is the aim of sanctification it is not likely in this life.
Erickson refers to this aspect as the final stage of the doctrine of salvation. He
referred to Paul looking forward to this future state with Christ. He also stated that this
glorification would bring about the perfecting of the bodies of all believers. Erickson
explained the Old Testament meaning of the term glorification. He stated that the word
refers to an individual’s display of splendor, also one’s wealth and pomp. He referenced
Psalms 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.
Erickson then gives the New Testament definition that he stated gave the idea of
brightness, splendor, magnificence, and fame. He then stated that Christ’ second coming
is an event that will demonstrate His glory. He referenced several Scriptures next:
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the
clouds of heaven with power and great glory.