A Summary of Christian Theology

“A Summary of Christian Theology”



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.

Biographical Sketch

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

reliably accurate.

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

of thought.

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

German theologians.


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

human being.

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.

Biblical Considerations

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.

Philosophical Considerations

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.

Specific Evil

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.

Animal Nature

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.

Existential Estrangement

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.

Economic Struggle

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.

Physical Death

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

physical death.

Spiritual Death

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

Effectual calling

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.

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