Heidelcast 123: I Am That I Am (1)—The Categorical Distinction

This is the 1st episode of our series on the doctrine of God, ““I AM That I AM.” In older histories of theology it used to be said of the Reformed that they started with the divine decree and deduced (i.e., drew conclusions) from the divine decree, that Reformed theology is not based in Scripture but really it is the product of reason and therefore largely false. Those of us who hold and confess the same faith that the Reformers believed and confessed in the 16th and 17th centuries have always known that caricature to be false. The doctrine of God is, however, at the headwaters of Reformed theology. What we say about God, what we confess and teach, reverberates throughout the rest of our theology. It influences our piety, the way we relate to God, and our practice, e.g., the way we conduct public worship services. When I began studying classic Reformed theology I was struck right away by how often and how swiftly those writers would move from the doctrine of God to the way we conduct worship services. The Reformed confess the rule of worship because of what we confess about the nature of God. The doctrine of God is vital to Christian theology. Recognizing the importance and influence of the doctrine of God in Christian theology. however, is not the same thing as deducing a whole system of theology from the divine decrees.

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  1. It may seem odd to speak of “old school” with reference to podcasts, but if the description applies at all, I suppose I’m it. Although I describe myself as a “podcast junkie,” I don’t subscribe to a single one. I stream only daily news or current events programs such as The Briefing by Al Mohler and TWAEII from World. For everything else, my philosophy is, “If it’s worth hearing, it’s worth saving.” For me, there’s something special about the tactile and visual experience of going to the website, clicking on Download, and renaming and archiving audio or video according to my own filing system. But, then again, I’m retired and have way too much idle time on my hands. I like to think I’m engaged in a highly edifying spiritual activity. It may be, though, just the obsessive, pack-rat behavior of all collectors (you know who you are!). At any rate, I have amassed many thousands of quality “Christian messages & programs,” neatly categorized with full titles marking speaker, subject, and date, and stored in multiple locations.

    Oh, by the way, thank you Dr. Clark, for beginning an excellent new series, for our good and for my library, in that order of course.

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