My esteemed colleague, Tim Foster (Vice-Principal, Ridley College) has an interesting article in the latest issue of BBR on John 3:5 where Foster alleges that it contains exodus imagery. Foster concludes: The occasion of the meeting and the language of the passage suggest that the discourse ought to be interpreted against the background of the exodus. This raises the possibility that “born of water” refers to Israel’s passage through the Red Sea. Nicodemus is presented as an archetypal Jew, and… Read more

I don’t always give advice on how to be Trinitarian, but when I do, I tell folks to read and heed the Athanasian creed, and don’t interfere with all things Nicea. Legislate theological rights for divine persons who identify as homoousios. Put a copy of Andrew Rublev’s icon The Trinity in your study! Name your sons Tertullian, name yours daughters Melania, and call your dogs Arius and your cats Socinius. Start a campaign to rename Oregon as “Origen,” but with… Read more

If I had to summarize what are the salient features of Trinitarian belief, they could be summarized using the acronym TRIUNE: There is only one God, in three persons. God is one being, one indivisible unity, eternal and immaterial, yet this God subsists as three persons who are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Relations of origins are paramount. The divine persons are differentiated by relations of origin, i.e. the Father is unbegotten, the Son is begotten, and the Holy Spirit… Read more

As a man, I do find it hard to discuss abortion for the reason that I am, well, a man. I will never be in the position of having an unwanted pregnancy. So, in the very least, there is an asymmetry about men talking about women’s bodies and deciding how they should be treated. I also know that abortion is not a black and white issue. There are legitimate medical grounds for seeking an abortion, ranging from ectopic pregnancies to sexual… Read more

In the evangelical churches that esteem the gospel, the Word of God dominates their teaching and preaching. Scripture is the guarantee of the apostolicity of their message and the authorizer of their ministerial orders. The reading and teaching of Scripture in the church is what guides it back to its apostolic foundation and keeps it genuinely catholic. Yet all churches, even evangelical churches, approach Scripture through the grid of their own traditions. All churches rely on tradition and generate their… Read more

We need a positive view of tradition for the simple reason that the New Testament is both the product of a tradition and Bible generated a tradition. First, the New Testament is part of the generated tradition of the early church, an account of its story-telling, teaching, and ministry. We find evidence in the New Testament for units of instruction being orally transmitted to the nascent churches by the apostles. In the Pauline churches, this included the story of the… Read more

From the University of Aberdeen (HT Phil Ziegler), the first batch of N.T. Wright’s 2018 Gifford Lectures are now available on-line. Lecture 1 – The Fallen Shrine: Lisbon 1755 and the Triumph of Epicureanism Lecture 2 – The Questioned Book: Critical Scholarship and the Gospels Lecture 3 – The Shifting Sand: The Meanings of ‘History’ Lecture 4 – The End of the World? Eschatology and Apocalyptic in Historical Perspective         Read more

One area that evangelicals have generally been weak on, or even hostile to, is in their attitude towards tradition. Many evangelicals have tended to fear tradition as something that is cold, stale, and purely of human origin. The hostility towards tradition is easy to understand. First, during the Middle Ages there emerged a view of tradition as something apart from Scripture that was considered just as authoritative as revelation. A stream of unwritten sources were vocal where the Bible was… Read more

Whereas certain pockets of medieval theology treated Scripture as simply the genetic origins of a living and authoritative tradition, the Reformers were adamant that Scripture was the highest and most important authority, over and against tradition and institutions if need be. This is why the Reformed tradition has clung to the slogan sola Scriptura (“scripture alone”), making Scripture the magisterial authority in the churches. They knew that the church could err and it could only be restored by heeding the… Read more

In systematic theology there has always been the issue of how one explains the development of doctrine. If we think of theology as cognitive assent to timeless propositions excavated from Scripture, how do we explain the fact that the church’s theology seems to have developed, crystalized, changed, and even been corrected over time? The doctrine of the Trinity was gradually formulated through torrid debates climaxing in the councils of Nicea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381 AD), but even since then… Read more

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