Can Christians eat blood?

An oft debated question among Chinese Christians is this, “Can Christians eat blood?” For some, the answer is a straightforward “no” based on Old Testament prohibitions and on Acts 15:20, 28; 21:25, which record the Jerusalem church’s letter to the believing Gentiles. The Acts verses are not so clear cut. The letter seems to blend cultural and absolute prohibitions. After [Read More…]

My ETS papers

A few weeks back, I told you that I would present papers at the annual conference for the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Today, I’m sharing them with you. Because these are presentation papers,… 1) the papers had to be brief and concise in order to satisfy time restraints. I expect to expand on these papers [Read More…]

The Atonement in Historical Context

I’m thinking a lot about the atonement these days. At this years ETS Conference, I’ll be talking about the sacrificial system from an honor-shame perspective. Also, I am preparing a class called The Theology of Atonement. One of my favorite books from this past year is Adonis Vidu’s Atonement, Law, and Justice: The Cross in [Read More…]

Why is Sin Considered a "Debt"?

Sin is debt. That’s how the Bible describes it. Why? I’ve given a lot of attention lately to the doctrine of the atonement. One key motif that arises again and again is debt. People are accustomed to using this kind of language, such as when someone says, “Jesus paid our debt.” In the Lord’s Prayer, [Read More…]

If Christ Did Not Die, God Would Not Be Righteous

We don’t have to choose between God’s honor and his righteousness. That idea, however, contradicts some evangelical thinking. Here’s a quote from my book Saving God’s Face. [Bruce] Demarest is representative in characterizing God’s righteousness as that which justification overcomes. He says, “The biblical doctrine of justification deals with the fundamental issue of how guilty [Read More…]

Does Christ Satisfy God’s Honor or His Justice?

Of making many atonement theories, there is no end. It can be a real headache trying to sort out all the different theories in history. Unfortunately, people can feel a pressure to pick one biblical metaphor over another when describing the atonement. The consequence can easily be that we start pitting one text against another [Read More…]

Christ Died to Save God’s Face

For whom did Jesus die? Ultimately, Jesus died for God. I have found that statement is a bit jarring for some people. “God doesn’t have any sin,” is a common reply. That response illustrates how easy it is for us to focus so much on one particular glorious truth that we miss a bigger reality [Read More…]