The Big One in Calvin vs. Wesley

Though Don Thorsen does not say so, his study of “Humanity: More Freedom than Predestination” contains some ideas that may be the big difference between Calvin and Wesley (Calvin vs Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice). Maybe we can reduce it to this: Calvin thinks Wesley trivializes the sovereignty of God while Arminians think [Read More...]

Calvinist in Thinking, Wesleyan in Living

Don Thorsen, observing over his years many of his Reformed friends, has concluded this: “Although they claimed to be Calvinist, they lived more like Wesley.” Which leads Don to say this: “Although John Calvin profoundly influenced the development of Christianity, John Wesley did a better job than Calvin of conceptualizing and promoting Christian beliefs, values, [Read More...]

Theological Showdown — The Big One

What was the biggest showdown in church history? One could make an argument for the 16th Century Reformation, which impacted the church dramatically. Or the split of the Western and the Eastern church in the 11th Century, which had the same kind of impact. But perhaps the biggest showdown of them all was the battle [Read More...]

The Orthodox Heretic

The unusual pairing of these two terms – orthodox and heretic – is not meant to be provocative but a genuine description of an early theologian who shaped what Christians still confess and yet he was also someone who got himself into trouble with the heresiarchs [over universalism and his anthropology]. I am referring to [Read More...]

Getting Jesus Right

People make the goofiest claims about Jesus and often they do so in trying to saying something important. It is important for pastors — though not just pastors — to revisit early Christian heresies in 2-3 years. They are easy to forget but they are far more present among Christians than many recognize. Not long [Read More...]

Where was God? There, upon the cross

Theodicy is an attempt to justify God or the ways of God before the bar of reason or experience. When calamities occur we often see two kinds of theodicies: some defend God’s honor and glory and love by pointing to the sinfulness of humans, while others tend to defend God’s ways by appealing to mystery [Read More...]

Orthodoxy was a Process

Some — and probably far more than “some” — believe Christian orthodoxy is a simple, clear, uneventful interpretation of Scripture and, in particular, of the apostolic teaching. In other words, apart from some dipsticks all believed in the deity of Christ in more or less the Chalcedonian form from the beginning. Ronald Heine, in his [Read More...]

Where Christian Theology — All of It — Begins

In the beginning was the gospel (lower case “gospel”) so that all early Christian teaching was measured by the gospel, but the gospel was known through the apostolic testimony, and the apostolic testimony was known through the writings of the apostles (once they died), leading to this: all Christian theology begins with Scripture. We can finesse [Read More...]

The Case for Christian Doctrine

One of my favorite Christians of all time is Charles Sheldon, the one who lived his life and led his ministry with one simple question: “What would Jesus do?” His novel of that title has sold millions of copies, it’s not a great book — but Sheldon himself transcended his quaint, even sentimental novels. Perhaps [Read More...]

Relational Theology: Roger Olson

Roger Olson, of Truett Theological Seminary, gave a talk at Missio Alliance on “relational theology,” and I clip a a few paragraphs to incite you to read his whole presentation: The second view of God’s sovereignty, the one I plan to expound here, isrelational theism. Oord, one of the editors and authors of Relational Theology, defines [Read More...]


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