The God of the Gospel

Mike Bird contends, rightly I would say, that the heart of Christian theology is the gospel, which means when we talk about God we need to see God through the lens of the gospel. He attempts this in Evangelical Theology, and he subtitles this section of this textbook-ish book with “The triune God in being and action.” [Read More…]

The Boring Word in Theology

That word is “prolegomena” and it bores readers to begin a book with pages and pages of prolegomena. I know a 3 volume German theology on a topic, and the whole first volume is prolegomena. But everyone writing a theology, including Mike Bird, Evangelical Theology, begins with prolegomena. But let’s give the guy a hearing. What [Read More…]

A Theology: What do we need?

What is needed to write an adequate and responsible and biblical “theology,” a systematics if one wants to use that term? Because so many shifts have occurred in the last 50 years or so many of us are dissatisfied with theologies as they now operate. What do you think we need in a theology? Some [Read More…]

Spirituality: Calvin vs. Wesley

It could be argued that Wesleyan theology, with its emphasis on “free grace” or free will (properly understood), leads the sensitive Christian toward fear of final salvation or toward a lack of assurance, just as one could argue that Calvinism, since it assumes God’s sovereign and preserving grace, can lead to too easy of an [Read More…]

John Piper vs. Don Thorsen

This recent post at John Piper’s site (by Jonathan Parnell, but repeating what I’ve heard from Piper for years) is why we need books like Don Thorsen’s fair-minded and accurate sketch of what both Wesley and Calvin believe (Calvin vs. Wesley).  Those who will but read Roger Olson’s erudite and source-quoting Arminian Theology will be well-informed of what Arminians believe. I [Read More…]

Where Calvin Went Wrong

At the core of Calvinism is God’s sovereignty, but just what sovereignty means is the essence of of Calvin’s core: sovereignty means determinism in that God elects, God awakens, God shows grace, God predestines, God regenerates, God preserves and God glorifies. John Wesley, on the other hand, can be said to teach each of those, [Read More…]

Grace, and the God of that Grace

A rock-solid agreement on which Christians of all stripes — and I mean all stripes — should agree is that God is gracious and that the whole of our redemption comes from God’s grace. So, humans don’t save themselves, they don’t become loving or holy by themselves, and they don’t stand up from the grave by [Read More…]

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…]