Archives for July 2012

Why is Jonathan Edwards considered so great?

I know. I'm almost committing blasphemy by questioning Jonathan Edwards' greatness. I wouldn't be doing it except there seems to be a kind of cult of Edwards' veneration--especially among American evangelicals. It's not limited to American evangelicals, of course. Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson called Edwards "America's Theologian." New books are published every year about Edwards. The current (or now immediately previous) issue of Christian Century contains a review of a newly published b00k … [Read more...]

A Sermon: “Grace Works” Philippians 2:12-13

Grace Works Philippians 2:12-13 Roger E. Olson  No two verses in the Bible have been discussed and debated more than these together. Throughout Christian history, these two verses, this passage, has provided comfort and affliction to numerous Bible readers. Among the many biblical scholars, theologians and church leaders who have struggled with the passage and commented on it are St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Scottish theologian … [Read more...]

Follow up to previous post about a sermon illustration: Arminianism, salvation and good works (response to C. Gordon Olson)

If you didn't read my previous post about a sermon illustration and Arminianism, please go back and read that before reading this.I asked for feedback about the sermon illustration (Christopher Wren's "deceptive pillars") because I keep running into people who think that Arminianism includes good works as necessary for salvation.Here's just one of many examples I could cite. In his massive book Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: An Inductive Mediate Theology of Salvation (Global Gospel … [Read more...]

An Arminian (?) Sermon Illustration

A Great Sermon Illustration (and a Question)In 1689 the city of Windsor, England was in an uproar. The city fathers had commissioned famed architect Sir Christopher Wren, designer of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, to design a new town hall. The building was complete as desired with one exception.The city fathers wanted their meeting rooms above a “corn market”—an open space for farmers and others to display and sell their products. But when they inspected the new building they were disma … [Read more...]

“God, guns, and guts”

So, now there's been another (what the media is calling a) massacre of Americans in a public place. This time not a school but a movie theater in a suburb of Denver. Many people are asking what these horrific events say about our society. I don't have any final answers; mostly I have only questions and some thoughts about possible answers that at least, I think, bear further investigation.As I drive around my part of the country (and I'm sure it's not unique in this regard) I see bumper … [Read more...]

Preliminary Review of Defending Constantine

I don’t usually review books before I’ve finished them and I wouldn’t do that for publication. But a blog is not the same as a formal publication; these are my “musings,” not my final thoughts on anything. The ideas I pose here are for consideration and discussion. I retain the right to change my mind in light of comments or further consideration. Once I submit a book review article to a journal and it’s accepted for publication, I have to be prepared to defend what I wrote. It’s “carved in stone … [Read more...]

A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism: An Antidote to Gullibility and Hysteria

A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism: An Antidote to Gullibility and HysteriaSome things just seem obvious to me. I know that in our postmodern age it’s no longer considered appropriate to appeal to common sense and what should be “obvious to all.” But I can’t help it. I’ve always thought some things should just be givens, beyond doubt or question. One fairly obvious one (to me, anyway) is that other minds exist. Philosophers like Alvin Plantinga have used this “given” to … [Read more...]