Archives for October 2012

Books about Christian creeds and confessional statements

Recently someone asked me to recommend books that will help understand creeds and confessional statements. I mentioned Philip Schaff's magisterial (but outdated) Creeds of Christendom. Here are three excellent sources for your consideration:Creeds of the Churches: A Reader in Christian Doctrine from the Bible to the Present by John H. Leith (John Knox Press). I hope it is still in print. If not, I'm sure used copies are available at the usual outlets on line.Christian Confessions: A … [Read more...]

Why I like denominations

Why I Like DenominationsOne of the sea changes taking place in American religious life is a popular turn away from denominations. Some say we are entering, if not already in, a “post-denominational” era. Nearly all traditional denominations are struggling with membership declines and revenue shortfalls. As I put my ear to the ground of popular opinion about religion, I hear rumblings of discontent about denominational labels and behaviors and a preference for what I call “plain label” Christi … [Read more...]

Reasons for Believing the Bible is God’s Word

Reasons for Believing the Bible is God’s WordWhenever I talk about biblical inerrancy or the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit (as the basis for believing the Bible to be God’s Word) the same questions arise. People ask: 1) How can I trust the Bible to be true theologically if there are any errors in it? and 2) How does the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit escape sheer subjectivism?Here are my answers.1) If you are depending on the Bible’s alleged inerrancy (strictly interpreted as … [Read more...]

Why (and how) I am a “confessing evangelical” (response to Al Mohler, et al.)

In The Spectrum of Evangelicalism (to which I contributed a chapter and responded to other authors' chapters), Al Mohler touted what he calls "confessing evangelicalism." I suspect he thinks I'm not one. In fact, he more or less wrote (in his response to my chapter and the book's conclusion) that I'm not an evangelical at all. He said it in a nice way, though. :)I want to go on record that I AM (!) a "confessing evangelical."Many people think that, in order to be a "confessing … [Read more...]

Some good novels that include theological themes

Recently I've read or listened to (I listen to novels on my ipod while I work out and drive) several excellent novels that include religious-theological themes. They certainly are not books of high theology. By that I mean that the theologies in them are often mixed with folk religion, but I bring them up here because they stand out from other novels due to the centrality and intensity of discussions of theology in them.A common theme in many novels is God and the problem of evil. Three … [Read more...]

What do I mean when I say the Bible is “trustworthy?”

With the whole catholic and orthodox church of Jesus Christ I whole heartedly affirm that the Bible, the Christian scriptures, is entirely trustworthy and true.As they say, however, the devil is in the details.How does "trustworthy" and "true" function? What do these adjectives mean?Clearly, given a recent experience, a group of people can agree that the Bible is trustworthy and celebrate that common affirmation and consensus and then fall into disagreement and even suspicion (often … [Read more...]