November 17, 2010

I’ve been asked by a number of people to comment on the newly released Barna Group report of a survey conducted of Protestant pastors and churches regarding whether they consider their church “Calvinist or Reformed” or “Wesleyan or Arminian.”  You can read the report simply by googling key words.  It is dated November 15, 2010. My initial response is that I’m suspicious of the results because the surveyors did not clarify for the respondents what are meant by these labels… Read more

November 15, 2010

I’ll call this Part 2 even though I didn’t label the previous post Part 1.  I’ll just declare it so without going back and changing it. I have seen some excellent questions about Pietism here and I’ll do my best to answer them in time.  I don’t know exactly how many parts this thread will have, but I intend it to have several. Like so many good theological terms and labels “Pietism” and “Pietist” are essentially contested concepts.  Numerous books have… Read more

November 13, 2010

My next few posts here will deal with Pietism.  Who cares?  Well, my research leads me to believe true, historical, classical Pietism is very different from the false impression of the meaning of Pietism generally held today.  This is parallel with my concern to reclaim “Arminianism.”  I have shown in Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities that many Reformed and even some Arminian theologians (to say nothing of pastors!) have distorted the true, historical meaning of that label so that even… Read more

November 11, 2010

To those who ask where the Bible commands us to “take” rather than “give,” I ask: Where does the Bible command us to do many of the things we do routinely (and claim are “biblical”)?  Where does the Bible command us to create denominations?  Where does the Bible command us to protest at abortion clinics?  Where does the Bible command us to promote constitutional amendments banning gay marriage?  Where does the Bible even mention ordination of ministers?  Where does the… Read more

November 8, 2010

One of my interlocutors asks when God ever commanded us to take rather than give; he implies that redistribution of wealth is of the devil.  Let’s see… I believe Old Testament regulations about land and wealth are not binding on Christians, but I also believe they reveal something about the will of God for his people and everyone. The “Year of Jubilee” may never have been practiced by ancient Israel, but that God commanded it reveals that God is not… Read more

November 6, 2010

So, finally, the long awaited commentary on Justification by Tom Wright.  First, I want to say how much I agree with Wright’s central methodological thesis which is: “God has always more light and truth to break forth from his Holy Word. … But if the light comes, there is no tradition so strong, venerable or previously fruitful that it should not be prepared to learn from it.” (p. 249)  I have been making that argument for years now in various articles… Read more

November 5, 2010

I’m long overdue to look into this new controversy raging among evangelicals.  I know Tom Wright and John Piper.  They are both fine scholars, but they approach doctrine quite differently.  (For those of you not familiar with what is going on…Piper has written against Wright’s views on Paul and justification.  Piper considers himself a serious scholar on Paul and especially Romans and without doubt he is that.  Wright has now written a response to Piper’s critique entitled simply Justification [IVP… Read more

November 3, 2010

Recent news releases have revealed some startling statistics from the 2010 census.  The gap between rich and poor in America is growing and the richest of the rich keep gaining wealth even throughout a recession while the poorest of the poor (those earning below the federal poverty line) are falling further into poverty. Editorial commentator Bob Herbert of the New York Times writes about how the rich got richer and the poor got poorer (November 3, 2010).  He quotes from… Read more

October 31, 2010

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time perusing the new books on display in the publisher’s booths at the national meeting of the American Academy of Religion.  Here are some trends I notice. Books dealing with Pentecostalism have exploded on this scene.  Numerous publishers (including academic ones) have new offerings on that subject.  A leading Pentecostal theologian is Amos Yong who is very prolific; his books are very scholarly and I see many of them on display.  But many… Read more

October 29, 2010

There was a time when the theological landscape of Christianity was stalked by “giants”–theologians and biblical scholars of world wide reputation whose scholarship was read by nearly every serious student of theology. Think about the 1950s–Barth, Brunner, Niebuhr, Bultmann, Tillich–to name just the main theological giants.  (I’ll leave it to my biblical studies colleagues and friends to name the giants in their field.)  Now, for you fundamentalists out there, calling these people giants does not endorse their doctrinal formulations.  I… Read more

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