September 29, 2010

Recently I argued here that every theological system has flaws that should be acknowledged so that the entire system is held somewhat lightly and open to revision.  One problem is when a system, such as Charles Hodge’s “stout and persistent theology” (David Wells’s description) is treated as if it were simply stating divine revelation in other words and therefore not really (as opposed to theoretically) open to correction and revision. But I see another problem in theological systems.  SOME have… Read more

September 27, 2010

I admit it.  I am a fallibilist–with regard to human beings (except when being infallibly inspired by God).  My definition of “theology” is human reflection on God’s infallible revelation.  (Or, in the case of philosophical theology–human reflection on God insofar as unaided reason is able to know something about God.)  In other words, I assume that all theologies (outside Scripture itself) are fallible because they are created by finite and fallen human beings. Unless a person is quoting Scripture in… Read more

September 24, 2010

I get asked this all the time.  Especially students, but also strangers, ask me “What do you think of emergent churches?”  (Here I will use “emergent” and “emerging” interchangeably even though some are trying to distinguish between them.) I can’t claim expertise.  Others have studied the phenomenon much more thoroughly than I have.  But I have attended several well-known emergent churches and I am either acquainted with or count as good friends some of the movement’s leading spokesmen. Some years… Read more

September 22, 2010

I have to give them credit.  Reformed theologians are prolific when it comes to writing about their own tradition.  I have in my library (and have read) several excellent volumes expounding the Reformed theological tradition.  (E.g., Introducing the Reformed Faith by Donald K. McKim, The Westminster Handbook to Reformed Theology edited by McKim, The Basic Ideas of Calvinism (really a book about Reformed theology in general) by H. Henry Meeter, What Is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul.  The newest… Read more

September 20, 2010

I see two opposite and equally dangerous trends pulling evangelicals apart and thereby weakening our witness to the world.  One is, for lack of better terms, particularistic tribalism and the other is generic, plain label Christianity.  Please allow me to explain. I value Christian particularity.  That is, I want Baptists to be Baptist, Pentecostals to be Pentecostal, Wesleyans to be Wesleyan, Presbyterians to be Presbyterian, etc.  While it would be ideal for us all to get together and have one… Read more

September 17, 2010

Call me strange (I know some will!), but for years I’ve had an obsession with trying to figure out why equally God-fearing, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving evangelical Christians think so differently and seem so easily to become hostile to one another.  Often, it seems to come down to differing views of the Bible.  These people agree with each other about fundamental Christian orthodoxy (Christology, the Trinity, resurrection, etc.) but seem to have different attitudes toward the Bible that drive them apart. On… Read more

September 14, 2010

Okay, I admit it.  The “you should be, too” part was just to get you to read this.  I don’t have any axe to grind about this and I’m not on a crusade to convert amils or postmils (are there any?) to historic premillennialism.  I admit that I would like to persuade dispensationalist premils to consider historic premillennialism as an alternative to “Left Behind” eschatology. Recently a book about historic premillennialism was published entitled The Case for Historic Premillennialism: An… Read more

September 13, 2010

When I was making my youthful transition to the wider evangelical world one of my guides was Vernon Grounds, long-time president of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary (now Denver Seminary).  Grounds died the other day at age 96.  He was one of the most influential evangelical statesmen in America and, among other things, an expert on Bonhoeffer.  It was via his writings that I first realized that an evangelical could actually appreciate the thoughts of a non-evangelical (in the sense of… Read more

September 12, 2010

Okay, I know…”social justice” is two words!  My question is the same–when did this phrase become bad?  Do those who reject it want “social injustice?”  I can hardly imagine it (although I might think their vision of society amounts to that).  It is a sad commentary on our times when a phrase associated with compassion and the betterment of society becomes a term of approbrium.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it is a shame how… Read more

September 9, 2010

Recently I heard about a new church someone is starting on a university campus.  It is St. John Cantius Community Church.  (John Cantius is the patron saint of scholars.)  The services will be held in the library.  The minister must have a Ph.D. and tenure.  Scripture readings will be from the original languages and Latin.  All music will be classical or from the finest contemporary hymn writers (e.g., Brian Wren).  Worship will be on Sunday mornings and last exactly 80 minutes… Read more

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